Finalist | Best Student Game

Kenny Sun is the creator of Circa Infinity.

Each year at GDC, MFA students from the NYU Game Center interview the Independent Games Festival nominees, asking them three questions about their development process. In addition to this interview, you can read all the insightful interviews from 2016 here. These conversations, and much more, will happen when the Game Center returns to GDC in 2017. Learn more about the Game Center at GDC 2017.

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?

Kenny: So it came out of Ludum Dare game jam. So I think the theme for that was ‘Entire Game on One Screen’ so I started playing around with what could I do with a circle, and having the circle grow into different things. So, yeah, that’s it.

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?

Kenny: Definitely the polish took a big portion of the time, it wasn’t like, I wouldn’t consider it like a “valley of despair” it was kind of therapeutic in a way. It feels good having one thing in the morning and then at the end of the day the same thing, but it’s better, in a way. And also, it’s nice not having to manage so many gameplay mechanics at the same time. It’s a good way of keeping things simple.

Alexander: Was it difficult working on all that yourself, or was that easier in some ways?

Kenny: It could have been easier having help, but also having to collaborate also might take away from a game, take away from the coherence of a game. So yeah, I definitely enjoyed working on my own.

Alexander: And lastly, how different did that end product end up being from your original vision?

Kenny: Core concept is exactly the same. So actually the prototype, the game jam version, was actually an infinite runner. But then I decided to turn it into a level based thing, because I wanted to play around with the space and it’s hard to do that with a procedurally generated infinite runner. A lot of my game is teaching you different mechanics and it’s hard to do that with procedural games.

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!