Have you ever dreamt of finding a loophole in the electoral system capable of winning you an election? If so, you should (1) be forever banned from ever running for president or prime minister and (2) download Gerrymander: Rig The Election on your smartphone!
Today we would like to share with you our interview with Good Egg Games, the developers of Gerrymander: Rig The Election. If you have yet to check out our review of Gerrymander: Rig The Election, you can do so here!
Before we start we’d like to thank the Good Egg Games Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Gerrymander: Rig The Election, could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio and what drew you to Game Development?
Sean: I dig the way that Game Development combines so many different skills so intimately. Alex and I have been working on game projects together since we were both studying Game Design at university together, and have recently started teaming up with Zander to create some awesome projects.
Alex: I always wanted to do something creative, then I found out I was a good programmer. So game dev seemed like an ok path for me that I kind of naturally fell towards. As Sean said, we met in Uni, we’ve been doing game jams together since and trying to get games off the ground but never really getting there. We met Zander and started doing game jams with him. Then I pitched Gerrymander to Sean, he was interested, then we got Zander involved. It was our first real push at getting something done.
First question. What was the core idea (or inspiration) that sparked the development of Gerrymander: Rig The Election?
Alex: I feel like the idea was just kind of sitting there, it’s a game that politicians have been playing for 200 years. It was an interesting mechanic that had been sitting there all this time. I wanted to take it and show it to people so they can understand what’s happening.
What were the hardest problems you faced during the different development stages of Gerrymander: Rig The Election?
Sean: Probably figuring out the best way to design the UI that communicates everything as clearly as possible, whilst also allowing for compromises on the implementation side of things. Photoshop mockups sometimes can’t translate perfectly to a functional user interface, and that’s when there’s to-and-fro between Alex and I to find the best possible compromises.
Alex: Getting the map generation just right. It took a fair bit of iteration to make it generate maps that made the puzzle interesting. It took a lot of playing around to work out what makes maps interesting to play and what makes maps feel different enough to justify different levels. The game didn’t feel fun until I started playing around with code that makes the map generate more interesting shapes, the solutions used to be very blocky and not that interesting, but I really wanted to have maps that required shapes that were more snake-like. So a lot of time was spent getting that right.
For our nerdy Developer Fans, what programming language and or software did you use when developing Gerrymander: Rig The Election? And was it a good decision?
Sean: I actually designed a lot of the pixel art sprites on my iPad using a fantastic app called Pixaki before bringing them into Photoshop for fine tuning colour and such. I also recommend any designers out there check out Skala Preview, which is fantastic for previewing your mockups from Photoshop, live on your various devices.
Alex: Unity, and yes, it was definitely a good decision.
What advice would you give to a new player trying Gerrymander: Rig The Election for the first time?
Alex: Hopefully any advice related to gameplay I’d have to give is already in the tutorial, but perhaps I’d ask any new players to think while they play about how the mechanics they’re learning apply to real life. And then consider democracy in general and how the rules you use can change an outcome. Gerrymandering is just one of many ways a democracy can misrepresent the will of the people.
Where do you get your inspiration or ideas from?
Zander: For the music, I wanted to lampoon over-the-top American patriotism by creating a piece that sounds like a Sousa march, replete with trilling piccolo and all the trimmings. However, I also wanted to comment on the apparent clumsiness in politics by making it sound as though all of the instruments were being played by children. This was far too grating to use during the gameplay, so I made a track which blends this patriotic Sousa march style with a tango, which I felt emphasizes the duel-like nature of a two-party system (and also the us-vs.-them dynamic of the game).
Alex: Well a lot of the ideas for this game came from just playing around with it and working out what was missing. Some of it is just experimentation, other ideas come from us identifying a problem and then discussing how we could possibly fix it. And then some of it just comes from thinking on the long bus rides into the co-working space I was working from.
A few words to Gerrymander: Rig The Election fans on Edamame Reviews. Any new games in the near future? What can we look forward to next?
Alex: Right now our focus is updates. We have a few new features we’d like to add and a handful of new levels. Hopefully, we can address some of the complaints people have and give fans some new stuff to enjoy. After that, who knows? It really depends on how successful Gerrymander is. Hopefully, we can all still keep making games, maybe together, but maybe Gerrymander just ends up being a portfolio piece for us to launch ourselves into something else. I wish I knew what was next.
Lastly a few words on how you feel about Edamame Reviews and our service.
Alex: You seem like a cool site, and we greatly appreciate the attention you’ve given our game. It’s fantastic that you’re spotlighting so many smaller games and not just the big ones like a lot of other sites. Clearly, a lot of work is put into the site and that’s awesome!
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