Interzioq #10: Bitwit interview

After my last interzioq of Xisuma I thought it might be cool to interview other Youtubers who use my music… So here is the interzioq of Bitwit. I’m honored to sometimes hear my music in his videos so that’s a real pleasure to talk with him today 🙂

First, could you tell us a bit more to introduce yourself : how old are you? Where do you come from? Your favorite meal 🙂 ?

 My name is Kyle, I’m 28 years old and I’m from Los Angeles, California. My all time favorite food is sushi.

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When did you start to make Youtube videos and what kind of videos did you make at first?

I started making YouTube videos over 10 years ago. They were mostly short silly skits I’d film in my backyard as a kid. Then I started making tech videos in 2012.

Right now, what kind of videos do you make?

Tech videos, vlogs, and the occasional comedy sketch.

 Today, are you a “full-time Youtuber”?

Yes, I quit my office job in 2015 to pursue YouTube full time.

What was the key point when you realized that you could make a living out of your videos? Was it a slow thing to realize, step by step, or did you have that in mind when you started?

It was a slow realization that as my channel grew, I was one step closer to making a living on YouTube. I never thought my channel would reach that point, but it was something to aim for. One day I realized only by committing to it full time would I be able to turn it into a career.

In your opinion, what are the PROs and CONs of your job?

Pros include doing what I love, having creative freedom to produce the content I care about, having flexible hours, working from home, having an awesome fan base I can interact with

Cons include extremely long hours (often 80/week), not having the benefits of a corporate company (i.e. health benefits, paid time off, etc.), having to deal with internet trolls and haters, & additional stress of being 100% liable for the company’s success/failure.

How long does it usually takes for you to create a video?

A 7-minute video used to take me 18 hours from start to finish. Since then I’ve modified my workflow to produce them in 10-15 hours, depending on the project.

What is the part you like the most when you create a video?

 Clicking “Publish” and reading the first wave of comments.

Do you have a lot of interaction with your followers? What do you think they appreciate the most in your videos?

I think so. I talk to them in the comments and on Twitter all the time. Some of them have even become friends I game with occasionally. I think my viewers enjoy my sense of humor (just as much as some people hate it). Online tech videos are typically presented with equal parts information and video quality with little to no room left of actual entertainment. This is YouTube, so I try to make the videos fun and engaging but still get the main message across for those who just want the info.

Do you think it will be possible for you to make a living from Youtube all your life or do you already have some B plans?

Unless YouTube suddenly dies out one day, which I think is unlikely, I’ll always be looking for new ways to keep the channel refreshing and relevant to newer/younger viewers. If my YouTube career failed tomorrow, I’d try rebuilding my following on my own platform and continue making videos there. Or I’ll just work at McDonalds.

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Right now, if you were not a Youtuber, what kind of job would you like to do?

It’s hard imagining what I’d do outside the realm of online video production but it if wasn’t an option I’d still want to be surrounded by entertainment in some way. I’ve always thought it’d be a dream to write or even act on a show like Saturday Night Live.

Any advice for people who’d like to start their own channel?

Do it because you love it, not for the money/fame asepct or you will either A. not succeed or B. be unhappy. Know up front that you’ll have to eventually do it full time (or commit to full-time hours) in order to grow at a reasonable rate. Listen to your audience but don’t ignore your own thoughts and feelings about the channel’s direction. When starting out, post one or two videos a week every week. Consistent output frequency is invaluable to growth and building a loyal audience. Finally, there will be days where you feel discouraged, hopeless even. Ignore it. Only those who overcome that feeling time and again will get to where they want to be.

Do you have any passion/hobbies outside of making videos?

None that come close. I rarely find time to game anymore and most of my off hours are spent with my wife and family which I’m 100% OK with.

Any last words you’d like to add or a message to your followers?

I don’t know where I’d be without the tremendous support from my fans. *DIGITAL HUGS FOR ALL OF YOU* Thanks for taking the time to read this interview and thanks to izioq for the opportunity. Cheers!

