Developer Interview: Zack Jordan of Pixelwelders / US Killbotics

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The AG team had a chance to chat it up with Killbot developer Zack Jordan who gave us some insight into how he makes games! Read on.

1. How did you get started making Flash Games?
I’ve wanted to make games since I was little, but even after I got good with Flash I couldn’t seem to finish a game. I had to work at a real game studio (Day 1 Studios, where my day job is now) before I learned how to actually make one from beginning to end. Those guys know what they’re doing. So, not counting all the dozens of games I’ve started, Killbot is my first game.

2. What are your three favorite Flash Games/ What are you playing now?
One Chance is an amazing game. I sent that to everyone I know who appreciates games, and a few who don’t. Robot Unicorn Attack is not quite as amazing, but pretty awesome nonetheless. And of course, like everybody else, I really like the Sonny series.

3. What is the hardest thing about making games?
Finishing them! Seriously. I have ideas out the wazoo and I’ve started more games than I want to think about, but actually going from something that is fun to play to a real honest-to-God game is by far the hardest part. For me. Second to that is probably just making the thing fun without blatantly ripping off somebody else’s mechanics. We all know you can make a fun game by reskinning Mario. But could you invent something new and still make it fun?

4. Where do you get ideas for games?
Everybody has ideas for stuff, but they don’t always take them seriously. I keep a little file on my phone called “ideas” that’s about thirty pages long, full of ideas for games, music, stories, t-shirts, toys, food, whatever. The key is to write something down as soon as you think of it. Even if you dreamed it at two in the morning. You won’t remember it later, no matter how great it is.

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5. What is your favorite part of Killbot on AddictingGames?
My favorite part is the character you never see: the artist/narrator of the game. You never get to really meet him, but he’s everywhere, commenting on everything in his hyperactive caffeinated way. He’s just so excited about everything, and not cynical at all; I kinda want to be like him.

6. If you couldn’t make games, what would you do/ what do you do when you’re NOT making games?
When I’m not making games (or trying to make games) I’m typically making music. I’m always into electronic music of all kinds, but right now I’m also really into world music. Killbot was my first attempt to bring my music interests into a game world, and I think it kinda worked. There are some ideas in the phone about how to do it better, but it might be awhile before I get to them. I have to do Killbot 2 first, after all.

7. What would you like to tell people who play your games?
Speaking totally seriously, I’m flattered that you would take time out of my day to play my game and listen to my music. And it really means a lot to me when you get involved with the project by commenting on new music or trying out new Killbot stuff.

8. Favorite Food?
I have this theory about Mexican food. No matter what you order, anything on your plate will taste good with anything else. Seriously, try it out. You can’t make a bad combination.

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9. Favorite Movie?
This changes daily. I really like serious mindtwisters like Pi and Primer and Memento, but you’ve really got to be in the right mood to appreciate them. But I don’t care what anybody says: I’d watch Speed Racer no matter what mood I was in.

10. Our Publishing Manager on AG is from Chicago as well…what’s your favorite thing about Chicago?
The food, obviously :). The number of really good restaurants per block is staggering. Big Star, Avec, The Publican, Il Mulino… if I made more money I’d go out all the time.

11. Do you have a website?
Do I ever!
U.S. Killbotics on Facebook – I set this up for people to test out new Killbot stuff or give feedback on new music.
U.S. Killbotics on iTunes – For the people that just liked the music.
Reign of Thunder – The other game I’m working on. Not Flash, but still free!

Play yourself some Killbot today!

4 Responses to “Developer Interview: Zack Jordan of Pixelwelders / US Killbotics”

  • FlashMush says:

    Great interview on a developer I have worked with and I love KillBotics!

  • MecHound the NewsHound says:

    Well well well… what do we have here? Material for the next edition of the Mech Street Journal I believe!

  • Zack Jordan says:

    Too bad I didn’t see your comment until now, MecHound :).

  • Mah says:

    Well, since you asked.Is Nintendo in trboule? Define trboule. They’re sorely lacking in critical support for most of their titles (though I hear Xenoblade is fantastic once it hits NA) but the Wii made them boatloads of money with very little to have to spend in repairs/refurbishing (RROD, YLOD). They sold over 10 million titles over Virtual Console at a $5 minimum price point with virtually no overhead costs and their console is the only one in this generation and possibly history that earned them a profit on each unit sold from launch date to present. So, if I think the company is in trboule, my response has to be absolutely not. But the truth is that yes, gamers treat the Wii as a second-class citizen in this generation. The Wii U has a lot of very innovative, strong concepts, and I believe that Nintendo is of the probably correct assumption that we’ve progressed very quickly through these last few console generations and graphics technology has hit a wall. Sony and Microsoft have recognized this and are pushing their Move and Kinect products as a response. Note that Nintendo was the only company to announce a new console launch recently. They were probably the only ones who could push a technological upgrade out the door by lingering back for this generation. Smart move? Depends on the early sales figures.The bigger cause for concern is the 3DS. It’s a niche device right now. Not only 3rd party but 1st party support is scarce, there are very few games to pick from, there’s the people who experience pain, nausea, or just flat out can not see 3D, and the end result is extremely poor sales figures, maybe not overall but certainly for a Nintendo handheld. They give it a price cut, that’s a promising move. Primarily because it’s going to help them install a userbase over the holiday season for people who don’t want to shell out money on the Vita.So, my answer to Nintendo being in trboule? Not anymore than the other console makers. The PSP didn’t flop, but it never ever came close to the DS, and the PSPGo was almost universally reviled. If the Vita doesn’t really wow out the box, it’s more lost money for Sony. Nintendo needs to find its dominance somewhere, whether it’s the Wii U or the 3DS that does it, they can’t afford to be behind in both races. And as for Microsoft, Japanese retailers are pulling all of their products off the shelves due to lack of interest. Maybe not the biggest loss, you might say, but as long as Sony and Nintendo are selling products in more markets than Microsoft, they stand to make more money. Particularly a game crazy country like Japan. Strange and interesting times we live in.

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