On Game Jams, Indie Game Development, and NFTs
An interview with FeatureKreep, creator of Flip Flop, winner of Gamedev.js 2021
Joining game jams in recent years has paid off for the indie game developer of Flip Flop, as it bagged the top-ranked game for this year’s Gamedev.js. Like many other participants, he is a solo indie game developer that doesn’t have the machinery other professionals have. Honing his skills in his free time and joining game jams meant that he would have some kind of metric on his progress as a game creator.
Being a one-man team behind this really slick, visually-appealing game (and a main character with a bit of an attitude), we wanted to hear more about his experiences leading up to the creation of Flip Flop.
Q: How long have you been making games ? What are the challenges you currently face as an indie game developer?
I’ve been making games throughout my life, but they were mostly prototypes or unfinished projects. Since I’m one of those people who are too lazy to pick up a programming language, I always relied on some game development software. It was RPG Maker at first, which served me well in junior school, but in time I moved on to Construct.
My biggest challenge is probably my infatuation with game ideas. I move on quickly from one project to another and I tend to lose interest quite fast. It doesn’t help that I’m an omnivore when it comes to game genres and I love first-person shooters as much as story-driven RPGs or city simulators.
But, I told myself that 2021 would be different, and so far it is.
Q: What is your motivation to join game jams? It’s quite difficult balancing a full-time career on top of game development.
The first game jam I’ve joined was Ludum Dare 34 in 2016. It’s interesting how my motivation to join it was not because I wanted to test my skills, but because I was thinking of making a game called Ludum Daredevil, a tongue-in-cheek simulator of a game jam participant. So I joined Ludum Dare to see how it really feels to try and create something in 48 hours.
Even though I was far from winning that game jam, I liked the experience so much, I started taking part in a lot of them, to mixed results. It’s only this year that I really began refining my skills. My art was always okay, it’s gameplay and time management that I used to struggle with. So I made a point to work on these areas.
The best thing you can do is to compare yourself not to someone else, but to who you were yesterday. I look at my projects from a year or two ago, and I’m stunned at how much progress I’ve made. If I were to only look at other professionals and beat myself up for not being as good as them, I’d be getting nowhere.
Q: Dr. Flips has got a bit of a personality being “brilliant, but a bit cocky” — not to mention he refers to himself in the third person. Tell us more about this character.
Dr. Flips appeared out of nowhere, to be honest. Even his name was just a placeholder that stuck with him.
Since the premise of the game revolved around some failed experiment, a scientist was an obvious choice for a protagonist. It feels like when it comes to scientists, we mostly see either the mad scientist trope or some head-in-the-clouds genius. I wanted Dr. Flips to stand out and give him a bit of banter, so he became this cocky high-IQ individual.
He means well, but he is certainly aware of his own genius — and he wants everyone around him to be aware of it, too.
The biggest praise I’ve gotten was my friend telling me “Dr. Flips for Smash Bros!”. Flip Flop was inspired by classic Nintendo games like Kirby and Mario, with a pinch of Klonoa, and it proudly wears this inspiration on its sleeve.
Q: What are your insights on this collaboration with OP Games and turning Flip Flop into NFTs?
Like most creatively inclined people, I am of course familiar with NFTs and the boom that happened in the last few months. To be honest, I am more interested not in fungible tokens per se, but in the very concept of decentralized game development.”
“I think it certainly has potential, and the gaming industry is long overdue for a major paradigm shift like that. I don’t know if Flip Flop will become the poster boy of this shift, but it is certainly interesting to have a front-row seat as the revolution happens.
FlipFlop is this year’s winner of Gamedev.js Jam and bested 87 other indie game developers. Flip Flop card NFTs will be up for sale via Paras.id with limited copies available. Get early access to the cards by signing up on our whitelist form.
Soon to be playable on OP Arcade.
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About OP Games
OP Games enables developers and the community to own, run, and monetize games as a collective. Through OP Games’ suite of tools and SDK, developers can turn entire HTML5 games into fractionalized NFTs offered to the public as investable assets. Founded in 2018 by gaming veterans, OP Games seeks to lower down the barrier to game ownership.