Interview with Mel Walsinats, maker of Ridicubous

GameFlow was developed by observing the real difficulties that game developers must face on a daily basis. Because of this, in an early stage of its development the tool was distributed to a selected group of developers willing to incorporate it into their workflows.

One of these developers is Mel Walsinats (@MelWalsinats), an artist who, having very little knowledge in programming was able to develop his first game alone: Ridicubous.

In this interview, he tells us more about his experience as an indie developer, his projects and how GameFlow has helped in making them come true.

How was your beginning as a developer?

Very hopefully but at the same time intimidating. I arrived late in the videogame development world, I was 33 years old, even though I’ve been passionate by technology since I was child, I have experience and my studies and previous jobs belonged to the IT services sector, I had no idea of the amount of disciplines you need to gather to make a videogame neither I knew it was mandatory to be so specialized in each discipline.

In which profile do you feel better? Artist or programmer?

In a nutshell, artist, but really, 20% artist + 20% philosopher (I prefer this than analyst although in my opinion I think that they are the same) + 50% programmer + 50% work hard + 5% insane

Which is your work environment? (equipment, operating system, IDE, framework test, etc)

MacBook Pro Retina de 13″, the medium one, with OS X Mavericks & Windows 7, SourceTree, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Pixelmator, 3ds Max, Unity 3D and GameFlow.

Ridicubous is the first game completely made with GameFlow. How did your idea come true?

The idea came out as a result of a private presentation of GameFlow, we wanted to show people that we could make a complete prototype, I mean, a game in alpha phase, a game without art or with no defining art, in 20 minutes or less.

There is a flash game based on skills and how hard it can be. With little graphics and sound, we could make a version of this kind of game within a certain time, by making it using Unity and GameFlow, we could improve it. As I didn’t want to make a copy, instead of a 2D I made a 3D version, without expecting it, I found another dimension of skill/difficulty to explore.

How was the development experience with GameFlow with previous projects?

Different for two reasons but strongly related. On one hand, GameFlow did not exist in all the previous projects, and on the other hand, in these projects I was not only working with another people but also I worked for them, so the last responsibility of solving problems was not mine (and that’s how must to be), because my bosses furthermore being my friends they were teaching and helping me whenever I needed it and they were the ones that had the technical knowledge and the experience to decide.

Ridicubous was my starting point, my “If you want something go and get it, and get it alone”. But as many times, you think that you can, then, you realize that you can`t do it without help, and my help was GameFlow. The idea of making a video game alone was dead on arrival, being a multidisciplinary development, but there are basic disciplines more than others. You can make a video game with horrible graphics, or without music even without a story or argument, but you can`t make a video game without the game. Actually you can do a “Pong”, where you need only a logic monitor the player game, scores, data entry, rules… Ridicubous gave me the chance of making my first solo game, since then I can make a version of a game which is not the brightest for graphics, music, design and story, disciplines that I already have control over them but with all the inherent logic of any video game, my weakest discipline and at the same time the necessary condition for a video game to be a game, and not an animated movie.

I spent eight months thinking, unsuccessfully, how to make a game without programming, then GameFlow appeared and one month and a half later, I had my first video game alone.

In which project are you working now?

It’s called “Orbital Wars” and it is the typical “shoot ’em up” with a brand new (in my opinion and until the competence says the opposite) player control scheme and an innovative camera perspective.

Are you using GameFlow right now?

Absolutely yes and I also: for me it’s mandatory. It’s like if you asked me: “Are you using Unity3d right now? I have seen other commercial engines but with no doubt Unity is the best to work with, all the things that I do and I want to do, besides that without Unity I don`t have the knowledge to make a full video game. “Are you using GameFlow right now? I know other tools of visual scripting and I would need to have a serious talk with the interface’s responsible and the tool’s philosophy, these tools are to help me to overcome the barriers of programming but they seem hardest than learning to programming. GameFlow gave me absolute freedom in Unity, without leaving the Unity philosophy, actually, without GameFlow, I wouldn’t have the knowledge of Unity programming to make a complete video game.

Do you think is it a good work tool for an independent developer? Why?

I don’t know if people like it in the same way I do, but everyone who want to work freelance in an extreme way, I mean, do it by yourself even if you don’t know exactly how to do it, other option is to work with only one or two programmers making bottle neck in order to the box jump and programmers want to make a system so that any box, any system, any configuration… make the box jump. In my case, I just need it. Thanks to GameFlow, I do whatever I want to do, and it is quite a lot. Right now I am waiting for something similar to GameFlow but in order to make music, which is my weakness.

What do you think about the current indie development?

Developers and tools, awesome, it seems that they are working on a new art gender. Early last century born the “world cinema” , in my opinion this is our “videogame”. And like the first ones, “new paradigms” come to change/ increase our way of see everything. But I have to tell you that there are things that I’m not agree with them and they must to change on my own reality, forget all about ALL FREE, you must remember that Zero + Zero is Zero.

Which advice would you give to all those who wish to make their own games?

I have been a professional for two years now, so I have only one advice that I’m really sure that it’s useful to be given and to be taken: step by step.

We mustn’t be foolish, this is clearly something very hard to do: you must have a huge knowledge to create a video game. With the right tools and hard work, even a person who doesn’t know anything about programming can do a video game.

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