FGS 2012 Advisory Board Interview Series
This is part three in a series of interviews of the Flash Gaming Summit 2012 Advisory Board. This is your chance to get to know the folks who determine the content of Flash Gaming Summit, getting their thoughts on both the conference and the games industry in general. This week’s Advisory Board interview features Jakub Dvorský, founder of Amanita Design. In case you have been living under a rock, their game Machinarium has been a huge success on iTunes, specifically hitting #1 on the iPad. Machinarium was also a Mochis Award Show winner at FGS 2010 (Best Game Art category).
For more information on Flash Gaming Summit, including passes, speaking, or award show nomination information please visit the conference website.
Introduce yourself- who are you, how big is your team, and how do you participate in the Flash games industry?
My name is Jakub Dvorský, I’m visual artist and game designer. In 2003 I founded the studio Amanita Design, which is now nine employees strong. We are focused mostly on developing independent games (built in Flash) but sometimes also on other projects like films, music videos or some experimental stuff.
What did you do before? How did you first get into the Flash games industry? Tell us about your path.
I grew up on 8bit computers and started making my own games when I was 15 on my first PC, I was in grammar school at that time. Later I went to the Academy of Arts in Prague to study animated film. When I was finishing the academy I created my first Flash game (Samorost) as my thesis project and later the same year founded Amanita Design.
What has been your proudest moment since joining the Flash gaming community?
I’m most proud of assembling our team – a bunch of great friends, professionals and passionate creators.
What was your biggest challenge early on with Amanita Design? How does that compare to the types of challenges you face today?
When I started making Flash games I was alone so the biggest challenge was programming – I was doing it myself which was very tough for me even on a basic level, my head is just chaotic for this kind of work. Nowadays we have a couple of excellent programmers so the biggest challenge is probably game design, more specifically how to make a game entertaining, challenging, accessible, new and original.
Do you have any recommendations or advice for game developers who are trying to make a multi-platform “hit” game? What should they be focused on?
The game must definitely be fresh, distinctive and original and at the same time perfectly executed and polished. Sounds easy right? :)
What is it that you love the MOST about the Flash games industry?
It’s easy to create a simple game and publish it on the web or as an app, so any idea can be quickly transformed into a real game and can be played by thousands of people all around the world. This is really great because you can immediately see if it works or not and you can also improve your game according to the feedback you get from your players.
What do you like the least?
The bugs in Flash.
How has the industry changed since you fist joined?
The whole scene has changed, it was a completely different world when I started with Flash games. When I was searching the web for interesting interactive stuff, there were just a few really good websites and only a couple of games worth mentioning, nowadays there are tens of thousands of games, experimental interactive projects, art projects, websites and portals.
The theme for FGS 2012 is “Maximize Your Game”. How do you think Flash game developers are maximizing their games today? What could they be doing better / differently?
I’ll be repeating myself but I think the developers should try to be more original and brave, they should experiment more with art, game mechanics, narrative approaches and with the whole medium which is still unexplored and waiting for young adventurers who wants to create something really new.
Where do you see the Flash games industry going? What’s in store for the future?
A more interesting question to to me is “where is the games industry is going”? I think the future of the games industry is extremely bright because the medium will be broader and more serious in many ways. I see really big potential for creative people from various disciplines from artists, writers, designers and musicians to programmers and engineers.
What part of Flash Gaming Summit do you enjoy or look forward to the most?
The best part of almost every game conference or festival is always meeting other developers and players in person.
In your opinion, why should people come out to FGS 2012? What should they expect from the conference?
Similarly to my previous answer answer, the most valuable part of conferences for me is meeting some interesting people in person. It’s sometimes much more influential than weeks of reading, surfing or watching videos on the web.
Thanks for your thoughts and insights Jakub, see you at FGS 2012!!