Pig-Min interviewed Tom Grochowiak, who made not-so-popular-but-cool-game [Magi]. He's working for next game [Cinders], which could be new breed of Visual Novel.

Korean version


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He accepts pre-order for [Cinders] at own homepage.
Check it out, and don't forget play [Magi]. It's really awesome.


1. First of all, please introuduce yourself.

Hi, I'm Tom Grochowiak -- indie game developer from Poland and the head of MoaCube.


2. [Magi] was really good indie real-time RPG battle game, but it's almost unknown. You updated it too many times for a long time, instead of making new games. What was good & bad thing for that?

Magi was a hobby project done in my past time. I had a normal job in the game industry, so I wasn't under pressure to launch more games. I prefered to get this one to the best possible state, first. It was a great learning experience. With each update, the game sold better, and I felt like I'm making progress as a game designer.

The downside was obviously that I could use that time to work on another game. But I honestly don't know if it would be any good without the experience I got while working on Magi.


3. You were using Game Maker to make [Magi], commercial game. What was good thing to use Game Maker?

Yeah, I was very satisfied with it. Game Maker now feels outdated compared to tools like Unity, but back then it was really something. It was more than enough to get the job done, and allowed me to focus solely on the design aspects. Also, made development much faster.


4. What happened to [Arcmagi]?

Nothing -- it's still in development. It's too big and complex to be my main project now when we went full-time indie, so I'm working on it in my past time. I plan to wrap it up when our studio becomes more stable.
 

5. You are from Poland, we don't know about Polish game market very well. gog & [Witcher] series are all we know. Please let us know more about that, gaming industry & situation & indie scene in Poland.

Haha, I actually worked on The Witcher. Polish game development scene is still pretty small, though we have some successes like Bulletstorm, Painkiller or the already mentioned Witcher. As we only have a handful of gamedev companies around here, most people working in the industry know each other very well. Wherever you go, you meet people you already worked with or at least heard about. It's pretty tight-knit.

Indie scene is pretty much non-existent. It does get a bit lonely at times.


6. You worked with Rob Westwood for music, who are genuius composer in UK. It was international project, which might not be so easy. Please share us idea how it was, to work with people abroad.

It mostly comes down to finding the right people. We're all friends and worked together for quite some time. I know I can trust my team, and there's a strong understanding between us. I can just ask Rob: "hey, could you compose a track that fits this character here?" and he'll know exactly what I need. That kind of connection is priceless.

Even the best managment skills won't help if people don''t glue well together and aren't passionate about what they do.


7. New game [Cinders] is visual novel, very different from [Magi]. In Western indie scene, only WinterWolves (in Italy) & Hanako Games (in UK) make that genre. How come to make such game? What's the difference from their games?

There's many more western indie visual novel developers actually. Like Ayu Sakata (who also does writing for us) of SakeVisual, or Christine Love.

We decided to make a visual novel after playing several such games together with my artist. They were often fun (even if sometimes more as a 'guilty pleasure'), but we were dissapointed in their overall quality. We started thinking about doing something like this, but up to modern standards, and with high quality art.
When we went full-time indie, it seemed only natural to make it. We had a strong idea for how it should look and work, and VN games don't take as long to develop, making it a great choice for our first game.

The main difference from other visual novels is that we don't use anime art or follow certain cliches found in Japanese games. We're telling our own story, in our own way. We also have many more player choices than the typical VN. Some are crucial to the plot, some just let you role-play the protagonist the way you want.
 

8. Please pick up 5 good games & explain why.

Hah, though choice.

L.A. Noire for a brilliant idea on how to make a modern adventure game (with a lots of wasted potential, sadly).

Demons Souls for an absolutely hardcore RPG experience like they don't make anymore.

Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space -- a very addicting older indie game. A mix of space exploration and casual board game.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy for a completely crazy mix of a fighting game and  an RPG. Got lots of great ideas for ArcMagi from this one.

The World Ends With You is a bit of an underrated gem of an RPG from Square. Very original game -- gameplay and setting wise.
 

9. Have you ever experienced or heard about Korean games? If so, please share us your opinion.

I played some Maple Story, but didn't really like it. I'm not much into MMOs, and I think they are very popular in Korea. Most of my experience with Korean gamers comes from playing competitive games, like Starcraft, Warcraft 3 or Guild Wars. You guys pwn hard!


10. Please leave some message to Pig-Min readers.

Keep on rocking and big thanks to everyone who bought Magi. I hope you are having tons of fun with it.


Korean version
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