Interviewed by Dennis Sloutsky
After reviewing Take-Out Weight Curling and being charmed with it, as well as the story behind its making, I've asked Global Star to arrange for an interview with the game's developer, which they've graciously provided. So here comes...
Would you please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself?
Nathan Sorenson, Viking Alberta, Canada. I lived on a farm outside of the small curling community of Viking while making Takeout Weight Curling, my biggest game project yet. Games have been my hobby ever since I can remember, and I have been spending the last two years on this little title.
How hard was it to make a full-blown commercial project on your own?
This is the only full-blown commercial project I’ve made, so it’s a little difficult to judge it with nothing with which to compare. I did have a lot of stressful nights trying to figure out a way around a seemingly insurmountable technical issue or uploading to meet a milestone. Yet, a lot of it was a ton of fun.
What gave you the idea to make a curling game? After all yours is the first curling game ever made...
It wasn’t exactly a divine inspiration. I joined junior curling for one season (I had no prior knowledge of curling up to this point) and I really enjoyed the game. I couldn’t find anything to help me learn (I learn quite well in video-entertainment format) so I just fired up the pc and started fiddling around with some curling physics and the like. The game flowed really nicely on the computer, and I got the crazy impression that it would make a good project to work on.
Was Take-Out Weight Curling the first game you've made?
Not at all. I have dozens upon dozens of games. The thing is, though, that they aren’t finished nor polished. Focusing eagerly on finishing and polishing a title is most of the work, and in that respect, Take-out Weight Curling is one of my first “finished” games.
How long did it take to complete the game development?
About two years. I worked “hard-core” for about the past year. I distributed my time about evenly between artwork and programming.
What made you choose the A5 engine for Take-Out Weight Curling?
I was familiar with this engine, having used it in the past. It is very cost-effective, and fit my budget. I really like the scripting engine used, so I can program on the fly, and make changes very easily.
How are the game sales doing until now?
This is what I heard from my publisher “Wal-mart weekend sales from our distributor (PC, Canada): 1. GTA III 2. Warcraft III, 3. Take-out Weight Curling”
So yeah... it’s doing well.
A lot of our readers inquire... Can we expect a playable demo of the game?
Unfortunately, probably not.
Take-Out Weight Curling was nominated at the IGF... How did it feel to be next to the big boys of gaming industry like Microsoft and Nintendo?
Very satisfying... especially when the Microsoft guys come up to your booth and tell you how much curling rocks.
How did you and Global Star Software meet?
I was aware that they were a fairly well established Canadian publisher, so I simply sent them a copy of my title for internal review. Eventually, after I got an agent and became a nominee for the IGF, I worked with them on a publishing contract.
Are there any plans for a sequel to Take-Out Weight Curling?
A sequel is quite likely. Watch for it. It will blow away all your preconceived notions of PC curling.
Did any game development companies/publishers contact you with a job offer?
I was given a lot of business cards, and told “Just check us out sometime” quite a few times, but no formal job offers.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now I am in a smaller bible college for about two years (www.clbi.edu). After this, I will probably attend university and major in computer science or something of that nature
Would you have any advices for starting-up independent game developers or just folks that would like to start making games?
I don’t feel justified at all giving advice (I feel most of the time that I’m the one needing advice) - But I would suggest that you start small. Play around. Have fun. I personally learn way more playing around and fiddling than I do reading formal documentation.
Judging by it, you must be a real curling fan. What are your other favorite sports/activities?
I really like to play guitar and draw. I also enjoy football, soccer, and hockey.
Any last words for our readers?
Join a local curling league. It’s fun! And, buy Take-Out Weight Curling!