PlayStation Mobile Developer Interview: Ecofish
Ecofish is one of the two games what will be released tonight for PlayStation Mobile. We had the chance to ask Eduardo Jimenez, founder of Eclipse Games, about the project.
Q: First off, can you let us know a little bit about Eclipse Games.
So, Eclipse Games is a company I founded after leaving Black Rock Studio. I wanted to develop games that were fun, where we could have more design and creativity freedom but that were still doable in a small team. I thought the time was about right with all the options that has open recently (mobile, PSM, Steam,…). And since I’ve been a gamer since the late 80s, early 90s, I’ve played tons of games that were fun and done by small teams, so I decided it would be worth getting inspired by those. If these games were fun 20 years ago, they should still be fun now, right?
Q: For someone that has never heard about Ecofish, how would you describe it?
It’s an arcade game were you control a fish that has to ‘clean’ a percentage of the screen. You use your finger to guide the fish across the screen. You have enemies (other mad fishes) that will ‘kill’ you if they either touch you or your line when ‘cleaning’ the screen. If you capture them inside the areas you draw you ‘kill’ them.
Q: Were there any games you took inspiration from when making Ecofish?
It’s gameplay concept is based on a classic from the 80’s, QiX. I used to play more to Gal’s Panic… you may understand why if you look at the game ;o).
Q: Has anything changed since the original game?
Well, we’ve changed quite a few things. We’ve added a wide variety of enemies and areas, most of them weren’t present in the original. We’ve added new game modes and given the whole formula a twist. The basic mechanics are pretty much the same but I think the rest of it is quite changed.
Oh, well, and the art style, it’s neither the abstract style from QiX, Styx games and we’re not uncovering naked women either. We decided to go for a cartoonish style that would be pleasing to the eye, apt for everyone and matched an ecological theme that serves as the background story of the game.
Q: What made you decide to bring the game to PlayStation Mobile?
Well, first of all because it was a great opportunity to port the game to the PS Vita. Who wouldn’t want to see their game on a console like that? Besides that, it was C#, which is the language used to develop the game for other platforms, it gave us the option to get to some of the best high-end Android phones too and the SDK is quite nice. We’ve found some little issues with it but in general it’s quite good and easy to use.
Q: Is all input still handled by touch only?
Yes. We thought about adding support for the sticks, but the style of play with the sticks may be a lot faster and may need of some design changes. We didn’t have the time for that unfortunately.
Q: What can you tell us about the different game modes?
Well, we have 3 different game modes: Story, Time Trial and Treasure Hunt. The first one just sets you an objective you have to achieve to finish the screen. There’s a variety of objectives such as cover X% of the screen, kill that concrete enemy, kill all enemies, etc.
In Time Trial you have the same levels as in Story mode but you have a limit of time. You have to finish your objectives before the time runs out.
Finally in Treasure Hunt you have to collect a few coins that are scattered around the level. It’s got its own 30 new levels that are not present in Story mode and even there’s this enemy (the bomber) which you can see only in this game mode. It’s a bit more of a puzzle game mode than the other too, which are a bit more arcade-y.
Q: I noticed there are ways to customize your fish. Is it purely for show or do they add stats?
Yeah, well. That feature is currently not available in the PSM version, only in the iOS one. We had some technical problems getting the screens to work and since it was only a cosmetic change we decided to disable it until we have fixed them.
Q: If you had to give one tip to players, what would it be?
There are many strategies to play QiX games. But one of the less obvious but more productive is to draw slim long squares initially to finally cover a big area with just a smal line.
Oh, well, and beware of the shark, he’s nasty!
Q: When can everyone check out Ecofish?
Well, I think it’s gonna be out on PSM on Tuesday, December the 4th, 2012. I really hope you all enjoy it.
We’re more than happy to hear what our players have to say about the game so, please, if you want to tell us anything drop us an e-mail.
I would like to thank Eduardo for taking the time to answer these questions. Remember, Ecofish will be out on the PlayStation Mobile store later tonight.