New Arrival: Everafter Falls

added ago by FireFlower

Everafter Falls is now available.

Rediscover the simple life. Farm, fish, forge and fight to restore the peace in a cozy and mysterious farming adventure. Features split-screen coop, a helpful pet, automated drones, resourceful pixies, a card-eating progression system, and dangerous dungeons to delve into!

New Arrival: Chronique des Silencieux

added ago by FireFlower

Chronique des Silencieux is now available.

Comment from the developer: "After spring lunches, I used to sit in the garden with my grandmother and listen to her stories. She was born in New York, grew up in Ontario, enrolled in the Royal Navy during WW2 and ended up marrying a French farmer.
After she died, my father and I spent 3 days in her office sorting through 70 years worth of letters, paperwork and souvenirs. We discovered a whole new side to her, with some things new even to her own children.

Her husband, the french farmer, had Alzheimer's disease, so I only knew him in a hospital bed and through my mother's stories.

During those 3 days, there's so much I would have wanted to ask directly to my grandparents, but they belonged to a generation who preferred to keep silent hurtful events and move forward with their life. Only after they're gone do you get the truth about these events that forged their personalities and are the key to better understanding a person.

If playing this game can encourage people to be curious or even nosey about their elders, before it's too late and they regret it, I'm happy."

New Arrival: FLAKE The Legend of Snowblind

added ago by FireFlower

FLAKE The Legend of Snowblind is now available.

"FLAKE was born twenty years ago as a prototype in search of a new concept for adventure games, with character changing depending of good or bad actions he does.
This was a very interesting psychological experiment.
Since then Snowblind world grew in all directions. Wide and deep story with lore from history of the lands. Timetravel and visiting of spiritual world was added to echieve richness of the story and narrative.
The story has lot more to tell...please support the efforts."

New Arrival: The Legend of Skye

added ago by FireFlower

The Legend of Skye is now available.

A classic point & click adventure featuring a young druid who embarks on an important journey, that takes her into a world full of dangers.

Developer Interview - Fabrice from Cowcat Games

added ago by FireFlower

We did an interview with Fabrice, the creator of BROK the InvestiGator; about the game, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:

1. Hi there, tell us a bit about you:

Hi! I’m Fabrice Breton, a 39 year old French solo developer & publisher.
I've always been fascinated by coding and studied programming at university, then I had a "regular job" at a company making software for hospitals for 7 years. And then I decided to "go for it", leave this job and go full indie!

2. What were you favorite game or games when growing up?

I’ve always been playing video games a lot, in varied genres, but I’ve always loved adventure games before anything, in all its forms in the 90’s: JRPGs like the classics Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger..., point & click adventures like King’s Quest, Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight... adventure/action like Shenmue. More recently, visual novels with investigation like Ace Attorney, Zero Escape or Danganronpa series have become my favorites!

3. When did you start making games?

I've made games all my life, starting with an Amstrad CPC when I was 8 year old. I loved it because it was so simple to use and understand, it really pushed creativity forward! (something I've found enjoying back again by using GameMaker now)

4. What made you start developing games?

When you love playing games, obviously a part of you also wants to make them, to bring your own contribution to the gaming world!

And if I can make a living out of it, isn't that ideal?

5. Why did you decide to make BROK the InvestiGator, what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

Ever since I left my day job in 2014, I had in mind this croc detective character and figured, why not blend two opposite genres by allowing player to solve situations in several ways - by using their brain or by hitting enemies and stuff? It's always been frustrating to me when adventure games don't offer a logical solution. When a door is blocking your way, you could try to lockpick it, but why wouldn't you be able to smash it open as well? Of course, with consequences...!

BROK 1

6. What are your characters based on in the game? For example real life experiences and people, movies etc.

Pretty simple, Brok is inspired by cartoons from the late 80’s/early 90’s, Disney Afternoon and TaleSpin in particular. These series were actually often darker than expected. I love contrasts - between colorful and cute animals, to the dark story with a struggle to survive and anyone can get killed!

