Congratulations to Jason Nowak, developer of our May GameSalad Game of the Month, Milo & Me.
Our June winner is a creepy-cute multitouch adventure game. It features Zelda-style gameplay built for the modern touchscreen as well as around 2 hours of gameplay with more expected to come in free updates!
Read on to learn more about Milo & Me!
GameSalad: Tell us a little about yourself and your experience as a game developer.
Jason Nowak: Hey friends at GameSalad! My name is Jason and I'm a design, gaming, and tech fanatic who lives in the great city of San Francisco. My formal art background is in Graphic & UI Design, photography, music, and video production. I spend most of my time being as creative as I can!
GS: That's quite the background! Are you a solo shop, or a team?
Jason Nowak: I developed Milo & Me as a solo project. I have a good amount of experience in interaction design and sound/music...though I'm not much of an illustrator or animator but do my best to pretend :).
GS: I feel the animations are quite good for someone who's not an animator. Is Milo & Me your first GS game?
Jason Nowak: Yes! Well, it's my first GS game to make it to release. I have a few other projects floating around that really helped me learn the software. I think you have to be exploratory for awhile and try to think of interesting things to make, then figure out how to make them. I love that feeling you get when you finally figure out how to make something work! The forums and YouTube videos were also super essential.
GS: I think we all love that feeling of accomplishment! About how long did it take you to develop Milo & Me?
Jason Nowak: From initial concepts to release: about a year and a half. Since Milo & Me is an adventure game, development could have gone on forever. I knew that I had to make a realistic stopping point for myself. I set specific goals for myself to get to the first release. You can’t be afraid to restrain yourself and put other great ideas into the ‘future versions’ pile.
One thing I’m glad I spent more time on is the overall art style and mood. I originally started with more of a flat shaped look. After lots of exploration I finally came to a darker but playful art style.
GS: That's a great idea you have about coming up with a stopping point for the initial release and creating realistic goals. What inspired you to go in the direction of Milo & Me?
Jason Nowak: SO many things. For gameplay, the biggest influence was obviously Legend of Zelda. I feel like there are lots of touch-based games for mobile that try to do that style of gameplay but with more traditional controls (virtual d-pads and buttons). While that can be fun in a lot of cases, I wanted to make something that was totally tuned for multitouch. That's when I had the idea to put your fingers in the game as much as the main character. You are directly interacting and manipulating things in a quirky world that lives inside your device.
GS: I think you did a good job of creating that classic top down adventure style of gameplay. How long have you been making games?
Jason Nowak: I've been a game designer of sorts since I was a little kid: making levels for DOOM, playing with RPG Maker, and drawing new islands for Myst. I’ve only recently started working on actual games. I've always wanted to create my own adventure game, but never had the coding knowledge to make it happen. About two years ago I discovered GameSalad and finally found a way to make those ideas come to life. It was seriously a dream come true.
GS: It's great to hear that GameSalad is helping make your dreams come true! Have you been pleased with the final product?
Jason Nowak: Absolutely! Of course there are many things I want to improve on, but I think it came together nicely. And the other great thing is that It's probably the most fun I've ever had working on something. I look forward to coming home every day and working on it some more. I'm super delighted that people are enjoying it and giving great feedback.
GS: Any words of advice or tips to share with fellow GameSalad developers?
Jason Nowak: Iterate, iterate, iterate! Once you've got a solid concept in mind, do plenty of exploration and see where you can take it. Try to do a just a few cool things and focus on doing them really well. Ask your friends and peers for honest feedback as early as you can. As difficult as it is, try to see constructive feedback as just another tool you can use to to make your game even better.
Oh, and here’s a random piece of advice: go on long walks. As weird as that sounds, it energizes the body and mind and can make you think of all sorts of ideas. There’s so many times where I’ve struggled with something creatively but after getting a bit of exercise, I figure it out.
GS: Those are some great tips! I especially like the advice to take long walks. What are you going to do next? Do you have any other game ideas that we should be looking forward to?
Jason Nowak: For the immediate future, more content for Milo & Me! The current release has about two hours of gameplay with Chapter One, but I have lots of ideas for where it goes next. I’d love to expand Milo into other games and am exploring some other concepts for the future: perhaps a puzzle or tower defense game. Let's see where Milo goes next!
GS: Let's see where Milo goes next indeed! Congratulations to you again and we wish you luck in all your future endeavors!
Links to all your Milo & Me needs: