Karnn Age Developer Interview

Q : For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t played Karnn Age, please describe the game.

Karnn age is a top down shooter in the style of smash TV and geometry wars. What sets it apart from them is that there is no scoring system. Instead the challenges exist in 4 difficulty levels scaling from easy to ridiculously hard. The player also has an health bar as well as very powerful weapons and power ups. Those additions give a lot of power to the player, and means that under a skilled players control, some incredibly challenging and intense challenges can be dealt with.

Q : Now, this is probably a bit of a given, but just to be sure, what was your inspiration behind Karnn Age?

The big inspiration for the game was smash TV. When I first played this on the arcade, I fell in love with the control scheme because of the amount of power it puts in the player’s hands. The sun is also inspired from Mario 3.

Q : How long did it take for you to create Karnn Age?

10 Years ! I started working on the game 10 years ago when I was still in high school, and was learning programming. At the time, it was an RPG. After getting something to work on VB6/GDI, I stopped development because I didn’t enjoy testing an rpg over and over. A few years later in college, we were tasked in putting a game together in VB6. Me and a friend from college took the rpg, and ripped apart the rpg elements from it. Original version had the dragonfly, eye and turret, as well as a scoring system. Power ups were the shield, heart and cash power ups. Spider boss was also present. The art were all either taken from free libraries or done in ms-paint. The 3 guns from the game were also there, as well as the replay functionality. Development on the game stopped there. In December 2007, I decided I wanted to resurrect the project and make it a free pc game. I converted all the code to direct draw and vb.net (BAD MOVE !). A month later, I converted it to Direct 3D. From then on, I decided to add a bunch of enemies. I focused on making enemy patterns that seemed interesting and that I had not seen before. I was working on the game part time and had school and work going on at the same time. In September 2008, I felt like the gameplay was pretty solid, so the main focused shifted toward graphics. I found some help with the graphics, but also put in a lot of art work myself. I searched the web a long long to try and find old school mod music makers to try and get them in the team. In the end, chimera music group accepted to let me use their music, and Rayko from chimera did the sound effects. Efenstor, one of my favorite old school mod music maker allowed me to use 4 of his songs too. In January 2009, I decided that I wanted the game on xbox 360, and thought that it might be able to sell, so I decided to turn it into a full time project. Once again, I put a lot of work on the art, and also teamed up with an artist who put a lot of work too. This is also when the snake and train bosses were added, and the final shape of the game was decided (9 level-4difficulties).

Q : Care to explain the name Karnn Age? Any relation to Carnage?

During the college iteration of the game, it used to be called Total Carnage. I had never heard of the real total carnage though, and only heard about it years later. For me, Total carnage seemed like the perfect name for the game. I decided to call it Carnage ! from this point on. A quick look at trademarks showed me I couldn’t do that either. At this point, we considered about 50 different names, but Karnn Age was my favorite from the suggestions.

Q : What do you think of the whole idea of XBLCG?

I think it’s great ! My favorite aspect of it is that gamers are easily able to browse community games. Before XBLCG, and excluding flash games, it seemed to me that it was really hard to reach gamers with indie games.

Q : What do you think of the XBLCG Community?

The community is extremely helpful ! A lot of people helped me find bugs in the game in playtest, and that helped me a lot. Other people gave me some really good suggestions to improve the game.

Q : Is your background in games development?

No. After college, I did 5 years of programming business applications for the car dealers industry. My experience is in VB.NET and SQL.

Q : How did you get into games development?

When I was a kid, I was a gaming freak. I would play almost every game on the NES / SNES and Genesis. Then came starcraft, which I played for about 6 years. At this point, I was starting to interest myself in programming. I decided to try making games to learn programming. It started with VB4 games where I would move pictureBoxes, and then I moved on to GDI programming. The reason why I kept myself in game development is because I made exactly the game that I wanted to play.

Q : Watching your trailer was amusing and as far as I’m concerned very well done as it’s something that has stuck in my mind, which I suppose is the sort of thing you are looking for, but anyway my question is what was the inspiration behind the trailer and how long did it take to create?

When I started thinking about the trailer I wanted, I knew that I wanted something that would not be forgotten. That led me to try and find something that I had not seen before. I decided that merging in some real life objects would make the trailer stick out. To make sure it makes an impression, I also made sure the script was as stupid/corny as I could do. The trailer took about 20 hours total to make. It took about 8 hours to prepare the fish and Karnn. Karnn is a flashlight with transparent yellow paper and black paper glued on it. It also has white stuff gummed to the side for the lightnings. The fish is a balloon with ketchup inside it. The mouth is made of colored bananas. Shooting took about 3 hours, and the rest was spent making the gameplay footage and editing the final video.

Q : Still on your trailer, are you in it? If so which person are you?

I’m the guy on the sofa. The girl is my sister.

Q : What does it feel like to have your first XBLCG on the marketplace?

Good ! But there’s also a bit of deception. I feel that the game is a lot of fun, but most people don’t seem to enjoy it as much as I do.

Q : What sort of games do you enjoy playing?

These days, my favorite game is geometry wars 2. I also like street fighter 4. On the original xbox, I loved super monkey balls and ninja gaiden. My all time favorite game is starcraft, because of how intense and competitive it is. In my childhood, my favorite game was mega man 2, though I liked all the other mega mans. My best snes game was Uniracers.

Q : If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wishing to get into games development, what would it be?

Whatever you build, make sure it’s a game you will love to play yourself. To me, that was my biggest reason to keep at it. I suggest starting with the smallest idea that you can think of but still enjoy playing.

Q : Are you planning any other future games that you may care to mention?

Maybe Karnn Age 2. Me and the artist from karnn age have 2 other ideas in mind. One is a platformer, and the other is another homage game to a nes game I loved. Not saying which though.

Q : Anything else you may wish to say that you feel may be interesting to readers?

If you like really hard games, and like to try a good fair challenge over and over until you can master it, try Karnn Age ! There’s hundreds of hours worth of gameplay if you’re going to beat the hardest difficulty !