By Marty Mulrooney
Following on from our recent review of Eufloria (Version 2.05) on PC, AMO caught up with co-creator Rudolf Kremers to discuss the future of his studio Omni Systems Limited, Eufloria’s pending PSN reboot in 2011 and life as a full-time indie game developer.
Hey Rudolf! Can you tell AMO’s readers about yourself please?
Sure! I am a Dutch game developer living in the UK. I have been making games or working on them in one form or another for a long time now (since the early 80’s scarily!) Professionally I have been doing this for about ten years, and about 3 years ago I went indie and started my own company, Omni Systems Limited. Haven’t looked back since, and I am involved in various creative endeavours. Mostly games, but also some consultancy and script writing.
Was it just yourself and Alex May that worked together creating Eufloria?
Alex and I form the core development team, but the lovely soundtrack and much of the core audio has been created by Brian Grainger (AKA Milieu).
What is Alex’s background?
Pretty similar I think. He went indie fulltime recently as well. You should ask him, he has plenty of fun stories to share!
What are the pros and cons of working in such a small team?
There are mostly pros, and only some cons. It is great to be able to communicate directly, change things or edit things immediately when needed, cut out any fluff from third parties like clueless middle management and so on. It is creatively very healthy, and there is of course little overhead. The downside is that there is less bandwidth for features, and there is more risk for delays when one of us suffers a scheduling setback.
What is Dyson?
Dyson is the free precursor to Eufloria. It is a competition entry for the TIGSource procedural game competition. We made it in the timeframe of one month. It was really fun to make and the reaction to it was so positive that it led to the decision to do a fully featured game.
How did the idea for Dyson/Eufloria come about?
Well, it was a combination of factors. I always wanted to do a procedural asteroid mining game, and Alex was already working on procedural stuff for his game Deadrock. Alex suggested we inverted the gameplay so instead of creating things inside asteroids we "grow" them on the outside. The floral theme was added, and Alex came up with the look. The gameplay was also partially inspired by the work of Freeman Dyson, specifically the concept of Dyson Trees and the Astro Chicken. There are other influences as well, like Phillip K. Dick’s story “Autovac”.
Was there a pressure to move far beyond Dyson with Eufloria, as it would now be a paid product?
Yes, but not so much for that reason. It was more a matter of trying to create a worthwhile experience that explores the gameplay we had in mind to a deep extent. We wanted to make something that players could not find elsewhere.
How would you describe Eufloria to a new player?
A ambient game of conquest and intergalactic gardening.
Who created the music for the game? It’s fantastic!
Brian Grainger. He is FAB. He has made an enormous amount of great music and he is doing music for my new game StarLit as well. Additionally he is working on new tracks for the PSN version.
Do you now work full time as an Indie game designer?
Indeed I do! I ain’t going back!
Reviews for the game were admittedly mixed, featuring a wide range of positive and negative comments. Do you think this will help you grow as a game designer, even when reading the less positive feedback?
The reviews have no impact whatsoever on my game design philosophy. I know of the game’s weaknesses and strengths already and to be brutally honest there are very few reviewers that offer anything new to that. Player feedback is what matters to me, and even that is limited to a degree, as you can’t please everybody. Also, to nuance the Metacritic rating a bit, it actually excludes a massive amount of review sites that have given us fantastic reviews. It is not a fair representation of the general player’s opinion on the game. Sites like "Jay is Games" serve a huge readership and countless sites dedicated to indie games just get ignored. So I don’t put much stock on a game’s Metacritic rating.
It was recently announced that Eufloria will be released on the PSN in 2011. Will this be the same game we saw on PC?
Yes and no. It is the same game at heart, but it will feature a number of important additions and improvements that will make it closer to what we had in mind in the first place, adjusted to fit the console experience.
Will the graphics and gameplay remain largely intact?
There will be enhancements, but we will not lose what makes Eufloria Euflorian.
Will there be multiplayer in the new version?
There is ZERO chance of that.
What makes the PS3/PSN such a good platform to reboot Eufloria on?
Sony have created an indie friendly environment which makes it possible for guys like us to self publish without having to commit commercial Russian roulette. The player base on PSN has seen a lot of good and interesting indie games, so they make for a good audience, and the PS3 itself is a powerful beast so we can enhance the game to a large degree.
Any idea yet what the price of the PSN version will roughly be?
Roughly, but I shall hold back on that one for now. It won’t be expensive in my opinion.
Will the PC version see any of the PS3 updates in a patch? Or is it going to be an entirely new game?
Some enhancements will find their way into the PC version, so people who already own the game will still see benefits.
Tell us more about Omni Systems Limited…
Omni is my little indie studio. I have a certain philosophy on how I like to work and it is fantastic to be able to do so with full independence.
Would you ever attempt to create games in other genres?
Of course! And I have done so for most of my life! My next game StarLit is an exploration game for example. I also have a pending multiplayer game on the list, an action puzzler and various other games.
What are your favourite indie games by other companies?
The ones that offer a unique experience or quality that shows that the creators made something they really wanted to make.
Can you describe in one sentence why AMO’s readers should check out Eufloria?
There is nothing quite like it out there.
What are your company’s plans for the future?
More games, comics, scripts, consultancy… you name it! The immediate focus is Eufloria PSN and StarLit, plus some related projects.
Thank you for your time!
My pleasure! 🙂