Your character is a small boy, and you begin the game having a picnic with your two best friends: your pet rock and your stuffed giraffe. Then Mr. B comes along and steals your pal the pet rock! Now it is up to you to rescue your friend from the evil Mr. B.
You ride around an interactive map from one level to the next collecting rubies and taking out trolls with your wooden sword. There are also towns where you can interact with people to buy goods and get clues about where to find your friend.
Super Adventure Pals is a fun, gorgeous platformer that brings out the kid in everyone. With high quality graphics and addicting gameplay, it is this week’s Flash Game Friday winner. Congratulations Jay and Julian!
Get To Know Jay and Julian
Tell me about yourself- how many people are on your team? Where are you based?
Jay: My name is Jay Armstrong, I grew up in Hong Kong but am now based in the UK. Super Adventure Pals was a collaborative effort between myself and Julian Wilton.
Julian: My names Julian Wilton,18 and im from Australia. Im currently a full time high school student battling with my urge to make games and interesting things and to focus on school work.
How long have you been making games? What did you do before?
Jay: Before making games I was actually in a band full time, trying to be a rockstar, until one day we all realised we couldn’t stand the sight of each other and that actually affording food was a good thing! So I retrained to become a political-risk analyst, but couldn’t quell the creative side of me and became obsessed in my spare time with making games. I loved coming up with ideas, thinking about coding problems and the beauty of animation. The first game I made was called Super Wicked Awesome and it was a total labour of love. It wasn’t until I finished it that I learned about sponsorship. That was a game changer for me, as soon as I realised I could make a living out of doing something that I loved, I was sold. I quit what I was doing and went full time – that was a year ago, almost to the day.
Julian: I have been making games for about 3 years now; I was always fascinated with making cool stuff and using the resources of the internet to do this. I made my first game in C++ through resources on the internet then found out about Flash. Me and my friend founded “SACC – Super Awesome Cookie Corporation”. This was when I was 15 keep in mind :P Still should of named my branding after it. I put in the hours to learn AS2 whilst my friend was also.
As most developers starting out my friend had given up and moved back onto playing games rather than trying to make them, I on the other hand kept at it and was motivated to continue. After a while of sucking at trying to be a programmer I decided I would give my hand a go at art. I was never good at art, I have always been creative but never really practised art and in fact hated the subject in my earlier years of school when it was mandatory. I realized I was a lot better than I was at art than programming ( I was pretty bad at it! : ) and continued on.
What was your inspiration for “Super Adventure Pals”?
Jay: Super Adventure Pals came out of a whole melting pot of inspirations, influences and ideas. We had a desire to create something heart-warming, yet outlandish. The game features a plot so ridiculous that it becomes a wink to the audience, an in-joke between the player and developer. Games, particularly platformers, often come with a whole set of preconceptions and understandings that mean you are familiar with the format even before reaching the first level. You know the aim, what to do and feel comfortable with it. By giving the game such outlandish characters and plot it pushes our preconceived expectations in a way that I hope would make players laugh and add to the fun of it.
Julian: Super Adventure Pals brings across all the elements that you think of when you’re starting out, “oh wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a game that could do this”. You know its why you get it into it. I took inspiration from chibi knight, castle crashers and not actually Adventure Time! Many players have mentioned that this game is a direct descendant of Adventure Time and I do agree it has turned out a lot like it and I think this a good thing but I didn’t expect the feedback about adventure at all. I remember saying to Jay “Wow someone mentioned its like adventure time?”. Don’t get me wrong though I’m a big fan of Adventure Time !
Did you encounter any major challenges or hurdles during development?
Jay: With Super Adventure Pals we had a very open-ended cycle. We basically knew we wanted to create something wacky, something fun and with a few interesting mechanic ideas. I really like the idea of having a pet, or friend when you are playing games and so we quickly decided on a giraffe companion. We had a whole bunch of ideas, like what if you could control them both simultaneously? Things that just didn’t quite fit. It wasn’t until right at the end that we decided there would be a few core abilities you would get from boss fights, and others you could get from the shops with diamonds. This open ended approach was both a blessing and a curse. It gave us full creative freedom, but meant that it took much, much, much longer than it should have.
