After thoroughly enjoying 2D Boy's World of Goo, we decided that just playing and loving the game was not enough. So, we shot some questions over to Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler from the indie start-up. Imagine our surprise when they actually answered them all! So, head past the break and read our interview with these talented lads.
How has the reception been so far for World of Goo? We loved it, but different strokes for different folks, and all of that ...
Kyle: I'm just amazed people are playing our game at all, it's surreal. One of our favorite things is getting thank you notes from gamers and parents and teachers and kids from all around the world. It makes me feel like Santa. And for the record, we have documented evidence that this video game has caused crying. Now we know, Electronic Arts. Now we know!
Can you see yourself making a sequel (or, better yet, bite-sized DLC add-on packs)? Or are you looking to move on to a different project next? What's the next step for 2D Boy?
Ron: No! No sequel! The only sequel to meet the expectations created by the original is The Empire Strikes Back, and even then, it was just because George Lucas didn't direct it. Also, we've eaten enough goo to last a life time and we're ready to do something else.
Kyle: One thing we're doing is offering support to make the whole game much more moddable. We're constantly surprised at the ingenuity of some of the people on our forum. Currently there's a level editor in progress, and another tool for editing parameters in the game, and a quickly growing open translation project to make the game work in as many languages as possible. (link)
There are subtle differences in the way a mouse works and how the Wiimote's IR pointer can work. Which version do you prefer playing, PC or Wii?
Kyle: We intentionally kept the all versions of the game as identical as possible. When we first tried out the Wii verison, I think we were all dazzled by how well the Wiimote actually worked. We had all expected, like everyone, that the cursor would feel imprecise and floaty, but it was not the case at all. I try to love all versions equally, but my personal favorite is the Wii version, since it has multiplayer co-op, and I can play it on a big screen with big speakers. My cat also prefers the Wii version.
Ron: It's a possibility. We're not as concerned with exclusivity as we are with making sure we choose the right platform for the game. For World of Goo that was PC and Wii, for a different game it might be a different set of platforms.
World of Goo managed to be incredibly simple and incredibly complex at times. How do you know when you've hit that sweet spot? Was it something that just happened or were you shooting for that the entire time?
Kyle: I'm not very good at playing games, and I don't have any patience for games that are overly complicated or that have lots of buttons, so we were very conscious about creating a game that was as simple as possible to start playing with. That's why the whole game uses only one button. The physics is all very simple too. Luckily, when you put lots of simple things together, all with simple rules, you can create more complicated behavior in very clear ways. So for instance, (if anyone cares, and please, feel free to skip this part if you don't care how the inside of the game works!), the equation governing the Goo Ball's arms' is just Hook's Law. That's the equation that says how springs work. It's just F=kx. Or, the force (F) that the spring applies is proportional to the distance (x) that the spring is either compressed or stretched. That tells us how two balls should react when they are connected by a single arm. Then, we can add another ball, to create a triangle, with two more springs, and another, and another, and everything magically works, all using the very simple spring equation to create a more complicated structure, like a tower, or a bridge, and it will magically wobble, and suspend itself, or fall, all because the little pieces contained within it know what to do all by themselves.
If World of Goo becomes a big success on WiiWare, can you see it making its way to Xbox Live Arcade or PSN? How about a DS game?
Ron: XBLA and PSN will probably not happen, we just don't think the controls would feel right. Mouse is great and so is the Wii remote. The DS would be a good platform for the game from a controls standpoint but the processor is not nearly strong enough for the physics simulation. We might be able to do a simplified version of the game, but we have no plans for that right now.
Do you have any sales data for the game yet? Do you know how many copies have been sold so far?
Ron: We do! The numbers on VGChartz are not too far off, you can go look that up if you want. The PC version is also doing pretty well. We're planning to share some financial information in a talk we're giving at the game developers' conference this coming year.
Kyle: And I think the important thing is that we can finally confidently say that we are financially and emotionally healthier having done the indie thing for the last two years, than we would have been had we remained employed at a mysterious large company. I recommend this to everyone. Quit your jobs and make stuff!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!