Many thanks to you for your time & replies Bitwit ^^ !

Interview by izioq.

My Cereal Box Song

For some reason, this is my most popular song on Youtube right now :

I remember when I was a kid I use to eat cereals every morning (unbelievable right ^^ ?). I had a muesly phase but then I quickly switched to a “Chocapic” phase (a french brand)

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It was such a great feeling, as a kid, to open the box to discover the new Cereal Box Toy…
I really loved these toys and got plenty of them…

… but they all vanished like childhood did…

 

Interzioq #9: Xisuma interview

Today we have a special interzioq with the interview of our first Youtuber : Xisuma !

Xisuma is a good online friend and we met because he sometimes uses my music in his videos and that’s really cool from him. That’s why I wanted to interview him and learn a bit more about the secret world of Youtube 🙂
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Hi mate! First, to introduce yourself, we’d like to know how old you are and where do you come from?

Id just like to say a massive thank you first off all for letting me use your music over the years! They have provided a warm and fuzzy soundtrack to my Minecraft adventures and I know my audience has grown to love your music too, Its a pleasure to answer your questions and I apologize for the time it took me to reply! I rarely have time to sit a think. To answer your question, my age is unknown to all as Ive chosen to keep some anonymity in this online environment, however I’ve stated many times I’m from England where we drink tea and complain about the weather!

When did you start to make Youtube videos and what kind of videos did you make at first?

I started back in 2009 making videos of myself playing guitar and using the platform as a place to put my music demos. At the time my sole ambition was to get the music in my soul out there into the world, I didn’t care about success I simply wanted to create and I did that every day for some time until a certain game started to distract me. I didn’t start Minecraft videos until September 25th the next year and a few months into that adventure I decided to remove all the old videos and make my channel solely dedicated to the game.

Right now, what kind of videos do you make?

I’m just making Minecraft videos at the moment, Ive played around with other games but it always comes back to the blocky sandbox. Its like a blank canvas, every day I get to wake up and make something new and interesting with my time, if its constructing a building, tinkering with a contraption or going on an adventure I love the process of turning that fun into entertainment for others. I do however plan on bringing guitar videos to my second channel in the near future, just working on recording guitar tone at the moment.

Today, do you make 100% of your living with Youtube?

Youtube, Twitch and Patreon is how I make my living and of course that is all very closely tied to what I do on youtube, I think its fair to say youtube is my living and I’m very thankful for the lifestyle and freedom it has provided me with. Everyday feels like an opportunity when you are your own boss.

What was the key point when you realized that you could make a living out of your videos? Was it a slow thing to realize, step by step, or did you have that in mind when you started?

When I started making Minecraft videos it was a curiosity, I saw other people doing these tutorials and felt I could make better ones and it would be a fun activity. I quickly got into the groove of making regular tutorials and became fascinated by the Minecraft community, which back then is VERY different from how it is perceived today. It was a mature, sensible and closely linked community all about sharing with one another. This was before it reached the masses and became corporate.

As I made connections and started talking to other Minecraft youtubers I was informed I wasn’t correctly monetizing my videos, I changed some settings and when from pennies to pounds a day, thats when the first thought that I could do this as a Job arose. Later that year youtube was paying me more than my less than desirable paycheck from work was, it was an opportunity I had to take and with the support of my family became one of the best decisions Ive ever made. Back then the idea of being full time youtuber was very sketchy and people didn’t believe it could last but here we are almost six years later, still going strong.

In your opinion, what are the PROs and CONs of your job?

The pros are lifestyle and community but that could be expressed in many more words. I get to live everyday on my own watch. I don’t take that for granted, I use my time to build for the future on the journey of self, taking care of myself on the way through health, diet and exercise. As for community it is very humbling to know that you’ve helped other people with your own attitude and outlook on life. In return they have helped me to develop as a person with their support and encouragement. That has undoubtedly been a massive transformation for me in me life that I could never thank them enough for. Its been truly life changing.

The cons? There are not many, too often I spend far too long at the PC and I don’t get to enjoy the great outdoors as much as Id like. Other than that I can’t think of much else.

