It's time for another interview! And it's not even my first one with Facundo Balboa. But there's no shame in interviewing a successful wunderkind like him twice. 5 questions, 5 answers. Gimme 5ive, Facundo!
Fred: Hi, Facundo! Thanks for agreeing to another interview. Six years ago, I had the chance to ask you these 10 questions. I guess many things happened in the meantime. Would you mind telling our readers a bit about your career from pupil to professor?
Facundo: Hi Fred! First of all, thanks for interviewing me. I guess yes, lots of things have happened in the meantime, I can’t believe that six years have passed since I made “Kingdom in the Clouds” with Chad. About your question, I have been working on web games as always. I graduated as a game developer at Escuela Da Vinci, here in Buenos Aires. For our final project, we made “Witchcraft”, which was my first “big” 3D game made in Unity. And now I am working as a professor there, teaching programming classes. I have been offered to work for some companies, nothing big, but I really like teaching and having free time for personal projects. I guess that my favorite projects in the last six years have been: YBit, Primal Champions and Asterash.
Fred: One of your latest games, Asterash, that we’ve reviewed on our blog, was still made with Flash, a technology that is dying a slow, painful, and even dangerous death. Do you think there is some kind of future for Adobe’s unpopular software platform or will developers like you be forced to remake their old classics in order to keep them playable?
Facundo: It is a hard question. First of all, I will say I am a Flash fanboy so I may have a partial opinion. I think there isn’t another tool that can really replace Flash yet, especially when talking about the work between a programmer and an artist. Yes, you can work with html5 or Haxe but those are not the same as working with Flash.
Having said that, I think Adobe is totally letting it die right now and it is difficult to see a future for it. There are rumors that Tom Fulp, from Newgrounds, is working with some other people on something like a new Flash Player, but there isn’t anything concrete yet. I guess that the best that could happen to Flash Player is if it was made open-source and allow the developers fix what is needed. It would be a shame to lose something like this because it was a great source of free games and a great starting point for indie developers.
Lastly, if the tool is totally lost, there won’t be more Flash games, at least not playable in browser. Anyone with Flash player can create an .exe-version of their games, though they don’t always work and if you are using an external API it will probably stop working. Having said that, most of the developers would probably save a copy of their games but only for themselves and this kind of games would be lost. So, I hope Adobe doesn’t stick it’s head in the sand and makes it an open-source tool.
Fred: Your pixelated platformer YBit is a must-have for retro lovers. Do you have some kind of special connection to the 8-bit era or what was your source of inspiration for this game?
Facundo: I’ve always liked 2D games. I used to play them with my grandmother since I was able to hold a controller. I think there is something unique when representing worlds in two dimensions instead of three that gives a lot of good constraints, and even though it sounds weird, that gives a lot to the gameplay and art. So, I am always trying to have some free time in order to make 2D games, this time I am working on YBit.
I originally made Cubito, my first game as a game developing student. It wasn’t that great and even a bit buggy but I the fondest memories of it so I decided to make a game based on that prototype. I took inspiration from it and Super Meat Boy, of course, a bit of FEZ and some small details from Vlambeer games. All of that mixed with a bit of me.
So, as a summary, it is a combination of my childhood games with some of my favorite indie games. It’s not even close to being that awesome but it was my humble effort to make a new and fun game.
Fred: As a professor at a university, you teach programming for video games. Have you ever encountered a student who came up with such an outstanding game idea, you wish it was yours?
Facundo: Maybe not wishing it was mine but instead something I would love to collaborate on, and of course, can’t! And yes, it has happened more than once. Still, it is really awesome to see new ideas or new twist to other game concepts. I think there is a lot of potential when thinking about new games and probably that isn’t something solely from my students, it is something from the new generations who are born with this kind of video games as I was.
And just to point out, not only is it awesome to see some outstanding game ideas but also awesome art skills or even programming skills. It is a really nice experience not only to teach but also to learn about how others try to solve problems in a way that I never thought.
Fred: Finally, our off-the-wall question from the Daikon Media surprise bag: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Facundo: That’s a difficult one, especially if you don’t know anything about movie celebrities like I do. First of all, I would recommend Hollywood to make an action movie, I guess they sell better. But, if I had to choose one, I guess I will go for Sylvester Stallone. Maybe he needs to look younger and become something closer to stickman than a boxer, but he already acted as Balboa, so I don’t know why he couldn’t act as Facundo Balboa.