We interviewed Burger Snail – Super Walrus Games all about their experience in the indie game world!
1. How long have you been making games?
Almost as long as I can remember! My introduction to programming came from Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun, a book published in 1984 that guided you through the process of making very simple games vaguely related to Spider-Man and friends. My dad bought this and we worked through some programs together when I was 5 or 6 years old. I became interested in making RPGs in 1992 when I picked up a copy of The Bard’s Tale Construction Set, a DOS program that let you build your own RPG campaign using a pre-built framework. I went looking for more open-ended RPG making software later on and in 1997 I discovered the OHR Engine, which I still use to this day. It’s an engine that’s grown in so many ways since then, but still feels really cozy to use.
2. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on Walthros: Renewal, a remake of the first game I ever made. The original Walthros launched as a demo back in 1998, followed by a full release in 2002 (https://super-walrus-games.itch.io/walthros). I hope to release the remake in 2022 for its twentieth anniversary. I rarely work on direct sequels or remakes, but this is one that’s been in the back of my mind for ages. Revisiting who I was 20 years ago and seeing how I’ve grown as a person and as a game developer is both fascinating and a little painful, but I’m still proud of that old title and I’m excited to bring new life to its silly characters! A demo is available here: https://super-walrus-games.itch.io/walthros-renewal…
3. Advice for games devs?
When building part of a game, ask yourself, “Would I find this fun?” It’s very easy to pad out a game by creating a “collect 50 doodads to open this door” objective, but is doing so actually fun? Are you making a point with this mission? Is there enough progressive reward distribution to make the task feel worthwhile? If the answer to all of these is “no,” consider cutting this scene. If there’s no mechanical or thematic difference between collecting 5 things and collecting 50, then why 50? In general, developers should be willing to cut content that isn’t working. Even if you put a lot of work into something, if it’s a detriment to the game as a whole, it should go. Editing is so absolutely crucial, and I’ve played too many indie games with weak beginnings and excellent conclusions where it’s clear that the author was learning as they went along. That’s a fine way to work, but always go back to the earlier parts and edit them to match the quality of the rest of your work after you’ve grown as a developer! No one wants to make a bad first impression. 5. What is your personal favorite game youve made? Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy (2018 – https://super-walrus-games.itch.io/kaiju-big-battel-fighto-fantasy…) is my highest quality game and is the only one where I worked with a team larger than myself and my musician buddies, Glock & mr8bit. I think it’s a lot of fun and should have wide appeal to anyone who likes old-school RPGs and comedic games. On a personal level, Ghost’s Towns (2015 – https://super-walrus-games.itch.io/ghosts-towns) is the game that has meant the most to me. It’s a very personal story of loss, self-identification, and the roles we play to get by told under several layers of abstraction. It’s my most experimental title and I can absolutely understand someone finding no appeal in it, but to me it’s so painfully real and probably the best summation of who I am as a designer and author.