Every so often, a masterpiece is born. Watch the trailer below.
- Nathan H and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
What you’re staring at is Genetic Garden 2, an upcoming game – made in Game Maker 8, no less – by three indie developers [the Went2Play, previously called Three People Group] from the Czech Republic. It picks up where the original Genetic Garden left off, following the story of one Alex Born.
Alex returns to the Genetic Garden, a complex military laboratory-cum-genetics experiment gone badly wrong. The developers state the game is “Stealth, Horror, Adventure” – although I’d personally add Shooter and Action to that as well. You blow up swarms of Flood-like genetic monstrosities, Resident-Evil-style; sneak up on and break guard’s necks – GG2 covers just about everything that’s good in Resident Evil, Metal Gear, Hitman and smashes them together into one glorious top-down indie experience.The graphics are simply amazing. It’s incredible how much use these guys have made of Game Maker, which we all know and love.
When we first clicked that trailer, we had no idea what Genetic Garden was. After seeing that – well, it’s enough to convince anyone: these guys are building a masterpiece. We naturally decided to contact the developers and see what they’re up to. After preliminaries, Nathan H got down to his speciality – the interview.
1.) Tell us about yourself and your new game, Genetic Garden 2.
Our team consists of three permanent members: Petr Kuba programmer, designer and author; Patrik Spacek 2D/3D Artist/Animator; Antonin Charvat court composer.
Genetic Garden 2 is a thrilling, atmospheric, 2D action, top down view, adventure game. The player takes the role of military veteran, Alex Born, who witnesses the kidnapping of genetic engineer professor Rostov. Professor Rostov is one of the leading scientists of the genetic engineering program and also the owner of the military research institute, where the whole adventure begins.
2.) I understand that this is a sequel, so what features were added/taken away?
The three common components to this sequel is the Game Maker software, shared environments, including the central characters, and lastly the quick game tempo.
Beyond these three components everything else is new. The main reason for this is that the first part was created in two months for the GM developer competition, while the second part has been in development for over two years.
The first part was about the logical tasks and fighting with insects using a special syringe that Alex had on his back. In the second part, except for excellent graphic artwork of Patrik and Antonin’s great music, the game is based on human unpleasant, distinctive characters and bosses. Logical puzzles, mutant organisms and significantly richer equipment complemented weapons. Great emphasis is placed on the player’s feelings during the game and especially the story that the first part follows.
3.) Do you have any game development stories? You know, any funny or scary events while making the game?
I finished a narrative animated scene, which was supposed to be one of the saddest scenes of the game. I sent this scene to Antonin to complete the music and after he had seen it he told me, “It’s a very nice emotional scene and I will create the music for it, but please do something with that box stuffed with dynamites that your character leans and cries on, otherwise you dont want the character to be blown apart and change the whole meaning of this sensitive scene.”
Another funny story happened during the presentation of our game in front the large audience. We had several shocking moments in the game, and one of the reactions was when the entire audience jumped off their seats and you could hear gasps.
The most scary moments are always when your computer breaks down and you dont have a backup files, which happens quiet often, because we work on old computers. Now we make a backup once a week!
4.) Where did you come up with the idea of Genetic Garden?
I’ve always liked the thrilling action games such as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid series, Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark. In the year 2009 the biggest Game Maker Community in the Czech republic called “Velkej Chytrak” announced a two-months term competition. This inspired me and I wanted to create a storytelling game with new original features and complete in this competition.
The inspiration of the competition was “magic colors and puzzle games”. So I created a bug that could turn into different colors. From there the character of Alex, and everything else started to arise spontaneously, including game mechanics.
5.) What do you think of Yoyogames and Game Maker?
Game Maker is a huge plus for people like me. I do not want to learn programming from scratch, I want to make games, and GM is the ideal way to start. You create fast prototypes of anything. However, GM is a weaker hardware tool, and you have to carefully design technical parts of the game.
You don’t have thousands of effects in your hand that can hide anything. GM has moved me from amateur work to working with professionals, and from my perspective it is excellent! Of course, it is terribly naive to think that since you open the GM it makes a game for you.
Yoyogames is a great opportunity that joins GM developers together, which makes it even more popular for all indie developers.
6.) What do you think of indie games at the moment? Do any of them stand out and “speak out to you?”
Indie games bring a great deal of innovation and offer new types of gameplay, it’s amazing. Some of them are not so original, but fill the space vacated by the high budget titles betting on proven “boring” patterns. It’s also great for players as it increases the range of games on the market. There are so many indie games that have impressed me, that it would be hard to compile a list.
7.) Any tips to starting indie developers?
The main thing is to estimate your options and the software. Making games is about patience and learning to listen to the comments of others. Even the best developer began his journey on the game ball.
Another important thing is to find the right people, who will never give up, who are helpful, skilled and support the whole team. There are many indie games, which started with a great idea, but never been finished, because the choice of wrong people. If possible, avoid remote work and try to find people in your local area. Even if your first game fails, or your first idea doesn’t work, you have to believe in it and start over and over again.
8.) Anything else you would like to add?
We are finishing the game so hopefully players will enjoy it. When the Czech version of the Genetic Garden 2 is completed, we will start immediately on English translations and voiceovers. We will update art for Genetic Garden 1 and translate it to English as well, its still going to be freeware.
We also plan to start Kickstarter funding to help us release the game all over the world. All fans are welcome to join our Group on Facebook and they can also send us emails through our temporary Genetic Garden website. Our biggest thanks goes to IndieGraph for the opportunity to have this interview! We wish all new developers good luck!
– Petr Kuba / Patrik Spacek / Antonin Charvat
Temporary Website: http://www.wix.com/patrikspacek/genetic-garden
We wish all the best to these guys - keep your eyes on this one, folks. And let’s not forget: Genetic Garden 1 is going to be freeware, and GG2 is definitely going to be on our to-buy lists.
Note: here’s their public presentation @ IDGA Chicago, if you’re interested in more.
About the authors:
Nathan H is an active developer and writer who goes by the name of Super Guy on the yoyogames sandbox. When he’s not writing or taking interviews, he runs cavemanrock.blogspot.com, a free web comic.
Yudhanjaya Wijeratne goes by the handle “the ALCH3MIST” on yoyogames and everywhere else. He created and operates 4250 Games, the award-winning indie game development team from Sri Lanka, and is the founder and operator of Indiegraph.