Curious to know more about IndestructoTank’s journey from flash gamer to Game Boy cartridge? We had a few questions for developer Antony Lavelle, who shares the story behind the original game, as well as some of the experiences had in transitioning the original to the limited hardware specifications of the Game Boy.
What’s the story behind IndestructoTank!?
It started after playing a game called 'Heavy Weapon' on Xbox Live Arcade in 2006. I wanted to make a similar game - it was originally a game where you shoot bullets below at helicopters above, but at one point in development I added in some basic physics that resulted in the tank being blasted around the scene. My friend Joel had a play of it and commented that it was actually more fun to bounce on the enemies than to shoot them, and a few days later the original IndestructoTank! was born. Then a few years passed, and I got interested in Gameboy development - and with it being a simple but addictive game, it seemed a perfect game to try to fit in 32kb of 4 shades of grey power.
How has the development process been?
It was a lot of fun, the kind of project that I'd work on in my spare hours as I learned the hardware and software needed to make Game Boy games.
What’s unique about IndestructoTank! that made you realize it needed to be made?
I put a lot of work into making the game so that it could have been a launch Game Boy title alongside Super Mario Land and Tetris - it requires no special bank switching or later cartridge improvements Nintendo made, but despite that I managed to fit a full soundtrack and some pretty cool animation and visual effects into a super compressed 32kb of game - and it's a pretty fun one too!
What would you say are the influences behind IndestructoTank!?
Heavy Weapon obviously, and then probably my friend Joel more than a game.
Are there any funny or unexpected things that occurred during the development of IndestructoTank!?
The first time I got the game running on real Game Boy hardware I realized I'd have to go back and add an entire high contrast mode to make it more playable on the older blurrier screens, and I had already ran out of space. So I had to add in a lot more compression of assets to fit it.
How have your previous experiences helped in the development process?
I've made and released nearly 100 games now, many of them solo efforts, and that taught me what is needed to finish a project and ship it, which I think is always a much tougher step than people think when they are beginning game development. You need to have a clear objective and stick to it - then have the patience to achieve that goal and not get caught up in being a perfectionist, or risk never shipping anything.
What kind of lessons did you learn in the development process?
8 bit numbers and a 32kb filesize limit are very hard to work with if you want smooth animation, music and fast action gameplay. Next time I'll plan accordingly for a lot of things that needed to be super optimized last minute.
What do you hope players take away and remember from IndestructoTank!?
I'd love the Game Boy version to be enjoyed on original hardware by as many people as possible - something just not possible if I were to do it alone, so I'd love Incube8 to make it readily available for anyone interested in the scene.
Do you have any plans for what’s next?
Well for now I'm planning on focussing on a project I'm working on at my day job for SEGA Hardlight. But obviously in my down time I'm tinkering away in a procedural metroid game that will also fit in 32kb while being a large adventure. That's the plan anyway, I'm taking my time with it without rushing anything.
Do you have anything you’d like to end on?
No I'm good!