7. How would you describe the style of BROK the InvestiGator?

Not a style exactly, but it's for everyone! I tried to make sure all kinds of players can enjoy it, with lots of "quality of life" features. You can skip action/fights, switch chapter, get in-game hints, replay the game by skipping cutscenes and dialogue...

And it even includes full accessibility to blind players - one of the very few games out there with this possibility!

BROK 2

8. What are you most proud of about BROK/what do you like most about it?

Having built a universe and characters that a growing fan community loves!

9. Did you experience any challenges in the development of the game?

Does it count if I say "everything is difficult"? ^^'

Really, there's no easy part when it comes to game development. But if I had to pinpoint particular areas difficult to programming, designing and implementing controls for all options (mouse + keyboard, keyboard only or controller) for both modes and making it possible to switch seamlessly from one control scheme to another was a lot of headaches and some hard choices. Mouse controls prevented from adding grab moves, for example. You don't often see Beat 'em ups with mouse controls, but it was required to make this mix work!

10. Is there anything you think could have been better?

For now I don't have any real regret, only very small things. My background is not artist so I always find my backgrounds and character animations (the ones I did myself) lacking. Also I wish I had delegated more stuff so it wouldn't have taken this long, though!

11. Are there any Easter eggs in the game?

Yeah, including a big one that most players end up using because it gives a WHOLE LOT of money! lol

12. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?

Yep, I have several BROK related projects in development, of various forms! Too early to announce though! I just released BROK on mobile and on consoles last year, added accessibility and a co-op mode...so give me a break! lol


A big thank you to Fabrice, for taking the time to answer these questions. It was interesting to know more about him and his game.

He has previously made the game Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure. You should check that out as well!

Developer Interview with Dave from Spooky Doorway

added ago by FireFlower

We did an interview with Dave, one of the creators of the two spooky The Darkside Detective games; about the games, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:

1. Please tell us a bit about you:

I’m Dave, the writer of The Darkside Detective games and our in-development title, Eldritch Housel. I also did a bunch of narrative work on The Necromancer’s Tale and Tavern Keeper, both in development with other studios.

2. What were you favorite game or games when growing up?

Dungeon Keeper (which clearly influenced the title of Tavern Keeper); Space Quest V: The Spinal Mutation.

3. When did you start making games?

2009, maybe? I don’t recall, I was in the middle of my MSc and an old college friend was setting up a studio and needed a writer.

4. What made you start developing games?

Hubris and/or ignorance.

5. You have made the Darkside Detective Games, as mentioned earlier. Why did you decide to make them, what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

It was all a bit of random luck, really. It was a game jam project that took off. We tired out a few different story approaches (one long story instead of many small ones, all short stories but all part of a larger storyline, etc) but the monster-of-the-week approach seemed to fit. From there, I just listed out some ideas. We’ve been working off that list, and adding to it, since.

The Darkside Detective 1

6. What are your characters based on in the TDD games? For example real life experiences and people, movies, games etc.

People I met, mostly. We travelled a lot while making the first game (cheaper than staying in Ireland…) so there was a wide range of people met in that time. One person can become three or four characters in the game. You just adjust their personality dials differently. I try to meet new people all the time, I find them fascinating.

7. How would you describe the style of the two games?

Surrealist nonsense (with notions of grandeur).

The Darkside Detective 2

8. Did you experience any challenges in the development of them?

Oh yes, lots. Mainly with the first one. We had no money and the game nearly died many many times. But one of us alway kept the others motivated and it moved forwards. The second one had some money from the first game and a kickstarter to fund it, so we were on it (mostly) full time but that had its own challenges.

9. What are you most proud of about your games/what do you like most about the games?

That people like them and find them fun. For silly games, they also have big feelings and big messages, which is good. There’s a nice community around it, which reflects well on the game, I think.

10. Is there anything you think could have been better?

The writing, the design, the puzzles, the stories, the gameplay, the jokes, the… you get the idea…

11. Have you and your way of working (developing games) changed/evolved over time?

Yes, we went from having no money to having some money. And we have families now. That changes everything.

