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A Conversation with Duck Game’s creator, Landon Podbielski

A Conversation with Duck Game’s creator, Landon Podbielski

Duck Recreation is an anarchic area shooter/platformer for as much as four gamers, obtainable on PC. It contains a quack button, trombones, nerf weapons, hats, furnishings and a Duck TV presenter referred to as ‘John Mallard’. It’s one among my favorite video games of all time.

I’ve an habit. An habit to Duck Recreation. I needed to converse to its creator, and thru some incessant Twitter messaging, I managed to get on Skype to Landon Podbielski, the loveable genius behind this frankly ridiculous videogame. I jumped straight in with the essential questions:

Have you ever obtained any ideas on ‘Untitled Goose Recreation’ as an encroachment onto your avian area of interest?

I’m glad individuals need to make extra bird-based video games! I liked birds and from the very starting, like I performed a recreation on DOS referred to as ‘Howard the Duck’, the place some man adopted a demo on easy methods to make a Tremendous Mario-style recreation and he’d simply swapped the character out with the Duck character after which sort of went additional with it and made it into an entire recreation – it’s only a cute little Duck that platforms round, makes cute sounds and floats within the water… A lot of the video games I favored as a child have been animals and birds and stuff too – I favored Sonic the Hedgehog and James Pond, who was some type of bizarre frog factor? I assume once I sat right down to make a platformer I assumed, properly, I’ve to select some type of animal right here as a result of all my favourite platformers have that and Geese have been all the time my favorite.

The place did the thought of Duck Recreation come from? What have been your inspirations? Did Geese simply get pasted onto a platformer or did you particularly need to make this Duck based mostly area recreation?

Truthfully, it type of got here out of a totally totally different concept! I began utilizing Recreation Maker once I was 10, at model three or four or one thing, and I all the time had this concept. Ever since I performed James Pond three, which was just like the Sega Genesis’ model of Tremendous Mario World which wasn’t nearly as good however it had a number of cool stuff happening… If I might make a recreation like that it might be so superior. Each time I sat right down to make a platformer I might be fascinated by that, and in Grade 11 or 12 I prototyped this recreation with a duck operating round with 360 terrain, to see if I might, and I completed a few ranges of that after which started to study C# after faculty. I used to be like, okay, that recreation with the Duck, it was cool however by no means accomplished, so I’ll begin over. I drew a brand new Duck and put it on a platformer degree – and that new duck was principally the Duck Recreation Duck now, to a T… after which I left that sitting for an additional yr till I introduced up that platformer engine a yr later whereas me and my pal have been having a recreation jam, and he stated you need to make it a multiplayer recreation or one thing, “cos I’m bored”. We’d been enjoying plenty of multiplayer round that point, so yeah, I simply put weapons in it as a spontaneous factor.

There’s one thing about that straightforward base concept that you would be able to simply add all these additional issues on prime that give it this additional layer of richness, and I love this concept of you including options not essentially as a result of they’re good however since you’re bored and also you need to add one thing else

That’s the entire improvement of the sport actually – I began making it and get to some extent the place I’d performed it sufficient, then take a look at it and say ‘I don’t understand how for much longer I’m going to need to play this recreation… I really feel prefer it wants extra stuff’, and on the similar time I’ve all the time been obsessive about making an attempt new issues – I see one thing else in one other recreation and immediately need to add one thing! I type of have an obsession with programming random issues for the heck of it to see how they work – and a number of the issues in duck recreation have been type of like that. The ragdolls have been me simply taking a look at it and saying ‘can I do a easy physics joint’ and seeing how that labored out, and all of the weapons got here that method too – the web gun particularly got here out of me simply considering ‘what for those who might transfer your buddy round and throw him into stuff?’

One in every of my buddies described the magic of Duck Recreation coming from its bodily comedy – it’s such a splendidly slapstick videogame at each flip, within the ways in which issues work together with each other.

That’s a very cool solution to put it! Once I was engaged on the sport initially and while it was evolving I used to be making an attempt to work out what it was that was enjoyable concerning the recreation, and I sort of added plenty of issues across the time like hats, pitching your quacks and ragdolling to make it extra slapstick. Even simply these few seconds after every match to sort of gloat or throw your self off the map – all of that was kind of ‘how can I be extra expressive once I’m enjoying with individuals?’ I needed to have the ability to act, virtually – simply fiddle while enjoying the sport.

I feel that facet was actually highlighted by Videogamedunkey- his video in your recreation is certainly one of his greatest and he actually takes the ‘appearing’ facet to the subsequent degree.

