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By Spencer . December 14, 2011 . 3:01pm
Dorm room designers take note, a group of students from ENJMIN (Ecole Nationale du Jeu et des Medias Interactifs Numériques) in France turned a college project into a Konami published video game. Puddle is on track for release as a downloadable game for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita in January. The story of Puddle goes way back to 2009 where the game was first developed as a student project and unveiled at the Independent Games Festival Student showcase a year later.
Could you please introduce yourselves and your involvement with the game.
We are the Puddle core Team composed of Martial Potron (game designer / level designer / manager), Pierre Lemasson (graphics designer / level designer), Hoel Jacq (graphics designer / level designer), Antoine Guerchais (programmer / level designer), Arnaud Noble (sound designer) and Remi Gillig (programmer / level designer).
How did the Puddle project start?
The Puddle game started at our video game school. At first it was an idea that came from an English exercise and turned out to become our first year student project. The idea was simple: make a game where you play fluids and do all sorts of chemical reactions.
I’ve seen other liquid puzzlers before like Fluidity and Mercury Meltdown. What makes Puddle different?
Puddle is not just a physics-based puzzler, it’s a mix between that and a race game. You have all the time you want to beat the levels but the main goal is to beat the times, get the medals, unlock the laboratory features and be on the top of the leaderboards. Also, through all the chapters you’ll be able to explore different environments with different types of fluids and behaviors.
In all fairness, Fluidity arrived long after we started working on the project. The student project started in February 2009 and we worked on it since then. We always wondered if the guys behind Fluidity took a look at the IGF student submissions.
Puddle is a physics based game. How did you develop the code for the physics backbone and how did you fine tune it so it felt right?
At the early research stage of the student project we found some interesting academic papers which turned out to be exactly what we needed with all the features we wanted for our fluids. We now have sticky fluids, jello-like fluids, sticky walls as well and everything works as we wanted. There are a lot of things we could tweak and it helped us a lot for some difficult level designs.
Puddle was developed while you were at ENJMIN. What did your university do to support the game’s development?
The school gave us the opportunity to start this project and the resources we needed to work together. Also, one of our professors is the creative director at Neko Entertainment, the studio which hired us to finish and commercialize the game. So, the school indirectly helped to take this project to a commercial launch.
How did you get in touch with Konami to publish it?
Neko Entertainment met Careen Yapp from Konami during a Video Game event as many other “interested” publishers and potential partners (especially thanks to our selection at the Game Connection Selected Projects in 2010).
What did Konami bring to the table other than distribution? Did they suggest any changes? Offer any technology?
The partnership with Konami is more than fair for us knowing that they were fully confident on our capacity, creatively and technically, to provide a great title, while they were focused on the QA, video game event promotion, marketing & PR and distribution sides.
What advice would you give to college students developing video games in dorm rooms today?
We thought it would take us like 6 months to finish the project once we were out of school but rewriting the code to port on consoles, redesigning almost 50 levels, polishing everything took us longer than expected and this was our day job. Any project will be like this and it’s important to keep the final goal in mind and focus on the important features of your game. Cut everything you’re not satisfied with, it helps a lot with a lot of things later.
Most importantly, stay punk !