12. And finally. It looks like your next game will be Eldritch House, unless there is another secret project. :) Can you tell us a bit about it and when will it be released?

I’m not allowed to discuss release dates yet, but I can say it’s a supernatural mystery, gothic horror investigation thing. It’s first person and way more serious than Darkside. It’s set in 1897 in Ireland. A lady goes missing in a hotel and somebody calls you in. When you get there you find there is a big rich person séance happening and lots of weird stuff. Everyone is a bit sinister and you have to navigate that while also trying to find the woman. It’s part Agatha Christie story, part ghost story.


A big thank you to Dave, for taking the time to answer these questions. It was interesting to know more about him and his games.

Looking forward to future games Dave has been involved in!

Testers Wanted

added ago by FireFlower

We're getting close to being finished with the store upgrade we have worked on for a while. Will probably be finished in February or March, but could be later.
We're looking for testers, to test the functionality, once we're done. Contact us through the contact form, Discord or Reddit if you're interested.

New Arrival: Twilight Oracle

added ago by FireFlower

Twilight Oracle is now available.

Explore a strange world in search of the fabled Oracle as Leo, a student with the rare ability to breathe underwater, and uncover your school's dark past.

Developer Interviews 2023

added ago by FireFlower

You can find a compilation of all developer interviews made during 2023, as a PDF download, here.

New Arrival: The Wreck

added ago by FireFlower

The Wreck is now available.

A mature 3D visual novel about sisterhood, motherhood, grief and survival.

At 36, Junon’s life is in pieces: her career has stalled, she’s emotionally numb, and her personal life is falling apart. Things come to a head when she’s called to the ER to find her estranged mother in a critical condition. This is the most important day of Junon’s life, and unless something changes, it might be her last.

Winter Sale 2023

added ago by FireFlower

Looking for a game or two to keep you warm this winter? Check out our Winter Sale (December 11-17). You can find everything from crocs fighting rats to teddy bears playing guitars.

Developer Interview with Guga

added ago by FireFlower

We did an interview with Guga, the creator of the recently released comedy game The Will of Arthur Flabbington; about his game, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:

1. Tell us a bit about you:

My name's Fabio - even though I prefer to be called Guga - born and raised in Sardinia (Italy) and living in Switzerland since 2011. I'm 38 years old, father of two lovely girls. I'm a C++ software developer by day, and making adventure games is my main hobby.

2. What were you favorite game or games when growing up?

I played all sorts of games back in the day. Adventure games had the top spot for sure, but I also loved to play sports games, platformers and sometimes even FPS... but I was never good at it. If I had to choose my favorite title of all time, apart from Monkey Island 2, I'd say the original Prince of Persia.

3. When did you start making games?

I've always been trying to make games one way or another. I remember trying to code a quiz game on the C64 when my father taught me how to read user input in BASIC. I was 6 years old. I made pen-and-paper adventure games for my classmates when in middle school, then tried The Games Factory and Adventure Game Studio around the year 2000, and published my first Android game in 2012, when the name Gugames was born. But if I had to choose a moment where my game making became a regular thing, then I'd say January 2020, when I decided to pick up AGS and remake an old Android point and click puzzle game I made in 2015.

4. What made you start developing games?

Games, and adventure games in particular, are the reason why I entered Computer Science at the University. So even if my professional career brought me away from them, it's always been a goal I had to tick off my list. Once I became a father and my daughters started to be more independent and left me a little bit of spare time, I decided it was finally time to do it. I wanted to show them that if you have a passion, it's never too late to follow it.

5. Why did you decide to make this particular game, what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

It's easy: AdvXJam2021. I had joined the adventure jam world in 2020 and I just adored it, so I wanted to participate in 2021 too. As soon as the theme was out ("contact"), my first idea was "let's make a game where you have to contact a spirit". It rapidly evolved into "you contact the wrong spirit and now you're in trouble" and I was happy, also because I only had two weeks for development, I couldn't put too much thought into it.

