If you haven't already guessed, the RetroCollect team are huge fans of Yuan Works and their indie puzzler Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles. We sat down with the creators of the addictive puzzle to ask a few questions on their pixel addiction.
The Costa Rican team were more than happy to answer our questions and give a deeper insight into their gaming references and ideas behind Wind & Water. With the upcoming enhancements to their game and the hint of an online version, now has never been a better time to get inside the minds of Yuan Works.
As another quick notice too, you may begin to see a familiar style in the header of the RetroCollect website. Yuan Works very kindly offered to create a custom Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles banner to appear on the website, so keep your eyes peeled.
Yuan Works Interview with RetroCollect
RetroCollect: Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles is fast approaching it's fourth birthday since arriving on the GP2X in 2007. Did you ever expect this much success which saw releases spanning multiple consoles and physical copies being distributed?
Yuan Works: Well, to be honest we didn't exactly picture everything above: the nominations for prices, publications, etc. However, we were very strict to ourselves about the quality of the game, and about creating a fulfilling experience for the player. The rest comes off as icing on the cake.
RC: The game has seen a very active community due to your online leaderboards. One player seems to have racked up over 110 hours on your game, with others scoring almost impossible combos. With some gamers bordering on being addicted to the game, how do you feel knowing you have created one of the most enjoyable indie puzzle games to date?
YW: The most rewarding part of creating a game is that people have fun playing it. It is incredibly humbling, however, that there are those who think of our little puzzle game as their favourite game of all time, ranking up hours of gameplay and performing moves that not even us, the creators who have played/tested endlessly, knew were even possible! We only wanted to make a game we would like to play, but it is an honor to have all this support and nice things said about it, and specially know that some people get so lost into it that they miss sleep and get to work late (true stories)!
RC: Since day one you have offered custom drawn sprites for Wind & Water at an added cost (and an attached photograph). This service has now been expanded to include a fully animated pack of actions. To this date, how many people have you 'pixelized' and have you had any interesting/questionable drawing requests?
YW: It's hard to tell, but they dwell in the hundreds!! Since we draw people from their pictures, whenever someone who has a sprite says something about our game, we have a face to relate to the person, which is very cool for us. So far, none of the requests have been too far-fetched, but there were some challenging fellows/accessories! Out of the top of my head, a bicycle helmet, stripes in shirts, very complex hair... But we try our best for them to look as close as possible in the given limitations! Here are some of the hardest/most curious. The best part is that sprites will be available for online netplay, which will add a unique identity never seen before in a game.
RC: Your pixel art style is fantastic and without a doubt heavily influenced by many earlier console games of the 90s. Can you give the readers of RetroCollect an insight into your main video game influences when you sit down to create your artwork?
YW: Thank you very much! Like many readers and RetroCollect editors, we grew up to love the same kind of pixel art-style. The 90s was the pinnacle of 2D evolution, which little by little got replaced by newer graphic systems. The very end of the 16-bit era, and magnificent arcade masterpieces from powerhouses like Capcom and SNK, definitely left a permanent mark in our perception of what "animated sprites" and "pixels" could do. Recently we also enjoy good pixel work on GBA, NDS, and many great independent releases.
RC: You've hidden several mini games such as a Game and Watch style driving game into the story mode of Wind & Water. With these little snippets of games, can we expect to see another game on the horizon soon from Yuan Works? And if so, would you ever consider creating a game on an older console (similar to Pier Solar for the Mega Drive)?
YW: Right now we're concentrating our efforts on making Wind and Water online, which in fact, we've been testing lately (with the help and support from W&W players) and had great success! But there are many projects we have that we would love to work on when we have the opportunity, since right now we can't dedicate ourselves 100% to developing games. We would love to release a game for an older console, but it is very difficult economically, which is why we truly admire the efforts of our indie colleagues. Projects like Pier Solar are born out of love of gaming, without any intentions to become a gold mine, just as W&W was conceived, and we know very well the innumerable hardships they go through.
RC: And finally with your newly released PC version of the game, can Linux and Mac users expect to get in on the fun soon?
YW: Well, great news for Linux users, we're working on an online client and it's fully working now! We haven't made an official W&W announcement for Linux since we're fixing and adding features here and there, but there's a thread on our forum dedicated to running the game on Linux with a lot of people helping, here: http://forum.wind-water.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=61
As for Mac, we'll get into it as soon as we finish with the Linux version, which we hope will be soon.
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