I had a nightmare once, of which I don’t remember very much, but one thing I remember was that there was a mysterious man in there who was called Krimelo, who traveled around in the universe. I woke up, and that name was stuck on my mind.
Krimelo is a conflicted game developer. After making some games that he was totally unsatisfied with, he took a year long break, got a new perspective and came back with some fresh, unconventional game ideas, although he is no less self-critical.
Where do you live?
What do you do?
I’m going the last year at a technical senior high school with the direction of industrial design.
Current development tool of choice?
Right now, I´m learning java but I’ve made all my games in Game Maker’s built in language GML.
When did you start becoming interested in videogame development?
I grew up with NES and N64, so I’ve played videogames more or less my whole life. I’ve always been quite creative, so when I came across this program called GameMaker, in which you could actually create games quite easily, I started to make some.
I started with the drag and drop functions of Game Maker since I thought the programming language would be too time-consuming. Then I heard about MMF and wanted to test if it was better. I stuck with MMF for almost a year but when I realized that making more complex things was quite hard in MMF, I decided to go back to GM to learn GML (I also started to get interested in programming at the time).
You can pretty much make the same stuff in GameMaker and Multimedia Fusion. If you learn GML, which is quite easy to get the hang of, you can make quite complex games in GameMaker. MMF on the other hand, lets you do more than GM (if you don’t learn GML), but when it gets quite complex, MMF becomes quite hard to work with.
You stated in this this interview that you felt your early games were too conventional and boring. Why do you feel it is important to try and make unconventional or experimental videogames?
In my opinion, I think the videogame-medium is the most interesting medium and it’s mainly due to the interactivity. And since the videogame-medium still is a baby among others, you can do a lot of things that people haven’t done before. You can experiment with the interaction between the game and the player and between the game and the audience, etc. The games let you into a virtual play house where the player has to deal with the rules that the game developer sets. You can still make amazing stuff with the interactivity, but most developers seem to just be interested in making their games as fun to play as possible. So for me, my aim is to set the player in an environment which she hasn’t been in before.
Do you feel that you are currently succeeding at this goal?
Well, no. Although I´ve made some games that feature quite unique ideas, I have a lot more interesting ideas waiting to be implemented in games.
What other goals do you have as a videogame developer and what would
you have to accomplish to consider yourself ‘successful’ in your own eyes?
I’m always setting up new goals for myself. To be featured on a certain site, to make an interview or to win a competition, etc. My goal right now is to earn some money from my games. Therefore, I´m learning java so that I’ll be able to make apps, etc. I also have big plans of making a multi-player game which is a game that I really would like to play myself. And when I finally earn some money from game development, I guess I´ll consider myself successful. But being featured in big magazines like PC Gamer is also a success.
Flash would seem to be a quicker route to start earning some money from your games via sponsorship and ad revenue (a number of developers have decided to take this route with the help of flixel or FlashPunk). Why Java as opposed to Flash?
Flash would also be a way, yes. But I´ve heard that Flash is a mess to work with compared to other languages. Java is a more widely used language too, so I´ll probably have more use for it than Flash.
Why did you decide to take a break from game development?
I took a break because I had too many things to do. School, girlfriend, friends, soccer-training, family, my band, etc. I had to stop doing something and since I didn’t know what games I wanted to make, I took a break to focus on other things. About one year later, I wanted to start making games again. And since I had developed my vision with game making, I started to make more experimental games.
I chat with cactus quite often and he has helped me with some issues in Game Maker. We live a one hour bus-ride from each other so it’s quite weird that we haven’t seen each other in real life. What makes it weirder is that his ex-girlfriend was a neighbor to me for three years.
Erik Svedäng (creator of Blueberry Garden) has moved to the same town as me and cactus and he has started to get all indiegamescene-interested together to drink some beers and talk. I haven’t been there yet, since I was ill the last time, but I’ll join the next one!
Have you attended No More Sweden? If not, are you you thinking of attending?
No More Sweden seems like a nice event. Haven’t been there yet but I may go there the next summer.
There seems to be a slight trend with indies making 2-player only games in recent times with messhof’s Cowboyana, anna anthropy’s Chicanery and Craig Forrester’s Treasure Treasure. What inspired you to make your 2-player only game, Siamese Enemies?
