Karakasa Games is made of a couple weirdos working in a basement and they are pretty damn proud of it.
Thunderbeam is an ambitious merging of early-90s PC game methodology (vast worlds, procedurally generated scenarios) with contemporary functionality via the iPad’s multi-touch interface. With a psychedelic soundtrack by The Octopus Project and trippy visuals by animators who worked on Waking Life, Thunderbeam will pair its unique ideas with stellar production values.
What is the origin and inspiration for Thunderbeam?
You mentioned British Sci-fi series The Tomorrow People as an inspiration?
What exactly are some of the things you are trying to keep and avoid from classic gaming?
You can’t kill anyone so you spend a lot of time getting other enemies to kill, blind or paralyze each other. We have different responses for different groups and different types of enemies. We are able to procedurally create puzzles by dumping different numbers and types of enemies on the same screen.
So, will the player feel a sense of loss when they lose a member of their team?
Why not PC?
[Special thanks goes out to associate editor Sean Carey who helped conduct this interview.]
So will the player feel a sense of loss when they lose a member of their team?
W: That’s our hope. As you level them up, you start to get attached to them. And, it’s all your fault when Alicia Gibson or Jorge Chong die. Because the turnover-rate of the “Red Shirts” is so high, a lot of the game involves cheating skills with valuable objects that you’ll need to go into some of these worlds to find and you can retrieve those from a corpse and give them to another kid.
They level up and get powers. While you’ll have an infinite number of cadets, you only have four prefects (the main chracters). The only end game scenario is when all four of those are killed.
J: But if only three of them get killed you can promote regular kids into that rank and make them into prefects.
What drove you to the iOS platform?
J: First of all, I’d like to apologize to everyone who has written to us about doing this game for Android. The distribution model for iOS is great and the App store is made in mind for the average user. The user experience is great. The other part of it is it’s a case of there are really only so many hardware configurations we are able to target. The problem with Android is that you don’t know anything about the hardware. You have to account for every single hardware configuration. You have to detect all that and account for that. That’s tough! Right now there are two models of the iPad and we can target both of them.
Why not PC?
W: That would be really cool but we really want to use multi-touch. One of the barriers to adventure games and RPG games is the glut of menus for verbs. One of the nice things about having multi-touch and gestures is that you can eliminate some of that. We are hoping that when you interact with objects, you can grab them with your finger and drag them down into your inventory, drag them ontop of each other to make combinations and flick them to throw them through the in-game physics.
S: Games can be a thing of beauty on touch interfaces and that’s something seldom ever utilized. We want to take advantage of it.
J: Gaming on the iPad is really interesting. Some developers really get it and they make games around the interface and then there are others who just port stuff with virtual d-pads -- they are terrible! The worst thing in the world! People have barely scratched the surface of this. You can really make some great games -- making great games doesn’t mean taking things from the past and porting them. It means making great games that really takes advantage of the interface and that’s what we are going to do with Thunderbeam.
W: Even though we really appreciate classic games, we are not slaves to any of those game-styles. After Sword and Sworcery, I feel there is an audience out there that can play it. We can make it deeply nerdy and approachable at the same time. I mean, I was a kid when I played those games and I didn’t identify myself as being deeply nerdy. I saw something that was mysterious, I played with it and it was deeply rewarding. I want others to have that same experience.
I like a lot of triple-A games out right. Some of them are fabulous but there’s a lot of homgenization of those experiences. I know what to expect when I play those games and I want a feeling of surprise.
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