February 3, 2010

Interview with fellow developer Ja Jitsu

Today, Ive got a special surprise of an interview with game developer JaJitsu. This is the beginning of a series of interviews that I will be doing around the independent community with developers, visual artists, and musicians. I asked JaJitsu to be the first artist that I would interview and he agreed. Keep checking back for new interviews with your favorite Indie developers,artists, and musicians.

Interview with JaJitsu

Sharkarm: Okay, so so can you start with your name, age, and are you attending a school?
JaJitsu : My name is Jason Boyer, I'm 18 (turning 19 this year) and I'm studying Illustration at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Sharkarm: Okay, how long have you been into indie game development?
JaJitsu: Haha, not very long actually. I started working on Jables at the beginning of this summer.

Sharkarm: What would you say got you into making games?
JaJitsu : Well I didn't even know about the indie game community till playing Tower of God, and then I was watching Annabelle Kennedy on Deviant art which somehow linked me to the underside and soon I found all the great games along with TIG [www.tigsource.com].

Sharkarm: Haha, awesome, and so did you immediately start working on your own game? Or what got you started on your own game?
JaJitsu : As a kid I always had making a game in my head, but I never did more than art. Then seeing others make these small games I had no reason not to.

Sharkarm: So were you a gamer as a kid? What games influenced you as child or what were some of your earliest influences in video games?
JaJitsu: I always liked Zelda a lot. My oldest character [that I designed] is named Zell (not because of ZELda) I actually got the name from FF8 but he was actually based on link. I got a lot of influence from Kingdom Hearts as well.

Sharkarm: Which Zelda are you talking about to clarify?
JaJitsu: When I was little I always watched my sister play games and once she played Ocarina of Time, which is not my favorite personally, but had a lot of influence. As of right now Majora's Mask is my favorite Zelda.

Sharkarm: Right on. So do you want to tell us about what game or games you are working on now?
JaJitsu: Well I'm still working on Jables's Adventure, which I'm about over halfway done, and I've started two other games. One is an RPG called "Critical Hit!". That one, I'm working on with Kale [Kramlack] the other Ein is making me keep secret for now he doesn't want to hype it up.

( "Critical Hit!" || Art by Kramlack)

Sharkarm: Can you tell us about Jables Adventure? Give us a little overview of it and talk a little bit about how you work on it. What influences what goes into the game, what order you do the art,coding, story, etc.?
JaJitsu: Well, like I said, my oldest character is Zell but since I'm so attached to him I didn't want him to star in my first game. I knew it would be really small and not coded very well so I just made a new character who turned into Jables. At first it had no plot and I was just trying to make some fun little game. Squiddy wasn't even there at the time but then I got a random idea to have a squid gun on top of Jables's head, which would shoot ink balls, but squiddy became much cooler than just a gun and became that character who pushed Jables into actually going on his adventure. I usually create the maps first before all the coding. I'm really noob at mmf2 and my codes are horrible... but they seem to work for now.

Sharkarm: Would you say the story is influenced by the art or the story guides the art that you make for it? Do you have a story or is it made up on the fly?
JaJitsu : Haha, well actually a lot is just made up as I go. My friend Ryan Pietz is a very talented writer and he helps me a lot with story he came up with the idea of Squiddy randomly making Jables the hero. Usually when I get ideas for story, characters, or dialogue I send it his way and he finalizes everything. Since I'm not a very good writer it's nice to have him helping out.

Sharkarm: So I know you are working with a musician, can you tell us a little about how you came to get that particular composer working with you and a little about the process of how you communicate about the songs you need or how they should sound?
JaJitsu: Originally I had no musician, which kind of sucked so in the devlog [on tigsource] I put up that I needed someone to make music for my game and then I got an email [from Kevin Carville] saying the project looked like a winner and he would like to help out. He's a member of TIG and good friends with the Hyperduck company. When Kevin asked what kind of music I was looking for I told him that 8 bit sort of sound. Kind of like Cave Story ; P . Then a bit later he sent me the file which is the main theme when Jables is outside. I really loved the tune.

Sharkarm: So do you give him instructions for the songs or does he just send you sweet jams?

JaJitsu: The only thing I tell him is the areas the music will be played in. Then he goes off and somehow makes this amazing tune.

Sharkarm: Whats the most important lesson you've learned while making Jables?
JaJitsu: Really work on a good system before you start a game. I'm halfway through the game and thinking "damn, now I know how to do that differently", but that is okay I guess. That was the point of making Jables , a fun little learning experience.

Sharkarm: Yeah, definitely. Anything particularly funny or interesting happen to you during the making of Jables?
JaJitsu: Well before I even started Jables I was just fooling around with coding. I was trying to make an enemy walk around but somehow Jables was able to stand on his head (the enemy was just a zombie version of Jables). I still have a video on my cell phone of Jables riding on the zombie's head.

Sharkarm: That sounds great, maybe a little easter egg for the final game.
JaJitsu: haha, maybe but now its not much of a secret ;) Oh, another funny thing about Jables is how I got the idea to use fruit for the hp boosts. Cause I had fruit punch heal Jables and I couldn't think of the boost so I asked my mom. And like a mom, she said fruits and veggies but it was perfect to use fruit to play with the fruit punch idea. That's how I ended up with fruit, cause of my mom...

Sharkarm: Haha nice, I should ask my mom about game design choices more often.
JaJitsu: You can title the whole interview "Jajitsu's mom better game designer than him".

SharkArm: Going back to your characters real quick, do you design a character and use it in lots of places, like you keep the character going through different things?
JaJitsu: Well Jables I actually drew everywhere, like every time I doodled in class; he even appeared on my shoes. He wasn't even Jables back then. I don't really use the same character for everything but sometimes I just draw them a lot. I love designing characters the most out of everything I do. Backgrounds and props aren't really my thing but I love characters.

Sharkarm: Are there are any great indie games you've been playing lately?
JaJitsu: I have yet to buy Noitu Love 2, I really need to play that. The last game I played was Bonesaw but then my computer crashed and I never got to finish :( .

Sharkarm: Cool. Yeah, I highly recommend Noitu Love 2. Well, thanks for doing the interview. I hope to get to play Jables's Adventures soon!
JaJitsu: I hope to finish it soon, haha. Thanks for interviewing me.

You can check out JaJitsu's development blog for Jables's Adventure over at tigsource: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=7540.0
and his personal website and blog at: www.jajitsu.com
Stay tuned for more interviews coming shortly.


  1. please come out for XBOX LIVE ARCADE we need a game like this.

  2. Sweet interview, Jason is such a nice lad too. Cheers for the link plug as well lol.

    Chris Geehan.


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