Canadian Indie Developer, Barry Johnson of Lillymo Games, gives some of his valuable time to take part in my Indie Corner Spotlight Interview. He has recently released the game Perils of Baking, which you can read about in our Rapid Review here.
How long have you been a developer?
I started the first steps of my work on Perils of Baking almost 3 years ago,
How many years has your team been developing games?
It is just me at Lillymo Games, so the same as above, almost three years.
Who, or what, inspired you to become a games developer?
My first experiences playing SNES and NES as a kid made me want to one day make games. I didn’t start working towards it in any real way until about three years ago, but it has always been my dream. Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country were a massive inspiration for my first game Perils of Baking. I would play those games over and over again as a kid, and I still love them today.
What was the inspiration for your team’s name?
Lilly is the name of my Jack Russel Terrier; her nickname is Lillymo. During the open sequence for Perils of Baking, I have a little animation of her running across the bottom of the screen. If you listen closely, it plays audio of her bark and then the classic “skitter” noise she makes when she runs across a hard floor.
Describe a usual day in the life of an indie development team.
This is hard to answer because what I am doing changes so drastically each day. It could be a day of mostly playtesting, programming, designing enemies, designing levels or art.
For the PS Vita port of Perils of Baking, it was a week or 2 of getting everything to work. Then once everything was working it was just level design day after day which was a nice exercise, to create content for a while with everything already in place.
Can you describe the process/timeline of developing a game?
With Perils of Baking, I had to spend a lot of time learning what I was doing. So that process was all over the place, and at times I was utterly stuck.
With my second game (and from now on) I feel I have a good flow for going about this. First I decide the game I am making next off of my list of game ideas. Next, I get a framework running that feels good to control. Then I develop all of the systems that will be involved.
Next, I create all of the enemy types and bosses, thinking up all of their patterns and attacks and so forth. After I am happy with all of those designs, I start putting them together in the form of levels. Once all of these basic steps are done, it becomes a matter of just adding on content and adjusting things to work better as I go.
As it becomes a game, I continue to play it myself and see where I should take the game based on how it is going and what feels cool and what doesn’t. Once it is in a decent playable form that I feel is fun to play I start to let my family and a few friends play the game so I can get some outside feedback as early as possible.
How do you juggle all of the aspects of games development?
I follow my interest for the most part. If something I am working on is giving me trouble, I can always invest my time in something more appealing and come back to it. Taking time away from something I am stuck on often gives me the time to think about the problem from a different perspective so that when I come back to it, I am prepared to solve it.
I genuinely enjoy every aspect of it, so it’s not an issue for me. My sister Kathleen has helped out a bit with art now as well. She helped me touch up some art and change a few things for Perils of Baking and has already contributed a boss design for the scrolling space shooter I am working on right now.
What is your ambition as an indie developer?
My favourite games were on the SNES and NES, and I feel those classic 2D games and genres still work just as well today as they did back then. I want to see more of these style of games released, and I have some ideas that I think will be fun to play. My ambition is to get better with every game I make and to create games that are as special to someone out there as my first games were to me as a child.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the games industry?
First I would say make sure it is what you really want. It will be a lot of hard work, and it may be a long time before you see any return on your work. So be sure it is 100% what you want to do. Knowing that you do will be a fuel that will keep you going no matter what.
If I could give my past self some advice, it would be not to wait. If you know you want to make games (like I knew) and it is your dream, then start working now. Start learning, start humbly and build your skills from the ground up as soon as possible.
Where do you see gaming heading in the next decade?
I can see a future where our home consoles are updated every couple of years. Where instead of say buying a “PS6” you just buy the new “PlayStation”. In this future, I expect most games would run on your PlayStation even if you were a few models behind. Perhaps with the biggest AAA games being the exception. Your library would carry over between consoles, and if you wanted to use a portable PlayStation, it would be able to play all of the same games on the go with your saves ready. Similar to what the switch is doing but unified across a family of hardware.
With games, I think we will continue to see huge successes in the online market and many companies chasing that success. However, I don’t think AAA single player games are leaving any time soon either. The market for those games isn’t going anywhere, and of course, I can’t wait to see what the Indie scene looks like ten years from now. We are seeing so many amazing new Indie developers right now, imagine where they all will be ten years from now… That’s perhaps the most exciting thing to look forward to for me.
I want to say a massive thank you to Barry at Lillymo Games for giving his valuable time to take part in the Indie Corner Spotlight interview. If you would like your team to be featured, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
You can purchase Perils of Baking on the PlayStation Store at the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP5011-CUSA13000_00-PERILSBAKING1CRB