How long does it take to create a casual video?

Well a “casual” video is one that I don’t get to make to often and It would take the least time of all. Most the videos I make are far from casual, they are large scale play which requires lots of planning, preparation and grunt work. Each video I make generally takes a full day to put together.

What is the part you like the most when you create a video?

Thats often unique to each video, sometimes its the feedback after its gone live, other times its the end when you wrap it all up but best of all its when you are caught up in the moment having a blast, hitting record and not knowing whats going to happen next.

Do you have a lot of interaction with your followers? What do you think they appreciate the most in your videos?

Because I stream, I have a very directly line of interaction with my followers. In the past I was also very active in replying to comments on youtube but due to the increasing size of my audience and youtubes changes to how the comment section works it feels less and less like a place to get the kind of interactive I love, twitter and streaming fill that gap now, however I do miss the old days of comments where the tone and community was different.

Id like to think my viewers appreciate my hard work and consistency, however In recent years where I have become far more upbeat and comfortable recording I think there is a larger group who like my attitude and enthusiasm more than anything but they would be the best to tell you as its all a matter of perspective.

Do you think it will be possible for you to make a living from Youtube all your life or do you already have some B plans?

Nothing lasts forever, nor would I want it to, when its over I will look for the next adventure. Where Ive found success here I don’t believe that it means Ill have success in whatever I do next so I’m happy to continue on this path until something else makes sense. I have not a plan B but decided to dedicate more of my time to music as I will undoubtedly pursue that passion again in the future.

Right now, if you were not a Youtuber, what kind of job would you like to do?

Probably something dull and uninteresting but the job would be a means of getting by, without youtube id be making music everyday.

Any advice for people who’d like to start their own channel?

Do it for passion, curiosity and your personal interests. Youtube is a life consuming job, it will work you like a slave and thats only a good thing if your passionate about what your creating. If you think of it as a career path thats glamorous or an easy ride you’d be mistaken. It requires a ton of passion to do this grind.

Do you have any passion/hobbies outside of making videos?

Music. Music has been my life for a long time. It consumes my imagination and gives frees my soul. I avidly play guitar daily and listen to music all day long while I make videos. I also write about what I listen too and attend lots of gigs as I’m very passionate about live music.

Any last words you’d like to add or a message to your followers?

As always Id like to thank them for their support over the years. They’ll probably never know how much this means to me, words cannot express what a wonderful and life changing experience they have given me. Its come so far and the end is not even in sight! I look forward to every day 🙂

Many thanks for your time and replies 🙂

You can follow Xisuma on Twitter and, of course, sub to his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/xisumavoid

Interview by izioq.

3 hours mix of chiptune, electro and video game music by me, izioq (my full albums compilation)

This is a compilation of ALL my full albums, mixed together >>> https://youtu.be/hqOcyIFZLi4

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You’ll find here a mix of more than 3 hours of chiptune, retro video game music (16bit or 8bit music) and electro indie pop.

I really need your support so if you like my music, please spread the word to your friends online or irl: like and share this video, that would be really cool ^^ !

● Download my music ► https://izioq.bandcamp.com
● My blog about music & video game ► https://izioq.wordpress.com/
● Follow me on Twitter ► http://www.twitter.com/izioq
● Facebook ► http://www.facebook.com/izioq
[animation & pixel art by me 🙂 ]

Interzioq #8: Nifflas interview (Nicklas Nygren)

Nicklas Nygren (better known as “Nifflas“) is one of my favorite indie game dev. I’ve seen some talks from him on Youtube about video games, creativity, etc. and I always share 100% of his thoughts about gaming and the importance of atmosphere & secrets in games.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about his “Knytt” series (if not, check it) but today, we are here to talk with him about his new release… and many other things!

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Hi Nifflas! I’m really happy to have you today for this new interzioq! Could you please introduce yourself briefly for those who don’t already know you.

