Putting the Cow in Cowabunga, Indie Game Studio Heavy Sheep Games launches their debut game: PurpleBit Surfing Cow on Google Android complete with you guessed it: A purple cow on a surfboard! I had to sit down and talk with Luiz Gustavo who leads the Heavy Sheep Games team to find out about the creators of such a unique game and get some insights on how they developed a game like this. PurpleBit Surfing Cow was created using GameMaker Studio and launched on Google Android with an IoS version in the works. With the formalities out of the way, let’s get right to the interview.
I saw on your itch.io game page that there were a few contributors to PurpleBit Surfing Cow, how many members are part of Heavy Sheep Games?
“Our team has currently 4 members.”
That sounds like a good, focused compact size for a team. The main thing that stands out for everyone has to be the graphics choices. Can you talk a little about the process of how the art assets are created?
“This is our artist Adrien but goes by the nickname: Didi; he made all of the art using the mouse, he also makes some sprites using his Android phone.”
Incredible talent and very unique vision. I also saw mentioning about taking on commission based work? Is that programming, design or art based contracts?
“This is also our artist, he made some pixel art for commission, so if you want some sprites for your game, please consider talking to him.”
That’s great, we certainly will keep him in mind, and if anyone else would like to reach out to Didi, here is his twitter: @DidiGameBoy. Now Luiz, you are the lead programmer for Heavy Sheep Games, why did you decide to go down the path of Indie Game Developer?
“I started programming when I was 19 and I did that because I always wanted to make games, this was when I learned a little bit about flash back in 2009, then I got to college where I studied computer networks and became a developer.”
I also saw that you do some work in Unity 3D and I curious why you chose GameMaker Studio? What were the main benefits for picking one over the other?
“I’ve used unity sometimes, but I ended up choosing GameMaker because it is simpler to handle with positions. Unity uses it’s own unit system whereas GameMaker uses pixels as a unit. Also, GameMaker handles pixel art better and without so much workaround, which worked out perfectly as our artist makes pixel art; so GameMaker is a wise choice for us.”
Purple Surfing Cow is mentioned as your first major launch title, did that just mean commercially or have you completed other games?
“This game is the first “polished” game we completed, we’ve worked in many other games for game jams and others we are still working on.”
If I understood correctly, the expectation is to release 1 new game per month? That is very ambitious, what is the reasoning behind that?
“We always made a “large scope” for our games and making one game a month we can think small and focus on what’s important, it’s going to be a good game design exercise for us.”
What would you say is the main goal for 2018?
“We want to make games for living, this is our main goal, we’re working hard for it.”
Are you involved with any game communities?
“Yes, we are involved in a great Brazilian developer community called purple cow; this community has a lot of talented people and this community inspired us to make this game and this game is nothing but a commemorative game to this community.”
Now I also noticed that PurpleBit Surfing Cow has an HTML5 version and the Google Android version. Can we expect more platforms?
“We are focusing on mobile games, in the next months this game is going to have an IOS version.”
Couple of final questions: What have been some of the biggest hurdles you have had while being a game developer?
“The hardest thing about being a game developer for me is the time. Since I have a day job, which is not as a game developer and sometimes I have to make extraordinary work; sometimes I have some issues that I have to solve at home and this is time consuming. I also have to pass time with my wife and my family, so it is hard to just sit down and make my games.”
Last, Any words of wisdom or hints for other Indie game developers out there?
“The best advice I can give to indie developers is to participate in game jams, get involved in a community, and most importantly; Don’t use networking as a way to find people to work for you, instead, make friends. I am lucky to work in this talented team and they are not just my colleagues, they are my friends; it’s great to make what you love with people that cares about you.”