Developer Interview: Ibb and Obb
There’s a chance you won’t have heard of Ibb and Obb. A collaboration of sorts between Dutch studio Sparpweed and developer CodeGlue (creators of XBLA’s Rocket Riot and a myriad of Home items), the game is a uniquely co-op adventure. While the trailer below shows just how interesting and unique an idea the game presents, we talked to Richard Boeser of Sparpweed in order to gleam more some more information on this rather neat looking game, along with some exclusive sketches for worlds 2 and 5 in the game.
1) What was the inspiration for ibb and obb? Where did the concept come from?
The game has its roots in my graduation project. I had no idea what kind of game I would create I just knew that I was looking for something with original and accessible gameplay, that had a multiplayer component.
I started out prototyping and tried out many different things. Some of the prototypes messed around with gravity a bit, but the first real idea for the double gravity world didn’t directly evolve out of this. I remember creating some sketches in which two players could pass on kinetic energy through a floor. After some sketches I realized that the thing would be even better with holes in the floor enabling some interesting movement through the game world. This became the core mechanic for the game.
2) Can one player control both ibb and obb, or is the game two player only?
On the design we really focus on the two player experience, but you can play alone. In single player mode you control both characters simultaneously using both analogue sticks on a controller. It’s hard, but is fun for those who like a good challenge.
3) The music in the trailer is wonderful. How did you guys come to hire Kettel to compose the music for the game?
Kettel has been a personal favorite of mine for quite a while. Early on in the design process I imagined his music would make for such a nice match with the visual style of the game. I thought it would be a long shot, but send out a mail to him anyway. He mailed back within 15 minutes, basically saying: Sure sounds like fun. Turns out he’s a really nice guy and great to work with. And he likes games. For me it’s great to collaborate with someone who’s work I really respect.
At the moment we’re trying out different moods for different stages in the game. Some fit directly with Kettel’s style of music, others challenge him to explore new grounds. In the game the music will be adaptive. We haven’t build that yet so I’m really eager to find out if that works well for us.
4) The background art seems to be changing on the fly. Are the graphical changes tied to the way the game is being played, or is it purely an aesthetic choice?
Throughout the whole game we have different sets of decoration for different areas. Those don’t change that often while playing. We do change the color pallets a lot. Mostly for aesthetic reasons, but also to indicate the different regions in a level. Some areas focus on action while others focus on puzzles.
In some specific cases we use the color pallets connected to gameplay. For example by making the characters the same colors as the background, rendering them invisible to the players.
5) What role do the ‘fins’ (friendly inhabitants) play in the game? Do you collect them, or do they serve a different purpose?
The Fins are the original inhabitants in this world, the locals. They serve no specific purpose, but as it happens they come in really handy when you feel like playing some finball. Also skilled players can actually use Fins to their benefit, Fins can take out enemies.
6) And finally, how did you guys start working with Codeglue? This seems like a very interesting partnership. When are you tracking to release the game?
When Roland and I started our studio, Sparpweed, I knew very few people in the Dutch game industry. I contacted some studio’s just to have a chat and find out what everyone here is up to. One of my first chats was with Peter de Jong of CodeGlue. We got along really well and during the talk it turned out that they would like to work on a project like ibb and obb. Their office is literally a few minutes from ours, making it very easy to collaborate.
The way we work is that CodeGlue takes care of programming and animation while Sparpweed takes care of the design. Being a new studio we also benefit from the years of experience that CodeGlue has and we decide on the project strategy together.
The way things are going right now I think we’ll release the PSN version either November or December this year. The PC version will launch a few months later.
We want to thank Richard for taking the time to answer our silly questions For more info about Ibb and Obb, check out the game’s Facebook page. Lots of behind the scenes stuff to be found there.