Included in the Indie Game Arcade at Eurogamer Expo 2011 was the one button, first person platformer, Fotonica. I caught up with Nicolò Tedeschi from Santa Ragione, to find out the inside scoop on Fotonica:
DIYgamer: Can you introduce yourself, and tell me a little about your game?
Tedeschi: I’m Nicolò, I’m from Santa Ragione, it’s a two person Italian game studio. We just released Fotonica, our one button game, more or less a month ago, and we released the soundtrack a week ago on bandcamp. The game is pay what you want, so you can get it for free, or just whatever you want to pay. And that’s it.
DIYgamer: It looks pretty trippy, with the vector line artstyle. Where did that come from?
Tedeschi: We are a fan of all games, whatever they are, wherever they come from. Especially: We own a Vectrex, and that’s a very trippy console, if you can put it that way. Also games like Vib Ribbon, or Mizuguchi’s Rez, played a very important role in the general aesthetic of Fotonica. Also, our passion for modern art from the 90s, and the 19th century, plays a big role in the game. I dunno, the aesthetic of the game came out pretty soon, so it felt pretty nice for us to do something like that.
DIYgamer: You kept it simple with the one button control scheme, what was the thinking behind that?
Tedeschi: Well since it’s our first digital project, we used to design board games, we decided to go the easy way. It’s not always the easiest way, because making a game that is fun and compelling is not an easy design to do. But since we are not programmers ourselves, but we learn stuff along the way, we decided to stick to the one button design thing, because we needed something that was easier to deal with from the programming perspective. We chose to make it part of the design, rather than choosing to design something we could not program.
DIYgamer: The balls of light that you collect, what exactly do they do?
Tedeschi: They are a basically a multiplier, but we also use them to suggest different paths to the players. So we use show you somewhere that you can actually reach, and at the same time it leads to a different path that you might have not followed otherwise. Also, along with the adding a multiplier to the general score, it also adds to your velocity.
DIYgamer: Have you seen much competition at the high end on the leaderboards?
Tedeschi: Well yeah, a little bit. I wouldn’t say a lot. There has been some competition on Kongregate, because we released a demo on Kongregate, and they have online leaderboards. It’s good to see people posting really high scores, because they actually do things that we are not able to do. There are also videos on YouTube of people taking paths that I never thought possible. It’s a really cool thing to see people using your game in an unexpected way.