Plunge Interactive has a new game coming to Windows Phone 7 soon, so what better time to sit down and have a chat with them about their history and future as an indie development studio.
Brandon: Can you tell me about Plunge Interactive and your role with the studio?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: Plunge Interactive is a little game studio located in Lleida (Spain). It was privately founded in February 2011 by Jesus Bosch, its CEO and the support of a private investor. Our intention has been from the very first day to create small but very entertaining games for mobile phones. We create and publish games, but we also invested a lot of time doing games for third parties as a service. Since it is always very difficult for an indie studio to monetize its games, we considered it was really important to offer game development services to allow us to keep working on our own IPs occasionally.
We’ve been betting for Windows Phone. Many people doesn’t understand this and they say it is a new platform with a small user base, and it’s true. But since the App Store and Android Markets are pretty saturated, we believe that WP will have a huge growth in 2012 thanks to Nokia -this is based on Gartner and Morgan Stanley reports, among many other consultants.
Brandon: How and why did you, personally, get into game development? Is it something you just fell into or were you actively seeking to get into it as a career?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: I was working as a developer for a big software company here in Spain, but what I liked more was to create games. I guess I spent two years learning XNA, and writing articles on my blog (in Spanish) http://geeks.ms/blogs/jbosch , and every time getting more involved with the game development community here in Spain, and became coordinator of the spanish XNA Community ( http://xnacommunity.codeplex.com /). Then, one day, Microsoft announced a Windows Phone 7 development contest here in Spain, and I got the 3rd prize. It was in that moment that I guessed it could be possible to work full time making games, something I always loved. Three months after that, Plunge Interactive was born.
Brandon: I noticed that Plunge Interactive has developed more than just games in the past including a Washington, D.C. subway guide app. Is your studio strictly developing games now or are you still open to the possibility of doing other kinds of apps?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: Our main focus is to make mobile games. We did, and might still do in the future, some mobile apps just to have a broader portfolio, but as the company grows we are getting more projects related to game development, and I don’t see ourselves investing a lot of time creating apps anymore.
Brandon: Even though your studio’s been around for less than a year, you’ve already managed to get a few games released on multiple platforms within that short time. What was the experience like developing earlier games like Colors Rain and Kubik Adventures ( Kaotic Puzzle on XBLIG)? Was it smooth sailing because of your experience or were there bumps along the way?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: The experience with Kaotik Puzzle was pretty nice. It is a great game with a lot of features and game modes (more than 200 actually), but that flexibility was provably a problem: it was too complex. The graphics were not very nice too. So we decided to create a new game for Windows Phone based on Kaotik Puzzle, with new graphics and a history. The idea was to keep it as a puzzle game, but adding more fun. We released Kubik Adventures and it had pretty good reviews.
But in terms of porting a game from XBLIG to WP7, it was not really complex. It was more about arranging graphics, sounds and deleting a lot of code relative to networking and other features that we removed to keep the game simple. And the best is that both platforms support XNA, so there is no need to rewrite all the game to make a port between XBLIG and WP7.
Colors Rain is a game more focused for children, created from scratch, and is still under development. We hope we’ll be able to finish it in the upcoming months.
Brandon: You guys are now promoting your latest title, Farts vs. Zombies which first came out on iOS but is now available on Windows Phone 7. With a name like that, most gamers are going to assume it’s a play on PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies. How does your game distinguish itself from that one?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: Farts VS Zombies is a parody of a mixture of classic games, movies and even celebrities. I’ll leave the players to discover for themselves what they are since those kind of surprises are part of the strengths of the game. All that mixture of genres makes it difficult to define which Farts VS Zombies belongs to.
One thing I can say is that the game is very original and funny, and able to keep the player in tension against the hordes of zombies and bosses… but it does not pretend to be a clone of a specific game, and also not on the great PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies-I have to say that I really love that game and consider myself fan of the guys working at PopCap-.
I can’t tell what the designer was thinking when we created this game… but nothing sane, that’s for sure I recommend all gamers play the free trial, and they will discover tons of creativity inside that little game.
Brandon: You’d mentioned you plan to back the Windows Mobile market for the foreseeable future. Are there are any specific game ideas you guys are already working on or thinking about, or are you still mainly focused on promoting your current games? In other words, what’s up next for Plunge Interactive?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: We have plans to create a game that we designed some time ago, and its demo version even earned a game development prize here in Spain (Art Futura). We unfortunately can’t talk a lot about it. All I can say for now is it will be a game that mixes platforms with physics. It will run on Android devices.
We want to keep betting on Windows Phone, but it still has some important limitations for developers. For example, it does not support in-app purchases, something really important these days to be able to monetize any game. Another important limitation is that it is not supported by very extended cross-platform frameworks like Unity3D. Microsoft indicates the next major update of the OS will do, but not now, so this new game will be released on the Android Market.
Brandon: Well you’ve now got a few game releases under your belt. What advice can you give to developers just getting started in the indie scene?
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: Patience is very important. Try to consider your resources, so keep the scope of any game under control! I’ve met a lot of great game developers that start projects and never finish them… not because they are not talented, it’s just because they require many more people and/or time than what they expected. Many indie devs want to make the game of their dreams. I suggest to them that that should not be your first release. We haven’t released the game of our dreams yet but hopefully now we are ready for it, and 2012 will be our time.
Brandon: Good advice and something I hear from a lot of indie devs who’ve already had a couple of games released. Well thank you for your time and best of luck in 2012.
Jesús Bosch Aiguadé: Thank you, best wishes to you too
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