I really like Dunkey, and that video is actually unbelievable and was actually pretty to observe. Every time I obtained tired of Duck Recreation there was all the time stuff the place I assumed ‘I haven’t been capable of pull this off’ so I’ll attempt including that for some time, and prefer it ended up making an excellent get together recreation as a result of it doesn’t matter should you’re profitable or dropping, you’ll be able to simply screw round rather a lot – and if cool stuff occurs I assume all of us win, as a result of the ‘cool stuff’ is often humorous.

A typical scene in Duck Recreation, as a duck with a automotive for a head mercilessly slaughters his avian brethren.

The Ouya clearly had a really unusual life cycle that’s type of been attacked quite a bit by videogame press, which completely sucks. How was it seeing Ouya come and go round your recreation?

It was fascinating, as I used to be undoubtedly was excited when Ouya got here out, however I wasn’t actually that into their promoting and was fearful about that on the very starting. They have been very cocky about it in a type of Grownup Swim type, and I respect confidence however I assume on the subject of an organization, with the intentional confidence the place they’re making an attempt to be cool about it? It’s straightforward for that to fall flat.

The console itself was fascinating and funky, and the rationale why I actually labored with them within the first place was as a result of Bob Mills (one of many co-founders) discovered me at PAX. I used to be hanging out with a good friend of mine who I’d accomplished music for, and Bob was there speaking to us and asking about our video games. He stated he had this new console and was on the lookout for builders, and I advised him I didn’t actually have something on the time however I obtained an e mail from him down the road and we received alongside rather well. After which a yr or two later I used to be speaking to him while busy porting Duck Recreation to C# as a result of I used to be engaged on a brand new engine, so I simply threw Duck Recreation onto my Ouya and despatched it to him and he was like ‘oh my god, that is so nice, we gotta make this, how a lot cash do you want?’. And I’m actually not used to getting funding so I used to be like, ‘I feel that is how a lot I’d have to pay lease and eat till April’, and from the very starting he was so useful and supportive. They might fund us and he would message me randomly asking if I used to be hungry and ended up ordering me pizzas and issues, he’s simply the best man and we’re nonetheless associates and I feel that there was some extent the place Ouya was dying they usually have been dropping their market, and when he left I feel I left too. The Ouya’s solely drawback was that it was enthusiastic about video games! They have been making an attempt to get Netflix stuff like that, however issues that ultimately did get Netflix, and received it sooner, have been those that succeeded in the long run.

How was working with Grownup Swim? Do you are feeling like their humor entered your recreation or did your recreation match their humour?

I’ve all the time appreciated Grownup Swim and was comfortable working with them from the very starting. The music I did for Tremendous Puzzle Platformer was revealed by means of Grownup Swim so I’d already had some contact with them, they usually all the time had actually nice individuals – everybody on the video games group was so considerate and useful and type of had a special mentality to the TV staff. They have been new to it and making an attempt to make one thing huge occur! Once I was a child seeing Grownup Swim was a novelty as a result of I reside in Canada and we didn’t actually get it – we’d solely see it at my pal’s home or a lodge or one thing like that, so it was cool working with them.

a well-earned break for some duck jazz

What’s your favorite Duck Recreation group ‘factor’ that somebody has created?

There’s all the time one which’s caught with me that got here up randomly once I added the mode that allow you to obtain random maps and play from the pool of the 500 hottest maps – One which got here up was a KFC restaurant, however KFD as an alternative, and all of the Geese have been in a deep frier, and once they died the cooked duck shot out of the restaurant into the hand of a Workforce Fortress Scout who for some purpose is outdoors of the restaurant ready for hen? I assumed that was the perfect factor ever, it was so artistic!

I actually like all of the bullet hell ones too, there are dozens of Undertale boss bullet hell maps and issues like that, and there’s one from once I added Parallax backgrounds the place somebody made a map that was simply black and white bars, and the surroundings was all black blocks, so it type of scanned over the extent and you may solely see the place all the things was typically.

Have you ever acquired some other tasks within the works in the meanwhile?

There’s some massive Duck Recreation stuff on the best way that I’ve been engaged on for some time, and I can’t actually say something about it… There’s one thing actually quickly after which one thing not as quickly… I’m nonetheless engaged on Duck Recreation, extra is coming! I’m additionally engaged on a bunch of different stuff – I’m just a little torn in each path by a few of what I’m engaged on as a result of I can’t give attention to one factor at a time! I’m engaged on a recreation improvement software that Iwant to kind of work like an working system, like a browser the place all of the belongings in your recreation are like a file system of stuff mendacity on an enormous infinite aircraft, and also you sort of drag it round and you can also make widgets to open ranges, drag sprites in there, with editor panes to allow you to edit all of your belongings… I’m hoping to get that to some level the place individuals can see it inside the subsequent yr. 

The place did the thought for the fantastic John Mallard* come from?

