Here we are, back with another developer interview! This time with Kelechi Apakama Games the creator of Keep It Up!. Before we start we’d like to thank the Kelechi Apakama Games Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
/// Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Keep It Up!! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
So I’m a student living in the UK, about to start a CS degree at university, and I’ve been developing games for just under 2 years. I don’t have a “studio” as such, although I used to use the name ‘Precinct Games’ for my releases, however I switched to my real name, Kelechi Apakama, a few months ago. I started making games because I was bored in the summer holidays, so one day decided to make a text-based game in the one language I knew at the time; Python. The satisfaction after completing it and showing it to other people was great, so I carried on making games, going from text-based to 2D in python, then onto 3D games in the Unreal Engine.
/// Ok, let’s start talking about Keep It Up!. What are the highlights of your latest release?
My personal highlight of the release has been the reviews, as Keep It Up has had a much better reception than I had expected. At one point I was #8 trending on the Google Play Store, above many games that I’ve played and enjoyed in the past. I was preparing for reviews saying “too hard” or “impossible”, but instead most of the reviews reference the difficulty of the game as a good thing which, to be honest, I was not expecting! A common comparison people have made is saying that it reminds them of QWOP. This is probably my favorite piece of feedback, as I’m a big fan of Bennett Foddy’s work, so for multiple people to compare my game to one of his is amazing.
Edamame: That’s Amazing!
/// What was the core idea or inspiration behind Keep It Up!? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
To be honest I was just playing football in my garden and when I came back inside I started drafting up some game ideas. I pretty quickly decided I wanted to make a football juggling game, but I didn’t like any of the other juggling games on the app store. I had some 3d player models that I was (and still am) using for my long-term football game project, so I thought of a 3d juggling game that wouldn’t be a “tap at the right time” kind of game, but instead would be as authentic as I could possibly make it.
In general, my inspiration for games comes from the games I want to play, but don’t exist. My upcoming football game is one that I, and my mates, have wanted to play for years but has never been made. I do take inspiration from similar games to the ones that I develop, but I mainly look for things that they (in my opinion) have done wrong so I can avoid making the same mistakes.
/// How long was Keep It Up! in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
I took 2 days to create the initial prototype then a further 5 days to prepare for beta release. Then over the course of a couple of weeks working with beta testers, I released for Android then released for iOS 3 days later. This was the first time I’ve successfully released for iOS, after giving up on the iOS release for my last game, Pixel Invaders. The most exciting part of the development process was the initial reception for the beta on reddit. It was the most interaction I’d ever had with a reddit post, and I got a lot of valuable feedback from these posts that made my game better than it ever would have been.
/// What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Keep It Up!? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
I used C++ in Unreal Engine (4.22), using gimp for 2D assets and Blender for tweaking 3D assets. For any UE4 devs reading this, don’t update your engine version unless you 100% have to. Updating to 4.22 opened up a lot of problems in the iOS release that don’t exist on 4.21.
/// Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
Don’t spend all your coins because ball trails are coming soon, and use the code “EDAMEME” for some free coins 🙂
/// What can we expect to see in Keep It Up! or from Kelechi Apakama Games
in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
In Keep It Up you can expect to see an AFCON 2019 themed update and some ball trails in the near-ish future. From me, I don’t have any releases planned soon, however I am developing a football game which will release on PC and console (and also mobile after the initial release) that will have a few heavily requested features that certain AAA football games are missing. To follow the development of that game or Keep It Up, follow me on Twitter (@KelechiApakama).
/// 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?
I just want to say thanks for taking the time to review indie developer’s games, unlike most reviewers that focus on AAA releases without giving indies any time whatsoever.
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