It was meant to be a 2-week project, but then my calendar got full with real life appointments, and it was clear I couldn't make it. That's when I decided to polish my entry as much as I could, give it voice acting, and turn it into a demo for a longer game I'd develop later. The response was very positive, so I kept developing the puzzle chains and the subplots, but the whole structure is still the same of the original adventure jam idea.

6. What are your characters based on in the game? For example real life experiences and people, movies etc. Who would you be in your game?

My favorite kinds of characters are usually either inept or jerks, or possibly a mix of the two. I relate with characters whose goals are doomed to fail - Donald Duck for example, especially in the Italian comic books where he's always extremely unlucky, or Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura - but also fish-out-of-water types like Guybrush Threepwood. Jack is the inept kind: his plan backfires and he finds himself trapped in an annoying situation. And Artie the Ghost is just a jerk. Writing his caustic remarks was very fun.

Who would I be in my game? There's a bald Italian pizza loving guy voiced by me in Act 2, I guess this answer the question.

7. How would you describe the style of your game?

It's a classic point and click adventure game, with a strong focus on comedy and puzzles. My two main goals are to make you laugh, and make you reason.

8. What was hardest in the development process of the game? (Warning: Spoiler Alert.)

Apart from finding the time to work on it? I'd say the possession mechanism. There's a section of the game where the ghost learns how to possess people, and you can move NPCs around. That was a nightmare to implement. I had to bend the engine capabilities to make it work properly, from plugging in the correct voice lines to ensuring that NPCs return to their intended place when not possessed. Making a multi-character game is hard in itself, making a multi-character game where they must also keep functioning as NPCs in order to advance in the plot is tragic.

9. What are you most proud of about your game/what do you like most about the game?

It's a complex game, and I still find stuff I didn't remember writing. The game makes me laugh even after two years of development. And the fact that while the game is hard, everyone keeps telling me that the puzzles make perfect sense once you solve them.

10. Is there anything you think could have been better?

One small regret I have is that the plot shows its "game jam" origins. It's functional to the game's spirit, but I'd like to tell a bigger story next time.

11. Are there any Easter eggs in the game?

There is one, in the traditional sense. But mostly there are many many "decorative" interactions that will surely reward those players who explore and try out stuff even beyond the mere puzzle solving.

12. Are you planning on making more games in the future? Do you know what your next game will be about in that case?

I'll never stop making games, that's for sure. I just have to understand where to go now. I always have three or four different ideas fighting for priority, but if I had to choose now I'd probably develop a prototype for a puzzle game I had in mind for a while. No plot, no writing, just plain puzzles. But in the end I'm a comedy writer at heart, and I know I'll miss writing jokes.


A big thank you to Guga, for taking the time to answer these questions. It was interesting to know more about him and his game. Looking forward to more games from him in the future!

New Arrival: The Will of Arthur Flabbington

added ago by FireFlower

The Will of Arthur Flabbington is now available.

Enjoy a comedy point-and-click adventure game about a dead uncle, a hidden treasure, a reluctant ghost sidekick, old people and pizza.

Read a full interview with the developer here.

New Arrival: Universe for Sale

added ago by FireFlower

Universe for Sale is now available.

Universe for Sale is a hand-drawn adventure game set in the dense clouds of Jupiter, where sapient orangutans work as dockhands and mysterious cultists strip the flesh from their bones in order to reach enlightenment.

A few words about the project:

The project was born from the collaboration of Zeno and Federico, respectively a cartoonist and a programmer, who joined forces to create their first real video game: Universe for Sale. Friends since university and gamers, they had created some small smartphone games, but nothing serious, because at that time, they were involved in other projects. Zeno was working on "Universalmente Parlando" (translated from Italian as "Universally Speaking"), a graphic novel project, looking for a publisher who wanted to publish it, but without success.

Everything changed during the pandemic. As many, they were stuck at home with a lot of free time. Zeno talked about the graphic novel project to Federico, who proposed the idea of turning it into a video game.

