[Interview] Thomas Bowker, developer of the indie game, LYNE.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that the game LYNE is probably one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in 2014. Thomas Bowker was kind enough to grant Gaming Rant an exclusive interview about the game and his history with the medium.
Robert Cross: When did you start playing video games?
Thomas Bowker: Actually kind of older than most people I’ve met, around 6 or 7 years old.
RC: What is your favorite game of all-time?
TB: Probably Banjo Kazooie. Mainly from nostalgia, but it had a great, playful, sense of space and discovery which was perfect for me at the time I played it.
RC: Your favorite genre?
TB: I don’t think I have one, I don’t think about games as genres too much.
RC: Did any specific game or genre have an impact on LYNE?
TB: Hmm, well from a gameplay perspective I looked at a lot of casual mobile games to get a sense of the gameplay that would fit the device best. The mechanics are based heavily on pipe-like puzzles and graph theory.
RC: How did you get your start in developing games?
TB: I enrolled in a games college called AIE in Sydney in the programming course straight out of high school. After graduating I knew the basics, then I joined up with a few others I had met in the community and we tried to start a small games company. On the side I worked on a bunch of short game projects and eventually tried to take on something bigger on my own, which turned into LYNE.
RC: How many have you worked on?
TB: That’s difficult to say. I’ve worked on many games, from short solo weekend game jams to 1+ year projects with multiple people. 15+.
RC: What is your favorite aspect of creating games?
TB: I see games as another form of communication. Seeing you concepts/experiences you have created being effectively communicated is my favourite aspect of game development.
RC: What is the biggest challenge in developing?
TB: For me, since I work mainly alone, the biggest challenge is continuing to believe in yourself/your work.
RC: What development tools did you use to create LYNE?
TB: Unity, MonoDevelop, Logic Pro X, Audacity, Illustrator.
RC: What did the budget look like for LYNE?
TB: Basically nothing.
RC: How many people were involved in the creation?
TB: I did everything involved with creating the game. I brought some people in to help out and give advice on promotion when it was closer to release.
RC: What does your workflow look like and how long did it take you to have LYNE ready for consumers?
TB: I don’t have much structure to how I work. It took me four months of part time work before I had the basics of what the game would be, a few more months after that I had a vertical slice that looked similar to the final product.
RC: Anything that stood out as being a challenge as you were making LYNE?
TB: The first few months where I had no idea what I was making stand out as difficult.
RC: How has the reception for LYNE been so far?
TB: Critically and commercially the reception completely blew me away, it was my first released game so I kept my expectations very low.
RC: Has Steam helped with the marketing of the game?
TB: Yeah actually, Steam featured LYNE on the front page for the week it was released. Why they chose my game I’m not sure, since many games are released every day on Steam now.
RC: Do you have anything in the works?
TB: Yep, working on another game and short weird things that won’t sell as well. The bigger game isn’t ready to show off publicly yet.
RC: Lastly, what advice would you give future game developers?
TB: People who want to be game developers? Just start making games, you’ll learn things whether you wanted to or not.
There you have it, a great interview all around. I’d like to thank Thomas Bowker for his time answering the questions and for the game LYNE. The game is currently on Steam at: http://store.steampowered.com/app/266010/
LYNE is both simplistic in design and complex in execution. A true puzzle tour de force. I highly recommend it.