Earok interviews Cobra BladeSubmitted by Earok on Wed, 05/05/2010 - 08:14
The rise of Cobra Blade
Cobra Blade (Real name, no gimmicks) is an independent game developer who exclusively develops for the Mac platform. His current project is PowerSlam, a Mac wrestling game powered by the engine of MDickie's Federation Wrestling. I thought it might be interesting to interview him for the blog, especially in regards to Mac game development, and so here it is.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a 27 year old indie Mac game developer from Australia. I am also a Mac gamer with currently around 65 Mac games. My main interests are games, anime, as well as steampunk and cyberpunk.
What compelled you to become a game designer?
Well I have always been very artistic. The furthest back I can remember I wanted to create games. I use to draw all sorts of characters and think up stories and what the game would be like. For the most part they were all fighting based game ideas with the odd exception.
How did you become introduced to games?
Ah, I can blame my parents for that and my gaming addiction. They have a photo of me at around 6 months of age playing the Atari 2600. I've played games ever since. Growing up I got a Commodore 64 and then every SEGA console from the Master System onwards. Once SEGA pulled out of the console war I did too and don't play as many console games as I use to.
What tools do you use to create your games?
Well I have used all sorts in the past but I suppose the best place to focus is on my 1st finished project, Soulless. For this I started out in NovaShell, but being as hopeless at coding as I am I got frustrated so Googled game engines for the Mac that needed no programming. That is how I found Power Games Factory which I used to create Soulless from that point on.
Why do you exclusively make games for the Macintosh? Have you considered other platforms (Including Mobile, Web etc)
Game creation is very time consuming, even if you have nothing to show for it but a lot of half finished games. So I ended up retiring this aspect of my life for the remainder of being a PC owner. It wasn't until as a Mac owner I came across the game Kill Monty and saw the logo "OMG Original Mac Games". As a Mac gamer, this really spoke to me. I felt this was exactly what the platform needed, more original games. As game creation was what I always wanted to do, it just felt right. Supporting other platforms certainly isn't out of the question, although the Mac will always be my main priority.
How did your deal with MDickie come about?
After the disappointment of how Soulless was received and having it compared to games made by entire studios I decided to try and think outside the square. What was something that hasn't been done before? Since I have been a fan of wrestling games for some time this sprung to mind. There are not any wrestling games on the Mac and very few even on PC. Wrestling games however are extremely complex,and there was one I thought was a lot of fun that I played a long time ago. So I contacted Mat and asked him if I could licence the engine from him.
I understand that Soulless has been distributed through pirate channels. How did you feel about this?
Really shocked and really hurt. A lot of hard work and money went into making it that I'll never get back and you really feel awful when someone just takes that all away from you and gives it away leaving you with nothing. What really keeps me going though are the people that have supported me by buying my game. So a huge thank you goes out to them.
Tell us about how you went about marketing and selling Soulless
As a regular customer of Macgamestore my original goal was to get it onto there. When I was knocked back from there I asked Wally of Game Socks (another store I regularly visit) if I could get my game on his site. He told me they source their games from Reflexive so I contacted them. Reflexive were great and gave me suggestions they thought would make my game more marketable so I did this and have had my game on there ever since. Aside from this I also put a demo out on all of the major Mac file portals and even submitted it to Apple themselves who have it on their games download section.
Are there any indie game developers that you admire or draw inspiration from?
Funnily enough when I started out I had no real idea there were others like me doing whole games on their own, my goal in the beginning was to make games and get noticed by a big company like SEGA. Today though, I know a lot more and I take pride in being independent. As for admiration, after seeing Mat's code itself that powers his games I have to say his name comes to mind as does yourself having seen your coding ability firsthand also. Jesse Simko is also awesome and to be honest, just how easy and fun his Power Game Factory was inspired me to finally see a game through from start to finish. I swear that game creator is just as much fun as playing a game itself.
Finally, if someone was to ask you for advice about becoming a game designer, what would you tell them?
Mat Dickie said it is often a thankless job and he wasn't wrong. More often than not your single handed effort will be compared to what is done by entire studios so just ignored. Or even worse, if like myself your main focus is of more retro type games as that is what you feel is most enjoyable you even get those who will say they can just illegally download game X for free and run it on an emulator so why pay money for your game. Don't take it too much to heart if that happens though. I mean some of the most hated games by some can be loved by others. I know some of my favourite games aren't hits by any means. Also be sure to try and stick to one project, as you will find yourself with a million ideas flying through your head, but if you jump from one game to the other you'll end up in the situation I was in back when I tried to be a indie PC game maker and end up with just a whole bunch of unfinished games. Despite all the cons the great feeling you get when people buy your game and like it can't be described.