They wanted to recreate the exact, relaxing experience of reading the comic book, but
enhanced by the potential of the video game medium to make it lively and interactive, focusing on maintaining the drawing style and narrative method.

They immediately began work on it, and in late 2021 they released the prologue based on the first chapter of the comic. Now the full game has been released.

Read a full interview with the developers here.

Developer Interview with Tmesis Studio

added ago by FireFlower

We did an interview with the developers of the game Universe for Sale, that was released today; about the game, game development and games in general. Enjoy!

1. Tell us a bit about you?

We are Tmesis studio! The group consists of only three people: myself (Zeno), the artist and author of the game's story, Federico, the developer who is a jack-of-all-trades ranging from programming to building bicycles, and Guglielmo, the sound designer who studied at the Conservatory and works in sound design for theater and cinema.

We all come from different worlds. I come from artistic studies and work as an illustrator and comic book author. Federico studied architecture and is a versatile person with a wide range of skills. We are all friends and have always wanted to create something beautiful together.

2. What were your favorite games or games when growing up?

Zeno: I really like exploration and management games, much better if set in space: Outer Wilds, FTL and RimWorld are my favorites!

Federico: When I was a kid, I loved almost all kinds of video games, as is normal when you are a kid! From platform/adventure like Rayman, Prince of Persia or Super Mario Sunshine to party games to play as a family (we are 4 brothers) like Mario Party 4 or Mario kart Double-Dash on Gamecube! how many big laughs, Over time I got more and more into fps (Halo, Battlefield, Cod), especially competitive multiplayer.

Guglielmo: Gush! I'm a kind of a fixed guy, when I fall in love with a game I could spend hours and hours on every detail. My first love is Super Mario 64, then Halo CE. I've forgotten to mention my fancy game, a french point and click called Forestia, now a cult for its horror features.

As you may have noticed, there is no one on our team who is passionate about narrative games. This may seem curious because UfS is extremely narrative, but we like to think that we are creating something that would help us appreciate this type of game, going beyond the traditional narrative game schemes.

3. When did you start making games?

Federico and I (Zeno) started in 2016 with a small point-and-click game prototype for smartphones during our university days, both completely self-taught. After that, we took different paths and only started again in 2020 with Universe For Sale.

4. What made you start developing games?

We have always been passionate about video games, we believe it's an incredible means of self-expression. When Federico and I (Zeno) met, this shared passion emerged. I knew how to draw, and he knew how to program, so we naturally started experimenting on this medium.

5. Why did you decide to make this particular game (Universe For Sale)?

After the first experiments we wanted to try something bigger, I (Zeno) had an idea for a comic, but I couldn’t find a publisher who wanted to publish it, so we decided to try to turn it into a video game, focusing on the narrative and the medium of the comic.

Universe for Sale

6. What are your characters based on in the game? For example real life experiences, movies etc.

The main characters (Lila and the Master) were derived from a very long and difficult process of summarization. The Master was born from a series of cards that I made years ago, with a style similar to tarot cards, depicting a series of characters that I pulled out of a stream of thoughts. The Master was the first and perhaps most successful. I wanted him to have a mysterious face with a look that had seen many things but still with a spark of curiosity.

On the other hand, Lila was built much more meticulously. I am a big fan of stories with female protagonists and have always wanted to create one myself. Even before having a story, Lila changed face and name dozens of times. I wanted to start with her and then think about the right plot that could fit.

Therefore, the characters have completely separate origins. However, one day they came together in a small vignette where they were chatting in front of a cup of tea, and that is where their story began.

7. How would you describe the style of your game?

The game style is strongly influenced by Sci-Fi comics from the 80s, but we wanted to move away from the world of Japanese and American comics, which is very saturated nowadays, focusing instead on European comics.

While American and Japanese comics focus heavily on the protagonists, their actions and emotions, European comics are more focused on the context of the story. Often, the protagonists become part of an illustration and reflect the experiences of the place where they are.

