Codex: What got you interested in game development?
Gemi Games:I've always been infatuated with video games ever since playing Super Mario Bros on the NES but my first taste of game development came about when I discovered you could make your own levels for Doom 2 back in 1997-98. I downloaded the most user friendly looking level editor I could find and promptly began creating giant rooms full of demons with army sized arsenals in the centre of them. I was instantly hooked!I later messed around with the Unreal Editor that came with Unreal Tournament and once I finally figured out working in 3D space I made little arenas and played on them with bots. They were mostly rubbish room-corridor-room type of levels but I loved trying to get the bots working correctly with lifts and game objectives. It wasn't really though until I began making levels for Portal that I then started to think about possibly pursuing game development as a career.
Codex: What are you seeking to gain from it?
Gemi Games:This is a tough question that I've never really thought about before. Of course I dream of being able to earn enough money to do solo game development full time but I guess I do it because I just love creating levels or games based on the kind of stuff I like play.
Codex: What engine do you prefer to use? Why?
Gemi Games: I used Microsoft's now defunct XNA framework for Super Lumi Live and really like how free you are to develop the game however you want using it but it's a way longer process than using a third party engine. I've dabbled a little with Epic's UE3 and UE4 engines but lately I've taken a shine to Unity so while it was an invaluable learning experience creating my own small engines for each game I will almost certainly use Unity to create my next project due to it's flexibility, customisation and ease in porting to multiple platforms.
Codex: Was Super Lumi Live your first project?
Gemi Games: It's my first commercial project but I've created maybe dozens of prototypes and a handful of finished games on Android and PC including a shumup called Heterodoxxed. Heterodoxxed was actually during Super Lumi Live's development but my first actual game was a Tetris clone for Android which I made after following an online guide on how to create your own game framework in Java with the Android SDK.
Codex: What inspired you to make a game like Super Lumi Live?
Gemi Games: Well it actually began as a sequel to another Android game I made called Orientation which was where you control a cube by tilting your device and use gravity changing blocks together with your momentum to reach the exit. I later decided to create a more traditional platformer with tighter controls and faster movement after realising the gravity mechanic can't be stretched into a full game while still keeping the game a fast and pure platformer. Since the game was a new concept compared to Orientation I started looking towards my favourite platformers for inspiration. I'd say I picked a spot roughly between Super Meat Boy and Super Mario World. I did this because the fast, fluid movement of Meat Boy feels incredible to control but Mario's more long form levels allow mechanics to be contained which I think creates a stronger theme in each level. I also drew inspiration from old and new Donkey Kong Country games for their simpler level design and the coloured keys which open doors in Super Lumi Live are ripped wholesale out of Doom.
Codex: What have you been up to since release?
Gemi Games: I've mainly been supporting Super Lumi Live with new features like leaderboards and Steam Workshop integration for sharing replays but also made a few prototypes testing some ideas out.
Codex: Any new games or content coming soon?
Gemi Games: I plan to release a level and world editor for Super Lumi Live later this year together with some new levels and other improvements. In terms of new games though I really want to make an old school single player FPS with fun, skilful movement but I will probably make a smaller game next and shelve the FPS idea for another time perhaps
Codex: How long did it take to create?
Gemi Games:Hard to say exactly as I was very inconsistent around the middle of the project but from the original prototype to the final release, it took me about 5 years to make. I worked on it mostly part time and usually into the wee hours of the morning.
Codex: Did you do all the work yourself or did you have some help along the way.
Gemi Games:I created everything myself except for some excellent music tracks created by Hanno Ruesch and Tim Nilsson. Super Lumi Live originally started out as a cartoon styled game called You can Double Jump but because my art skills aren't amazing I really struggled to create consistent looking art. This prompted me to redesign all the textures and sounds to support a simpler, more cohesive theme such as neon. It also meant that the new look worked a lot better with my hobby of creating electronic music so I began to create more music tracks for the game.
Codex: Last but not least, if you had the chance to inspire a struggling developer, what would be your words?
Gemi Games: I'm not going to lie, finishing a project is very hard and sometimes you get bad days where working on your game feels like the worst thing ever. The best advice I can give there is to do something at least small every day or almost every day so your game will eventually get done even if it means very slowly. I also found that occasionally working on a different project helped me from losing too much enthusiasm on my main project and I don't know if that'll work for everyone but it varied up my work and kept things from getting too repetitive.
It was great speaking with Gemi Games, and i personally highly recommend Super Lumi Live you can find it on steam for 10 bucks. It's packed with content and as you can see Gemi Games still has plenty more on the way. (Im pretty excited about the world editor personally )
You can find more of his games here!
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