A Quick Chat with the 2D Boys
It has been 8 months since the launch of World of Goo by Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler more commonly known as 2D Boy. I recently had a quick catch up with them both about the success of World of Goo and what they are planning on doing next.
The Reticule: How successful has World of Goo been? Has it fared best on the PC or on the Wii?
Kyle: It’s been about 8 months since we released World of Goo, and our heads are still spinning. Now that we are really old men, we have taken time to reflect that quitting our jobs to make an indie game was not entirely a horrible life decision our parents and friends thought it would be. The little goo balls did change our lives though, and now nothing we ever do will ever be received as well, so nobody should ever buy games from 2D BOY anymore. WiiWare is responsible for about 60% of revenue. Windows/Mac/Linux versions account for 40%, with retail accounting for less than 2% of revenue so far. Ron compiled a bunch of good numbers into his gdc talk if anyone is curious: click!
TR:Obviously World of Goo was a big project for yourself and Ron to complete, looking at your recent series on the 2D BOY site we can see and even play the game at various stages of development. What has it been like going back over these old builds?
Ron: Those were the good old days, the days of blue sky brainstorming and 30 hour weeks. The days of playtesting and experimentation and prototyping. It was like putting together our own episode of This Is Your Life and laughing at our youthful shenannigans. The second year of development was very much a desperate race against time, with one leg missing, clawing our way to the finish line, and it left a bitter aftertaste. It’s good to remember the infatuation phase that gave us the determination to finish this thing.
TR: This seems to be a standard question in any interview after a game has been released, but is there anything you would change about World of Goo?
Kyle: There are tons of curious little mistakes and quirks in World of Goo. Sometimes Goo Balls suicide themselves off cliffs. Sometimes players can squish balls past the giant red robot head in that one level to rescue almost everyone in the level. Some levels allow clever players to win with zero moves, using sneaky ball-flinging tricks. But I think I like that unusual things happen here and there. We are not a big shiny game studio with dozens of layers of QA. Players seem to enjoy discovering tricks, and hopefully the slightly rough edges show that our game was duct taped together with love.
TR: What do you think of all the fan made World of Goo things like the claymation video?
Kyle: The claymation video, and other fan art we’ve seen, like stuffed goo ball pillows, and Fisty the Snow Frog, and Electric Lady Generator Thing with Real Glowing Eyes, makes us the happiest 2d Boys that we possibly inspired things, and we choose to ignore that gametrailers and nintendo had a bunch of electronics and tickets to E3 for whoever made the best World of Goo stuff. For anyone who hasn’t seen the claymation video, it’s on gametrailers here. She really nailed the mood, and even added to the fiction of World of Goo.
TR: What was your intention behind the Rapid Prototyping Framework you released recently?
Ron: The framework was already there for World of Goo and we thought it might be interesting as a learning tool to game developers who are just starting out, or interesting to more experienced developers just to see how we structured the code. It was also a relatively small task with a clear goal that made it easier to transition from “I’m totally burnt out and can’t touch any code” to “OK, maybe I can play around with some code without having a seizure.”
TR: Do you have any plans to restart the Experimental Gameplay Project? You recently told me you were working on something with Kyle Gray of Henry Hatsworth fame, what is this all about?
Kyle: Yeah! I’m working to bring back the Experimental Gameplay Project with Mr. Gray and our other friend from grad school Allan Blomquist. It is a Think Tank for us and other indie developers who just want to have fun, force us to be creative, and a direct competitor to Will Wright’s Stupid Fun Club. Watch out cute robots. The goal for right now is to run monthly competitions with other indie friends – each month, everyone makes a game, based on some theme, and each person is allowed to spend only 7 days of the month. Our first competition ends at the end of this month – the theme is “unexperimental shooter”. So get ready for a bunch of really bad shooters. We’re just getting our new site at experimentalgameplay.com up and running, but it should be online next week for our first round of games.