Developer Interview: Isaac Lopes

This is part one of our new interview series. For this series we have interviewed game developers around the globe that participate in the Game Development World Championship about the different aspects of being a developer and making a Game Jam game.

In the first part, we focus on the developer who goes by the name of Isaac Lopes and has started at a very young age. During his journey in the world of games, he has managed to do a lot. Isaac is one of the developers behind Paper Disco, which won Weekly Vote round 6 this year. Paper Disco will compete in the Fan Favourite bonus stage!



Hello Isaac Lopes, can you start by telling us what got you into game development?

Hi! I'm a founding partner and game dev at Mad Pixel Studios (madpixel.com.br), an Indie Game Dev Company at Brasília - Brazil.

My passion for games started when I got my first PC game, Little Big Adventure 2. A few years later, when I was 12 years old, I got curious about developing games. At that time, I didn't have internet access so the resources were quite limited. One day, at a newsstand, I saw a magazine about developing games in Macromedia Flash and I bought it. I was amazed at first sight. I spent hours and hours trying to create simple games, which was my first contact with game development.

In 2012, when I was 18, I went to college to study Computer Science at the University of Brasília, where I met fascinating people with a shared interest: Game Development. In 2014 we participated in some game jams, one of them was the Jam Nerd Festival, a pop culture event at Brasília. There, we created the game Vortex - Morpheus' Torment and it became the jam champion. That was the motivation to set up the Mad Pixel Studios.

Wow, you started at a really young age. Is this your first game made in a Game Jam?

No, my first game jam was in 2014. At that time, I couldn't stop talking about games with my classmates. We were always debating mechanics and new game ideas. One of my friends suggested joining an online jam called GBJam3, where we had 10 days to create a Game Boy console style game. Our reaction couldn't be different, we agreed to participate without a second thought! We gathered as many friends as possible and signed up! The group members were very young and inexperienced, but we had only one goal: make the best game! I confess, during the jam, everything was a mess. However, in the end, everything worked out well and we released Mad Pixel's first game, Quest of The Eternal Sword. Since then, I've been in many game jams, both online and in person.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about making a Game Jam game? Any personal challenges you want to share?

Well, this one is a bit hard, because there are so many I could think of. You have to coordinate a team, make sure to execute your game idea in a short timeframe available, not to deviate from the theme and maintain a good performance, even when tired, stressed and under pressure.

Despite all these challenges, the greatest one is keeping a simple scope. One thing I've learned in all these years of Game Development is: short and iterative development cycles are your BEST friend. Let's suppose you have 48 hours to create a game from scratch, if in the first 24 hours you already have a complete prototype to work with, it's half of the battle! You'll have time to focus on the game art, sfx, camera shakes, polishing, menus, balancing. In fact, you'll be able to play your game and tweak it before the deadline. Even if something from this point goes wrong, you'll still be able to submit your working prototype.

On the other hand, if it's already passed 40 hours and your main character doesn't have animations in game, your musician is pilling up hundreds of sfxs, your main mechanic is not quite there yet and you don't have win/loss conditions, you better chug a couple of Red Bulls and brace your keyboards, because it'll be a bumpy road.

Therefore, if you set a clear and short scope from the beginning with a scheduled time to accomplish specific goals and prioritize only the essential at first, it'll reduce the chances of facing further issues.
The secret is keeping it simple. It's better to have a simple, funny and enjoyable game at the end of a jam, than having something with dozens of inputs and hundreds of pages of dialogue and no win/loss condition.


Any good tips for our readers about making a Game Jam game or participating in Game Jam in general?

Be ready to work with a team, and, in a lot of cases, with people you don't know. Open your mind for new and different ideas your teammates can give. Know the most commonly used tools and resources that are both compatible in order to avoid rework. Remember to rest. Focus on one or two simple main mechanics and work hard and efficiently on them in order to have time to polish your game and improve the player experience. Meet new people and talk about projects and experiences.

You have participated in Game Jams before. What do you think is your favorite thing about Game Jams?

Mad Pixel (my game dev studio) was born in a game jam, and because of this, we believe that game jams are good opportunities to socialize and keep in touch with the game market. A game jam is an environment to meet new people, share experiences and work with maximum efficiency in a short amount of time. Having a playable prototype, something like an MVP, in the future, might become a commercial game and even a huge hit! Therefore, Mad Pixel always tries to support our local game dev scene by hosting game jams. We even created our own jam in our hometown, Mad Jam!, which already had two editions.

Thank you Isaac Lopes for having this interview with us! It was really interesting to hear about his experiences and everything he has achieved by participating in Game Jams. We hope you can learn from Isaac's wise words and take his advice to your heart. Even though the goal is to bring out a new game in a very short amount of time, remember that Game Jams are great for socializing, getting to know the field and possibly start collaborations in addition to developing a game during the Game Jam.


Check out Paper Disco here.


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bonus stage

{ Game Jam }

What is this bonus stage?

Bonus stages are additional challenges for game developers, giving them a chance to win prizes that are not part of the two main categories. For the Game Jam category, this means participating with games made during game jams.

How do I participate in this bonus stage?

Register for the Game Development World Championship normally. Find out a Game Jam you want to participate in, and develop your game during that game jam according to their rules, if any. Afterwards, submit your game into the GDWC as you would any other game.

Prizes

  • Visibility on the GDWC website
  • GDWC Finland-themed "care package"
  • Valco ANC Headphones to Winning Team (2 pairs)
  • Houdini Indie one year license to each of the top 3 teams!
  • More to come...

Rules

All the rules of the GDWC competition apply. In addition, the following apply for section 4. Judgement criteria:
  • The game for the submission must have been done entirely during a game jam, which must be specified while submitting the game.
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bonus stage

{ Fan Favourite }

What is this bonus stage?

Bonus stages are additional challenges for game developers, giving them a chance to win prizes that are not part of the two main categories. For the Fan Favourite category, there are no additional limits, it's simply a bonus!

How do I participate in this bonus stage?

Register for the Game Development World Championship normally. We will pick awesome games from those submitted into the competition weekly. During this week, our audience can vote for their favourite game of the week, which will then be a nominee in the final Fan Favourite vote.

Prizes

  • Visibility on the GDWC website
  • GDWC Finland-themed "care package"
  • Valco ANC Headphones to Winning Team (2 pairs)
  • Houdini Indie one year license to each of the top 3 teams!
  • More to come...

Rules

All the rules of the GDWC competition apply. In addition, the following apply for section 4. Judgement criteria:
  • Instead of the GDWC judges, the winner will be chosen by an open vote. Schedule to be determined later.
Close