Hi! I’m Nicklas Nygren, and usually create 2D games with a focus on atmosphere and exploration. My most recent games are affordable Space Adventures which I developed together with Knapnok games, and I’ve just released Uurnog on the Humble Store.

So let’s talk about Uurnog: is there any meaning behind this name?

I think it’s meant to be the word “Wrong” but spelled completely wrong. The W became a double U (pun intended), and some letters rearranged themselves. Mike Krolikowski (@mikekrolik) came up with the game for the Title Jam, which was a jam about coming up with game titles held by Simon Nielsen (@1000tongues)

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I really love the graphic style of the game and, obviously, some aspects of the gameplay remind me of Super Mario Bros 2. You’ve already been inspired by SMB2 when you made your game FiNCK : what is so special about SMB2 for you?

SMB2 was probably the only good game I had on my NES as a child, and I knew it inside and out. Since I still love its mechanics, I want to explore them further, and will probably return to them in the future as well!

What inspired you to have dynamic music in Uurnog and to create the algorithmic music program?

I’ve built up ideas for alternative ways to do music software for a long time, but the previous dev platform I used didn’t really have the features I needed to try them out. So, when I finally switched to Unity in order to work together with Knapnok on Affordable Space Adventures, I finally learned a set of tools where I could try these ideas out. Alongside ASA, I prototyped music software, and gathered enough knowledge to allow me to create what is now featured in Uurnog. The idea to rely on algorithms instead of placed notes was inspired by the youtube video 15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes by Timo Bingmann. David Kanaga’s (@dkanaga) work in Dyad also showed me a different way of thinking about game music.

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On the Uurnog site you wrote that the last Ghostbuster movie was part (amongst other thing) of your inspiration while making this game. I find it cool that you say that about a movie that received so many “extreme” negativity from some people… May I ask you what inspired you in this movie?

First, I actually rather enjoyed the movie. It was just fun and silly. The way the movie was colored though was amazing. I found myself pausing the movie just to take in its use of saturated greens, and the blend of smoke and glow. It’s so opposite of the cyan/teal and desaturated trends so common in movies now.

Let’s talk a bit about yourself if you don’t mind 🙂 That may be a tricky question but… I’m not specificaly speaking about videogames but : why do you “create”?

I create because I have to. To be honest, I don’t even know why. When I was young, my favorite toy was Lego. I picked up tracking software (a type of music software) as a teenager, and game development in my early 20’s. So, I’ve never not created, and I don’t really function well without it for periods longer than a few weeks. Some of my friends knows this well.

Could you tell us what is your oldest memory about video games or the first game you played? What’s the game you’ve got the more fond memories about?

That’d be the VIC-20 I had when I was really young. I actually think my uncle had made a game on it (or that’s how I remember it at least). It was a take on Space Invaders. Unfortunately, I lost the game since I was under the impresison the tape was magical and transformed whatever its content was into a game. So, I decided to overwrite the data with a song about riding trains, because I wanted to play a game about that.

What is the best or your favorite secret you ever found within a game?

I still remember the Special Zone in Super Mario World fondly. Back then I didn’t even think a game could have a secret area within a secret area.

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You also make music : what are your favorite video games tunes?

Probably the music David Kanaga created for Proteus and Dyad.

Except music, any good book or movie to recommend (in any genre)?

Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North. The world needs more chose-your-own-adventure books. Many more.

Speaking of recommendations : any game (indie or not) we should try? (and why do you like it)

Since I just created a game inspired by it, I have to say Lyle in Cube Sector. It’s one of the early indies and a must-play.

I’ve seen some really inspiring talks by you online : any piece of advice for someone who’d like to try making video games?

If you’d like to join a bigger company, I have no idea how it works. Game education maybe? If you’d like to start indie, pick up an easy tool like Game Maker. Follow some tutorials and make games on your spare time. So many games. Tiny games. I can’t stress the tiny thing enough. Post them online and show them to your friends and watch them play it. You’ll get to know yourself and the process so much better than if you start out with a big game before you develop a good sense what it takes to make one.

