Protothea: First Torque Wii Game
by Deborah M. Fike · 07/03/2008 (3:42 pm) · 8 comments
Protothea is a re-factoring of the old classic space ship shooting games. In Protothea you are no longer limited to vertical scrolling levels with just vertical firing: you control the ship in the same way you would control a player in an FPS game. Movement is totally free and you aim your ship separately using the pointing device.
In this interview, we discuss Protothea with its developers Sabarasa Entertainment. Sabarasa is one of the leading game development companies in Argentina, producing games for both the local and international market. We'll discuss the game's development, what it was like working with Torque, and what they learned for their next title.
Where did your inspiration come from?
Protothea for WiiWare was a combined effort between Digital Builders and Sabarasa Entertainment. The original game idea, by Digital Builders, was made into a PC game that became a finalist to the IGF competition. Ubisoft later decided to pick up the game on the Wii, brniging the quality bar up and totally redoing it in a 3D world environment.
What is the game development like in Argentina? Are there are particular challenges given your location?
Game development in Argentina is tough, but flourishing. It's still a new industry, and only recently professionals have started to take interest in game development as a career. The exchange rate with the US Dollar makes it a real challenge when trying to negotiate prices with content or technology providers, since most of the industry isn't used to working with companies in Latin America, and are not aware of the need to adjust the products and pricing for specific markets. On the other hand, the same situation also benefits us, since companies hire us to do quality work for them for a fraction of the cost of developing the same content or game in the US.
What was your development process like? (i.e. did you follow any strict principles or methods, and how many people worked on the game team?)
For this particular title our team was small. At the end we had 9 people working on several aspects of the game to polish the look and feel. The game was also developed in a very short time frame, which was originally 3 months, and extended a couple more due to continued development on Torque to support WiiWare and the Nintendo's LotCheck process for the Wii, which we were unfamiliar with at the time. Although we developed for the Nintendo DS, the Wii LotCheck process was a bit more complicated. In the end our development process was simple and straightforward. As our company grows everyday and we start bigger and bigger projects, we are continuously looking into better ways of working and handling our work flow.
Why did you eventually choose Torque? Did you consider other technologies?
We chose Torque because of our previous experience with it and its sudden availability for the Wii platform. It was the obvious pick.
What were a few major development challenges you encountered? How did you overcome them?
Our technical challenges were mainly due to the fact that it was a new platform to us, and Torque for WiiWare wasn't done at the time we started, so we struggled a bit to get WiiWare support, working closely with ProntoGames to try and solve the issues we encountered.
How long did it take to create the game?
The project took about 6 months from start to finish, counting the pre-production, production and release stages.
How did you accomplish QA and beta testing?
We did our QA with RevoSolutions, a very professional group of testers from Romania, heavily geared in Wii equipment and knowledge. Ubisoft also provided their TRC team to make sure we complied with all the Nintendo safety and usability guidelines.
What did you learn in creating the game?
We learnt many things, among them we realized we want to keep doing games with Torque, and we polished our knowledge of the internal APIs of the Wii SDK. Our next project will be more advanced in both graphics and playability.
What can we expect to see next Sabarasa?
There's just one thing you CAN'T expect from Sabarasa, and that's for us to disappear from the Torque for Wii game development scene :)
Special thanks to Sabarasa Entertainment for participating in this interview. For more information on Torque for Wii sales, please see our Torque for Wii information page for developers.
For more stories like this, check out GarageGames' Developer Interview series.