Winner | Best Student Game
AP Thomson and Jenny Jiao Hsia, are NYU Game Center graduates and the creators of Beglitched.
Alexander King: All game projects start with some kind of spark, from a design question to a feeling you wanted to evoke. What was the spark that grew into your game?
Alec: The original spark was, I’ve been programming for a long time, and debugging is this process in programming that people normally hate. But, under the correct circumstances, like you understand your system really well, you can probe it for information really easily. It can be this incredible, exhilarating, transcendent feeling. My original goal was make a game about debugging that’s fun. And I screwed up many times, I had a bunch of prototypes that didn’t work and then Beglitched sort of emerged from that idea, and then kind of became less about that idea. So that’s the spark that ignited the fire that had nothing to do with the spark.
Alexander: On a lengthy game projects, many developers say they enter what you could call a “valley of despair”. Did you experience this during your development process and how did you push through it?
Alec: Well I don’t consider it a valley, I consider it a hill. If I’m climbing a hill, there are two possible feelings when you’re climbing a hill, when you’re pushing against external forces. You either feel like you’re going to get up there and the view is going to be amazing, or you start to suspect it’s just going to be a fucking brick wall. And that was first semester of thesis. I was trying to expand one of my prototypes and I was just working against every base instinct and it was not working. And I felt like I was just going to see a brick wall at the top of the hill. So I scrapped what I was doing and made the battle system for Beglitched [laughs].
Alexander: That leads into my last question- how different did that end product end up being from your original vision?
Jenny: So it’s much more sillier, and playful. Everything has a face on it. And the color palette has swapped 180 degrees basically. From this traditional cyberpunk green super grimy feel, to something way more, I guess you could say “girly” but also has a certain edge to it. So I think visually that’s what’s changed most. But then mechanically, well we just talked a bit about how it’s changed.
Alec: Well I mean mechanically I guess it’s sort of like, when Jenny came on to the project I had a loose idea of what the narrative would be, and then she showed me some of her ideas for the art mockups. And I was like, “Ahh this is great!” It went in a completely different direction.
Jenny: I think that really formed who the Glitch Witch is, her personality, and her character in a way. Just by being influenced by sites like Tumblr and getting inspiration from that, that we don’t normally see in games currently.
Alexander King was once an analytics and strategy consultant, who used Excel, statistics and common sense in order to improve businesses. Now he puts those skills to much better use in making games!