Interviews// Penumbra Developer, Frictional Games

Posted 3 Jan 2008 17:59 by
SPOnG: Do you see yourselves continuing with that home studio model then, or do you think you?ll move into a studio one day?

Jens Nilsson: We can continue to do this for as long as necessary.

Thomas Grip: Yeah.

Jens Nilsson:: But I personally, I have done it for too long now I need something to go to. I don?t want my work to be home any more, I want it to be somewhere else.

Thomas Grip: Yeah, but at the same time, when you are working overtime you?re still at home, so you don?t have the nagging for the missus. No, it?s good to be able to get home. Also when you quit your job you can say ?Honey, I?m home?, and you go from the chair to the sofa and have your free time, so that?s the bad part.

But also if you want more freedom, you can?t really have a company just from home. It?s harder to say ?Oh, I?m having a problem here, can you help me with my computer? Why is it doing like that?? Then you have to explain in a form, or explain to someone over the phone, we have to make a connection between sites and access the desktop, so that?s just really cumbersome in some situations. But in other situations like just for proofing art and so on then that?s fine. It has its pros and it has its cons.

SPOnG: The Wii Version of Penumbra: Black Plague - well I say the Wii version - the Wii was mentioned over in a presentation and you said you weren?t working on a version at the moment. Why not? It obviously looks like a very good fit for your control mechanism.

Penumbra Overture
Penumbra Overture
Thomas Grip: The big part is the technology of the Wii... We can?t do a straight port, so that sort of thing was the concern with the Wii version. Not saying that the Wii is not powerful enough to do a game like that. It?s just that you need to do some tweaking in order for it to (work). We have talked about it with people outside of the company, so there might be a day, but I?m afraid there?s nothing concrete for now. But we have talked about it.

SPOnG: In terms of the technology, you said you had built it yourself - the engine and so on. Is that something you see yourself using for future games?

Penumbra Overture
Penumbra Overture
Thomas Grip: We?re already in the process of designing an up-to-date technology for our next game. We do that in our spare time, or I do. Yeah we?re working on technology and I think that even though it?s good to have all this, there are a lot of good tools. For instance, for the developer you can have free tools and so on and you can buy tools, but I always like having control. I have used in the past a lot of engines and I have always been disappointed with features.

It?s "Yes, this is going to work, I promise", and then it never happens and then they change something and you don?t have that amount of control when you know your own technology. It?s so much simpler - it takes time to make it, but when you have it running it?s so much simpler and you can really make your technology to fit to what you want at that particular time.

So, I think it?s really important for our company and also it?s cost effective 'cos now we have it we don?t have, ?Oh, another game, now we have to license the stuff?. So, we don?t have that problem.
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