According to wikipedia you’re living in Sweden. I must say that I’ve always had a deep love for the scandinavian landscapes (I’m from France) and I had the chance to visit Norbotten once and it was one of the best travel I’ve ever made (around Båtskärsnäs in fact) Anyway : could you tell us if the place where you’re living inspires your art and, if yes, how?

Currently I’m moving back to Umeå in northern Sweden after having lived in Denmark for a while. I think the tone of my games are affected by where I’ve developed them and my previous time in Umeå resulted in a slightly more melancholic feel.

If you could visit any place around the world, where would you go & why?

Try to go as far north in Sweden as you can either during mid winter or mid summer. The light or intense darkness is a very nice thing.

And finally : what is your favorite Swedish meal?

Surströmming! I’m not kidding.

Many thanks for taking the time to make this interview. Feel free to share some links to any of your work here:

My latest release is Uurnog > http://uurnog.com

Watch the Uurnog trailer.

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Interview by izioq.

 

Interzioq #7: Disasterpeace interview (Rich Vreeland)

I had the great pleasure to interview the very talented Rich Vreeland, aka Disasterpeace! If you don’t already know him (which is a shame) he is the guy behind the FEZ video game soundtrack and the OST of the movie “It Follows”… but more than that, he is a man of many talents and a very innovative & cool musician that you can’t “put in a box”. It was a real pleasure to talk with him: thank’s Rich!

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Hi Rich and thank you so much for answering the questions of my interzioq! I was wondering what are your early musician memories? Do you remember the moment or what made you “fell” into music?

I remember having an electric guitar from a toy store that had a built in amplifier. I didn’t know how to play it so i played it flat on my lap. I just remember being mesmerized by the sound of distortion.

When you were a teen, what kind of music did you listened to and were you listening to videogame OST?

I grew up in a Christian household so definitely listened to a lot of Contemporary Christian music like dcTalk, but also music like The Beatles, George Winston, and Vince Guaraldi around Christmas time. As I got a little older I got into classic rock and nü metal. I always played games but I didn’t really latch onto the music until later, and I went through a period of nostalgia as I recollected all the music I had listened to over the years. Some of my favorites were the soundtracks of games like Chrono Cross, Yoshi’s Island, and Super Mario RPG.

What about today: what is your current playlist? 

I’m always listening to new stuff, or listening to my entire library on shuffle. I like to be surprised.

What are your favorite videogame OST and if it’s possible for you to say: why?

Hard to say definitively but there are a few that stand out for sure. I think a lot of it has to do with the experience. Some of the most influential were from games I played as a young person still developing. Lately my favorite is Samorost 3. A beautiful game.

Apart of computers, do you play any instrument?

Piano and guitar mostly.

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What are your favorite piece of software to create music? (DAW, vst, etc.)

I’ve gotten very comfortable with Logic Pro but I also like to write my own scripts to generate music via MIDI.

As we all know, your brilliant & innovative OST for FEZ was a big step in your musical career. Could you please tell us how have you been involved in this project, how did you met the team, etc. ?

I met the programmer of FEZ at a show I played in Montreal. They were looking for collaborators to flesh out a compilation style soundtrack, and I suggested they work with a single composer instead.

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After FEZ success, what did it change to you in your work ?

I haven’t had to look for work since then, so that’s obviously a very big change.

Today, what would be your biggest “musician dream”? (ex.: having your music being played by a philharmonic orchestra, making a collaboration with a famous artist, etc.)

I always get excited about dabbling in new forms, so working with an orchestra would definitely be exciting. I also dream sometimes about getting more into other art forms, like food for instance.

Excellent, I wasn’t expected this answer! You surely know that in France, food is a very important part of our culture so I can’t resist to ask you few questions about this topic… so what’s your favorite american meal ?

I love a good sandwich.

What’s your favorite foreign food ?

That is a very difficult question! I like so many types of food. I’ll go with miso soup. It’s a comfort food for me, and it doesn’t tend to affect my body negatively like other comfort foods might.

Do you like french cheese 🙂 ?

