Interviews: The Code Monkeys
Posted by James Newton
Developers chat about their social simian saga
What you might not realise about The Code Monkeys is they've been around for over twenty years, having started out as conversion specialists back on the Spectrum and Commodore 64 before porting classic shooter Turrican to the Genesis, Super Nintendo and Turbografx16. Since then they've released scores of titles for PlayStation, iPhone, GameBoy Advance and DS, but Manic Monkey Mayhem is their first foray into WiiWare and DSiWare development, so we sat down with the guys to chat about how they wrassled those cheeky monkeys into their online multiplayer title.
Nintendo Life: What are the main differences going between the WiiWare and DSiWare versions?
The Code Monkeys: The main difference is simply going to be the number of polygons in the characters. Content-wise, everything from the Wii version can go into the DSi version, so that's what we're doing.
NL: Because you're developing both titles simultaneously, did that make things easier, as they're sharing a lot of content?
TCM: It certainly makes things easier. We had a headstart on the Wii version before we kicked off development on the DSi version, but we were working from a common engine that we use across all platforms anyway so we can do cross-platform quite easily. In this case we were probably about 80% finished on the Wii version before we started work on the DSi.
NL: Is that an in-house engine?
TCM: It is, it's our own engine.
NL: Does it have a monkey-related name?
TCM: It doesn't, which is outrageous! Other developers come up with such clever names, but no, ours has no name.
NL: Which do you consider to be the definitive version of the game?
TCM: I suppose the definitive one is going to be the Wii one, because it was developed around that platform. However, the nature of the DS controls means although the game has to change you can still retain a lot of its character, so the strength of your throws is controlled by upward strokes on the touch screen, for example.
NL: This is your first download title for Wii - did you have any problems with the size restrictions for the WiiWare service?
TCM: We always thought we would have, but we developed it with a plan that we could put everything into it that we want to keep, and then when it reached 58MB we could start hacking bits away there and then. But it never got to that point, which is really good - we surprised ourselves with that. We thought we were going to be hacking out animations, number of polygons, sound effects, music, but nothing had to go.
NL: Is there any bonus to having both the WiiWare and DSiWare versions in terms of connectivity?
TCM: No, that would have delayed the release of the initial version, because you have to then submit both versions to Nintendo so they can check the cross-platform compatibility, and getting hold of DSi dev kits is... interesting, to say the least. So any hold-up on the DSi version would have delayed the Wii version, which would have been a shame. Cross-platform play is something we'd definitely like to investigate, so when we're fully-equipped and ready to go on a new project then yes. Maybe for the sequel!
To coincide with this interview we've also uploaded some brand new screenshots showing off some of the game's multiplayer and single-player modes. We'd like to thank The Code Monkeys for their time with this interview and for allowing us to get a hands-on with Manic Monkey Mayhem, and you can expect to see our review shortly after the game's scheduled release date of Friday 30th October.