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IGF Factor 2010: Owlboy

RPS are big fans of Owls – they’re wise! Athena digs them! That freaky neck thing! We’re not so fond of boys – they’re made of slugs and snails and similar material. So we have mixed feeling about the approaching lusciously-retro-formed platformer. Let’s over-come them, because it looks beautiful as hell in a gotta-a-visual-arts-nomination-in-the-IGF way. You’ll find our interview with Adrian Bauer of D-pad studio about the artist-probably-being-called-Owlboy below, along with footage – or maybe talon-age, if we’re being appropriately owl-like. Love those owl guys.

RPS: Firstly, a brief intro to those who may not know you. Who are you? What’s your background? Why get into games? Why get into indie games?

Adrian Bauer: My name is Adrian Bauer, I help develop Owlboy (or however we decide to name it in the end). I don’t have a set job but I tend to do many random things for this project since it is Simon and Blake’s project mostly. I help mainly with dialogue (English major at Simon Fraser University) and fleshing out game design choices and level design. I really got into game making back in 1996 with Klik Team’s (back then Maxis) Klik & Play. I just really enjoy making games or just designing potential games; story telling and interaction is just one of the more livid fields to make a career or even a hobby out of. Indie gaming is just a natural progression, I grew up in freeware klik communities and old klikers just kind of all migrated to this one.

RPS: And… the game. Tell us about it. What was its origins? What are you trying to do with it? What are you most pleased about it? What nags?

Adrian Bauer: Owlboy started as a XNA experiment by Simon and Blake because it looked really cool and free and we were losing out minds over how horrible Multimedia Fusion was to our then current project, Rhapsody. I think what Simon wants to do is partly express his love for old games but make something different in platforming. We’re not a big fan of clone-games, I mean I could play a Super Mario World clone, but then I ask myself, why aren’t I just playing Super Mario World? The emulator is right there. I would say the biggest nag has just been getting everything running smoothly, too many delays and drop outs and problems with life, not so much with the game, we have many tweaks and additions that just haven’t made their way in yet and it becomes fist shakingly frustrating sometimes.

RPS: What’s your feelings on the IGF this year. Pleased to be nominated? Have particular love, bemusement or hate for any of the other entries? Is there anything you think is missing?

Adrian Bauer: I’m just wow’d by the fact that we made it in to anything. I’m happy with everything going on and can’t wait to see who goes where with their ideas.

RPS: How do you feel about the indie scene generally this year? People have been relatively downbeat about 2009, after 2008 being so obviously incendiary. What are the themes, in your eyes? What are people missing?

Adrian Bauer: I’m a bit too much of a recluse, even on the internet, but I’ve seen a lot of great stuff being released over the last couple years. I’ve been too busy with school to really keep up indie news for the last couple months but there have been some nice releases. It has slowed down (I think) but even the ‘meh’ experiments have been inspiring as to what could be done with the idea next time.

RPS: And how does the future look for you? What are you working on now and the foreseeable future.

Adrian Bauer: Owlboy is a great project so far, but it will be on the table for a while. I know that we all have ideas we want to do here at D-pad. Simon has some more experimental and unsure ideas to put into motion just to see if they can be done. I’m exploring narrative and story within platformers right now, I love the idea of turning plot into gameplay and not plot as a reward for doing the same old task. I like platformers because they are my favourite genre and also the simplicity for adventure and gameplay. I have two of them I’m fleshing out (to explore two very different sides of narrative) but mainly I work on my other stories intended for comic books (free ones I might add).

Okay I’ve rambled enough. Whoever drops by D-pad at IGF, prepare for conversation! we are all design-chatterboxes.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

You can follow Owlboy’s development at D-pad Studio’s blog.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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