Yes! I like many kinds of cheese. I really like chevre.

Haha, thanks for this little food interlude and let’s go back to music now: when you start to work on a new videogame OST, what are the most important steps for you ?

 Gathering as much information as possible, both from the creators and from the project itself if it has already manifested in some form. Then there is an important period of trying out lots of ideas to figure out what the creative sandbox is going to be.

What do you like the most in the making of a videogame OST?

I like the freedom to experiment with form and structure, and the generally laid back culture.

On the contrary, what is the aspect of making videogame music that you don’t like or bother you?

The freedom to experiment with form and structure can sometimes get me in trouble. There are a lot of dead ends when you’re trying to push out into new directions.

Today, would you say you’re more interested in making videogames OST, movie soundtrack or just releasing an album of your own?

I don’t think I mind what the medium is so much. I tend to gravitate towards all different sorts of projects, so I think I’m looking for something other than the format. I like to try new things.

I’m personaly a huge fan of Brian Eno (both of his music & mind) so when you speak about new things, do you have any thoughts about new medium such as Virtual Reality or interactive music, generative music, etc.? I know it could be a long answer but I’m curious to have even few words from you on that topic.

I’ve been very excited about developments within the realm of virtual reality. Experimenting with creating the sense of sound all around you, and how that relates to VR is something I want to dive into, and I can’t wait until these technologies start to blossom and become largely available to consumers at affordable rates. I’m hoping to work on a VR project in the near future, though I don’t have anything planned just yet. That said, I’ll be working on a 3D game for the next few years where I hope to explore technologies that will carry over into my work with VR. I very much want to create 3D audio experiences.

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If it’s not a secret, what are your upcoming project? 

I’m working on another game with Heart Machine (Hyper Light Drifter), and David Robert Mitchell’s next film, ‘Under the Silver Lake’. I’ve also got a piano album coming out soon.

Any advice to people who’d like to make music for the videogame industry? 

Be yourself.

Any links you’d like to share with us ?

I keep an extensive blog: http://disasterpeace.com/blog

Do you know any word/sentence in French? Do you have a final message to the French audience?

‘ L’esprit de l’escalier ‘

Many thanks for your replies!

My pleasure !

>> you can stream or buy & support Disasterpeace music on bandcamp. <<

Interview by izioq.

HELLO! I’M AN ALBUM!

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I’ve just released a new album and his name is “HELLO I’M AN ALBUM” and this big square face up there is the cover art and you can listen to it or download it here: https://izioq.bandcamp.com/album/hello-im-an-album

I’m supposed to write here a very deep text about this album with preferably lots of key words and tags in order to help search engine to find this bloody page and get more fans and become the KING OF THE WORLD AND –

Well, what I can tell you is that I put a lot of myself into this album and a lot of work… so I really hope you’ll love it, cherish it and tell all your friends about it!

Thanks for being there!

// izioq //
Follow me & keep updated here:
www.twitter.com/izioq
www.facebook.com/izioq
www.youtube.com/izioqchannel

“World of izioq”: new album out!

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Guess it was time to update the blog a little bit so… welcome to this new journey into the world of izioq!
I’m super proud of this album and I really hope you’ll love this new mix of electro chiptune video game indie pop whatever music: I don’t even know how to name it but you’ll find here a lot of genre and influence to enjoy 🙂

// izioq //

P.S: I really want to thank you all for your awesome feedback & support. This is just awesome: the world of izioq is yours!

Follow me & keep updated here:
www.twitter.com/izioq
www.facebook.com/izioq
www.youtube.com/izioqchannel

“New Songs for Old Kids”: new album out!

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I guess it’s time to tell you here that my new album is out since the 4th of January 🙂

It’s named “New Songs for Old Kids” and you can listen to it here: https://izioq.bandcamp.com/album/new-songs-for-old-kids

This is my third album: it’s pretty diverse and filled with passion & personal meanings!
I’ve opened my sound to lots of new things and if you’re into video games & geekery I guess you might like it 😉

Welcome to the izio-World!

