A brief interview with Razelle, creator of Grist of Flies

An interview with Razelle, creator of Grist of Flies

The latest subject of my extremely inconsistent interview series is Razelle, the creator of Grist of Flies and winner of the 2015 IGMC RPG Genre Award.

Start off by telling us a little about yourself!

I'm an archaeologist whose schedule varies greatly, so in my downtime I like to create things. Games being one of those things, and perhaps my favorite to create as it contains the whole package and I grew up in love with them, especially Role Playing Games.

Archaeologist, huh? That sounds cool! Are you the kind that gets to do field work?

Yep, though not all the time, like I said, it varies. A lot of desk work for about a month or two, (like now) and then field work depending on what's found in relation to what we're studying. As early as last month we found some interesting looking furniture and tools at a buffalo jump. Basically where Native Americans used to lay in wait for herding buffalo. However, studying Native American history in general you'll get into the study of anthropology whether you want to or not. Lots of burial sites are still being stumbled upon today.

Grist of Flies was the winner of the RPG Genre Award for IGMC 2015! How does it feel?

Honestly it's still sinking in that I made it into the top 10, let alone winning the RPG award. I'm really glad that I won the genre award, since most of my work went into the game's RPG aspects. You could even say the entire game was built around it.

What made you want to put together this particular game? Where there any inspirations of influences?

Besides the gameplay system that I really wanted to create, the two biggest influences were Vexed Enigma's POP Horror tilesets and the music choice for the game, Black Math. I was really lucky to get in touch with a couple of the band members who gave me their blessing and gave me digital copies of all their songs to date. Vexed's tiles were the main inspiration behind the whole apocalypse outlook, otherwise it'd been more like Scooby Doo.

The combat in Grist of Flies is unlike other RPGs I've played. Can you tell us how you came up with it?

I wasn't originally going to make each skillset a separate character, but the IGMC's twist of growth just kind of sparked the idea almost instantly. Before that, the system would have been nearly identical, except with equipment being, well, equipment. Everything else is just an updated and refined version of systems I've been making since I've had Ace. It helps that I love trying to make interesting turn based systems, at the cost of finishing actual games. This'll be a first for that.

Did you learn anything while making Grist of Flies?

All kinds of little things that added up. I forced myself to become more intimate with RGSS3 in order to quash bugs on my own and figure out what made certain scripts I was using tick. I ended up having to create a couple compatibility patches and even an add-on for the Luna Engine. Other than that, I've been worrying constantly that I may have lost my ability to create characters that can differentiate themselves from one another. I'd like to say I still have it.

What strategies did you use to finish a project in such a short amount of time?

Besides having sufficient downtime, the most important advice I can give is to change up what you're doing each day and treat it as a sort of marathon. By not doing all the mapping at once and taking time to create enemies, for example, you're less likely to burn out on a specific part of making the game. What I mean by treating it like a marathon, is not to give up even when you're feeling lazy for the day. It takes much less time to go back and edit if you're not satisfied later on, than it is to create what you put off yesterday from the ground up. Besides, if you're not going to try and get something done every day, you'll be less likely to get back into it in time for the deadline.

What inspired you to want to get into game design?

Just my desire to create stuff. Before I put it into a tangible form, I've always been the kind of person who dreams up stories in their head. For game design specifically, I don't think I'm alone when I say I have a passion for gaming. The two fuse together nicely.

Are there any other projects you're working on?

I'm working slowly little by little to update and create for Grist of Flies what I've been wanting to do since I started brainstorming for the game. The rest of my gamedev time currently goes towards another project that I've been wanting to create since I joined RMN. I actually joined to make a gamepage for the game, but decided I wanted a demo first before I made the page. The focus in that game's battle system is going to be enemy AI, where I'll be using switches and common events to give players the feeling of a thinking foe.

Are there any games on RMN you like or recommend?

My game's top 10 RPG buddy Free Spirits was a really fun romp to play through. As for non IGMC games, my favorites that I played recently were Brave Hero Yuusha and Ill Will. The games I mentioned I ended up playing through in one sitting. I'm automatically tempted to play other games by the same devs sometime in the near future.

Any advice for other game developers out there?

Finish what you create, but don't feel demotivated if you have a sea of dropped games. Each game dropped gives you the experience needed to create a fun game. Once you're comfortable with your level of skill, even if it's not as high as you want to be, the main thing left to do is complete games. It's not an easy discipline to teach yourself, but once you can finish a game instead of jumping onto the next big idea, you'll open all kinds of doors. The only thing holding you back once you've made it this far is the amount of time you're willing to put into it. Never give up and you'll keep creating games you can look back on and feel proud of.

Any other comments?

First off I'd like to thank Solitayre for taking the time to do this interview. For everyone else reading, don't give up game making if it's what you want to do, either just for fun or something more. Also, don't hesitate to hit me up if you want someone to to talk to or help you out with anything RM related. I hope to stay here a while. Let's all be the best of friends!


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Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
What I mean by treating it like a marathon, is not to give up even when you're feeling lazy for the day.

This is really good advice. Thanks to both Solitayre and Razelle for this enlightening interview. I really got a lot out of it. Cheers, you two!
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