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[Interview] James Silva of Ska Studios

Posted under Interviews by Christian Martin on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 -

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Remember that one-man-army behind The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, James Silva? You should, we’ve interviewed him before. Well now he’s back with an Xbox Live Indie Game called I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZoMB1ES!!!1. It’s tons of fun and has one of the most kick-ass video game songs I’ve ever heard. And, as the theme song mentions, it’s only a dollar.

GD: Your last game, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, was a very ambitious project for one person. What made you decide to follow it up with the comparatively simple I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZoMB1ES!!!1?

JS: It’s not so much a case of following up as it is a case of side projects as a creative outlet. After working with the XBLA certification process for months, the dealing with relative simplicity of launching an XBLIG game is like being drunk with power.

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GD: Tell us a bit about the development of ZoMB1ES. Was it a walk in the park after Dishwasher?

JS: The most tedious part of Z0MB1ES was getting the music to match up to the “video;” I basically made a 14 minute long drum track with tempo changes in Acid, dumped the time signature data into a data structure in Z0MB1ES, and then hard coded all of the “do x effect from measures y to z, spawn 16 zombies at measure z, etc.”

Otherwise, yes, it was a walk in the park. I recorded most of the song one night (with a few beers), did some mastering the next day, and had the animation, graphics, particles, etc. done in a few days.

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GD: The coop mode is a lot of fun, but why doesn’t the game support play over Xbox Live?

JS: Many reasons, not the least of them the fact that it’s impossible to sing a song in unison over XBL because of the latency, which would kill 95% of the fun. Otherwise, it would just be a technical nightmare, adding weeks if not months to the development process of a tiny game that’s meant to offer a very specific amount of gameplay.

GD: Speaking of singing, that wasn’t really you in the theme song, was it?

JS: Yep! Like I said, beer was involved.

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GD: How has ZoMB1ES been received so far?

JS: Z0MB1ES has been doing psychotically well. It’s basically funding a booth for Ska Studios at PAX East, which I was sort of on the fence about.

GD: What can we expect from you in the near future? Any exciting new projects?

JS: Yes, hopefully I can announce something soon!

If you haven’t played it yet, check out [avhamazon locale="US" asin="B001UQ6SE0" linktype="text" picsize="small"]The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai.[/avhamazon]

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