March 7, 2013 by khrisgolder
Ian Campbell, creator and owner of Bootdisk Revolution, discusses his latest project Bleed. Ian has several games available on XBLIG, including Frequency and Plucky’s 3D Adventure. In fact, Ian has over 3,000 accumulative downloads from all of his XBLIG titles. However, Bleed was the first that received widespread attention throughout the indie gamer community across multiple platforms. Ian talks about some of his design choices and what’s next for the developer.
Khris Golder: You weren’t allowed to have a game system when you were a kid, but your mission was always to be a nerd. You’d sneak over to a friend’s house to play Mega Man on the NES. At what point were you allowed to play games, and when did you start developing?
Ian Campbell: I was allowed a GameBoy at age ten or eleven, but it took until I was 15 or 16 to convince my parents to let me get a non-handheld game console: the Nintendo Gamecube. You could say I was “developing” around 9-10 years old, making incredibly simple text-only “games” using qBasic, but really, I started actually learning how to code and began developing games sometime in 2009.
KG: At least you got to experience the GameBoy beforehand. I know Bleed fans want to know a little more about you. Where’d you learn programming, art, and development?
Ian Campbell: I learned to code from a “C# For Dummies” book, along with a whole lot of help from my father, who luckily is a professional programmer! Art is something I’ve always been interested in, and though I’m not amazing, I’ve been doodling since I was a baby.I also attended a college for 3D animation, which was a great help. As for the rest of the development process, I’ve always been incredibly interested in — and analytical of — video games. So much of the rest has been learned through constantly playing and experimenting with games!
KG: Is this the biggest project that you’ve had so far?
Ian Campbell: Bleed is far from the first project I’ve been involved with. I’ve probably made or contributed to at least twenty little indie games that nobody’s heard of at this point, but it’s definitely my first “big” game, the one I’m most proud of, and the one that best demonstrates my abilities as a game developer.
KG: Dream Build Play must have felt like ages before releasing your game late last year. How did it feel to finish your first game and to generally favorable reviews to boot?
Ian Campbell: It felt amazing! I get really excited every time I hear that someone has enjoyed the game. After working on it for three years I was starting to get burned out, but hearing the positive feedback makes me feel like it was definitely worth it.
KG: It’s common knowledge that you had originally intended to make Bleed a darker, grittier title. It almost seems like the bubblier, cartoonish style was simply meant to be. Still, I know Bleed fans would love to see what Bootdisk Revolution could do on a darker canvas. Any chance you plan to release another title darker as dark as Bleed was supposed to be? Perhaps a more difficult title that will hold boss fights with behaviors that have to be learned (a concept you decided to scrap for Bleed).
Ian Campbell: Hey, maybe! A break from all the chipper-ness might be a nice change of pace, and some people have expressed interest in seeing something darker. I don’t have any plans for a game like that at the moment, but it’s not an avenue I’d be against going down, as long as there was a point to the darkness. Boss fights where you have to learn complex behaviours are a tricky thing to me. It feels amazing to master them, like you’ve learned a dance routine or something, but for some people that learning process can take a while, and I’d rather not make people bang their heads against a brick wall for too long.
KG: What would you rather platform your games on from what you’ve heard, and why: Ouya, PS4, or Wii-U?
Ian Campbell: I suppose I’d say the Wii-U, mostly because it’s the platform I know the most about at the moment, and I think the gamepad holds some incredibly cool possibilities for the whole ‘asymmetrical gameplay’ that everyone keeps talking about!
KG: Thanks for chatting with us, Ian.
Ian Campbell: Thank you for talking with me!