Interview with Random Interactive the creator of Escape From Everwood

Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Random Interactive the creator of Escape From Everwood.

Before we start we’d like to thank Stuart for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks!

/// Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Escape From Everwood! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?

I’ve been gaming since the early 80’s when we had an acorn electron and later a c64 at home. I’d spend hours typing in Basic listings which, in a roundabout way, has led to a career in software development, although not in games.

Game programming has just been a hobby really, but with Everwood and other games I’m working on I’m now in the process of setting up a company Random Interactive as an umbrella to do all that stuff under.

/// Ok, let’s start talking about Escape From Everwood. What are the highlights of your latest game?

So the main selling point for Everwood is that the content is procedurally generated, but it retains the aesthetics and experience of a traditional choose-your-own-adventure style gamebook.

Edamame – Man… I’d hate to think how much work must have gone into developing the algorithms to make that possible… 😅

/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Escape From Everwood? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?

I was a fan of the Fighting Fantasy series back in the day and recently discovered the mobile versions.

As I played them on my phone I started to think whether it would be possible to make the content a bit more dynamic, less predictable.  I understand that these are books that have been ported over to a phone, but a phone is essentially a mini-computer now so I started to wonder about the possibilities.

Aside from gamebooks, my inspiration comes from what is now called retro gaming. I’m really keen on revisiting old game concepts and adapting them to modern platforms, like mobile and TV. I’m not interested in straight ports though, the games must have some kind of modern twist, taking advantage of the new platform.

/// How long was Escape From Everwood in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?

Just over 12 months. It took so long because I’m time poor, so I’d work on it mostly in my lunch break during my regular job.

Exciting is probably an overstatement, but I guess the most interesting bit is once the game was actually released, and seeing how other people react to your ideas. 

/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Escape From Everwood? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?

To be honest the bulk of it was done in a simple text editor, then later Xcode and I use Pixelmator for graphics.

I’m not really one to offer advice, to be honest, I’m not one of the hardcore developer types you meet on StackOverflow. I just come up with ideas and use whatever tools I’m comfortable with, and lots of Googling, to try and put it together.

/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?

You’ll need weapon and defense upgrades to complete the game. If you can get those things early you should have a good chance.

/// What can we expect to see in Escape From Everwood or from Random Interactive in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?

I’m working on a Mario Run style game but using a classic 8-bit platformer as the inspiration.

There’s also a mobile football manager game I’ve wanted to make for a while, and now I’ve got the engine sorted for Everwood I’d like to do a follow-up gamebook, which won’t take as long.

/// Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to our awesome team of Writers, Developers, and Supporters who keep Edamame Reviews up and running?

Just thanks for your hard work and support, I’ve signed up now to become a supporter and I’m looking forward to becoming part of the community.

/// Thanks again for participating in our interview, we look forward to talking with you again soon!

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