2D Boy Interview – Part Two
Well we promised it! We’ve got more 2D Boy interview goodness for you all today [first part here], and though I fully expect you’re all busy eating, opening, and arguing with the grandparents and/or in-laws while drunk on Scotch (or is that just me?), I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading part 2 of our mammoth interview with 2D Boy. The hot topics in this part are DRM and the general Indie gaming scene. Okay, so they’re not very Christmassy, but they’re interesting none-the-less!
The Reticule: You were very clear from the off that World of Goo would not have any DRM, why did you take this approach?
Ron: There were two main reasons. First, DRM doesn’t prevent piracy. Any game for which there is demand gets cracked very quickly, so we see DRM as a waste of time and money. Second, adding DRM makes the user experience of the pirated version better than the legitimate version. We think this encourages piracy instead of preventing it.
The Reticule: What are your thoughts regarding DRM in general?
Ron: It’s generally yucky.
The Reticule: What do you think about the DRM controversy surrounding games such as Spore?
Ron: It’s important that the anti-DRM sentiment be heard by game developers, but in most places where I’ve seen a “discussion” of this issue, it was dominated by people who are simply using DRM as an excuse for pirating games when in truth they wouldn’t have paid for it had it been DRM-free.
The Reticule: Do you think the PC is a dying platform like many people insinuate?
Ron: No way. There are so many reasons why I think it’s here to stay that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, it’s an open platform with the best possible development tools. That in itself should ensure its survival and is the reason why the PC is the most diverse and vibrant gaming platform there is. If it were dying we wouldn’t see Steam being as successful as it is, or Kongregate’s meteoric rise, and we certainly wouldn’t be seeing half our revenues coming from sales of the PC version of World of Goo.
The Reticule: What are your thoughts Kyle on being invited to judge on this years’ IGF awards?
Kyle: My first thought was I hope we get an Official Judge Badge. It’s a priveledge to get a sneak peak at some of the indie games that are going to be big this year. As someone who entered IGF last year, I know how nerve shredding it is for developers, and all the nail destruction and chest pains that go along with it.
The Reticule: What indie games do you have your eyes on at the moment?
Kyle: I just discovered Freshly Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland, and it’s one off the most hilarious and confident games I’ve played in years, since it just doesn’t care if you like it or not. I’m also curious to hear more about Cletus Clay, the claymation game by Anthony Flack, the guy behind Platypus, one of my favorite horizontal shooters, with a sad cautionary indie tale behind the game, worth investigating, for the adept internet sleuths out there.
The Reticule: Would you say that World of Goo is part of a growing trend in indie games gaining more mainstream exposure?
Kyle: We’re not mainstream until Soulja Boy reviews our game on youtube. He hasn’t yet, but he’s probably just playing it through several times first for journalistic integrity. I’m glad indie games appear to be getting more attention now though. Even if the stories are sometimes more of an underdog freak-show showcase about poor developers. We’re ok with that.
The Reticule: What are your thoughts in general regarding the indie gaming movement at the moment? Is there anything you feel it needs to do better?
Ron: I often think about what “indie” means in the context of game development. My current way of looking at it is that indies value design above all else, within reason, of course. The focus is on the game as an experience rather than the game as a product. That’s why some of the freshest ideas in games today come out of this community. But I don’t think indie needs to mean commercially-unsuccessful. I’d like to see indies as successful as possible without sacrificing their visions, and I think we all have room for learning in that arena.
The Reticule: How much did World of Goo cost to develop? Have you managed to make your money back already?
Ron: Most of the cost was what we spent on food and rent over the two years we spent developing it. We had no office and no overhead. We spent a few thousand on hardware, localization, and QA, but that’s about it. You don’t need a lot cash to make a game. I’m happy to say that we are financially better off now than we would have been had we stayed at EA.
The Reticule: I (StalinsGhost) was speaking to Mark Morris of Introversion a few weeks ago about the best way to get money into the hands of Indie developers. Simply the best way he felt was to give money direct to them via Pay Pal. While chatting here at the Reticule, we’ve tended to agree that we get a warm, fuzzy feeling about paying in this way. Is it just some kind of hippy pipe dream, or should developers consider this option more?
Ron: I do think it could be an interesting model for developers like Cactus who are focused on freeware games. It would be a beautiful thing to have talented developers like him supported by the generosity of the people who play their games. Makes me think of Buddhist monks being fed by the communities they live in.
The Reticule: Finally, can you make us all a nice lovely real goo ball?
Kyle: We invite players to user-generate and customize their own real life goo balls. The possibilities are endless!
The Reticule: Cheers for the answers guys, it’s greatly appreciated! Good luck with whatever you’re working on next. We can’t wait!