Ten Questions With… Sim Yih Chun (Nerdook Productions)

Ten Questions With… Sim Yih Chun (Nerdook Productions)

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A while back we took a look at Vertical Drop Heroes HD, a full blown remake of the original Flash title. The game not only retained all the addictive elements of the original release, but added tons of new features and plenty of polished. What makes it even more impressive is that it is the work of just one person, Sim Yih Chun. Fortunately for us Sim was able to spare some time to answer our questions.

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

Hello! My name is Sim, better known as Nerdook, and I am a one-man team based in Malaysia. I spent the last few years making Flash games sponsored by Kongregate, and am now moving on to bigger Steam games!

How did the idea for Vertical Drop Heroes HD come about?

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is a remake of my very first sponsored game,  “Vertical Drop Heroes”… a procedural platformer about heroes dropping vertically, unsurprisingly. In the years since I’ve made that game, I’ve had a lot more experience making games and decided to try my hand at applying those ideas to an earlier game idea: remaking it into a bigger and better version. 

What are the games that influenced you and how?

The two major influences would be Spelunky and Rogue Legacy, both being very prominent procedurally generated platformers. I’ve always loved procedural generation, and both these games are excellent examples of procedural generation done right.

What features of Vertical Drop Heroes HD are you the most proud of?

I’m most happy about the random traits of each hero, and the Fallout Pipboy style images I made for each. Fallout remains one of my favorite series of all time, and being able to include a homage to that is something that I’m more than happy to be able to do!

What was the biggest challenge while creating Vertical Drop Heroes HD?

The biggest challenge is building the TCP networking. Vertical Drop Heroes HD is the first time I’ve decided to make a real-time, cooperative multiplayer platformer, and the technical challenges for that are significant! In hindsight, I probably should have axed that feature and saved myself the trouble, but the sheer fun of causing mayhem in a procedural world with a friend makes it all worth the effort!

What aspect of creating the game was the most fun?

I had the most fun with designing the look and skills of the various enemies in the game. Each enemy has to be able to challenge the player in a different way, and look different enough for players to differentiate them at a glance. Because the levels are all procedurally generated AND destructible, the enemies also have to be able to adapt to changing elements in the level. This led to funny emergent situations where you can use water to wash enemies into a pit of spikes!

Do you have any advice for other developers that want to go the Indie route?

My advice would be to always enjoy what you are doing! There are many difficult moments in game development, when you’re running out of time and money, when every bug seems critical and unsolvable, but as long as you have passion for the project, you WILL find a way to get through. At the end of the day, when you finally finish the game and read that first positive review of a player who genuinely enjoyed your game, there is no better feeling in the world!

What are the future plans for Vertical Drop Heroes/Nerdook?

I am still updating the game based on feedback received, and I am working with Digerati Distributions on future ports to other platforms including Xbox One, PS4 and Playstation Vita. Nick from Digerati has been working closely with me on the marketing and distribution side of things, and this game could never have been a success without his tireless efforts!

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

Right now on my desk, the strangest object would be a Spawn action figure that’s missing one leg… a victim of my 18 month old daughter’s exercise in pulling anything she can get her hands on! Being able to work from home means I am also taking care of her most of the time, and THAT comes with its own challenges… 😛 

Anything else you would like to add?

Buy Vertical Drop Heroes HD and support a struggling independent developer!! Also, I really hope everyone who buys the game will have fun and enjoy themselves, and they can always share their feedback directly with me via the Steam or GOG Forums.

Our thanks to Sim for putting up with our questions and for delivering such an addictive gaming experience. If you are not yet familiar with Vertical Drop Heroes HD you can check out our review HERE and then head over to Steam or GOG to buy a copy. You can also check out the original Flash game over at Kongregate to see where it all began.

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