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Wednesday, August 02, 2006 

Interview with YMM, by Jabberwock.

Well well well. Here's another interview from everyone's favorite freelance writer: Jabberwock!

For those who don't know about it, can you give a brief synopsis of your current work-in-progress 'Untitled'?

Untitleed is an exploration-platformer based on old-school platforming fundamentals and the joy of discovery. The player explores a unique world, initially just for the sake of exploring it. You play as an egg and the only real goal is self-evolution (finding more power-ups so you can perform more complex and powerful moves). It is heavily influenced by Super Metroid (Nintendo).

What have you done with Untitled that is different from your past projects?

Most obviously, the art style. All the graphics/music/sounds are done by me, and they all reflect my love of artistic simplicity.

Otherwise, though, the development process has been very strange with this one. In Jumper Two and Jumper: Redux, I had known from the start the entire storyline, how many stages there would be, what amount of collectibles would be hidden in each stage, etc. With Untitled, it's sort of a "this sounds like a good idea, I'll try that here", and "oh, it'd be so cool if this happened" kind of thing. I'm pretty much just coming up with it as I go along.

With any game, though, you're bound to think of stuff before you can implement it. I may have started the game without an ending in mind, but right now I know exactly how it will end, and I'm only about half done with level design (but that is just a rough estimate, again the nature of the game keeps me from really telling anyone exactly how long it will be).

Will 'Untitled' have a storyline and/or different title when it's complete, or is the 'Untitled' permanent?

The demo reflects the storyline of the final game. What I mean by this is, you'll start the final game knowing the same thing syou know when you start the demo: the controls. However, later on in the game a storyline of sorts does surface. You can already see the very basic beginnings of it by chatting with the NPCs in SkyTown in the demo (though you must get relatively far in the demo to do this).

As for the title, I'm fairly certain it is final. If I can think of a title that suits the game better then I will rename it, but I don't think I will.

Can you tell us a bit about what features you plan on implementing into the game (gameplay elements, areas, level design, etc)?

The gameplay is constantly changing and evolving. One day I might think of a cool new move and program it in, so it is ready to be hidden when I think of a good place for it. This combined with the fact that I've already shown much more of the game then I planned on showing keeps me from revealing any new moves to you.

However, I can say that I would absolutely love to implement a multiplayer mode. I've mentioned this before but never really expanded on it. Basically I'm thinking of a split-screen mode where two players essentially play capture-the-flag, except with banks and big sacks of money as bases and flags. I call it Heist mode, and you play as bird characters wearing little bandit masks. It is still very much in the concept stages of planning, so I'm still deciding what to do for moves (start with all of them? find them? steal them from eachother somehow?) and other details, but know that I'll try my best to squeeze a multiplayer mode in.

How much of the game have we seen in the demo, and how large of a game do you expect it to be? Do you know approximately when the game will be completed?

Again, it's tough for me to estimate exactly how large the game world will be. My rough estimate is that the demo contains ~50% of the game. My current projected release date is Q4 2006, but I'm not known for keeping my "projected" release dates, so I'd say the odds of that date being kept are about 1:1.

Do you have any other projects that you're currently working on? If so, can you tell us about them?

Jumper Three is still frozen in time until I feel I'm ready to pursue it seriously. Otherwise, I have a strange little engine with the current codename "Flail" sitting on my harddrive that I'd love to turn into a game post-Untitled.

What are your opinions on the success of the Jumper series (and the fact that people are referring to you as a 'GM Legend')?

The response to Jumper at the GMC was amazing, and I'm very flattered that so many people had fun with it. Considering the simplicity of it, I can understand the negative backlash as well. It was just pure level-design, with no real difficulty curve, polish, or presentation to speak of. Jumper Two did a similar feat, but introduced real physics and storyline to the series.

As for the GM Legend thing: If it really is public opinion I'm honored, and hopefully Untitled won't make them think otherwise!

"Untitleed is an exploration-platformer based on old-school platforming fundamentals and the joy of discovery"

You may want to fix the typo mistake in the game's title.

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