Like the idea of catching waves? As a cow? A purple cow with sunglasses on? I hope you do because a brand new Made in GameMaker game: PurpleBit Surfing Cow is out on Google Play store and it is completely Free to play with no ads or in app purchases at all. A true tribute to Purple Cow Studio which has a diverse and great community behind it and I personally wanted to know a bit more, so I sat down with Luiz Gustavo from Heavy Sheep Games to get some insight on the “Why” and “How” this game was created.
Let’s just get right to it and ask the main question on everybody’s mind: Why the name and why a cow as the main character? There has to be a story behind this.
“This game is a commemorative game for the Purple Cow Studio, this studio started a community full of talented people and the owner has a big heart; everyone in this community are kind and ready to help in anything you may need. It was for this reason we decided to make this game as a gift, for everything they offered for us.”
When I read the technical development summary for this game I noticed that it was started in GameMaker Studio 2 but then later converted to GameMaker Studio 1.4. Can you explain more details about this and how complicated was the switching process?
“Yes it is a tough story; we started this game as a project for desktop, a simple game to put on itch.io only, so we started this game in game maker studio 2. At that time YoYo Games gave mobile export licenses for everyone until the end of January. This gave us a boost to work on this game for mobile and we worked hard to finish this game before the deadline, but we failed making it. The game had little things to fix and no mobile export, so we decided to move to GameMaker Studio 1.4. This was hard to make, since GMS 1.4 doesn’t have some features like layers for example, for this I had to look at what layer each object were and set a depth in the create event. It also doesn’t have the new Instance variable system, so I had to put this variables in the create event as well.”
Wow, that sounds complicated and I know there is so much in GMS 2 that it is very hard to open up GMS 1.4 and know there are so many cool features in GMS 2. What else do you miss in GMS 2 now that you are back on GMS 1.4?
“Yes, there is a lot of features I miss in GMS 2, the layer system and the new instance variable system as I mentioned above and I also miss the code folding feature, which is great since I have a day job as a developer and use this a lot in my projects.”
Now one thing I really like about PurpleBit Surfing Cow are the unique graphics style. Did you guys make all the graphics in house?
“Yes, all the graphics were done in house by our artist: Didi and he uses the mouse to create the graphics.”
I saw the sound effects and music were done by Léo Cardoso and Maurício Costa, are they part of the group? Or was this outsourced?
“They are part of the group.”
That’s great to have such a diverse group of skills in Heavy Sheep Studio. Mooving [bad joke…sorry] on to the actual programming, did you use any GameMaker MarketPlace Assets or did you code everything yourself?
“I coded everything by myself in this game.”
Impressive, so then I have to also ask: What were the biggest obstacles or issues you had while developing the game?
“The most complicated thing I faced making this game was the switching process, not only because this was hard and had to make some workaround because of the lack of new features in GMS 1.4, but also because we had a bad feeling about not making it before the deadline, it was more an emotional obstacle than a technical one.”
I want to take a minute here and talk about controls because in a game as unique as this controls are a very difficult game design problem. Can you explain why you chose the controls? I found the controls are very intuitive to use and seem like a great fit. Did you try other controls first?
“We always felt the control should be more intuitive and this is the best way to control the character the way we wanted. Now, we know there are people who do not like virtual controls, they said it is not made for the hardware or something; but we couldn’t make it other way. We wanted 3 main actions and the most intuitive way to do this was using virtual controls. Since we started this project as a desktop one and then we moved this project to mobile we didn’t tried other controls.”
It is very insightful to hear about the internal processes and decisions that go into making a game, just as important though is finding out expenses. How much did development cost for Purple Surfing Cow?
“Since we worked as a team, this game was made with just the cost of the google play store fee.”
That is the great thing about being on a team where all the skills are diverse and cover all the major facets of game development. Now, if you can tell us: How much revenue have you made so far?
“Since this game is a commemorative one we made it for free, without ads or IAP, so we didn’t make any revenue from it.”
What a generous gesture and I am sure this game will bring happiness around the world. Are there any plans on porting Purple Surfing Cow to other markets like IOS, Kongregate or Steam?
“Yes, we’re aiming to port this game to IOS.”
Switching over to the actual gameplay, and I won’t spoil any of the big surprises but I have to know why some of things in the game show up; specifically the cruise boat whose passengers throw bottles at our main Cow?
“This is a cool story, every passenger in this cruise represents one of the most active member in our community.”
Incredible, that is a just a great way to include not only gameplay but personal touch as well. Also, the game is quite hard, what is the best time someone has gotten so far?
“The best time someone reported me so far is 35 seconds.”
Another interesting question I had been wondering about: Do you notice the game is more popular in certain countries? Like Brazil?
“Yes, maybe the reason behind it is because the game was made initially in Portuguese, we made and update to make it bilingual using the os_get_language function to check if the language of the device is Portuguese or not and chose the language accordingly.”
Well Luiz, truly fantastic job on PurpleBit Surfing Cow and I think it is great Heavy Sheep Studio made this as a tribute and completely free. Any final words or things you want to say before we end?
“It has been an honor to talk about the development of this game and we hope this can inspire other developers to make and publish their games. We are receiving so much feedback from players, this is a great experience and everyone needs that experience in order to grow as a game developer. I hope everyone enjoyed this interview.”