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The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Platagolf


Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, (Pirate Captain) Javier Abud combines the challenge of mini-golf with classic platforming with Platagolf.

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

The name of the game is Platagolf. It centers around a golf ball trying to find its home, except the world changes each time it gets home.

Platagolf is deceptively difficult, much like mini-golf -- do you ever get complaints that it's too hard for a casual title?

All the time. Even when I show it to people at the bar or to my friends they keep saying that the par is too hard to match. I guess I have a bit of a handicap since I know the layout of the levels, but I like to think that games are just too easy nowadays. What happened to games that are NES hard? Those games take real skill!

What has been your experience selling on Indievania and Android? Is either preferable?

So far its about the same. I'm glad I'm getting this experience now but I definitely want to expand my knowledge of how the Android marketplace works since I can see that there is a huge demand for casual games on mobile devices. I'm actually amazed how many people have downloaded Platagolf Lite for the Android; I wasn't expecting that many downloads, serious!

What inspired you to make Platagolf?

I've always wanted to make my own game, meaning code it and draw it, and try to make it look decent. After being inspired by a few popular games, like Raskulls for XBox Live, I decided on the art style. It took me a lot of tutorials on youtube and a lot of analysis to actually get the art looking better than my flood-filled programmer art!

What's the coolest aspect of Platagolf?

I think the coolest aspect is the themes. I can skin it to look like anything, which is something that allows me to add more content and not make it look so monotonous after 30 levels.

Anything you'd do differently?

Fortunately, since I made everything myself and there are no exclusive deals with the game, I can do everything differently! Like I mentioned, I'm planning to add features to the game, like achievements and upgrades and naturally listen to what players have to say. For example, some users on Newgrounds mentioned that zoom would be good, so, I put it in the upsell version of the game.

Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?

Being the only one involved on the project means that I know exactly how every decision I make will impact the game and the schedule I wanted to release it under. That way I don't have to explain to anybody but myself why I'm doing something, which is an amazing feeling. Plus the drive to get the game out increases so much more because I know I'm not depending on anybody for it.

Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?

I see a lot of casual games get released on lots of portals, and I think its great to see how everyone can be creative. As far as seeing myself as part of a larger indie movement, well, I don't. The reason is that for me to integrate into that I would have to make a big impact with this game, and so far I'm just glad to see the stats change every so often. But like anything, this is a learning process and I'm glad I did it.

Sell Platagolf in one sentence:

With Platagolf, not only will you get a game that's challenging, you'll also get a game that will keep growing and improving over time to cater to what the majority of players want.

What's next?

I might sound like a broken record, but I want to keep upgrading the game. I do have some other game ideas, but as a great friend of mine once said, "You never finish making a game, you just stop working on it," and that's what I plan to do.

Platagolf is available through Android (Lite and Fat) and Indievania, or in your browser now for all you golf and platforming addicts.

If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

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