Wahoo Studios / NinjaBee Interview: Boingz
Posted by Corbie Dillard
While we don't know a lot about Wahoo Studio's upcoming Wiiware title Boingz, we were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Jeremy and Joey from Wahoo Studios to find out a bit more about the game. They were also nice enough to send us over a short game play video of the game in action to further show how the game is played. You can check out the full interview and game play video below.
WiiWare World: How long has Boingz been in development?
Jeremy: About a year.
WW: How did you come up with the idea of Boingz in the first place?
Jeremy: The idea came from a brain storming session about games we could make for the Wii. I sat at my kitchen table doodling a bunch of ideas for mechanics and ‘playing’ with them on paper and in my head. Boingz was one that bubbled to the surface.
WW: Can you give us a brief explanation of the game play in Boingz?
Jeremy: Boingz gives you command of a bunch of stretchy characters. You can directly control one character at a time, using the Nunchuck to walk and jump. The remote is used to bend, stretch, flick, and pin characters. The goal of each level is to put the characters into color coded gates. Of course you only start with one active character, and have to wake up the others before they can join your party.
WW: What about Boingz makes it stand out from other puzzle/platformers out there?
Jeremy: The stretching, flicking, and pinning mechanics are pretty different from other games. Boingz is built around these mechanics, and using them in a natural way. Another primary difference from many other games and Boingz comes in the level design of the game. You never need to worry about screwing up a level and needing to restart.
WW: What controllers are supported in Boingz?
Jeremy: Boingz requires the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk attachment.
WW: What was it like developing a game that makes use of such a unique game controller as the Wii Remote?
Jeremy: It was fun. We wanted to make sure we provided a unique experience for the Wii user, something that made the player feel they were interacting with these little creatures – stretching, bending, and flicking them about. At the same time we didn’t want to make the game all about shaking and waggling the remote about. There are plenty of games that already offer that.
We also didn’t want to make a game that required players to practice extreme precision with the pointer. The pointer on the Wii just isn’t geared for it, and for folks like me who shake a ton, it’s a nightmare to try and deal with anything that requires a high level of pointing precision. To that end we made sure to design the game and its control in a manner that makes it easy to do what you mean to do, without fighting about the specifics of how you do it.
WW: Did you find it challenging to stay within the 40MB WiiWare file size limit?
Joey: I wasn’t ever concerned about staying under 40MB. However, knowing that storage has been a hot button topic for Wii users we did try to keep our download as small as possible. We have some really great internal tools to eliminate duplicate data from our final builds. The most challenging part was figuring out how to partition our data; one large monster package of data takes up too much memory during decompression, too many small packages and we don’t get the highest level of duplicate data reduction.
WW: Is there any downloadable content going to be made available for Boingz?
Jeremy: Many of our games are designed with future expansion in mind. Due to a number of factors Boingz was not. Without this base support it would be very difficult for us to release any additional content. Further expansion of Boingz will have to come from any future games.
WW: Will Boingz have any type of online game play or other wi-fi features?
Jeremy: This version of Boingz does not support networking. A physics based game like this was something new for us, so we chose to focus our resources on the core game mechanics.
WW: What are some advantages/disadvantages to developing for the WiiWare service as opposed to a retail release?
Joey: In my opinion the only real differences boil down to size. With a retail title you can have a lot more data than on a title for WiiWare. Although, as the saying goes ‘sometimes less is more’; with Boingz having such a small data footprint it means that we can load and decompress all of our data into RAM one time during application start up allowing us to load levels rather quickly.
WW: How many Wii Points will Boingz retail for when it's released?
Jeremy: Boingz will set you back a mere 1,000 Wii Points when it hits the Wii Shop Channel.
WW: Any idea when we can expect a Boingz release in the US or Europe?
Jeremy: It should release this Fall.
WW: When can we expect Boingz plushies to hit retail shelves? Can we have some?
Jeremy: If I see any I’ll be sure to send some your way. That is after I get some myself, of course. I wonder if we could get ones that stretched?
WW: What is your own personal favorite WiiWare game to date?
Jeremy: My current favorite is the episodic Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. I love classic adventure games. I love the Homestar Runner cartoons. SBCGFAP is as close as you can get to playing a Homestar cartoon, and it’s in classic adventure game format. Plus I get to answer questions like this with cool words like SBCGFAP.
Joey: I don’t have a ton of experience with WiiWare games but I have enjoyed LostWinds.
WW: Do you guys have any other WiiWare project on the horizon?
Jeremy: I’m afraid that’s a question I’m not allowed to answer without bad things happening to my family. I like my family, please don’t make me endanger them...
We want to take a moment to thank Jeremy and Joey for taking time out of their busy schedules to do the exclusive interview with WiiWare World. They were also kind enough to send us over a short game play video of Boingz in action for all to check out below.