Ten Questions With… Danny Garfield (Puuba)

Ten Questions With… Danny Garfield (Puuba)

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A while back we took a look at an early demo of Concursion and were blown away by the peculiar mixture of genres that were mashed together. We had a chat with Danny Garfield, lead developer of the game to find out more about what this interesting title has to offer.

Can you give our readers a quick introduction of yourself and the studio?

Why hello there! My name is Danny Garfield, and I’m the lead developer and Head Thing-Doer of Puuba. You can call me Danger. Working out of my spare bedroom in Encino, CA, Puuba is a team of three friends all huddled together, working on a mind-bending genre mashup, and hoping to be loved.

How did the idea for Concursion come about?

A lot of sketching on a whiteboard. I love me some whiteboards. Concursion is a product of my love for a great many games. I love really challenging, skill-based platformers. I love looking back on the acrobatics I’ve performed, and just thinking “Dude. I am awesome.” That’s really the feeling that I wanted to convey to the player. To that end, I’ve got a notebook of game ideas, most of which are high-paced and “weird”. I love experimenting, and trying to build something I may not have played before.

What are the games that influenced you and how?

Specifically, the inspirations for each of our flavors all come from the Nintendo age. Mario, Ninja Gaiden, Pac Man, and the like. But, more recently, I find Braid to be a big inspiration. The way he [Jonathan Blow] took a genre that everyone knows, and blew a giant creative hole in it. Made it something totally different.Then, I wanted our game to be feel and control a lot like more modern, tighter, responsive platformers, like Super Meat Boy.

What feature of Concursion are you the most proud of?

I really enjoy the intense seamlessness between the gameplay genres.
In production, the moment we had all of the various component worlds built, and stitched them together, the game immediately became about the gymnastics you could perform on those borders.

Concursion, in my mind, takes place almost entirely on those borders. The idea that you can leap into the air as a platformer, jetpack through space, and dolphin breach out into a world of ninja, all in one fluid action, is tons of fun to me.

What is the biggest challenge while creating the game?

Balancing the difficulty was something we initially ran into, for sure.
I think we’re at a sweet spot now – really challenging, but quite forgiving with checkpoints and the like. Without dumbing the game down, and leaving the feeling of accomplishment intact, I think we have something that poses a real challenge, while not being frustrating at all. Early builds were definitely pretty punishing, especially in the demo, where we had people jump right into the deep end. Of a pool they’ve probably never learned to swim in at all.

What aspect of the game was the most fun to create?

I really enjoy coding, honestly. I am a giant nerdo. I love digging in, and fixing my bugs, and finding new ways to optimize, and the like. 

Beyond that, level design was a real pleasure in this game. There’re so many different things we can do within this system, there are very few limits. Every enemy is a grab-bag of five different enemies, and every platform, texture, and object is five things in one. There’s a ton of variety on the table.

How is your experience with the Steam Greenlight process?

Oh man. A bit stressful, right? It’s super exciting and fun to finally get our game out to the world, and see some reactions. And I’m really pleasantly surprised to see that most all of the reactions are really positive. It’s great to be able to get this game out of the closet and share it. But, phew. That’s a lot of work riding on one public vote, right? I ain’t no marketing guy. We need people in our corner, and it’s a lot of work to figure out where to go to meet them.

What are the future plans for Concursion/Puuba?

Go forth and conquer! Get this game into as many hands as possible, and watch the inevitable smiles engulf their innocent faces. Beyond that, we’re planning to be done with Concursion this Summer. So, after spending a bit on sharing that around, it’s on to the next game. I’ll be secretive about that for a bit… but it’s probably not less ridiculous.

What is the most unusual thing on your desk right now?

Can I list them all? Three juggle balls. Seven Greedo action figures in a western showdown. Woody, from Toy Story, hefting a very scared Cyclops high over his head. Also, a handful of broken Mario toys.

Anything else you would like to add?

Just that I’m very excited for this stage in the game. Getting to share our work with people is great fun, and we’re really excited for the forthcoming demo, coming out very soon. I think our game is unique. Weird even, and sometimes hard to explain. But, that moment you get a controller in your hand, I think it immediately comes together. And I’m really stoked for everyone to get to try it out.

A big thanks to Danny for taking the time to answer our questions. Try out the new demo for Concursion HERE and then give the game a vote on Steam Greenlight.

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