Interview with Daniël Haazen (One Take)

Interview with Daniël Haazen (One Take)

In the last Ludum Dare – the number 28 in the history of this event – held in the distant December, Daniël Haazen (a.k.a. Sheepolution), a young men from Netherlands, won the contest due to his game One Take, a title that put us in the shoes of a filmmaker trying to successfully complete a series of sequences. In these, our performance was valorated according to the framing and the focus that we perform according to the instructions given. Thanks to this, his international impact has increased and now, it’s preparing a more complete version of the game for our enjoyment. Welcome to a new part of our section “En la Tribuna”.

When did you start to be interested in videogames development?

As soon as I started playing games, I always thought about how awesome it would be to make my own game. Then at the age of 13 I decided to download Game Maker and just make stuff. I got better at it and now I’m here.

What are your favourite games? What do you usually play and on what platforms?

I am a bit of a Nintendo-fanboy, so my favorite games come from there. I love Smash Bros for example. But I also play games on PC. I really like Dustforce, from Hitbox Team. I like a challenge so I go for the hard games.

Are you studying for becoming a videogame developer in the future?

Right now I study gameprogramming on SintLucas here in the Netherlands. I have a year and a half to go, and after that I plan on starting my own (indie) gamecompany. But I can’t really tell a lot about that, since I haven’t planned it all out yet myself.

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The idea that you had about the competition before participating, is the same after the final result?

I’ve been participating at Ludum Dare for a couple of years, so I know what I was dealing with. But you never know what idea you will come up with this time. I’ve also failed a couple of entries, so it was hoping that wouldn’t happen again. But I think we can most people agree that didn’t happen this time.

When did you decide to participate at the Ludum Dare #28?

I was really enjoying my first Ludum Dare, so ever since I planned on joining the next one.

About the experience related to the participation at the Ludum Dare, what could you tell us?

The start is the worst: Coming up with an idea. I just want to start with making a game, but I need an idea first. Normally it takes a few hours before coming up with something. After having an idea, I start with the art. Most people start with programming, but I like to visualize what I’m making first. After some art, I start programming and then switch between the two now and then. The first day is the calm day. Of course, I’m working on the game as much as I can, but I am not rushing. Then the next day I regret that because I almost always come short on time. I am not sure about what I can still put in the game or what will take too much time, and need to take some risks and make choices. If time is left then I add music. Then I upload the game around 10 times, because I keep finding things I forgot to add, or a small debug line I forgot to remove. Then the clock 48 hours and I am done.

If you had more time, what would you have included or improved in the game?

I would’ve optimized the camera detection. That’s what most people complained about, and I can understand that. I would also have liked to add a scene or two to the game.

What influences did you have at the time of making a videogame?

I always try to avoid visual inspiration, especially from games. Because then I get the feeling I didn’t come up with the game myself. Instead, I listen to music, close my eyes and just try to come up with something.

Is making a videogame in 48 hours so stressful like it seems?

Well I wouldn’t call it relaxing. But it being stressful is more of a personal thing, and it also depends on the game you work on. In Ludum Dare #27, the game wasn’t ‘finish-able’ until the last 8 hours or so. So that was quite stressful. Or when you have a bug that you can’t fix, those are the worst.

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Why did you decide to make a videogame related to cinema?

The idea just popped up in my head. I really liked the idea so I went for it.

Why have you used the pixel art style for the graphics? You hadn’t much time?

Yes, and because I can’t draw. With pixelart, I can give the game a good graphic style even though I can’t draw at all. But yes, it also saves quite some time.

What is your favourite element of the game? What wouldn’t you change?

The director telling you what to do, and the movie reviews. I think the humor helped me winning, and with these two elements I was able to implement it in the game.

Was the first position a surprise or you had a lot of confidence in your project? How has been the experience of winning the Ludum Dare?

A lot of people enjoyed my game and gave positive feedback, so I expected to end high, but it’s impossible to predict where you will end, and didn’t expect to win. When I saw it, I was so surprised. But it was 3 am, and my family was sleeping so I had to keep it down. So I was just shouting in a whispering, high pitched voice “I won!”. It’s been 2 months since, and the game has over 10.000 downloads.

Is One Take your first game? Have you tried with other games before?

I’ve made a lot of games in the last 6 years. The best of those are playable on http://sheepolution.com.

After the Ludum Dare #28, you said that you are going to launch a full version of One Take. What this full version is going to include?

I still need to plan everything out, but I do have some changes already in mind. In the original you had either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You can now get more kind of ratings: ‘Perfect’, ‘fantastic’, ‘great’, going down ‘till ‘terrible’. Players will also be able to create and share their own scenes. I’m not sure yet when the game is done, but I want to thave a good demo ready before September.

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In what platforms we’ll can play One Take?

Both the original and the full version are playable on Windows, Mac and Linux. Some people have suggested to make it for mobile, but I want to focus on PC so that I won’t be limited by lack of keyboard for example.

Have you got more projects in mind after One Take? How will be your next project?

Not really. I mean I have a few ideas in mind, but those are just ideas, which I’d like to keep for myself.

What do you feel when you think that there are a lot of people playing your own videogame?

It’s awesome. Bringing joy to someone with something I created, that’s the best feeling there is.

What do you think about the indie videogames industry?

It’s hard to predict the future of something like that. I think that indie games will keep being more general, and the ‘indie’ tag will go away. The quality of indie games will rise and it will become harder and harder to be recognized in the big mass. Whatever happens, I think it will be all positive for the indie game scene.

You’re from Holland so, how do you see the videogames world in your country?

I think we’re doing quite alright. Vlambeer is a big succes, together with Ronimo and Abbey Games. If we’re looking at AAA, then we have Guerilla with Killzone. And we have on of the best gamedev schools in Europe, the NHTV. I expect a lot more talent to pop up here soon.

From Games Tribune, we wish Daniël Haanze luck with the release of the full version of One Take. We send a wish of encouragement to all those novice developers who are working on new projects to get them going. On the other hand, thanks so much to Daniël Haazen for answering our questions. We wait you the next week with a new interview!

Texto escrito por Fernando Porta.

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