Fresh from their recent travels to Seattle for the PAX Prime Expo we were given the opportunity to talk to Wildgrass Games’ Artist and Designer, James.
Wildgrass Games is an Australian Indie Game developer, comprising of students from the Canberra Institute of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. They have been fortunate enough to benefit from the Academy’s “Incubator” scholarship program where they are blessed with the opportunity to find themselves provided with the working spaces and business skills needed to make their dream of professional game development a reality.
They have been busy working on games non-stop since their formation, their first success came through a game named “CHARGE!” Quoting their website“(CHARGE) gained a surprising amount of popularity through some great YouTube “Let’s Play”s” and really solidified our ambition”.
A few other titles to add to the credentials are Tempest -13C and Pandamonium. All three games are available for download on their website . Over there be sure to check out their Developer Updates with prototypes for their potential future games. We had the chance to speak to James from Wildgrass games.
Fresh after your trip to Seattle, how did you find the reception of Wildgrass at PAX? Did the trip open your eyes to a much larger world of gaming?
The response from the crowds at PAX was incredible! I couldn’t ask for a better reception towards us, and towards our games. We went over to the States to interact and share what we had to the best of our abilities, not knowing what to expect and in return we were greeted by extremely eager punters of PAX, that very much so open my eyes to a world of excited and passionate people who truly are themselves in the gaming scene. To make things better we received the Warp Zoned, PAXpocalypse “Best of PAX Prime” award for Pandamonium!
Having no doubt seen some of the amazing pieces of work over at PAX, how has that inspired the team?
I cannot begin to explain the inspiration I felt walking onto the main show floor and through the indie mega-booth at PAX. I got this instant burst of excitement and working drive to get home and develop more and more games. The rest of the team felt it too as there were MANY times during PAX where we were like, “How awesome is this?!”.
What is next in the pipeline?
We are currently going full steam ahead on our first commercial title for a month or so now but after PAX and seeing how some people responded to our previous games we might want to look at a few more options we have with more content for Pandamonium to get the ball rolling for us!
There was an announcement that Kick-starter programs could be introduced to Australia and New Zealand soon. Considering the sheer power that crowd funding has provided for other Indie developers would this be a path you guys would venture down?
Yes! The power of the people is unmatched! We were all very excited to hear about the news. Kick-starter is something we have also kept an eye on for funding and will most likely happen from us. It’s a great way to give your community what they want but also a way of making the game that you want to. Now with Kick-starter coming over it’s beautiful opportunity to seize by the horns and ride it till the end.
At the moment your three games have only been available for PC and Mac, have you considered moving on to consoles?
No platform is out of the option for us. The reason as to why our games are on PC and Mac is because it was easier to get them out there and to build up a following of fans. We’d be fools not to try for anything else and especially with the games we develop they’d be perfect for consoles.
Growing up, what inspired you personally to take on this role in life?
The year was 1999 and it was christmas day. My brother and I were tearing through gifts from mum and dad when we were given a “joint” gift. To me at the time the box was huge and in my mind still today the box is huge! Inside was a Nintendo 64 with James Bond: Goldeneye and Banjo-Kazooie. Something clicked in my mind that day and years and years went on with my brother and I accumulating games, becoming more invested in the worlds they provided and I knew I had to keep making these experiences. The final draw for me to get my ass into gear and take that step into game development was finishing Bioshock and losing my mind over it.
What is your dream aspiration from all this? To take leading role in triple A game development?
To make a game that moves someone emotionally, to put out games of such a quality that they are regarded classics the day they are released. Then to make enough money to make another! Haha. I love indie teams and the freedom it brings but I do love a strong art team and being a lead artist for a Triple A game would be incredible! Having a good chance to lead a team and leave an impact in the industry with a game is most definitely a dream.
For anyone out there looking to get involved in game development what are a few words of advice you could offer?
Just do it! If you have ever had a serious thought about it then just go for it. There is a lot of help guides and free software on the internet to get started! Go onto the Polycount forums as there is lots of posts on people just starting and sharing what they have learnt. Also give Gameasutra a look. Lots of invaluable articles there. Just have the passion! Have the burning pit in your stomach to do something special in a very special industry!
James, to you and your team, congratulations on the amazing achievements to date. Thank you for your time today and I wish you the very best in all your future games, which we at Press-Start would love to review.
So there you have it, some of Australian Indie development at its finest. Doing what they love best, taking it to the world head on and being awarded a “Best of PAX Prime” award. I cannot wait to see what Wildgrass Games take bring out next!
Be sure to check out their website for all their games available for your download (linked above) and be sure to keep it glued here to Press-Start for all things gaming!