// izioq //

P.S: …and to all of you who support and appreciate my music: thank you so much, you rule 😉 !

Follow me & keep updated here:
www.twitter.com/izioq
www.facebook.com/izioq
www.youtube.com/izioqchannel

Interzioq #6: Jacob Buczynski interview – Revenge of the Sunfish

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Jacob Buczynski (aka Jinxtengu) is an indie video game developer from Melbourne, mainly known for his very original, strange (sometimes weird) and personal video game “Revenge of the Sunfish”. He was kind enough to reply to this interview with lots of interesting and detailed replies: thanks Jacob 🙂 !

Could you tell us what is your oldest memory about video games or the first game you played?
The first video games I played were on the Atari 2600. They were: River raid, Frogger, space invaders, Berzerk, Cross force, Combat, Kung fu and Pitfall. The Atari belonged to my older brother. River raid was one of my favorite games at the time, I still find it sortof fun. It uses procedural generation to generate the terrain and it was programmed by a woman (Carol Shaw). Later on my family acquired a dos based ibm pc, and I got into dos games. I also had a commodore Amiga an Atari lynx and finally a play-station one (for a short period).

What’s the game you’ve got the more fond memories about?
I have fond memories of playing “Slime world” and “Gates of zendocon” on the lynx, both were coded by a guy called Peter Engelbrite. I don’t think much of his more modern “christian themed” games but his early games were very ahead of their time. Slime world was multiplayer compatible for up to 8 players and has an expansive game world with an automap, way before Metroid did. Gates of zendocon had quite distinctive enemy behaviors and was also somewhat non-linear. Both games are kind of clunky by today’s standards, but they were great at the time. I also have fond memories for alot of Amiga games (Flashback, Another world, Turrican, Adams family, Apidya, Harlequin, Elite, Moonstone, Paradroid 90, Llamatron, Populous, Shadow of the beast, Syndicate) And a few dos games (Cosmos cosmic adventure, Commander Keen series, Chopper command).

How and why did you start making video games?
I’ve always been creatively inclined. I loved drawing and painting from an early age. Before i had access to computers I used to make interactive postcards that would fold out or have slots to remove pieces of paper or characters, choose your own adventures, comics and paper mache costumes and masks. When I was in primary school, a few students had designed some games on the schools mac computers. Their games were in black and white and were inspired by a combination of Earthworm jim, stick death and southpark. I have no idea how they made them and I’m not sure if their games were lost, but they amazed me, they were fantastic (this was in Tasmania, i don’t know the names of the students unfortunately). When my family finally got a computer with an os (windows 3.1) I started experimenting with gif animations. Those gif animations were probably the first step towards game design. The first pc “game” that I made was done in powerpoint, it was called “larry the mouse” It featured horror shock screens, collision detection, levels, and a game over screen. It was quite a hit around the school, unfortunately I don’t have a copy of it now. A few years later I got into “Click and Play” because my highschool had it installed on the school computers. At the time i had an IT class. Instead of doing classwork me and my friends used to design games. My school was pretty rough (on a school field trip a student threatened the class with a loaded shotgun, a Chinese student got bashed with a crowbar) designing games was better than getting into fights, and generally better than what the school had to offer. After a short time i moved onto using “the games factory” instead of the extremely limited “click and play”. Game design became more of a weekend activity, were i would meetup with friends and we would make games. Most of our early games are lost unfortunately, especially some games by a friend of mine. Later on I became friends online with Kimberly Kubus and he got me involved with mark overmars “Game maker” (which is really better than “the games factory”) From there I’ve continued to design games, it become part of my life, part of how i express myself. Now I need to keep doing it to survive.