I had Madden video games on Genesis when Iwas a child, they usually have been all the time humorous as a result of I didn’t actually like soccer, however I might open the video games up and they might all the time have bizarre, humorous announcers. I might continuously get penalties time and again and listening to them speak about that was all the time nice – so I’ve all the time sort of had John Madden behind my head due to my Sega Genesis days – so when i needed to do a sportscaster on the finish of the spherical I needed to do one thing that may simply so clearly be him, however not? I’m obsessive about characters in videogames – it’s why video games like Undertale are so thrilling to me, as a result of they do such a superb job of placing so many characters right into a videogame and it makes you realise that writing can imply a lot in one thing and John Mallard was a part of me greedy at one thing like that – I needed characters that may say and do bizarre issues.

On what foundation does John Mallard decide the spotlight clips? He all the time picks the strangest moments! And what’s the hotness score based mostly on?

Properly, the hotness score is principally damaged, nevertheless it has some sort of magic to it, as relying on precisely what occurs you get totally different scores? However there’s in all probability a bug someplace that simply blows all of it out. As long as hearth does one thing in a match the sport thinks it’s mechanically tremendous thrilling – all of it’s calculated by actions and deaths and issues like that… and it takes the speed of all of the gadgets on the map collectively and there’s a timeline and if occasions are nearer collectively they get a multiplier, and if numerous deaths occur collectively then that’ll push it actually excessive and improve the likelihod of the spotlight… There’s rather a lot happening…

There’s a number of wasted effort in Duck Recreation the place I’ll obsess over one thing that doesn’t matter after which simply be like, ‘Cool, that’s acquired far more happening that it must’. I deliberately added a lot to the system as attainable in order that I didn’t actually perceive what it was doing.

a shifty-looking birb tries to promote me some game-breaking modifiers

I’ve received 220 hours in Duck Recreation (Landon interrupted right here with probably the most honest ‘Man, that’s legit’ I’ve ever heard) over three years of College – I launched it to my mates within the first week on the off probability they might take pleasure in it, and now it’s turn out to be a little bit of a ritual occurence – so personally thanks a lot for giving me probably the most constant piece of leisure in my life.

I make video games as a result of I really like video games! I made Duck Recreation as a result of I performed so many multiplayer video games with my brother once we have been youngsters, and like we’d play Sonic and Knuckles and Toejam and Earl and all totally different sorts of video games, and I’d obsessively seek for native multiplayer issues and Duck Recreation got here from the sensation of ‘If I might make a recreation that may be good for me and my brother once we have been youngsters, what wouldn’t it be?’.

I really feel prefer it completely will get all of that, it faucets right into a nostalgia I shouldn’t have, however I do? And a lot of the sport is spent wanting on the individual subsequent to me laughing slightly than on the display.

I did depend on blatant nostalgia, however I attempted to make one thing a bit like the unique Earthworm Jim recreation? As a result of it felt like everybody on the group should have been so excited to be doing what they have been doing, and the music was so good and the artwork was so good and every little thing simply match collectively so properly! It wasn’t a lot enjoying on nostalgia as a lot because it was simply considering one thing was cool – every little thing that was cool I simply needed to attempt to put it into the sport and have it match collectively. It’s a collection of like me making an attempt to make one thing like an AMV – I really like this, and this, and this, and simply need to smash all of it collectively

As a ultimate query, what sorts of video games have you ever been enjoying and what music have you ever been listening to?

The album one is tough as a result of truthfully, my listening to albums sort of comes and goes, I’ll simply sort of take a look at bands as an entire – however alot of what I take heed to in the intervening time is Japanese rock – Apple Music simply recommends me random J-Rock and that i’ll simply take pleasure in that – there’s this band referred to as ‘Artwork Faculty’ that i’ve been actually into recently – their album ‘In Colors’ got here out and is sensible!

When it comes to video games, Purple Lifeless Redemption 2 was enjoyable nevertheless it has that basic Rockstar ‘you are able to do every little thing however you possibly can actually do nothing’ vibe to it It’s such an enormous recreation and there are such a lot of issues that they should have to concentrate to that signifies that it’s simply lacking odds and ends that folks may need included. Hitman was in all probability my GOTY simply because it does every part proper. there’s this brilliance that some video games hit and a few video games simply miss… Just like the Godfather recreation was so fascinating to me as a result of might simply shoot your gun everytime you needed to, so in case you have been operating on the road and also you pressed the shoot button you’d simply shoot randomly? It was so ridiculous, the issues you may do with such a easy function! Hitman type of faucets into that power and I adore it.


*John Mallard is the fantastic commentator who serves as a supply technique for the nonsensical ‘hotness rating’ and spotlight reel on the finish of each Duck Recreation. I really like him.

Landon is a stunning man, and Duck Recreation is on the market now on Steam and PS4.

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