Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about the guys on team Wolfire.
Sure. We have an interesting crew here.
David Rosen is our MVP and the reason Wolfire exists. He is our lead programmer and the only guy I’ve heard of who can say that he turned down job opportunities at top game development companies to program his own 3D physics-based fighting game (all before he went to college). David may be the most focused and intelligent person I’ve ever met.
Jeff is David’s twin brother and co-founder of Wolfire. Like David, he has been programming since he was seven and sold his first commercial software when he was in high school.
Aubrey, is Wolfire’s artist. He has a lot of industry experience and has worked on previous projects with David. His artistic vision and skill (with some coding from Jeff) yielded our innovative Overgrowth web site (http://www.wolfire.com/overgrowth).
Then there’s Phillip and me. We have had the fun of watching Wolfire grow from the beginning. We went to school with David and Jeff from kindergarten to eighth grade and can remember watching David code his first action game in Hypercard on the school computers. I think David’s success in this black-and-white, stick-figure, war adventure can be measured by the fact that the librarians were forced to ban it because they said it was too violent and they didn’t like the sound of gun shots (which David recorded by blowing on a microphone) in their library. After watching David’s success (and enjoying his games) for many years, Phillip and I were overjoyed at the chance to get our hands dirty as part of the Wolfire team.
Together we form a diverse but well rounded indie game squad.
Well that explains where your personnel came from, but where did the name Wolfire come from?
“Wolfire” evolved out of “Wolfie”, the name of David’s large, wolf-like dog. David’s name choice may have also been influenced by the fact that at the time, he had just released a game called FirePong (imagine pong with projectile weaponry and elemental magic).
Interesting. I noticed that David’s hit game Lugaru also plays off of the Wolf theme (because it’s a phonetic representation of the French word for werewolf) but Overgrowth seems like a break from tradition. Why not call your new game Lugaru 2?
Well I’m not supposed to say too much about that right now. I can tell you that Phillip is the one who came up with the name Overgrowth. We had actually been debating potential names for a while in our spare time and we were delighted when we realized that the name Overgrowth will at least be a triple entendre. We were slightly dismayed however, when we discovered that the term overgrowth is also used in the names of many medical disorders.
We definitely plan to make Overgrowth look good. Now that David has a full team supporting him, we should be able to create a really immersive experience. We were pleased when one of our fans, in response to Aubrey’s concept art, remarked “Overgrowth looks like those Redwall books with bigger balls.” We hope to continue to evoke this feeling as 2D concepts become 3D, in-engine assets.
A lot of Lugaru fans appreciated the intuitive nature of the game’s fighting and movement. These core features will be preserved but expanded in the new engine as we add more attacks, expanded parkour and climbing abilities, enhanced physics and more sophisticated AI. David has decided to add a new button: the grab button. This will allow the player to have more choices and more control over his character.
Another major thing we’re going to change is our mod support. Even though Lugaru had very limited modding tools, two amazing 3rd party campaigns were created. We want to show our gratitude towards the Wolfire fan base by making Overgrowth level designing and editing as painless as possible.
I’ve heard that you’re aiming for a 2009 Q1 release for Overgrowth. How do you plan to distribute Overgrowth when it’s ready?
We’re hoping to distribute Overgrowth largely through the Wolfire site. We actually just made Overgrowth available for preorder a few days ago (http://www.wolfire.com/overgrowth/preorder). Those who order Overgrowth early will automatically earn the right to be beta testers. They will also gain access to an exclusive Overgrowth forum on our site. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of preorders received thus far.
We will also be looking into other means of online distribution like Steam (who still hasn’t returned our e-mail), Direct2Drive, GamersGate, etc. We’ve also been trying to find a publisher interested in helping us out. However, we’re quickly realizing how difficult it is for us small indie companies to get noticed. If anyone reading this has any good ideas for us, please feel free to contact us.
One thing that does encourage us though is our site data on Google analytics. We are getting visits from all over the world. Right after Overgrowth was announced, we found a few articles written about us in Turkish, Polish, French, German and Spanish. One of our major goals now is to try to get Overgrowth some exposure in Asia. Small guys like us often have trouble breaking through the language and cultural barriers of foreign countries on our own but it was reassuring to see that we got our first visit from Mongolia this week!
After you finish Overgrowth, what game will you make next?
We’re trying to take things one step at a time. We have some tentative ideas about future projects but with all our ambitions for Overgrowth it would be foolish to indulge in such distractions.
Well thanks for the interview, is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I guess I should just mention that if readers want to catch Wolfire news as it breaks, they should feel free to check out the Wolfire blog: http://blog.wolfire.com/ and sign up for our rss feed. Now that a lot of the internal engine work is done, we should have a lot of fun things to show.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me!