A 2-player experience wasn’t anything I aimed for in the beginning. I just wanted to make a game about Siamese Twins and a 2-player game suited that idea perfectly.
I wasn’t able to play Siamese Enemies (or any of my examples) as they were intended to be played because I had no-one to play with and I have seen others express similar views about these 2-player only experiences. Does it worry you that you might be alienating some of your audience?
Well, quite. Some games can only be experienced the way the developer wanted, in 2-player. So sure, it would be nice to not alienate some of the audience but I guess there is no other way if the developer wants to make a special gameplay-element be experienced fully.
Siamese Enemies would definitely not work as a 1-player game. And playing with a COM would not be the same experience that I wanted the player to have.
Motivation seems to be an issue across the board for just about any indie developer with a personal project but especially for small freeware developers that are just starting out. Is it an issue for you and if so, how do you deal with it?
I really enjoy watching my statcounter-page to see the amount of visitors on my site. That keeps me really motivated. It’s also a sign that I keep making steps forward after every released game.
Do you receive much feedback, regarding the games you have made? Has it been a motivating factor in continuing?
Yes, I think so. It’s at least enough to keep me motivated. After the release of Siamese Enemies, I felt that I would like to aim for a broader audience to make some money and still make games that I want to play myself. Not that it’s impossible to make money from non conventional indie games, but I´m pretty sure that you can’t make very much.
Does aiming for a broader audience mean compromises have to be made to achieve your goal?
I´ll definitely have to compromise to aim for a broader audience. It´s impossible to make unconventional games, trying to be conventional. You can try, but you´ll fail 99.9% of the time.
You have stated that you wouldn’t like to sit in front of your computer, working on videogames all day. Do you think spending too long doing this would take the fun out of videogame development?
Of course. I have too many other things to do outside the computer world. Sitting in front of a computer may be fun and you may learn a whole lot but you need to get out and meet friends to be having a nice life (speaking for myself).
What is your development schedule like?
It varies a lot. Some weeks I don’t work at all, other weeks I may work up to 4 hours a day.
I usually think about game ideas and different ways to make a game around a theme, but I don’t see that as actual development time.
How long do you feel comfortable spending on the development of a game before the concept starts to lose its appeal?
It’s very different. It depends on how much I like the concept and how much potential it has. I often just start on a project if I really think it has potential to keep me motivated working on it occasionally for about a month. The upcoming multi-player game concept I’m planning is probably going to keep me motivated for about a year or so, since it’s a game that I really, really would like to play myself.
Who are your biggest influences and heroes in the independent gaming community?
I’ve been quite influenced, visually, by especially Messhof and Cactus. The last few months though, I have been more and more influenced by the style and atmosphere of movies and pictures. I guess it’s hard to make non-traditional, blocky graphics without getting into either Messhof or cactus territory, but I´m trying to get as far away as I can but still not going too weird. I really don’t like when people compare one of my games, visually, with one of their games. So the style of the graphics is pretty important for me, I guess.
Talking, not just visually, I have no-one that I especially look up to. If I had to choose one though, I would probably go for Notch since he has done something I thought I would never see coming from the indiegame-scene.
Does the comparison with cactus or messhof make you feel as if people don’t see you as a unique developer in your own right (like your walking in their shadow)?
Yes, a bit. They were like to first successful pioneers of not making Super Mario Bros-clones, so it’s expected that a lot of developers that make unconventional games are walking in their shadows, including me. But it seems like more and more people are experimenting so I guess, and hope, it’s just a matter of time before the audience accepts you as a unique developer.
If you could collaborate with one person, who would you choose?
There are many people I would like to collaborate with. I would probably go for a videogame-interested artist of some sort that is not developing games. It would be pretty inspiring. Other than that, Messhof, Cactus, Stephen Lavelle or pretty much anybody out there that has been making interesting games but still is not too far from what I do. Right now, I´m pretty open for collaborations since I’m just learning java and planning my upcoming apps and my multiplayer game.
Do you have any advice for developers that are just starting out?
It differs, depending on what aims you have with game making, but generally, start out with smaller projects and remember to make games that you want to play yourself.