Developer Interview: GoodNameHere

Recent updates to the Guelstie Universe Blog unfortunately made certain type of post obsolete. We intend to continue to provide developer interviews, but never intended to erase older content.

The project will do it’s best to preserve this content over the coming weeks and republish some of the more popular ones.

Below is one of our most recent RPG Maker interviews: GoodNameHere and their new game, “Tumbling Apart”. Originally published November, 18th 2016.


Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
Small details, whether it be autumn leaves blowing off of trees or intricate animations will help immerse you in Isaac’s world.

What is your greatest inspiration for your RPG “Tumbling Apart”?

I’ve been a gamer my entire life and grew up on the NES with Super Mario bros.

As I got older I never missed a console release, and eventually delved into PC gaming. Over time I got a little jaded. You know those guys that are huge music fans? The ones that get all the albums but eventually navigate to the more eclectic stuff because the new material isn’t the same anymore…

That’s how I started to feel with gaming. I began focusing on the indies, searching for that spirit that seemed to have been lost in the industry as it matured. There was a sale for this game called “To the Moon” that I picked up. It looked so simple, and I had heard good things about the story.

I gave it a shot and was blown away. I had never played anything that moved me like it did.

That soul that had gone missing in gaming- it was still alive.

Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
Tumbling Apart will feature hundreds of hand drawn animations.

Then something struck me. It was like, maybe I can do this myself. To the Moon was simple, but that didn’t subtract from the experience. It added to it. There was a realization. New things can still be done in the industry. Big, ambitious ideas can still be grown from humble origins.

I got on google and researched the engine. To the Moon had a story to tell, and it did it more effectively than anything I had ever seen before, on an engine simpler than anything I had ever seen before.
To the Moon was the seed of my journey into game development. RPG Maker was the water that gave it life.

Tell us some of the major features we will see in the game.

Tumbling Apart is centered on the narrative. I want you to feel something when you finish this game, and have it stick with you long after you’ve played it. To me, that’s the sign of something special in a game, and I hope Tumbling Apart can accomplish that.

You’ve got this guy, Isaac, who’s shock full of guilt over the terrible fate that’s befallen his sister. He feels responsible for her demise, but gets this chance to fix it. You live through him as he journeys across time and space in an effort to alter destiny.

To effectively tell a story like Isaac’s, you’ve got to immerse the player in that world. You’ve got to ask, What’s going to grab the player and pull them in?

Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
We’ve all made mistakes, but what about that big one you can never forget? What would you give to go back and fix it? -Goodnamehere “Tumbling Apart”

One way to do this is through the music. The soundtrack in Tumbling Apart is a major component. Nothing can conjure the emotion that the right music at the right time can. I fully believe in the power of music, and hope it reflects in the game.

Another tool is animation and attention to detail. It’s easy as a developer to be a little lazy sometimes, and leave out the small stuff, but it’s the small stuff that adds up to make a game whole. Have a dramatic scene where a character runs away in fear? Why not have them trip over the table beside them, flipping it over on the way?

In a hospital setting? Take the time to have the staff go about their business in the background, pushing and pulling hospital beds, or having the receptionists answer their phones.

Tumbling Apart won’t fall into the trap of feeling “static,” and the world will really feel alive. Apart from all that, there’s a big variety of settings. There’s going to be about a dozen unique “worlds” in the game. All flavored with their own personality so the player never gets bored. Player choice is going to factor in as well, so you’re making some of Isaac’s big decisions and feel that much more in tune with him.

And time travel. I guess that’s always fun, right?

Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
Isaac’s journey to save his sister spans across time and space.

Is this your first game and is there more in store from Goodnamehere?

As far as goodnamehere_ projects in the future, we’ll have to see how it goes. One thing I’ve taken away from the process is the first-hand knowledge of how exhaustive development can be, especially if you pour your heart and soul into the work.

There will be a break after Tumbling Apart, but I love game design and can’t imagine this being the end. When you find something you love doing, never let it slip away. I guess if you truly love what you’re doing, you can’t. You’re always going to have to refuel the tank, but you’re going to come back.

How has use of the RPG Maker shaped your ideas of game development?

It’s helped me to realize how accessible game development can be while retaining flexibility. If you’re a one man team, you can focus on game-play and use the stock assets if you aren’t a confident artist.

Likewise, if you aren’t a programmer and lack coding knowledge, you can hone in on creating something uniquely visual and let the engine do the lifting behind the scenes. It’s a great tool for self-taught developers because it’s one of the easiest engines to learn as you go, yet offers some plasticity if you want to customize.

Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
Players will experience a wide variety of colorful and unique settings.

The number one reason developers fail is because they don’t finish. RPG Maker assists with diving into the meat and potatoes of design without becoming disheartened and giving up.

What suggestions for other games do you guys have?

Differentiate. Everything’s the same in games these days, and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of other titles if you don’t do something to set yourself apart. This goes doubly so for indie developers, because you don’t have the budget to compete with the AAA guys.

If you’re making a FPS, you better do something truly unique with it, because if it’s generic indie shooter #55 up against generic AAA Shooter #34, you’re going to lose. Pick one thing you can do better than anyone else, and do it exceptionally well.

Goodnamehere "Tumbling Apart"
Player choice will be a component of Tumbling Apart.

Where can we find out the latest information about your project?

I’m on Twitter more than anything, and update the website, www.goodnamehere.com regularly. I do devblogs on indiedb, and you can find the demo there.

I’m always trying to scrounge up a base of support, so if you’re interested in Tumbling Apart, check out twitter and think about following. When the Greenlight campaign launches, I’m going to put an itch.io, rpgmaker.net, and tumblr page up as well.

Any words of encouragement to other developers?

You can do it. No really, you can.

Being a newbie dev myself, I’m familiar with the struggles and fears burgeoning developers encounter. Above all, don’t be intimidated. The blank canvass is always overwhelming, even more-so for newcomers.

Don’t get bogged down by thinking, “I’ve got to learn C++ completely.” No, you don’t, and you’re only shooting yourself in the foot with that mindset.

Kurt Vonnegut didn’t start his career with Slaughterhouse-Five, and you always learn faster with training wheels.

There’s an excellent article by Connor ORT Linning entitled “Game Development and Archaic Elitism” that I recommend all would-be developers read. LINK.

Big thanks to the Guelstie Project, who asked me to do this interview!

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