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How the idea of “Revenge of the Sunfish” started in your mind?
I like games that contain distinctive sub games, for example “Tondemo Crisis” on the playstation one, also games like that are quite rare.
In 2005 I started working on a game with a friend that was to contain many distinctive levels connected by a weird story, but we never started coding it. It started off with the player running away from a lion and then getting trapped in a box that was sinking in the ocean. Thats all I remember, but i think that was the seed for Revenge of the sunfish. The idea of non-linear games has also interested me, (I mentioned gates of zendocon and choose your own adventure books). Non linear structures are great because they increase replay value, but I think it’s harder to design games like that. Just before I made Revenge of the sunfish I had released a bunch of my early games in the WTF series. I was thinking, what if I made some custom levels similar to the WTF series but linked them with a plot and a non linear structure. Then I just sort of got into a nice work groove. Obviously it should be about sunfish, because they are weird and awesome. Also originally revenge of the sunfish was going to be longer but it used up the maximum memory capacity of my very old and lame computer.

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You’re now working on the sequel “Revenge of the Sunfish 2” : how the project is going?
I feel like it’s not going too well. I showed the demo at a game festival 2 years ago and promised to release it in 6 months. It was very well received at the festival, but I feel like it was a wasted opportunity, since i didn’t finish the game. The truth is I’ve been struggling with finances and housing for years. At the time of the festival in the UK (Rezzed) I was living in a garden shed, probably made out of asbestos. There were spiders in my bed and holes in the wall through to the outside (probably how the spiders got in!) I’m not living there anymore but my work environment still isn’t very good. People just expect that I should be able to work under any conditions, i don’t know where people get such an idea. I’m a sensitive person. I find noise and high temperatures very distracting ( I’m living next to a construction site now) I also have some health problems. The issue I’m having isn’t with the game, (I’m making progress albeit slowly) the problem is that I’ve been in living situations which are essentially bad working environments. I could finish ROTSF2 in a few months If I somehow miraculously procured a suitable-place to live and work. Indecently, would anyone like to donate me a house 🙂 ?

What tools do you use to make video games today?
Mental tools such as meditation are essential for my work. Without the ability to meditate and also breathing exercises, I would be overwhelmed. In terms of computer programs, I use Ms paint, Paint shop pro 7, bero tracker, Audacity, Game maker, Multimedia fusion, z game editor, Blender, also some programs that I’ve written in Game maker mostly for compositing animations and also drawing animations. I wrote a program in Game maker to actually animate inbetween frames between 2 key frames using vector lines. It works but doesn’t look natural so I don’t use it. I try out alot of new programs but I’m often disappointed with the results. I’m probably going to start using unity 3d at some point.

What inspires you?
The idea of creating a new culture, showing an alternative world view within a game, even if it’s tangential. I mostly prefer the world in my games to the real world and i like to escape into my work. I don’t feel comfortable with the current status quo in western society particularly here in Australia. The prevalence of bigotry and the widespread apathy towards it disgusts me. Social inequality grows and kills off creative people who aren’t investing all their time and energy into making money. Money is vulgar. People with money should not be placed on a pedestal as they currently are by the media, nor should celebrities. A life goal aimed only towards making money is an empty calling, yet many people can’t move past this primitive cultural level. I’m worried about the trend towards materialism, consumerism, anti-intellectualism and fascism that seems to be spreading across the globe. It inspires me when people play one of my games and then email me to say they would like to design games themselves because of it. That means to me that I’ve succeeded in passing on some of my creative spirit. A creatively awakened mind is safeguarded against some of the madness inflicted by society, since creativity expands peoples perspectives and awareness. I want to inspire people so they can actualize their dormant creativity (which is within everyone).

Any piece of advice for someone who’d like to try making video games?
I would advise them to just jump in and try it. Download Game maker studio, or unity and just try. You might find you like it.

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Except your own, any game (indie or not) we should try?
I’d recommend Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou. If you can get it to work, it’s brilliant. I came across a dos game called Ecstatica recently, and I would recommend that. Also “Papers please” if you haven’t already seen that.

Any good book, movie or album to recommend?
I’d recommend the movie Stalker by Tarkovsky, the book Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world by Haruki murakami, and the album unknown pleasures by Joy division.

Feel free to share some links to your work here:
Thanks for the interview! Check out my site at: http://www.revengeofthesunfish.com/

Interview by izioq.