Brutal Gamer got a chance to ask Kara Myren a few questions about her upcoming video game Animal Gods. Animal Gods is set to release on the Wii U, MAC, PC, and Linux systems.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get interested in making video games?
KARA MYREN: We’re a two-person video game studio located by a river in West Virginia. I do the programming and Peter Harmon designs the levels,art and some of the sound for the games we create. We wear many other hats as well, sometimes collaborating with other artists, other times selling our soul to devil at 4 AM.
I became interested in video games because I enjoy programming systems that work for people and designing code that feels seamless to the user. Making games requires a lot of creative thinking. Peter is more of an artistic soul–obsessed with atmospheres, design, journeys so together we’ve been making video games. Now we’re taking our idea Animal Gods, to Kickstarter to acquire funding to complete the game.
How long have you been in the video game industry? During the time frame, what have you learned that’s different than what you thought going in?
KARA MYREN: We’ve been actively making games for two years now. We found out quickly how very difficult it is to promote game materials. There’s a lot of information you need to give to a viewer in quite a short amount of time.
If you don’t communicate it in just the right way, the audience will become confused or disinterested. You have to work really hard to show the right content in the right order. It’s a lot more than just making a game.
When creating video games in general, what are some things you try to keep in mind in order to keep the gaming audience engaged?
KARA MYREN: Difficult skill-based game play is one tool we have. If you have fast re spawns and high difficulty, players will try over and over to get through a particular game play section. Then, once they’ve mastered one skill, you tweak it in a new way.
A lot of good game design is just getting the player to move in the right direction. They call them “weenies” in the industry highlighted floor tiles, enemies, a broken branch maybe, just subtle cues the players know to move towards.
How were you inspired to develop the concept of Animal Gods?
KARA MYREN: Animal Gods is an open world, action / adventure game set in Bronze Age Europe — Mixing the core combat of classic Zelda with an intriguing story surrounding the great Animal Gods and the new coming of bronze metals. Monsters are in lots of video games but they’re usually not explained that well. We wanted to tell a story surrounding the Animal Gods themselves.
What has the process been like as you’ve put this game together?
KARA MYREN: Once we settled on the idea of Animal Gods, Peter drew an initial outline of the game and taped it to the walls of our studio. Then we’ve set about making the details and tuning the elements around that. Every element in contingent upon other elements, so we’re constantly talking to each other and showing our work in progress.
Sometimes I code a character movement and we add that to the game, and it changes the feel of the level. Or Peter will draw of a different style. We have a plan, and we all talk together to fine tune that plan and work off each other’s strengths.
What is your favourite character in Animal Gods?
KARA MYREN: I love Thistle. I care about Thistle, if a bug gets in the program and Thistle glitches, it hurts my feelings a bit.
For those that want to create their own video games, what advice can you give them?
KARA MYREN: Get into the game engine and start building! If you want to create video games, try to avoid too much “head in the clouds” sessions during pre-production and just start doing it.
Special Thanks to Kara Myren for taking the time to answer our questions! For those that are interested in Animal Gods you can try out the demos, both are available for the PC and Mac: