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  1. #1
    OUYAForum Admin Eddie K's Avatar
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    Interview - Hypercane Studios - About their OUYA game Rage Runner

    Eddie's Interviews #2 - Jake & Zach Burke of Hypercane Studios and Their OUYA Game Rage Runner
    By: Ed Krassenstein

    I had the chance to interview the developers of Hypercane Studios, who are known for their OUYA game Rage Runner, which is currently available in the OUYA store. Hypercane Studios a development studio run by two brothers, Jake & Zach Burke. In the interview I had the chance to ask them about their game, as well as their opinions and experiences of developing a game on the OUYA. The interview follows:


    Eddie Krassenstein: Jake, were you and your brother the sole developers of Rage Runner?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Yes, just him and I


    Eddie Krassenstein: When did you begin this project?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Around October, about 6 months ago basically.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Now, is your game Rage Runner, coming to more platforms then just OUYA?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): We havent decided. We are waiting on confirmation on what exclusive is in detail from OUYA before we make a decision. Right now its only available on OUYA.


    Eddie Krassenstein: So it is an OUYA Exclusive.
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): We haven't committed to that with them (OUYA) yet though.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Now, since OUYA is a "Free-to-play" console, how do you plan on charging for the game?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Free to play through the tutorial and level 1


    Eddie Krassenstein: How do the paid sections of your game work? Do gamers download a demo first and then pay to download the rest?
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): You download the full game when you get the demo. This is the case for pretty much all the OUYA games. When you unlock the full game, it's really just flipping a bit. To separate those would mean having your own server to provide access to auxiliary files to download. Not something many indies can afford.


    Eddie Krassenstein: How many levels are there, and what will be the cost to play the rest of them?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Right now there are 7 levels, when you pay for the game at $2.99, it unlocks the level editor and the ability to post high scores to the server, as well as the ability to download community levels, and up or down vote them.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Nice, so there is a level maker that any gamers can use to create their own levels, correct?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): yes and then upload for others to play. We will take the top rated levels and add them to the game, to keep the game ever growing. We also have a contest once a month. The top score average from all levels is tracked by user, the top user each month, gets their initials branded on the ship for all to see


    Eddie Krassenstein: Oh wow, another excellent idea. How long do their initials remain on the ship? I assume for a full month?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Until they are dethroned. Your high-scores aren't wiped, so someone has to beat them, but we tally monthly to see if they were dethrowned.


    Eddie Krassenstein: How was the whole process of developing a game for OUYA. Were you in communication with OUYA representatives at all throughout the process?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Only when they announced us as winners of the day 5 giveaway. OUYA was tough for this game, very tough. Our game moves so fast, and the camera is so close to the inside of the trench, it doesn't allow for normal mapping, and all the fluff. Because of this, I had to be very creative with the art, so it didn't look like total trash. LOL.


    Eddie Krassenstein: So would you say that it was more difficult to develop this game for OUYA then it would be to develop it for an Android smartphone or tablet?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Hell no! Having a physical controller is much easier. The hardest part with OUYA is it was so new, none of the editors had developed all the correct tools yet.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Now, I have heard that OUYA is considering making a category in their store called "ONLYOUYA" for games exclusive to the OUYA. Have you heard anything about this?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Yes. We have an email into them right now, waiting on response to see what is involved with this.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Any idea when they plan to implement this?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): No clue. I'm guessing by June they would have to.


    Continued Below -->
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  2. #2
    OUYAForum Admin Eddie K's Avatar
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    Eddie Krassenstein: What type of tools does OUYA give developers like you in order to track downloads, sales, play time, etc for your game?
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Right now what they provide is 3 .csv files. These only cover downloads, purchases and crash logs. So actually there's nothing available that helps you track play time. We've implemented Google Analytics to help get these statistics. As an example of what downloads looks like from their CSV file:
    title,package_name,version_number,date,count
    Rage Runner,com.hypercanestudios.ragerunner,1.0.0,2013-04-02,8


    Eddie Krassenstein: Ahh OK, I see. Would you care to share how many downloads Rage Runner has had up until now?
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Last refresh I did yesterday (April 2, 2013) put us at 51.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Oh nice. Not too bad considering only less than 1000 consoles are probably in the hands of gamers/developers so far.
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Yeah that's not bad, especially considering most developers are only playing their own game in hopes of winning the contest.


    Eddie Krassenstein: What do you think of the OUYA Sandbox?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): We did start in the sandbox, and are now out of it though. We were out pretty quickly on the second day.
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): A lot of devs are complaining about it, but I really like it. I like the idea of everyone being given the same opportunity in the beginning. I really don't see how it's unfair at all. It seems very fair. The perception I get from reading other dev complaints is that they were hoping their game would magically be shoved in everyone's face without them doing any legwork. Or they were upset because they were a big Kickstarter backer and were promised more prominent placement - that I can understand. I strongly dislike pay to place. Sounds like a bad curation model.
    Eddie Krassenstein: Yes, I agree and to an extent I think OUYA is trying to get away from this
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Yeah, I don't know exactly how OUYA will fulfill that promise, I just hope it's done in a way that's fair for everyone eventually. Maybe not initially but 6 months down the road it would be nice for all to be on equal footing. Also, would have liked to have seen Final Fantasy start in the sandbox.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Now that you are out of the sandbox, where are you? In a category?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Racing, simulation, short on time, and arcade, I think.


