Interview with Light devs, Team 17 first third party published title
Team 17 moved into first third party publishing in late last year. The first title they commissioned to publish was Light. We caught up with Danny Goodayle and Roberta Saliani, the two person team who make up it’s developer, Just a Pixel.
Lee: So then, Light. Can you give it us in a nutshell?
Danny: Light a minimalist stealth game with hacking elements. The levels are in bite-sized, so it’s possible to do them in 2-3 minutes, with quick retry value so you can speed run it.
L: It looks very distinctive, with its blueprint style, has it always looked like this throughout it’s development?
D: Pretty much, it’s mostly looked like this from the start but we had an artist flesh out the design. As there’s only two of us, we got the artist in to make it look more like a blueprint than we could.
L: How’s the feedback been at the show?
D: Great, we’ve learnt a few things having it here that’s been useful and people have been very positive. We’ve decided to change some of the colours that denote areas of interest, to make them more noticeable and we’ll flesh out the tutorial in the final release.
Roberta: I think the most important thing is to get fresh eyes on it whilst it’s at this stage. This is the first time that we’re getting new people interacting with our game. They have managed to spot things that weren’t picked up by QA.
L: This kind of thing must be very useful for such a small team, getting this deluge of people going at your game. I imagine you get tunnel vision seeing the same thing on your screen everyday?
D: You definitely do. This has been very refreshing, we’ll take some ideas from what we’re hearing here. We have a few ideas that we want to add into it after this weekend.
L: How long have you been working on it so far?
D: We’ve been working on it for 6 months, this is in the alpha stage. It’s like a vertical slice of the entire game. You could play through it now but it isn’t polished to the level we’d like.
L: I have to say, it looks really cool. Visually, it stands out from the crowd and looks great running. The gameplay is right up my street, I’m very keen to get my hands on it.
D: You may have to wait a bit, some of these guys have been taking a while (he wasn’t lying, the game was never without a queue).
The distinctive blueprint style looks great in motion
L: As we’ve been talking to a lot of indie devs today, we’ve been asking them if they think we’re in a golden era of indie games, what would you say to that?
R: Yeah, definitely. There are less hurdles than there used to be to go for it, it’s so much easier.
D: The barriers for entry are practically nothing. You’ve got software like Unity that make it easy to make the game. Steam Greenlight, digital distribution. You have funding models like Kickstarter and publishers wanting independent games. Everything is perfect for the growth of indies.
L: Do you think Light might make it’s way onto consoles at any point, is that the plan?
R: There have been discussions about it, it wasn’t part of the original plan but if the game goes well, I see no reason why not. I see no reason why it couldn’t work on a Vita or console but right now it’s designed for desktops primarily. If we get that covered and there’s a demand, we’d want to make a push to make it for consoles and make it right. We would have to change things, as the controller wouldn’t fit now, we’d want it to feel as good for the player.
L: I can’t help but envisage this on a Vita screen, I would like to see that.
D: Definitely, the touch screen would work very well with the camera and hacking elements. We wouldn’t want to put it onto a machine if we couldn’t make it feel good.
L: I expect having such a small team can be interesting. What are the pros and cons?
D: Having extra hands can help. We got an artist to help us with some things, when it took me 3-4 days to draw a chair, it took them 3-4 minutes to draw a better chair. We like it how it is though, it’s streamlined and means we make all the decisions. We also had a guy called Gavin Harrison, he’s our musician for this game.
L: Whats he been like for you?
R: He was amazing, he just took everything, all the crazy ideas we threw at him and made sense of them. He’s been so good.
D: It has influenced the design. I’m sat there working on it whilst listening to his music whilst designing things and it has had an impact on my work.
L: Anything you’d like to say to any potential indie studios or upcoming developers?
R: Just go for it, make that leap! If you’re loud enough, passionate enough, just go for it, it can pay off. Sometimes your going to need a bit of luck but you’re always have to put the effort in.
D: We got lucky with Team 17 but we would have made this with or without a publisher.
L: Thanks guys, good luck.
D: Thank you, it’s been our pleasure.
R: It’s been good.
Danny Goodayle, Wormy Wormington & Lee Revill. A mostly regular Sunday for me but Danny isn’t usually here
I got to play Light shortly after our interview and I must say, I was impressed. It was very well thought out, with more to it than meets the eye. Once I got to grips with the controls I played the level (after a couple of pointers from Danny and Roberta). It certainly felt like it had taken inspiration from gamings stealth forefathers but with a new take on things.
One thing that I enjoyed about conversing with the team was the way they were really open to suggestion and even planned to implement things based on it. I made a couple of observations about the way points of interest were highlighted and they agreed. Following Rezzed, they intend to alter it slightly in the final build, not because of my suggestion but a couple of others had said similar things. Their game had been exhibited for 3 days, hundreds of people played it and a very small number of people suggested it may benefit from a tweak and that was enough. A cool team with a cool game, I’m looking forward to playing more. You can visit the games official website here