Interview with Ava and Mat Loz about Swim Out

Who is behind this idea and how you got into game development?

We are Ava and Mat Loz, a husband and wife team from France. We met at University where we both graduated in Computer Science. When we realized that our respective other skills — graphical design and music — would make it possible to realize the many games idea we were often dreaming about, we worked to gather enough money and then created our own game studio, Lozange Lab in 2013. since then, we delicately craft indie games and interactive installations with love and passion.

Explain the game in one sentence.

Swim Out is a turn-by-turn puzzle game where you control a swimmer trying to reach for the ladder, every move is possible at one condition … never cross the path of another swimmer! pretty challenging but bathed in a sunny and relaxing atmosphere.

What made you excited about this idea?

We found the idea very refreshing and fun, and liked the fact that there won’t be any sort of fighting, just timorous people in the pool being shocked that you might touch then! so we immediately had in mind the “retro” art style, and tons of ideas of different types of annoying or disturbing swimmers and their use in level design.

How has this game changed from the original plan/vision/design?

At first player could only move and throw beach ball, concept was already working very well, but we couldn’t help adding a lot of items to interact with (fins, noodles, buoys, …) or moving objects, like waves or draught that would stun player. Plus 2 environments in addition to the original swimming pool : the river and the sea which adds a lot of variety to the 100 levels : kayak, fishermen, crabs, boomerangs, jellyfishes, … and many hours of mind-blowing development !

What was your biggest struggle while making this game?

The hardest part was to choose which idea to keep and which one to throw away! We had many more thoughts than what is in the game now, and we had to limit ourselves. Swim Out has already 100 levels, some of which are divided into multiple pools, and it already takes a dozen of hours to finish the game, which is already a lot considering the price of the game, but sometimes after many months of development you enter an infinite loop when you feel that it will never ever be enough!

How long it took you to build it?

It took 6–7 months fulltime. We don’t externalize anything at the moment, only the two of us working to build and promote the launch of the Swim Out, while working alongside on client projects to put food on the table, plus a few more weeks to port it to different platforms.

What did you hope for after you’ve released the game and what actually happened?

Oddly enough, after many weeks of coding and creation, that last weeks were focused on promoting the game and so, our highest hope was to get featured, and we were! on release day, by both Apple and Google! But I think our main concern is to receive great feedback from many players. Worked fine on mobile, but not so well on Steam where we went a lil bit unnoticed until now.

What lessons you’ve learned for future projects from this game?

You mean? … apart from the fact that we should definitely dedicate some time to lesson-learned meetings? hum… Indie game development is just a bet, we got an idea and suddenly feel the urge to make it comes true… and then comes the next one! We believe that knowledge will come from experience.

What’s the biggest advice you have for people who want to work in game development?

Start simple, build a prototype, play it. If the core game isn’t fun in itself, don’t try to add many thing to make it work but reconsider the base until you love it. Once it work, iterate again and again, but don’t overdo it either with too many things, keep some stuff for version 2 ;-) !

Lastly, how video games influenced your life? How your life has changed with them?

How’s that ? is there anything else apart from video games ??

Swim Out on App Store, Google Play, Amazon and Steam

Lozange Lab: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Originally published at Indie Zoom.