[Interview] Uncover a Mystery in Toby: The Secret Mine

Toby: The Secret Mine, is a new game that has both beautiful graphics and a great soundtrack. As soon as you start playing you’re thrust into this mysterious world and you must solve puzzles in order to continue investigating. I got a chance to interview the developers of the game, Headup Games.

On the Game’s Development

After playing through the first couple of levels, I was very impressed by both the visuals and sounds. What was the vision for the art?

Thank you. Toby: The Secret Mine is inspired by beautiful games like Limbo or Badland. I personally really like that silhouette art style. Even though this style is very often used, I think it perfectly fits to this kind of game.

The protagonist, Toby, is this humanoid figure whose friends get kidnapped by this other humanoid figure. What was the inspiration behind these characters and their design?

Actually Toby is named after my cat so at the beginning the character looked a bit humanoid-cat like. Didn’t look good though. After that my friend artist took him and changed to some kind of little devil. He should look a little creepy, but cute.

One thing I noticed right away was a lack of a structured tutorial. You’re immediately thrown into the game. Have you tested how a tutorial affects how the user plays the game?

Yes, I have. I tested it with several types of players. And I assumed this kind of game doesn’t need any hints how to control it. There are so many similar platformers and there is no need to teach players how to jump on a box over and over again I think. 🙂

On Supporting Android TV

What made you decide to support Android TV?

Toby is made using Unity engine which supports many different platforms. It’s designed for touch, keyboard and joystick control. So there’s no reason why not to support Android TV as well, as I think many people prefer the console-style feel and also like playing on the big screen.

How much time went into adding support for TV?

As I said, advantage of using modern game engines is they support many platforms. Once the game runs on Android touch devices it’s not hard to port it to Android TV. The only thing I had to care about was tuning the controls.

How does the gaming experience differ from a phone?

Toby’s not a standard casual mobile game. So I think it better fits to the “console” gaming style. You’ll much more enjoy it with remote or gamepad on your couch.

On the Android TV Platform

What is your favorite thing about Android TV?

Definitely that console-style feel while playing nice looking games on a big screen in my living room.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new game?

Yes, I am. I think you wouldn’t find a game developer who’s not working at least on one new game. Everybody has many awesome ideas 🙂 There are some projects I’m trying to bring to live these days. But it’s quite soon to show anything now.

Conclusion

As you can see in our Let’s Play video, it’s an enjoyable game. If you’re interesting, it’s available to buy on Google Play.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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