Show And Tell: Initials Video Game Collective

This is Show and Tell, a (relatively) new regular which gives Aussie indies the chance to show off what they’ve been working on. Today we have Alexander Van De Marten from the Initials video game collective discussing the absolutely gorgeous-looking Super Lemonade Factory and getting a foot into the visual effects industry.

Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your studio?

I'm Alexander Van De Marten and I am part of the Initials video game collective. Calling us a studio is a bit of a reach; we all have jobs and we make games in our spare time because, quite simply, we love it.

Our last game was called Apple Shampoo and was made for the TIGSource Versus Competition. While it didn't win, or even place, it has found a home on the Winnitron AU, which is incredibly exciting. I think the whole Winnitron concept where anyone can make a game for an arcade machine is something to be really excited about. It breaks down the barrier between the players and the creators.

What game are you working on at the moment? We are working a platformer for iOS called Super Lemonade Factory. It's looking and sounding really good. Overall I'm really happy with how it's progressing.

The other thing we are still doing is an iOS port of the procedurally generated platform game Mode.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Mode is a flash game by Adam Atomic (Canabalt, Wordle) that serves as a test bed for the Flixel game engine. The Flixel website describes it as "a silly platformer", but it's absolutely not silly. I personally feel it's in a master class of procedural level generation, pixel art, tile sets and sprite sheets. All the things you need to know about if you want to start making 2D games.

Mode for iOS is on the app store now and the best thing about it is if you like and want to make edits you can download the source code and modify it all you like. Where and when can we play?

We've been guilty of rushing games out in the past. With Super Lemonade Factory we are determined not to release it until we're absolutely happy with how it plays.

If you want to play Mode on an iPhone, you'll find it in the app store.

And Apple Shampoo is available on the Winnitron AU in Melbourne. It is also licensed under Creative Commons and the source code and artwork is available for anyone to share and remix.

What’s next for your studio – any big plans?

We'll be working on Super Lemonade Factory until it feels right to release it. We've said all along this is an iOS game. I'm hoping to do a similar thing to Canabalt, where an iOS game, a Flash game and a two player Winnitron game can all co-exist and garner a fan base.

We also want to build the Winnitron SYD. We have the hardware, we just need a cabinet. Everyone is on the lookout for a arcade cabinet. Any words of advice for those who want to get into the games industry?

Well, we're not officially in the games industry so I can't specifically talk about it, but working in visual effects is similar and it's not unusual to work alongside people who have and currently work in video games. The advice I am about to give applies to the visual effects industry, but I imagine it applies to any type of work you are passionate about. Share your opinion in the comments if you think otherwise.

Be prepared to take a job you're over qualified for to get a foot in the door. You'll meet people, you'll pick up industry-specific lingo, you'll find out how important good communication is.

Once you're in the door, be prepared to become a part of pipeline. Part of this means doing things in a very specific manner, which can be uncomfortable at first for someone who sees themselves as an artist with their own style and flair. This can be as simple as adhering to file naming conventions; things that aren't particularly important when working by yourself can really bite you in the butt when you're part of a large team.

If you’re an indie developer, or a student working on a cool project, get in contact with us here if you want to be featured in an upcoming Show and Tell!


    May want to shorten the text on the front page...


    This game is drawn by Michael Hussinger, his stuff is awesome!

      Yes, the art is by Michael, but he has requested to be credited as Miguelito.
      I realised I didn't put that piece of information in anywhere. Apologies to Miguelito, but yes, the artwork was made by him and if you want to see more of his awesome work, check him out here

    Tell me more about the game: Super Lemonade Factory.

      To be honest the game started as a Super Crate Box clone. That's a bold statement considering the chaos caused by the whole Vlambeer vs. the Fishing Ninjas situation. But as the game progressed, and as I built in support for the Ogmo Level Editor to work with Flixel-iOS, I realised I could make the platformer I always wanted to make.
      And so the design document for that game is ever evolving. What started as a three level blast the enemies clone is now a sprawling (we've got 30 levels) platformer where you can interact with the different characters and objects in different ways.

        I should also point out that this game has music by chiptune superstar Easyname. Hear some tracks here:

    Nice looking game, it would be nice to try but *sigh* I will most likely never get that chance. I'll just take my android phone and leave

      Don't worry NHS if I ever make an indie game I'll make sure it has an android release ;)

        You my friend are both a gentlemen and a scholar.

          We're not ruling out Android, but initially it will be an iOS release.

            How much work is there in porting something from iphone to Android? I would love to try this but, like NHS, can't due to the iphone exclusivity.

              From memory there is some considerable effort in doing this, not only that but you'd need to test/support a range of devices where as iOS there are only a few to support. But what do I know I'm only a .Net dev after all :(

                There is quite a bit of work in porting because of the way I am working. If you use a third party engine like Unity, building for different devices can be quite simple. However I am using the Flixel engine which uses the Apple native Objective C language. Porting that to other devices is definitely not an easy task. That said, there are people out there who want to port successful games, so that's a potential avenue.

    That some gorgeous pixel art right there.
    This game is on my radar now.

      Thanks. Great to see so many positive comments.

    I highly anticipate this. Looking good Initials ;)


    Your website doesn't have a means to contact you - when people click on the 'contact us' link! D'oh!

    Anyway, hello!

    What I /wanted/ to tell you - was if you're after an arcade cabinet - a REAL one - to build Winnitron Syd.. join up at (forum) and introduce the project, then you're bound to get some help.

    Watch out for Mr_Staypuft on the forum - that'd be me. :-)

    they look like characters from Goldrush

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