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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Prismatic Solid

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 Yoichi Hayashi, whose Prismatic Solid took home third place in this year's Dream.Build.Play contest.

How did you get started in game design?

I started developing games using BASIC from the early '80s when I was in junior high. Books and magazines were my teachers since there was no internet at that time.

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

Well, actually, I work at a Japanese game company as a game programmer. Making games is my job and one of my hobbies also. I enjoy being an independent developer because of three reasons:

1. I can make the game exactly how I like it. I don't have to worry about sales or marketing trends.

2. For efficient development. I can reduce the amount of time necessary for communication when working with a larger group.

3. I would like to be able to call this game "my work." Actually I've made this game as a personal project, not as a commercial product.

To call something as "my work," I believe I should take a whole responsibility for the game, and it means I should develop it by myself as much as I can. I'm not saying my company has communication problems or I don't like to work as a team, I just want to do both.

What's your game called, and what's it about?

My game won the third place prize of the 2010 Dream.Build.Play competition and is called Prismatic Solid. It is a forced rail shooter with a simple and stylish graphic space made up of consistent primitive and solid figures.

Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?

It is exactly so, I am making the game I want to play. I made it so that it provides something different each time you play since I want it to have great replay value.

How long did it take you to create?

It took two years as a whole. Technology verification and development of the core system and core design took one year, almost a half of the whole development period. I used a rough to-do list which I updated from time to time, rather than having a detailed specification at the starting point. I enjoy making games without having a specific schedule. When I begin design, I don't even create specifications of what the final form will be. This means that sometimes I cannot complete the development (or, I should say often), but the Dream.Build.Play contest encouraged me to make a schedule for Prismatic Solid. I was able to finish development on time for submission to the Dream.Build.Play contest, I think that it was good timing.

What are you proudest of about your game?

I believe the most significant feature of this game is its graphic capabilities. I would like players to enjoy the various, colorful and unique artwork especially the solid texture of objects (that is where the name, "Prismatic Solid," is derived from). Numerous amounts of bullets and particles -- which I would call a bullet hell -- filling your screen is surprisingly hellish. A variety of beautiful backgrounds and effects are also key aspects I worked hard to create.

What are you working on for your next project?

I am making a casual, simple and old-fashioned breakout game, and another game which implements a full-fledged graphic engine mainly for expressions of reflection, inflection and collection of light. I'm also planning to launch a new project for Windows Phone 7. These are all private projects, not for my company. I hope that I have the opportunity to place again in the next Dream.Build.Play contest for one my future projects.

Want to check out Prismatic Solid for yourself? Pick it up for just a buck 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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