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Community PixelMetal AMA

PixelMetal AMA

Hey there! This is Nick from PixelMetal, an indie game company located in NY that's interested in making fun games for gamers. Feel free to ask me anything you'd like, and I'll do my best to answer all of your questions as thoroughly as I can throughout the day.

This is an AMA thread

From time to time we will invite people to do AMAs. Keep in mind that not all questions will be answered, and that our community guidelines still apply.

Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

If you could take one overused feature out of modern games, which one would you remove?

I'm a bit over long tutorials at the beginning of games in genres people already understand how to play, or which present gameplay techniques that have already been explained in previous games in the same series. One of the more egregious examples of this is the Legend of Zelda series, which finds the need to spend the first few hours of each game teaching you the exact same gameplay that appeared in the previous games, and which at this points just distracts from my enjoyment of what are otherwise pretty fun games.

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Posted over 1 year ago by Ix Techau

When you create games, does the designer/art director have to know how to code? I'm a web developer/designer and the workflow is very fragmented, but I assume that for games you actually have to apply your designs in code for it to make sense. How do you guys handle that process?

There's definitely a minimal level of technical knowledge that those on the art/design side need in game development. I'm mostly coming from that side myself, and in games I've worked on in the past with larger teams, having at least a little bit of tech knowledge comes in really handy when trying to solve issues or help the developers get things looking and moving how they're intended to.

Working on 3D games, I would say, REQUIRES at least some basic technical knowledge, when often artists will have to deal with tweaking materials/shaders to get the appearance in-game to match up with what they're seeing in the software they're using to create models/textures. Chances are that if an artist can figure out how 3D modeling and animation software works, which is often HIGHLY technical, they should be able to help somewhat with getting those assets into the game. While I wouldn't expect those on the art/design side to dig into much of the game code itself, game development is one of those things where there's rarely anyone working solely on their own little part, outside of maybe the concept artists or writers, and if it's a bigger game even those positions may require some in-game work in terms of importing assets & scripts.

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Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

What impressions did you get from SXSW in terms of a gaming industry perspective?

I didn't spend time at any of the few game-related events. My understanding from speaking to people who have gone before is that it's still very small compared to other game industry-related events and not especially interesting or exciting. I spent most of my time at SXSW Interactive, which is a bit more applicable to the kind of work I do outside of games.

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Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

What's your favorite video game?

I don't really have a favorite. I've played hundreds if not thousands of games over the last 30 years. I'm pretty partial to the Wasteland/Fallout universe, so it's definitely towards the top of my list. Also still a big Zork fan, and hopefully one day we'll get a full-on graphical Zork. It's a bit strange it hasn't happened already, considering that walking simulators - which I just consider the same as text adventures but with graphics, at least when they're good - have surged in popularity over the last few years. But then again, Activision would probably fuck it up.

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Posted over 1 year ago by Opi8mate

Here's a question, with your participation on #gamergate this past year, why was there only a focus on a boycott of the press, but boycotts of mainstream and indie publishers focusing on pushing SJW attitudes and cheating customers of products was frowned upon? After all you wouldn't be affected, only devs that engaged in corrupt behaviors and in screwing their own customers would.

I mean there was a highly successful boycott campaign for recent Star Wars Battlefront, that EA had to hide the sales numbers and the returns from the public. Also where did this nonsense about boycotting bad devs become an issue with the US FTC, when no one could produce a single legal brief or court case proving it?

Also why did the whole #Solution6months for encouraging amateur work just plain fizzle out with no follow ups or notes from the participants at all? Did all of the devs involved just abandon the whole project? It could have been a good ice breaker for first time amateurs to get into game making.

Just curious.

That's a whole bunch of questions, so I'll answer it best as I can:

We were focused on unethical, slanderous press, not the boycott of anything. Devs that are more interested in discussing politics than making games are welcome to shoot themselves in the foot as many times as they'd like.

We didn't talk about EA because EA isn't press, and I'd seriously doubt that a game based on the Star Wars IP was in any way a flop. Boycotting devs being an issue with the FTC is nothing I'd know about, because I haven't heard any reliable information on it at all.

Ask Jennifer Dawe what happened with #Solution6months. I wasn't involved. But if you're unhappy with what happened there, there are sites like GameDev.Net that have been around for decades and are dedicated to helping people learn about game development.

Posted over 1 year ago by Rayndrops

How did your panel at SXSW go?

I thought it went very well. Absolutely no drama. We had just as much if not better turnout than the "other" panels that were held smack-dab in the middle of prime SXSW time, while ours was on a working at an odd time, and the only event that took place at the location on that day.

If you want to watch the panel, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0jGwwo4LbU

It's about an hour long and I think we hit most of the main concerns. Though note, if you're looking for angry people throwing around buzzwords like SJWs or whatever, you won't find any there.

Posted over 1 year ago by ColdDeath

Was there a specific inspiration for Sombrero? I mean with the description inside the title logo and the Wilhelm Screams going on in the demo video, it's pretty clear a certain movie genre had part of it, just wondering if something "triggered" it besides that ;)

I just like Spaghetti Westerns a lot, and they tend to find a lot of uses for the Wilhelm Scream. I had an internal debate to use that college campus freakout about sombreros as a PR moment, but wussed out at the last minute because it was just too easy to poke fun at.

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Posted over 1 year ago by CyberEagle1989

Do you think that the newish AMA functionality is basically MAGIC, except even more glorious?

... Sorry, I just had too.

I'm actually a huge fan of how it works. This is way easier than Reddit AMA's. Though I kind of wish it had an edit button so I could go back and fix my bad grammar so people think I'm smarter than I really am.

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Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

This is way easier than Reddit AMA's. Though I kind of wish it had an edit button so I could go back and fix my bad grammar so people think I'm smarter than I really am.

I've added it to Ix's list. :-)

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Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

What is the biggest challenge that you're facing with regards to the release or marketing of Sombrero?

At this point, few. I've recently signed with a publisher that has awesome physical and digital distribution capabilities. They're called Alliance Games, and while many people may not be familiar with that name, they were formerly the distribution arm of Take 2 and so they can get Sombrero pretty much anywhere worldwide. Marketing/PR-wise, we'll be using Evolve PR, who does PR for a lot of big games like, say, Witcher 3, so any concerns I had about getting blackballed for speaking up for the rights of gamers have pretty much flown out the window. I have little doubt the more questionable gaming press will have to bend over and take it at this point, lest they look even more silly than they already do.

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Posted over 1 year ago by Ix Techau

I've added it to Ix's list. :-)

Added the ability to edit AMA responses!

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Posted over 1 year ago by CraftyApe

Whoops I'm a bit late

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Posted over 1 year ago by LiamC

Whoops I'm a bit late

Feel free to shoot a question! I'm sure he's checking in. :-)

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Posted over 1 year ago by CraftyApe

Well Nick if you're still answering comments, I am quite curious about this as you are an indie developer and would really appreciate it if you gave your thoughts. I am someone who plays all kinds of games from most scenes, however I never feel right about how the industry reviews games. I don't like that indie titles (especially from smaller devs) are rated on the same scoring system as AAA titles. I think this often creates an imbalance- sometimes critics who have a bias towards smaller devs will slam AAA games and praise indie games, and other times critics do the opposite and slam indie titles. How do you feel about this? Do you think indie games from smaller studios should be reviewed on their own terms as a separate game scene entirely? Or are you happy to be competing with the big AAA devs? (Sorry for the long question)

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