In this episode I speak with Max Mraz, developer of Ocean’s Heart. A 2D Zelda inspired game where you explore an archipelago as the game’s heroine Tilla.
In this conversation we discuss where some of his inspirations for the game came from and the feeling he was looking to instill in the game, and the satisfaction found while exploring forests.
We discuss some of his best advice being to start small with projects that are going to be easier to learn from and iterate on with experience. With this, it also allows to take what works best and better integrate it from the very beginning in gameplay mechanics.
We discuss that some of his favorite games as a child being Pokemon Crystal and Zelda Oracle of Seasons due to their emphasis on exploration. This leading to the Zelda series meaning the most to him due to their constant focus on exploration and discovery.
We briefly discuss older games having numerous platform releases, leading to the learning experience there was a Tom and Jerry cartoon movie in the early 90s and how it is, really not worth the time to chase down or watch (No really, you’re safe to ignore it and just move on).
We talk about some of his other favorite games, Wario Advance as well as the Bionicles series which was part of a sprawling series that had games, movies, comics, all interconnected across multiple different mediums… Including a flash game as a sequel to a Gameboy Advance game.
We also talk about how Max is able to get back to feeling the magic of his childhood with his Saturday morning ritual of being able to spend time relaxing, making cinnamon rolls and playing video games, finding the ability to be carefree even if for a few hours. As well, having a game with a set story and advancement creating his ideal gaming time.
We also talk about older games and their evolution of the narrative being expanded upon, and consistently becoming a primary focus of games with story being just as important as everything else. We also discuss the evolution of gameplay mechanics getting better, and in the case of older camera controls, just how far they’ve come over the last 20 years.
We also discuss how it is important to draw a line when engaging with your audience and fans can be fun, but it is still important to protect yourself against both ends of the extreme and avoid getting into a negative or positive feedback loop and not allow yourself to drown in what everyone is saying.
You can find out more about Max’s game Ocean’s Heart, as well as his smaller side project games at the links below, as well as follow him for more of his own updates via the Twitter link as well
Oceans Heart on Steam
Max’s Itch.IO Page
Max’s Twitter @11Mraz