Some people call Jon Remedios a narcissist. I call him an excellent podcast guest. Jon sat down with me in the back parking lot behind Glitch City in Los Angeles. On the Eve of IndieCade we discuss the current state of Shoot Shoot Mega Pack (SSMP) and what work is left to be done before it can be released.
There is simply too much to cover from this conversation with Jon. It starts with a tough question, ‘Why is the game not out yet?’ And from there I spar with Jon on the process behind SSMP and what are the design goals for the game. Thats what made this interview particularly interesting and why Jon is a great guest because he dove in, albeit after a bit of badgering on my part. But we dive deep into talking about what a designer hopes to accomplish by exploring a idea and embracing the iterative process.
It helps to understand what SSMP is and to help in that effort, let’s watch the video that Jon has put out for the game:
In short, its a local competitive multiplayer game, about triangles. Who doesn’t love local multiplayer games, but we all know that releasing one is somewhat dubious as the market often demands for online play. No matter how much we all hear the clamoring for more split-screen or same screen games to play with friends when they are over, games like Sports Friends, Slash Dash, and even Towerfall see limited market success. And I think it is hard to argue that all those mentioned games aren’t freaking awesome, because they are.
Financial success isn’t the only metric to determine the total success of a project. However, it is critical to know and be able to articulate the design goals of your game. Jon had to take a moment to articulate his own goals for SSMP, which is understandable. He’s been working on the game and distance is sometimes required properly articulate your intention. With that being said knowing the goals helps set up one’s one expectations and concept of success. But most importantly, it helps navigate the troubled waters of trying to figure out what the game ‘needs’ to be done.
Doneness can also be a dirty word. AS designers and creators, once you discover an interesting idea or mechanic one feels compelled to see how deep it can go. It feels like due diligence to explore all the possible affordances offered by a games design. But to play devil’s advocate, it is important to understand that not all problems can be solved under the constraints of a single game. For SSMP much of the games intention is about getting people to play together and to foster those interactions both digitally and physically. How does that intent hold up with the added desire for online play? It removes one half of what was special in the first place, seeing people play the game in the same space and that shared experience of discovery as the games mechanics begin to click together.
So when will SSMP be out? Who knows! But I hope that it comes out, and that Jon keeps making more games. Conversations like this one are what I enjoy most about the podcast, so I would love to have him back on for the next game. Until then you can follow Shoot Shoot Mega Pack on twitter and if you want more insight into Jon’s game he has his own podcast that is documenting the process of SSMP.