There is also a different attention to color and line art. The French school is characterized by a clear and artistic line, which enhances details and gives a documentary style. In Universe for Sale, we wanted to achieve this effect. The characters are small details of a more complex illustration that vibrates in front of the player's eyes.

Similarly, the story and the protagonists (Lila and the Master) will be a mirror of life on Jupiter. In fact, throughout the game, they will talk a lot about their experiences, friendships, and hopes on the planet.

Universe for Sale

8. What have been hardest in the development process of the game?

Many little things! Having been our first serious project we made a lot of mistakes, many times we didn’t take into account things that we thought were easy, and then they wasted a lot of time afterwards.

Even banally the dialogue system, at first it seemed a simple thing but gradually it became more and more intricate, leading us to spend months fixing bugs.

9. What are you most proud of about your game/what do you like most about the game?

Surely the artistic style is the thing we focused on the most and we are very proud of how it came.

Moreover, we are very happy to see that when someone who is not passionate about narrative plays our game, they are often surprised by how they become immersed in the story and world. This helps us understand that, thanks to the narrative method and artistic style, we have broken down the barriers that written text can sometimes create for an average player.

10. Is there anything you think could have been better?

At first we wanted to put more exploration and interaction, but during the development of the game, we had to cut a lot of things because they started to be beyond our capabilities. In any case we think it is not a big deal, that the fact that the game is very "essential" it’s also a good thing.

11. Are there any Easter eggs in the game?

Many! Federico is a big fan of the easter eggs and he wanted to insert some of them in the game, but I think nobody will ever find them. We like to make them extremely cryptic, which will be an end in itself.


A big thank you to Zeno, Federico and Guglielmo, for taking the time to answer these questions. It was interesting to know more about them and their game. Hope to see more games from them in the future!

New Arrival: Feria d’Arles

added ago by FireFlower

Feria d’Arles is now available.

Enjoy glorious pixel art while helping Molly achieve her dream of entering the legendary Feria d'Arles - France's greatest bullfighting competition.

New Arrival: The Witch's Lullaby

added ago by FireFlower

The Witch's Lullaby is now available.

A classical adventure reminiscent of the King's Quest or Quest for Glory series.

Enter the troubled land of Fungham and point and click your way through an enchanted forest, inhabited by sock-stealing gnomes, a pig king and a witch.

New Arrival: Enclosure 3-D

added ago by FireFlower

Enclosure 3-D, a classic text-parser mystery adventure game in 3D, is now available. You are Mike Goodman, joining a mission to investigate mysterious activities at an arctic base.

Developer Interview with Simon Mesnard

added ago by FireFlower

Let me introduce you to Simon, the creator of the Black Cube series, and his thoughts about his games, game development and games in general.

1. Hey! Tell us a bit about you:

Hello! I am Simon Mesnard, I'm 40 and I live in a small village of France near Dijon. I am the person behind Simon Says: Watch! Play!, a micro-entreprise that creates indie video games and 3D visuals since 2009. I work on my own or at distance with other creators/friends that I have met along the years. I am mainly known for my sci-fi adventure games called The Black Cube series, which include such games such as ASA: A Space Adventure, Catyph: The Kunci Experiment, Myha: Return to the Lost Island and Boïnihi – The K'i Codex.

Before I started making indie games, I was working on realistic 3D visuals for advertizing websites for a French communication agency, and next to it in my free time I also made several experimental animated films available here.

2. What were you favorite game or games when growing up?

I went through many different stages with video games, and quite a lot of games have made a deep impression on me. When I was a kid, a friend of mine introduced me to Adventures of Lolo, a nice puzzle game with some very intricate situations. Do you know it?

Then if we continue with the games that really made an impression on me, I don't remember exactly in which order I played them, but there was Grim Fandango, Final Fantasy VII and various other J-RPG games from the PS1 era. I played in a couple of years to a number of those games that had lowpoly characters moving on prerendered 3D environments, and I loved it. This is an era that I really liked a lot, and that I tried to reproduce in several of my games with a similar retro style.

