Interview With Super Glue Studio

Let’s start out by getting some background on Super Glue Studio. How many people work at the studio currently, and is Clay’s Reverie the first videogame development experience for all of you? Or have most of you worked on games before this?

There are four members at the studio currently: a programmer (me), an artist, a musician and a level designer. All of us are full-time. Clay’s Reverie is not the first videogame development experience for us. Our group has completed two games previously, one called Tube Baby for iOS (not currently available on the App Store because it’s in modification), and another called Beatit! for Android (currently available on Android Market, and we’ll also transfer it to iOS).

I worked for Konami before, and I was a coder and game designer on the Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer team. Our artist worked for The9, a very famous Chinese game company. (Editor’s Note: and Leslie’s talking World of Warcraft operator famous!)

Is there a very large population of indie game developers in China, or would you say the indie gaming scene is just getting started there? From your perspective, can you see any advantages or disadvantages of running an indie game studio in China compared to running one in the West?

Some media have said that there are 40,000 indie game developers in China. It might look like a great number in the West, but in China it’s nothing (1.3 billion people here!). I should say that the indie gaming scene is just getting started here.

Chinese indie game developers are creative, industrious and hard-working, and there are a lot of software and art outsourcing companies in China, which make the cost of games lower. As an indie game studio, we just maintain a small group of the kernel members and sign a contract with outsourcing companies to finish some simple but repeated work.

But I should say, the local Chinese software and game market is not healthy. Some Chinese resort to piracy and get illegal copies for free, so Chinese indie developers always sell their products outside our home country. Because of cultural differences and language, most Chinese developers don’t know much about the Western world. It is hard for them to create a product that is welcomed by the West. Another important problem is that Chinese developers do not have many media resources in the West. So we thank very much for your preview of Clay’s Reverie!

For that matter, how many people have iPhones and iPads in China right now? Is the market for Clay’s Reverie mostly in China, or does most of your market lie outside your home country?

I can’t pinpoint an accurate figure, but some media say that there are over a million iPhones and over 800,000 iPads in China (the number of iPods may be much larger than the sum of iPhones and iPads). But I can absolutely say that half of these devices are jailbroken. As I mentioned earlier, most of the Clay’s Reverie market lies outside our home country. We can let the game become popular in China but a popular stand-alone video game doesn’t have much commercial value. It is important to us that more people in the West know about our game. Chinese developers need more media reports and reviews for our products there.

What was the inspiration for your design approach to Clay?

We started Clay’s Reverie because we wanted to create a different platform game. Most platformers use a D-pad, which we feel has gotten a little boring. So we created one that operates using the touch screen, tilting and sliding. Our level designer suggested that a transformation system would be very cool too! All of these concepts compose Clay’s Reverie.

Our previous title Tube Baby also used tilting and sliding operations. But Tube Baby is not a platform game, it is a level-puzzle game.

We saw that the game has little comics for the player to look at while a level loads. Were those made just for the game, or does Clay have a wider backstory that you’re developing through other media?

At the beginning, the story of Clay was just made for the game. But now we also plan to make a small video series about Clay. It will take us some time to finish, and then we will upload these videos to our YouTube channel for promoting Clay’s Reverie.

How has the Independent Games Festival factored into your development cycle for Clay? Was meeting the deadline for submission really challenging, and how important is it that indie game developers make use of conferences like IGF China?

We adjusted the development cycle to fit the deadline for IGF China submission. IGF China is important for Chinese indie game developers because this is a rare opportunity to promote their products. They can get precious and limited media resources though these kinds of conferences.

Finally, have you set a release date yet for Clay’s Reverie, and will it be coming to other platforms besides iOS?

Yes, if everything turns out okay – especially Apple’s review – the release date of Clay’s Reverie should be 2011.11.25. We also plan to make an Android version in the future!

Many thanks to Leslie for taking the time out to chat with us so soon after returning from IGF China! We’ll have a review of Clay’s Reverie on release day; keep an eye on the studio’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for further news.