Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the gaming industry.
EG: I’m Eitan Glinert! I’m the founder, president, chief burrito officer (CBO), and janitor of Fire Hose Games. We’re a new indie game start up in Cambridge making kick ass downloadable games for PSN. We’re currently hard at work on our first game, Slam Bolt Scrappers. I generally split my time between business (“Please give us money!”), management (“2 WEEKS UNTIL PAX, PEOPLE! Finish the demo!”), and design (“Hey, what if all of our characters rode velociraptors?”). I used to program but I don’t do that much anymore.
What game(s) have you worked on previously?
EG: My first video game ever was Immune Attack (www.fas.org/immuneattack), a PC downloadable game that teaches immunology to high school students. Awesome! More recently I made AudiOdyssey (gambit.mit.edu/loadgame/audiodyssey.php), a PC rhythm game in which you star as a DJ in a club trying to get people to dance. The game is playable with a Nintendo Wii Remote (on the PC), and is 100% accessible to both blind and sighted users. Sweet! Be sure to go and download both games, they’re both free!
What game are you currently working on?
EG: Oooh, a softball! Thanks for asking. We’re currently working on Slam Bolt Scrappers (www.slamboltscrappers.com), an innovative mash up of building and fighting coming out on the PS3 in early 2011. The game is awesome! It’s a 1-4 player game in which you reach for the sky and build the greatest towers in Slam Bolt City while defending against deviously charming baddies and epic bosses. There is a great co-op campaign with all sorts of fun levels and an incredibly deep battle mode in which you and your friends can go head to head.
How would you sum up Slam Bolt Scrappers?
EG: Game of the year? Perhaps “a mash up of building and brawling like you’ve never before seen” is better?
Is there any audience in particular you’re targeting with Slam Bolt Scrappers?
EG: We’re trying to go broad with this one. Men ages 18-35 are the ones who tend to download games on the PSN, but we’d like to go beyond that. We’ve had a lot of women testers playing our game and they love it, and younger kids have a terrific time with the game too, so we’re trying to run the gamut and include everyone with this game.
What platform(s) is Slam Bolt Scrappers being developed for?
EG: SBS is going to be a PlayStation Network exclusive, so PS3 only.
How has the support from Sony been on Slam Bolt Scrappers and what was a deciding factor for you to launch on the PlayStation 3 platform?
EG: Sony and Sony Online Entertainment have been really great. They’ve done a terrific job of supporting us while at the same time giving us the creative freedom we need as indies to make our game. As for a deciding factor to launch on the PS3, well we really feel the PSN is the best platform for our game to come out on. PSN users are people who want exciting new experiences and love games that are heavily innovative, so we should fit right in.
From its inception to where it is today, how much has Slam Bolt Scrappers evolved from when you first had the idea of the game?
EG: It was a hugely evolutionary process! This game is actually the 5th iteration if you can believe it! Iterations 1-2 weren’t that great, 3 and 4 were better but still not quite there, and we really hit a home run with this version. It just goes to show that sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board and make major revisions if you want to create something really fantastic!
What are some of the challenges in launching a new game like Slam Bolt Scrappers?
EG: Where to start? Getting the game done is a hard enough challenge on its own; getting the word out about the game is just as difficult. If no one knows about your game it doesn’t matter how good it is.
About how big is the team at Fire Hose Games?
EG: We’re a team of 7 developers.
What are some of the challenges of starting up a game studio?
EG: Getting money, finding a team, coming out with a good game, and what we’re eating for lunch are all some of the challenges we face at Fire Hose.
If you could give one tip to someone interested in game development, what would that be?
EG: Make games! I’ve seen so many people who want to get into games but don’t actually take the time or put in the effort to make a game. Stop wishing and start making!
What are some of your influences (games, film, etc.)?
EG: For SBS we were definitely influenced by fighting games like Smash Bros., multiplayer games like Mario Kart, and building games like World of Goo and Pontifex II.
As a developer considering the playing field of the future, what are some of your thoughts on where gaming is headed (ex: motion control gaming, 3D, cloud gaming services like OnLive)?
EG: I’m pretty sure that in the future people are really going to want chocolate covered pretzel controllers that they can eat after playing Halo. We’re planning on making our next game compatible with these futuristic devices.
[LOL] Is there anything else you want to share with GamingBits readers about Slam Bolt Scrappers and Fire Hose Games?
EG: Yeah! Follow us on Twitter (firehosegames) and become fans of us on Facebook (Fire Hose Games, Slam Bolt Scrappers)! We’ll be sure to have exciting stuff for our fans, and we’ll even have a few fun contests up there with REAL PRIZES*! Awesome! (*Prizes may or may not be awesome).
Many thanks to Fire Hose Games and Eitan Glinert for taking time out of their busy game development schedule to do this interview!