Nordic Highlight - The Story of a Mother - Development Interview

Interview with Danish game developer Sylvester Hansen, designer and director over at DVEEB Games. Interview conducted by Rasmus Jensen.

A Let´s Play of"A Story of a Mother". For the full picture of the project, you might wanna see this.

First, tell me about the team behind DVEEB Games and how you met.
The guys of DVEEB met by chance, as we were all attending the Odense International Film Festival Game-Jam called PlayOFF. Game-Jams are inherently stressful affairs so when we managed to keep a level head as a team, create a full game AND win the Game-Jam, we decided that we needed to take this to the next level. The fact that the game that we created ended up being featured on Newgrounds.com and gaining 13.500 views was really just icing on the cake.


Who are you and what are you responsibilities?
We are 4 guys in the team Sylvester Hansen, Christian Laumark, Jesper Balslev and Mads Kelbæk. We collaborate on most of the responsibilities within the game development, but there is a very specific delegation of responsibilities.

Sylvester Hansen - Game designer/Game director
Sylvester is in charge of the overall design of the game, this means that he works on everything from programming out a save/load feature, to creating concept art for character design. This means that Sylvester is the man with the grand view on the development of the game.

Christian Laumark - Level designer/art director
Christian is in charge of the visual development of the game as well as the design of each of the levels. Christian is the guy you go to if you want a minute to minute rundown of what is going to happen within the game-play.

Jesper Balslev - Programmer
Jesper is our lead programmer, who is in charge of all of the technical aspects of the game. This means that Jesper is in charge of everything from creating versions of the game that are compatible with Android/iOS to implementing functioning AI into the game.

Mads Kelbæk - Producer/PR manager
Mads is our producer and PR manager, this means that Mads is in charge of making sure that we get some money for development and that people know that our game exists. This job can be particularly difficult, as we are working on a shoe-string budget, but Mads makes it happen.
 

Example of the NPC character design for "The Story of a Mother."

Example of the NPC character design for "The Story of a Mother."

How did the idea for this game come about?
We were given the subject of the Game-Jam 1 day in advance of showing up. We were told the themes that we were going to be working from were “narrative” and “traveling”. We spend a full day on social media ideating our game and figuring out what kind of game we wanted to make prior to ever meeting each other. In the end, we decided on creating a game in which a young man returns to his hometown (Odense, the town in which the Game-Jam was being held) to find his family after a civil war had broken out.

The game allows you to explore a dark and chaotic world, maybe not that far from our own.

The game allows you to explore a dark and chaotic world, maybe not that far from our own.

Why the strong Danish influence? (Language, names and environment).
Our game was conceived during a Game-Jam, which took place in the city of Odense which is very well known for its historical importance to Danish history. The city is more than 1000 years old and houses allot of interesting architecture as well as some fascinating history. We wanted to pay homage to the city that we in at the time and that became the original demo of the game. Once we started working on the game in earnest, we thought that the setting was so unique that there really wasn’t any need to change


The game is very atmospheric. Can you tell us about your inspirations and what feelings you wish your visual design to invoke in the player?
The style that we chose for the game was both a practical and an artistic one.

From a practical standpoint, out character design made the whole thing allot easier to animate, and the low poly art style was allot faster to create in Blender 3D.

From an artistic standpoint however, we found that people are more receptive to difficult topics if you dress them up a bit. The level of separation that happens when a stylized character experiences something on screen is enough for people to disassociate, which allows for us to discuss some truly interesting things within our game-world.

The character development of the games main character "Aske".

The character development of the games main character "Aske".

What is the future of ”The Story of a Mother?”
We have currently moved past our pre-alpha stage and are now working on the full alpha of the game. We hope to have an alpha of the game ready by the end of January, so that we might be able to launch a Kickstarter at the end of February. We can’t say when release is going to be, but we are shooting for the second quarter of 2017.

Follow the development!
If this interview has peaked you interest, and you wish to learn more about the game, then you are in luck! DVEEB Games have several active social media platforms and you can even play the pre-alpha of game the on Newgrounds.com.

DVEEB Games Twitter Channel.
DVEEB Games Facebook Page.
The Story of a Mother, pre-alpha. (Already played more than 11.000 times).