Then, I was in high school when one of my friends showed me a beautiful picture of a 3D flower in a video games magazine. That flower was captured from a game called Exile. I had never heard of it, so he lend me a 5-disc version of the game before Exile, which was called Riven. I installed it for the first time on my computer and... Wow! I think that few people today can imagine the shock I had. It's true that now AAA games are very spectacular, but I think it's nothing like what one could feel around 1998 in such a realistic and unique world such as the one of the Myst series... Quickly, the awe left place to another feeling: the pleasure of solving the challenging puzzles while taking notes on paper.

Riven

Above: Riven

More recently the games that made a deep impression on me are Detroit: Become Human, Life is Strange and Tell me Why, mostly narrative adventure games. But I think it's also because I get older and I need more relaxed ways of playing games.

3. When did you start making games?

I am mostly a self-taught 3ds Max user. I started learning the 3ds Max software around the age of 16 maybe. At that time I didn't really had in mind to create video games and was more interested in movies. I wanted to create my own animated film inspired by Shrek or Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

I remember that I had also discovered the RPG Maker game engine, and eventually I tried to make my first game with it. However, as you probably know, RPG Maker only allows to create 2D pixel J-RPGs, but I wanted to create something as visually impressive as Final Fantasy VII. So on the contrary of many users of RPG Maker, I decided to create prerendered 3D backgrounds in 3ds Max and import them in RPG Maker, and the pixelated characters were moving around in these 3D environments.

Then I completely forgot about making games and followed my studies. It was complicated to find a cursus that would allow me to work in the 3D industry at that time, so I was quite busy with my student life. It's only in 2011 after the success of the short film 2011: A Space Adventure on Vimeo, that I decided to create my first game ASA. I had the necessary skills to create the 3D world, I chose an easy to use game engine - Adventure Maker.

4. What made you start developing games?

During a few years I was very much into writing novels. I started writing a sci-fi mythology about mysterious black cubes. It became the background for creating ASA and the whole Black Cube series. I can't share this book because it isn't finished and is written in French, but I love telling stories, it's an important part of my games, and I always enjoyed much more playing to video games with rich stories, rather than discovering a new gameplay.

Then, making a game like Riven was allowing me to walk in the direction of film making because of the peculiar setting/atmosphere in these games, and the addition of many videos to contribute to the immersion. The world of adventure games was quite a niche when I started, and I was aware that no major Myst-like adventure had been released since a very long time. It seemed that I had a chance to shine, so I took the opportunity and worked very hard on it.

5. You previously mentioned the Black Cube series games. What are your characters based on in those games?

There aren't really characters in the Black Cube series. The player is usually represented by astronauts with their spacesuit that hides their identity. The purpose is to allow everyone to identify to them more easily, whatever your age, origin or gender is.

6. How would you describe the style of the games?

I originally used to describe ASA as a "Myst in space" with a cinematographic style. I think that today, knowing more about the world of adventure compared to when I started in 2011, I find that it's better if I avoid the direct comparison with Myst because my games have their own style, and many fans of Myst told me that my creations definetely aren't Myst-like games.

Now the Black Cube series is 10 year old, and my definition has changed. All of the games are different, they are not all created in 2D or prerendered 3D.

Globally I now prefer to talk of the Black Cube series as 1st person sci-fi adventure with logical puzzles and exploration. I don't want to stay stuck in a specific art style, and I don't think that prerendered 3D should remain a signature of the series just because I like it. However I want to continue to include a rich story and expand the mythology in the future.

ASA

Above: ASA

7. Did you experience any challenges in the development of them?

Yes! The biggest challenges are all related to working at home on my own, as an indie dev with no publisher, for a niche market. To be honest, none of the games sold well despite the good reviews in the press and the warm welcome from the fans of the genre.

In addition, it's difficult to work on a series! I often insist on the fact that every new game can be played separately, without knowing the previously released episodes, but most of the players that didn't play ASA hesitated to play Catyph or Myha.

