Interview | Adam Saltsman
Interview | Adam Saltsman
And so a lot of games were made with a sort of commandment from on high of “Make a racing game.” That’s it. They weren’t given a license, they weren’t told to emulate some other specific thing they were just like, “Listen, we’re going to market in like, six months or a year and we need a racing game, we need a sci-fi game, we need an adventure game…” And they had just like, a checklist of stuff they needed and the things that came out during then were all interesting. And most of them are broken in one way or another. Like, people loved Legend of Zelda but the game is nearly unplayable until you find like, the blue sword. And then all of a sudden you can actually play half the game. Before that it’s really miserable to interact with. And Metroid’s the same way. And I love the original Metroid but if you don’t know ahead of time where to get say, the first health tank, the long beam and the first missile container then, that’s it – you’re done. And they don’t even tell you what those things are in the game. We know from Super Metroid – you get a power up it’s like, “You got Super Missile.” In Metroid you just get a little green thing and it would play a fanfare and then the game would resume. Nothing. You get nothing to go on! Which is kind of amazing. I think those things are broken but I think they have a lot to offer. I think, something like Another World. It would be totally fair to classify that as like, a broken game but obviously it has so much to offer. I think it’s basically fine to say they didn’t know what they were doing yet and so some stuff turned out really weird.
AS: I think it went well. I’m pretty happy with it.
Reso: Didn’t you end up using something like ninety of the kids’ ideas?
AS: Something in that neighbourhood. It’s a hard thing. The obvious constraint was we can’t make ninety different games. We probably could have. There’s like, enough stuff. There’s enough raw awesome weird ideas in there. I easily could have pursued like ten different games but the thing that felt kind of interesting or felt like it was the right thing to do was just to make something where we could put in all of their stuff. Got pretty close. Probably in a week or something I’ll put in the other thirty or forty monsters that are still missing. We ran out of time. We wanted to finish at six and I gave myself until 5.55 to stop resizing monsters from the raw folder into the game data folder. And I made it up to the letter M. I was like, “Oh crap, five minutes. I need to go through and add the filenames to the monster file in the game code and I need to put in the title music. Like another fifteen minutes and probably there would have been like forty more monsters. It seemed like an interesting challenge. One constraint was it has to be done in eight hours. And if one constraint is it has to have a hundred different monsters in it and be able to be made in eight hours, what’s the setting and the system that allows that to happen?
AS: I think it’s a phenomenal thing for students. And I think Chris [Hecker] and Jon are really right about, they should not be an end. They should only be a means. But for me, short form game building… Sometimes a one day jam is really not sufficient. I think that requires a certain amount of proficiency but I think there’s a lot of value in doing one week games at least. Just to get a rough idea of what the process is and to get something done. I dunno if there’s a lot of good reasons to only make four hour games or only make one day games but that made a big difference for me just to get off the three year project tracks. Just de-rail entirely and go “Wow! I made a thing! Holy crap.” You know? And make a couple more and then take everything learned during that process and start to think in a little bit more of a mature and intelligent way about what to make next.