In which we talk about the game currently in development, the developer's background and previous games, and the origins of their name
An Interview with Hamazaki Factory, Part 1
Interview by: Douglas Schules; Translation by: Douglas Schules
Can you briefly tell us about Hamazaki Factory and your reason for making games?
About Hamazaki Factory
After finishing an app when using Unity, I needed a publisher name to release on Google Play, so I named it "Hamazaki Factory". I like the word "factory" and I mixed it with "Hamazaki," the pen name I used during my time as a writer for PC magazines. So, that's how it was named and there's no deep meaning behind it. I came up with it simply because I needed it.
About Black Blood Breaker
After making four apps for use on smartphones I've become used to Unity to some extent, so I wanted to try making an action game, which is my favorite genre. When making the game, I had two guiding principles:
It's like, even though there are still many things I don't know about game development, I wanted to make something proper, so I did what I could (and I'm still running towards this goal, which I can sort of see now).
I'd like to know a bit more about the development of the game. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the designs for the main character, bosses, and enemies that appear in Black Blood Breaker?
All of the characters are items purchased from the asset store; they aren't things that I designed. I changed the colors of the textures and adjusted some content, but basically, I kept the animation and model data as they were. If it was normal game development, the natural progression would be that you want to make these kinds of characters or you want to make them do these kinds of actions, so you design the characters and animations. But this time, because the characters and animation data are present, I decided to make attacks based on those, and I was able to move forward.
As for the standards used to select the models, I chose a model that is a little game-like rather than realistic. Because it's for mobile, I made the choice to use models that have few polygons, and in order to create a unified feeling, I chose textures that had the taste of something hand drawn. In order to get all of the data I need, I have to use assets from different creators. I used Unity for the game engine this time, so it really helped that there were a lot of assets available.
Speaking of design, at Digige we talked briefly about the level design of Black Blood Breaker. I asked if the game's stages would be procedurally generated, and was told that they'd be fixed. While I imagine that procedural generation would add to re-playability, it might also be a challenge to implement. Could you tell us a little about your design choice?
Another thing is that because I designed the game spontaneously every day instead of from a set plan, I decided that it would be impossible to introduce a new system and game style because it that would take more time. Even though I've never made it, in order to implement procedural generation it was clear that I would need a huge amount of resources and adjustment time to ensure the game plays comfortably. On that point, if the stages were fixed and I could make the game by only adjusting the various things that I made, I thought "I could manage that." ...even so, it has taken me more than a year and a half since I started creating it.
Of course, I understand that it's fun that a procedural generation dungeon type game can give new experiences each time. Anyway, for right now, while I'm hoping to include that kind of system in the end, I'm putting it together so that it makes as fun a game experience as possible given my capabilities. If you don't release it to the world, it doesn't mean anything anyway, right?
Black Blood Breaker contains some voice acting, so I was wondering what you could tell us about the process.
Previously, when I participated at an event where individual game creators get together I made a request to a freelance voice actress. I remember that I decided to work with this person because we were able to record at my house without using a studio, and when we talked at the event I figured that this person could work well with me. The reason why I bothered to put voices in is simply because I followed my desire where I thought "I wanted to put in some voice actingâ and âit would be awesome if it has voice acting."
How did you get started in designing games?
My reason for starting to make games is fairly clear-cut: it's because I wanted to play games. I began making games during the 8-bit micro computer era...the distant past (I wonder if it's more than 30 years ago....).
A few years later, after leaving PC magazines and working as a salaryman, there were less opportunities for me to make games, but after becoming freelance I returned to making them, this time using Unity which I found when I started to spend more time on this hobby.
How many games have you made so far, and can you tell us a little about them?
I don't really remember what games I've made for PC or where they actually are (because they were published in magazines, it's not that there aren't any that remain, but I'm unclear whether or not I have them), so I'll talk about game apps I've released. However, they haven't really sold and become dead apps...
Puzzle De Tower
Available on Amazon App Store
The first app that I made using Unity. It is a puzzle game where items fall, and by matching balls of the same color they disappear. I remember getting ambitious with the character models. I remember it took half a year.
Available on App Store
A puzzle game where you match one cat with a cat of the same type, and they disappear. I used a Voxel Editor, and threw it together in about a week.
vs subsection chief
Available on Google Play
A VR-like shooting game that used CardBoard where you defeat enemies that come from behind.
I made the game in the middle of making Summer Love which is mentioned below, for a change of pace. This was also made using the Voxel editor, and was thrown together in about two weeks.
Summer Love Karen: a Story that Begins from "Like"
Available on Google Play
I started this wanting to try to make a game for smartphones that had a vertical text viewer, and I'm not sure why but this is how it turned out. The thought process for development went like this:
Because I had never written any scenario before and I only had character illustrations that I had drawn a long time ago, it's mystery why I pursued this project until the end (I did, in fact, stop sometimes because I hit a wall). It took about nine months in total.