Preview and Interview: SNOT!
I had the opportunity to meet the guys from House on Fire who’ve so far have released the game Neon Zone, and they have a pretty interesting game in the works, called “SNOT!”.
I tried a single level, and the game just come out of alpha stage to a playable version. The story in short is that you are navigating through levels with this intelligent bogey that went alive from nuclear radiation.
What was the most fun here was that you can use your right stick to swirl the goo and grab stuff, making you able to climb – and this goo with funny googly eyes is also viscid, making you able to hang on to the ceiling. You can also grab moveable things (test tubes and measuring jugs amongst other things) and drag them around, using them to reach the ceiling or a high spot to move on in the level.
It’s rather challenging, but talking to the guys from House on Fire at the event, they were aware of this issue, and they will make the game easier, more playable when the final product reaches our home consoles.
House on Fire consists of three core members;
Uni Dahl – CEO og Producer
Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen – Lead Programmer
André Taono – Creative Director
They were happy to follow up with an e-mail interview shortly after our encounter;
How did the idea emerge?
Two of us were part of a small group of three people who used to meet once a week, during evenings, to come up with game ideas and work on small game projects. We tried to submit a few game pitches to public funding programmes, but none of them struck gold. One day, one of us showed up with an idea for a slime game, that his girlfriend had gotten. Another one of us had had a similar idea, so we decided to join forces and work on the idea in collaboration. So we started working on that concept, which turned into the SNOT! game. We rushed to finish a presentation pitch to one of the funding programmes, which had previously turned us down. We barely made the deadline, and because we rushed it so much we didn’t expect much from it. A month later, though, we received word that they had decided to award us with funding to begin work on the project, so that’s how we were able to get started.
How come you decided to make your own game engine?
We had a lot of considerations, and long discussions about this topic. The main reason to write our own engine is that we needed some special physics to make the snot behave as we wanted it to, and we assumed it would be hard to fit that into a generalized game engine. That, combined with the costs of game engine licenses for consoles, made us decide to make our own engine. Besides, it has been a fun challenge for our programmer to design the whole thing from scratch.
How did you come up with the grabbing dynamics?
We really wanted to do something cool with the physical properties of slime, something that you don’t really see in other games. If you have ever played with that toy slime, that you can usually get at toy stores, you see that is kinda how slime works. It stretches and sticks to things. The toy slime has been a big inspiration for us. We have spent a lot of time playing with that at the office.
Which consoles do you plan to launch the game on, and when?
We are targeting consoles, cause the control scheme used in SNOT! requires two analogue sticks found on console controllers. We currently have the game running on one major platform, but are working on securing additional funding to finish the whole game, so nothing is certain yet. That being said, we expect a release in Q2 2013.