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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Lumi

Justin McElroy

Being a giant, beloved video game site has its downsides. For example, we sometimes neglect to give independent developers our coverage love (or loverage, if you will) as we get caught up in AAA, AAAA or the rare quintuple-A titles. To remedy that, we're giving indies the chance to create their own loverage and sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week we talk with Christophe Panattoni, co-creator of Kydos Studios, the developer behind Dream.Build.Play grand prize winner Lumi.

How did you get started in game design?
I created Kydos Studio with Nicolas Daures a year ago; we both had a background in game development. We basically started designing games at the same time and we often take our inspiration from real life activities. For example, the main idea behind our latest game, Lumi, came while we were pinning tasks on a white board using small magnets. We were having fun with those magnets and we thought that would be a good start for a game.

Why be independent rather than try to work for someone else?

Before being independent, we worked for Etranges Libellules, a French studio, and that was a lot of fun. But there was still something missing, and we wanted to be able to create our own games. With the arrival of the iPhone and the Indie Games channel on Xbox LIVE, we saw a good opportunity to start our own company and to develop games with limited risks. Plus, being able to work near a swimming pool, and take a swim between two lines of code is a lot better than working in an office.

What's your game called, and what's it about?­
Our latest game is called Lumi. It is an action/puzzle/platform game, in a marvelous 2D universe. The player controls Lumi, a small creature with powers based on magnetism and light, and with the goal to save the universe sunk into darkness. To progress in a level, Lumi can change its polarity and be attracted or repulsed by magnetic objects. Lumi also needs to use its light power to give back life to the world.

Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?
I can't go as far as saying that I always wanted to save the universe with a small yellow creature. However, as a programmer, after a few months of development, a game often gets boring, since you have to play it almost every day. But, with Lumi, that wasn't the case at all; on the contrary, the more you play it, the more comfortable you get with the controls, and the more enjoyable and fun it is to move throughout the levels.

How long did it take you to create?
There were three phases of development. During the first phase, we improved the game engine we had developed for Soul, our previous game. We created a level editor, and we designed most of the game. That took us about a month. After that, for another month, we developed a demo version of Lumi, including only the first three levels, to participate to the 2010 Dream.Build.Play contest. And finally, we spent another two months on finishing up and polishing the game.

What are you proudest of about your game?
We are of course very proud of our first place in the Dream.Build.Play contest. But about the game, what we like the most is the gameplay. We wanted to create something fun and easy to play, but with enough depth to make it hard to master. And based on our own experience and on the feedback we have had from reviewers as well as from players, we have pretty much achieved that.

What's next?

We are currently in the process of testing new ideas and gameplay concepts to select which one we want to base our next game on. But the scale of our next game and the platforms on which we will develop it depend mainly on the success or not of Lumi. We sure want to keep working on fun titles and to reach as many players as possible.

Want to check out Lumi for yourself? You can buy in on Xbox Live right here. If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email justin aat joystiq dawt com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

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