    Eddie Krassenstein: What is it about your game that you feel makes it different then other games on OUYA?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): I think it's just all about speed, and being up close and personal with a twitch game of this type. But the power ups really add a whole other element to a obstacle avoidance game, that you just dont see. Then you got the competition factor which you dont really see with this type of game usually. Lastly the level editor, that you can really do some amazing things with. Oh, and we are real 3D, so the trenches aren't randomly generated, it's all player made which adds to a more personal feeling. After all, the current levels are made with our level editor, by us.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Do you plan to continue to develop further OUYA games, or any DLC for Rage Runner?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): We are working on our first update for Rage Runner now, which will have new types of Obstacles, some new levels,and some other stuff I can't talk about yet. We have also started to talk about making our second game, and have started drawing things out. We came to the conclusion that our second game will also be first to OUYA, and slated to be done by June.
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): We've found that we have a very accepting audience on OUYA. It's rough being indie and trying to compete with the gamer expectations on platforms like Xbox or Playstation - you just can't compete with teams of a few hundred people. OUYA has given us a console platform and an audience, that combination is going to be tough to find anywhere else. So we see ourselves here for awhile. We want to make console games, not things designed for the limitations of mobile.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Any sneak preview into what this next game could be?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): All I'll say is 4 player local.


    Eddie Krassenstein: I've noticed that you have really been taking part in discussion in your Rage Runner thread on OUYAForum. Do you like the idea of being able to easily communicate with your gamers this way? Has it been helpful and insightful at all?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): Very, its nice to really have a easy place to talk to the gaming community. We have been surprised by all the support we have received there


    Eddie Krassenstein: Yes, it seems like OUYA gamers have really been supporting and helping out the indie devs. Have you noticed OUYA being very indie dev friendly?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): VERY. I really hope it stays indie too. I'm not a fan of AAA studios, but thats me. Indie Developers care about the projects they do, which leads to a better game in my opinion.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Do you see OUYA as a console that is able to handle AAA titles, or do you think it would have issues running more sophisticated games?
    Jake Burke (Hypercane): It completely possible to run AAA games graphics wise, depending on the game. It's really all about what's being drawn on the screen. Normal mapping plays a huge roll in what a game looks like.


    Eddie Krassenstein: What else do you have to say about working with OUYA in general?
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Well I will say that from a developers perspective, I really like how the OUYA team has done things. I've used a lot of poorly designed Android SDKs in my career. When I first got my hands on the OUYA SDK, it was pretty rough around the edges, but it was very transparent. The OUYA guys let us submit documentation patches in an open source fashion and were very open and thankful for suggestions and discussion on improving things. It was really nice to see a company actually engaged with the developer community, asking the community for advice and then actually listening to that advice and putting out a better product based on it.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Your game looks amazing.
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Thanks, Rage Runner has come a long way from inception. It's something we're proud of and we're excited for it to hit the hands of the players so it can start the next step in its evolution. We're excited about the level of access to players that being indie allows. Not many/any AAA companies have the game creators jumping in forums and chat with players and asking for what they want to see next. It's a fun and unique opportunity being indie, one that puts us close to players and allows us to iterate quickly based on what the fans want. I'm excited about this, especially combined with the OUYA "Make" feature being built out.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Can you explain the OUYA "Make" feature a bit? How much information do they provide about getting your game on OUYA?
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): So there's this menu option called "Make". When I, as a developer run it, it shows me all the games I've published. From what I've read in forums etc, once this is fully built out, we will be able to provide multiple beta builds and when users hit this menu, they'll have the opportunity to try these beta builds and give feedback. The features aren't totally clear yet, but that's it in a nutshell.


    Eddie Krassenstein: Thanks so much for the interview. I'm sure all of our readers will love to see your insight!
    Zach Burke (Hypercane): Cool, thanks for your time,

    Feel free to communicate with the developers of Rage Runner via their thread at: https://ouyaforum.com/showthread.php?...ercane-Studios
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  3. #3
    Administrative Queen of Evil RiotingSpectre's Avatar
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    I demand more interviews. I had fun reading this and it felt like a game show.

    Which made it more fun.

    EDIT* Do goodhustle next. Tell him why he hasn't made a prequel and a sequel to his game along with a anime series.
    Last edited by RiotingSpectre; 04-03-2013 at 09:38 PM.


  4. #4
    OUYA Forum Columnist salvasaur's Avatar
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    I'm with Spectre. More interviews, please.

  5. #5
    OUYA Developer Hypercane's Avatar
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    Thanks for the interview Eddie, we enjoyed talking to you!

  6. #6
    OUYAForum Fan CaptainCapslock's Avatar
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    Great interviews! And I will have to agree with everyone else here.
    We demand more interviews. NAOW!
    OUYAGameplays on YouTube: youtube.com/OUYAGameplays
    Twitter Profile: twitter.com/ouyagameplays

  7. #7
    OUYA Devotee HellRa1SeR's Avatar
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    It was such a fun, interesting read. These guys are awesome. Even I would like to be there at some point (Aspiring dev). Such stories do get you started. awesome stuff. Ed, keep 'em coming.

  8. #8
    How do you do your interviews? Skype? Do you talk to the people over voice or how do you do it? Either way, good interview!

  9. #9
    OUYAForum Addict Hydrus's Avatar
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    ^^^ Good question.

  10. #10
    OUYAForum Devotee Outlander999's Avatar
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    I really liked the interview, hope to see news soon

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