There's also the question of knowing the existence of the other games! I have made a website that tries to summarize and list everything about the existing games, but when you get the games directly from another store, it's not always obvious that there are other games. It happened more than once that someone wrote me to say that they enjoyed playing Myha or Boïnihi, and they were surprised when I told them that there are several other existing games in the same series.

Many times I was about to give up the series, and maybe even give up being an indie developer. It's very difficult to make a living. It's only thanks to a very sold fan base (many of which have become friends) that I can continue.

8. What are you most proud of about your games/what do you like most about the games?

What I am the most proud about my games is that I have been able to create them despite working in very complicated condition, and never giving up.

One thing that I like a lot with my games is that I can be in touch with many different players from around the world. When they didn't like my games, I'm a little sad, but when they enjoyed every second, and write a long and detailed review, it's so exciting! I have had long discussions with some of these players, and it was really interesting and rewarding.

9. Is there anything you think could have been better?

Oh yes, so many things could have been better. Not only the conditions in which I am working, but also the games themselves. ASA for example, was created with a big lack of experience and has a lot of space for improvement, despite the existence of the Remastered Edition. I would like to work on a full 3D remake someday, so who knows?

I can only continue to work hard and try to improve my projects and fix the past issues, hoping that one of the games will be more attractive.

10. Have you and your way of working evolved over time?

When I created ASA, I made prerendered 3D images and videos that I imported in Adventure Maker, a great but old-school engine that doesn't allow full HD resolutions. Then for Catyph I migrated to Visionaire Studio, a more modern engine. Then I experienced the creation of my first game in full 3D, Myha, and it was really something different! We can say that a major evolution is simply related to the technique and engines that I use, and everytime I have to learn new things.

Another thing that changed in my way of working, is the energy to put into my project. When I created ASA, I was only 30 and had faith in my own skills and abilities to please an audience. Today at 40, I work with a very different state of mind. I am more serene and I am more tired too, and so globally my way of working day after day is less frantic. I wouldn't be able to do the long days and nights of work that I used to.

Globally, I think that when I started making games, I was doing it like a studio or company, with daily working hours and schedules, while today I approach it more like an artist with a more philosophical view regarding my life and the creation of new games. I now really work depending on my ideas and inspiration.

11. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?

Since 2020 and the very low sales of Boïnihi, the Black Cube series has been paused and I have not really had the chance to work on a new game.

I am currently working with my brother on a beautifully hand-drawn 2D platformer game, and we hope that such an action game has the potential to reach more players than my previous adventure games. But this is just a parenthesis in my career.

Since a few months I am running the Black Cube Jam, a small challenge where creators and fans are invited to create their own short games inspired by the series, in order to celebrate together the 10 years of existence of the games (ASA was released in 2013!). There are a few prizes to win, and still 2 months to create a demo/prototype/interactive experience.

At this occasion that I have announced Hexpatria, the next Black Cube game. It will be made in Unity engine, will have a different style of puzzles compared to the previous games, and will tell a part of the story of Philip Forté that has been kept silent so far, just after he discovered the existence of the Cubes and the Ark in 2011.

If you like sci-fi adventure games, please wait for Hexpatria and keep an eye on it! Thank you!

12. Why did you choose to add your games on FireFlower Games, and what is your experience with us?

I find that the ideal indie store would have to be DRM-free, have a community of passionate players who do really enjoy adventure games. It would accept most games, would make it quite easy to add them to the store. It would accept the whole Black Cubes series, making it clear for customers that there are several episodes. And there would be a real person behind the store that I can contact in order to ask questions, or that contacts me if there is a need to work on a sale or special event.

It seems to me that FireFlower is somehow replying to most of these needs, so I was happy to have the opportunity to submit my games there.

Thank you for the opportunity of replying to this interview, and thanks for reading it!


Also a big thank you to you Simon, for taking the time to answer these questions.

If you're interested in trying the Black Cube series game, you can find them here.