Posted by Benjamin Webb on Mar 26, 2013

Interview With David and Janet From Wadjet Eye Games

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Gemini Rue is a sci-fi adventure game from Wadjet Eye Games. The title originally appeared on the PC platform a couple of years ago and is now being released on to mobile platforms, such as the iOS. Be sure to check out our review for the PC version of the game here.

Us here at Capsule Computers were fortunate enough to be able to interview both David and Janet from Wadjet Eye Games on the upcoming mobile release for Gemini Rue. You can find the interview below.

Hi there would you be able to briefly introduce yourself and what you do at Wadjet Eye Games.

Dave: I’m Dave Gilbert. I was a freeware developer – making small games for fun – for several years before I started selling our games commercially.  I guess technically I’m the CEO or president or whathaveyou, but I don’t have any specific role. My main strengths are design and project management, with a bit of programming and marketing thrown in.

Janet: Hi, I’m Janet and I mainly deal with programming and technical stuff. I’ve been working with Dave since we got married 3 years ago, but before that I was a game programmer in the UK.

Could you give us a brief history of your organisation: Wadjet Eye Games?

Dave: Back in 2006, I was between jobs and had a bit of money saved up. I didn’t feel like getting a new job right away, so I took a month and made The Shivah. I had so much fun doing it that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, so I figured it was “now or never” and took the plunge into fulltime indie development. It seems to have worked out, since it’s been seven years and we’re still doing it. This is in no small part due to Janet, who became a partner in the company in 2009 by virtue of marrying me. Since the company began, we’ve developed six games in-house and published five more by other developers (Gemini Rue among them).

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So Gemini Rue started out as a PC game, at which point did it seem like a good idea to port the game over to the mobile platform?

Janet: People kept asking for an iPhone port constantly, so we thought there was a market!

Dave: The mobile gaming arena was proving to be a huge one. It looked to be the direction gaming was going and we wanted to be a part of it. So porting is something we always wanted to do, but the game was created using the Adventure Game Studio engine. This engine, sadly, was rigidly PC only so porting was impossible. That was until the engine went open source about one year ago. It took a long time, but we finally managed to coax the game over to iOS and it plays great. We hope to port our other games to it as well.

How well will the controls work with the game, I remember that the gun play in the game was a little bit finicky at times, will it be made easier for the mobile crowd?

Janet: I am very proud of the new system for controlling the gun-play! I’ve spent more time on this than any of the other changes. The gun combat still works in the same way as before, but instead of being controlled by keyboard, it is controlled by onscreen buttons. I’ve also made some other tiny changes to make the gun combat somewhat more responsive, but these should be invisible to the player.

What were some of the technical and aesthetic challenges behind porting the game from the PC to the mobile platform?

Janet: The main issue was that most of the hotspots in the game (the things you have to click on) were very tiny, which meant they were hard to hit with big fat human fingers.  I went through the game and manually enlarged them all, which took a long time!

Some of the objects in the game were also very tiny in terms of visible pixels on screen, so I made them larger and brighter, and if you hold down your finger a few seconds, the names of all the objects in the room pop up so you can see where they are.

The game originally had different functions for the left and right mouse buttons, so I had to alter gameplay so that a simple tap works for all contexts.

The engine-level technical challenges were mostly handled by the AGS porting team – so a big thank-you to everyone on that team, especially JJS (Jochen Schleu) who fixed so many tricky bugs in the engine for me!

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For players that have yet to pick up a copy of Gemini Rue, could you go over the basic premise of the game?

Dave: In the game you play as two characters: an assassin-turned-cop named Azriel Odin who is looking for his brother, and an amnesiac trapped in a strange mental facility called Center 7. It is all set against the backdrop of a beautifully dystopian sci-fi world. Throughout the game, you switch between the two characters and their stories slowly converge.

Gemini Rue was an amazing adventure game with a slight twist, can you remind everyone what that twist was from a gameplay perspective?

Dave: I’m not sure new players would appreciate us giving the twist away! :)

Visually, Gemini Rue was very reminscent of games from around 20 years ago. Have these visuals stayed behind for the upcoming mobile release?

Dave: A few graphical items have been redone to make them more visible/easier-to-touch on a mobile device, but otherwise not one pixel has been changed. The retro aesthetic is a core part of the appeal, so updating that would ruin the experience.

What are the future plans for organisation in regards to this title? Are there any plans to franchise this out into sequels?

Dave: We want to port it to Mac and Linux, and any other platform that might come along. There are no plans for a sequel at this time. The story is very much stand-alone, and to franchise it out would lessen its impact. But you never know. If Josh Neurnberger (the writer/developer) has a good idea and wants us involved – we’d be on it like a shot!

Last and final question. Have you seen the film Grandma’s Boy and how accurately does it portray game developer culture?

Dave: I’m sorry to say I haven’t seen it. Sorry!

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Dave and Janet – Wadjet Eye Games

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