Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interview: Game could possibly be done development?

Some interesting info found in this new interview over at Vooks. They sit down with Joseph M Tringali and discuss all things Scribblenauts. You can find the interview here.

As usual, here are some highlights.

JMT: We were in the final weeks of development around the time of E3, so we definitely had some limitations on the scope of changes that we could make. E3 was the first time we had unrestricted public access to the title, and there was consistent feedback on some of the controls, and particular objects that we found valuable, and made some last minute changes. June was a crazy month for us, but we love our fans, so we did what we could.

There's a lot of interesting things going on in this paragraph. First, he mentions they were in the last stages of development around E3. Wow. E3 was over a month ago (close to 2!), so it's very well possible that development on Scribblenauts is actually complete. Kinda crazy to think about, eh?

Further, they seem to mention the control issues were a problem for them and they squeezed in some last minute changes. This is strange, as people with the preview copy of the game still say there are control issues. Perhaps in the final version we could be seeing some improvement?

Vooks: Where did you draw the line at what would be included in the game? Obviously swear words and trademarks are out, but where does it just get ridiculous?

JMT: I think we paused once while going through a list of chemical formulas, but then just continued on. Chlorinated Diphenyl Oxide anyone? We put everything in, miniscule or not, and while I’m sure there are a few obscure words we missed, we never passed on a word that fit the nothing vulgar / copyrighted / trademarked / proper noun criteria.

A lot of people are going to be excited about the bolded part. I seriously cannot believe they added chemical formulas to the game. Like, it boggles the mind. Entirely. Wow.

Vooks: How much of a nightmare was it to play-test a game with a seemingly unlimited number of possible items and interactions creatable by the player?

JMT: Testing was a challenge, but because the game revolves around systems, we tested the systems more so then the individual objects. If the system functioned, then theoretically the objects contained within the systems should work fine. This wasn’t always the case, but we ran into fewer problems then we initially expected. Most of the issues had to do with several special case objects that didn’t quite fit into a specific high level system.

That makes me personally breath a sigh of relief. Bugtesting a game like this without a higher level system would be madness. Thankfully, with their in-house "Objectnaut" engine they're able to troubleshoot items without getting into the nitty gritty. Hopefully this means we have a polished game...and that 5TH Cell didn't kill their eyes trying to give us just that ;)

Vooks: Finally, can we expect any Australia colloquial expressions to be in the game? If not, we have a few ideas if it’s not too late!

JMT: There is definitely some Australian terminology in the game. One of our company founders is from Australia, so he made sure to include some of the more common terms. You can certainly shoot a Wallaroo and grill whatever is left of it on the barbie. Or ride a brumby with Maxwell in cozzies.

Well, he lost me. But I'm ok with that.

The interview itself is one of the more well done I've ever read, and contains more interesting bits than these highlights. Definitely go check it out.


  1. CHEMICAL FORMULAE?!?!? Epic wow. :D

    I'd assume that simple elements are also possible: hydrogen, barium, einsteinium, aluminium. Awesome.

  2. Yay. I love updates. I'm really worried about the control issues though. I hope they put this into their main priority.

  3. So, can I feed an elephant helium and make him float into the sky?

    As far as the DS cartridge itself, it takes a good 6 weeks at least to print and distribute a DS game to retailers... if Scribblenauts wasn't done, I'd be worried, because it wouldn't be making it's launch date.