Julian: When I started this project 8 months ago or whenever my art was still kind of nooby. I hadn?t really explored many different design elements of different perspectives as I only really knew how to draw things in side view which I would add into the game and my animation consisted of tweens and more tweens. Throughout SAP my style developed a lot, Jay really helped with designing some of the aspects in game even if it was just a really rough sketch it helped me a lot to making more interesting art. Throughout the game you will see the style of the game change a bit this is due to me getting better at it
What types of games do you like to create the most? What types of games do you like to play the most?
Jay: I like making games that I want to play. I also like making games with silly plots and bright fun characters. I don’t think I’ve made a dark or serious game yet. When I’m making one, I like to think of this phrase: “Add more awesome”. It acts as my mission statement and cements my approach. Would it be cool if the giraffe that lives in your backpack could use its tongue as a helicopter blade? Yes. Space pirates? Go for it. A squid that lives on your head and you can throw as a weapon? Of course. Chicken golf? Definitely.
Julian: I like to create anything that looks good and is awesome, I could never create a commercialized game without adding a degree of personality into the game. I like games with great atmospheres and aesthetics. Basically anything that looks pretty but also something that is interesting. Games I’m playing at the moment consist of mainly Steam indie games such as Binding of Isaac and Super Brothers- basically, a lot of the 2D games. Sometimes I just buy these games because they look cool! So I probably play indie games the most but still enjoy a big adventure of Skyrim or Fallout. Not that I get time to play games with my busy schedule.
How long is your game creation cycle? What is your process?
Jay: To create Super Adventure Pals we prepared a standard size baking tray, laid in three parts platformer, an ounce of action-rpg, a sprinkling of rainbow-laser-shooting-giraffe, a healthy portion of ruby hunting and a whole heap of adventure. Then we just peppered to taste, placed it in a pre-heated oven and left it to simmer for 4 to 6 months.
Although that makes it sounds easy, cooking can be dangerous. Be sure never to pour water on an oil fire. For more information on kitchen safety, please visit http://www.aham.org/consumer/ht/d/sp/i/2317/pid/2317.
Julian: I usually create a mock up for a game and then create a game based upon it. For SAP Jay had posted in a developer forum looking for an artist. I looked at his other games and instantly knew after seeing the crazy concepts of kit and the octopod that this would be fun (even if he was only an as2 programmer). For SAP we kind of would switch around I would do a lot of work for example making the decorations for the levels, whilst Jay may have been free while I complete this task, then I might have been free whilst Jay completed something. But in reality I was always mostly behind! This left Jay time to develop other games whilst I completed the work.
Are there any game developers that you admire or consider “rock stars”?
Jay: Absolutely, I am a big fan of Brad Bourne, BomToons, Daniel Sun, Tom Fulp & Dan Paladin, and Gurt & Johan (Mythologic Interactive). I would definitely ask them to sign body parts.
Julian: I’m really a big fan of Edmund McMillen, Dan Paladin, Tom Fulp, Bomtoons, JuicyBeast, Ansel and other artists such as Dom2d and Luke Pearson.
What is it about making a new game that you enjoy most?
Jay: The part I love the most is the beginning. You open up a new Flash document and you have a hundred thousand ideas and limitless potential. Nothing quite beats that early rush. Getting mechanics and the overall gameplay working really is fantastic, but equally I think the very end can be a bit gruelling. There is nothing worse than going through a finished game trying to find bugs that you can’t recreate! It’s totally worth it though, totally.
Julian: Just enjoy the process of making something awesome and getting paid for doing it! I love trying to market my game and sell it and going through the whole process from start to finish. Then I enjoy looking at the feedback from the game.
Do you have any hot projects you’re working on right now?
Jay: I have a stack of papers in my home office, each filled with a new game idea. I’m keen to follow up Combat Hero Adventures with a sequel, and I have an entirely new class-based battle game on my to-do list. For more information please follow me on my blog at JayArmstrongGames.com. As for Super Adventure Pals, well lets just say that I’m pretty sure we will be seeing more from the adventurer and his loveable yellow friend.
Julian: Ha, well I have promised myself I will not make any new games due to me having to focus on school but I have developed a small game for my final art project at school. I’m definitely looking forward to putting my improved art skills to the test and making an even more awesome game than Super Adventure Pals!
Thanks Jay and Julian, and best of luck with your upcoming projects!