Interview With Troll inc’s Jim Murray

Digging way back into deviantART and YouTube, we found some curious 3D renders of Grash. Was the team considering a 3D game at first, or were you going for kind of a 2.5D feel at the time? What made you veer into the cartoonish, fully 2D visual style in the end?

Yeah, Jellyflug started as a Master’s Degree project by Mark, our Art Director. During that period it went through several different versions including a 3D version. When we founded the studio and were bouncing around ideas, one of the main subjects was the art style and the kind of demographics we would be targeting. Mark really liked the idea of trying a 2D, cartoonised version and the results were great. Simplifying to 2D meant many of the characters became much cuter and more likeable using the vibrant colours.

How has Unity worked out for a strictly 2D project? Did creating a 2D project in a 3D-specialized engine ever leave you feeling like you were trying to shoehorn a square peg into a round hole?

It did feel like that in some respects; much more at the start of the project though. We developed Jellyflug from the ground up not using any of the toolkits that are available, so we probably made more work for ourselves in doing that. The upside to that was, we learned more as a result and by doing a 2D game with a 3D engine we could give the game a really unique look.

Tell us a little about your experience with NORIBIC’s iFactory program. What kind of support have you received and how has the program helped you shore up Troll inc’s chances of survival in the long run?

The iFactory is a mentorship program for new businesses. If you have a particular area you need help in, like business development, accounting, marketing, or some consultancy for your team, they will find an industry person who’s done what you’re hoping to do and match you with them. It’s been a great help for me, personally, as I come from a Computer Games field and had no experience running a business, so all those areas I wasn’t quite comfortable with just yet I could get a bit of extra help on. So in the long run we’re much better off, as it does force you to think with your business hat on too.

Finally, when can we expect to see Jellyflug in the App Store? Can you give us a rundown of iDevices the game will support?

We’ll be releasing in the middle of June on the App Store. Jellyflug supports all versions of the iPad, on the iPhone we’ve tested iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, and on iPod Touch it works on 3rd and 4th generation devices. So pretty much anything from the last two years or so.

Big thanks to Jim for taking out the time to answer our questions about Jellyflug! Check out the game’s website, as well as Troll inc’s Facebook page and Twitter account, for the latest news on this fascinating microbial adventure.