Four months on from claiming their $100,000 prize in last October’s 2BeeGames contest with their game Dustforce, I caught up with Woodley Nye and Lexie Dostal from the Hitbox team to find out more about them, the game, and how things have progressed since their win.
Woodley and Lexie who went to highschool together had always had an interest in game design. They had worked on a couple of unfinished projects together and the pair had used Game Maker before to create a couple of prototypes but Dustforce was their first serious attempt at a finished game.
The game, which involves cleaning a platform world was, well, unusual. Woodley explains how the concept came about. “Thinking about fun platforming mechanics, covering ground and being acrobatic. Then the idea of chores and how they could be made fun. I think I was actually sweeping leaves at my uncle’s house and imagining it as a platformer.”
“The idea [for Dustforce] was floating around in a different form before the competition, but we made the game with the competition in mind. We were working on another prototype, but it was meandering a little, and we both got excited at the idea of making Dustforce because it was more concrete.”
“Lexie was very competent in Game Maker and we knew we could quickly start prototyping mechanics.”
Of Game Maker’s capabilities Woodley says “Unfortunately, since we never had the time to optimize our code, the render still felt pretty slow. We have used other systems in the past that were capable of rendering way, way more particles and sprites on the screen at once. Also, the inbuilt sound engine was pretty simplistic and limiting. We ended up using supersound.dll, a free plugin, to play and manipulate sound files – it worked quite well!”
“We’ve actually ported the game to our own C++ engine now, so we won’t be looking at GM for future versions of Dustforce. However, we will definitely go back to it for rapid prototyping – we recently made a 48 hour game during the Global Game Jam with Game Maker.”
So, what has happened since their competition win?
“We’re in the process of relocating to the USA from Australia. Dustforce has been re-coded and re-animated from scratch in our own engine. We learned a lot from the prototype version – it was an extremely basic version of the game that we have in mind – so we’ve spent a lot of time working on the final design. There will be much more to the full version than just the sweeping mechanic. We’re still working out what is going to happen with Dustforce’s release but you can expect the game to be released within the year!”