What has Paul Pridham of Madgarden been up to lately? Well, after the release of his collaboration with Rocketcat Games in Punch Quest, he’s been a busy little beaver. On his entertaining Twitter account, he’s posted in-progress screens of games he’s created. He’s released small projects such as Eggnogg, his take on the unreleased Nidhogg, and Mad Life, while working on Fargoal 2.
But it’s the unreleased titles he’s teased that intrigue the most: the curious-sounding and interesting-looking RogueBot and Mars Brutalis, a new collaboration with Rocketcat Games. But his latest title, Chillaxian, had an interesting birth that we spoke to him about.
148Apps: Chillaxian was born from a poll on your site to determine your next game. Why go through this process?
Pridham: I have been participating in the OneGameAMonth.com challenge, where game developers are encouraged to try to make a game each and every month. I’ve managed to get a game out almost every month this year so far, and time was running out for July… so I had to think fast. Since I’m no good at thinking fast, I decided to offload the burden onto the good people who like to play my games… plopped 3 of my billion-or-so ideas into a poll, and BAM. Chillaxian emerged.
With Chillaxian, what was your objective in making this kind of take on the classic shooter?
Well basically, I have always liked Galaxian and the zen-like quality of its gameplay… the swerving, slippery aliens dropping shots that you just barely scrape past, no shields to hide behind… you have to be in a sort of mental zone to get very far in it. I wanted to reproduce that sort of vibe, but in a more relaxed, laid back way. The Chillaxian aliens are slower, bullets are slower, but the activity ramps up and you get a sort of mini-bullet-hell action. Just to be able to sort of chill out and play that kind of zoned-out gameplay, with super simple controls… on the couch. That was the goal.
You’ve worked a lot on various projects that you’ve shown bits and pieces of on Twitter - will we ever see any of these games in a fully realized form?
I know you are keen on RogueBot, Carter, and yes it’s coming! The OneGameAMonth effort has encouraged me to ramp up my prototypes and small games production, and for someone like me with a bazillion game ideas, it’s just a really good excuse to try out a lot of these ideas. I’ve got about four such games in the pipeline, and plan on releasing them all.
What challenges arise from rapid development like this? Is the satisfaction of completing a shorter project any different than a longer one? Will you do any more short projects in the future?
It’s hard to juggle multiple projects at once… but by choosing to explore concepts that further enable future games, I get the most bang for my buck. These shorter games allow me to iterate a lot of ideas and techniques that I can re-use down the road. In a way I think it’s more satisfying to complete these shorter projects, especially when you hit the small, refined target that you are aiming for. Perhaps it’s more a case of instant gratification, heh… but that works for me. In any case it’s a nice break from the bigger game projects which tend to slog on for a bit too long.
I’m absolutely going to do more short projects in the future. In a perfect world, these little games might even make a bit of money, and maybe I’ll get away with it! It’s so crazy it JUST MIGHT WORK.
Thanks to Paul for his time. Chillaxian is available now on the App Store.