Spirit Sphere

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An Interview with Martino Wullems: The Man Behind Spirit Sphere

Eendhoorn Games

First of all Martino thank you for taking the time to answer a few quick questions for us. We thought it would be a great idea to find out more about your unique way of developing computer games and your process for creating Spirit Sphere.

1)    You have a disability that prevents you from using a traditional keyboard and mouse anymore. Could you explain your health concerns in a little more detail?

I have not yet had a diagnosis, so it’s hard to describe what exactly is wrong. The short of it is that my arm just cannot handle using a mouse anymore; Either my lower arm cramps up or my index finger start hurting too much too continue. The period in which I could use a mouse shrunk from 8 hour work days to 15 minutes now.

2) How long did it take you to get used to programming with a tablet? What would you say would be the most difficult part about the transition from keyboard to tablet?

It was surprisingly short, I think it only took me about 3 days. I was just happy that I could make games again haha. The hardest thing is that my productivity has decreased significantly; I would say it’s about 25% of what is used to be. Bringing your hand to the screen just takes a lot longer that simply moving your mouse. Additionally the precision of the stylus is a lot lower, and I have no middle mouse button.

3) All assets for the game except the music was made by you. Why did you decide to work on so much of the game by yourself instead of outsourcing resources?

Well this is a simple answer, money! I simply do not have the funds to outsource these tasks. For the music I was fortunate enough to find a very generous fellow, who understands my situation and is flexible with the payments. Thanks again, gas!

4) Spirit Sphere currently has local multiplayer but will it have online multiplayer combat in the future. If not, why?

The game is quite fast paced; as you hit the ball it will speed up and after a while the ball’s movement can become very fast. To compensate for lag I would have to slow the game down, and this is not something I want to sacrifice. Polygon has a good article on this regarding TowerFall.

5) When did you get the idea to create Spirit Sphere and how long did it take to program?

I got the idea for Spirit Sphere after participating in a game jam called the Gameboy Jam (GBJAM). The GBJAM revolves around creating a game based on gameboy limitations. I created a top down action-rpg where each dungeon room is its own mini-game. One of the mini-games features a very pong-esque challenge. Soon after the GBJAM I visited an arcade and played some air-hockey, and realized it would be great to take the mini-game and transform it into this air-hockey type game.

I’ve been working on it for about 9 months with some pauses in between to work on small contract jobs when I ran out of funding haha.

6) What was your biggest obstacle when programming Spirit Sphere?

The biggest obstacle is quite a silly one; I didn’t have a second player available at all times. This made testing some features a bit bothersome. This is also why I chose to go into early-access, I need the feedback from other players’ experience on the game so I can sort out issues like character balance.

Thanks for the insight and your honesty Martino. The game is a real credit to you especially considering the disadvantages you have, the time restraints and having to create all the assets yourself minus the music. 🙂

You can catch our review of Spirit Sphere here.

I am just a typical game enthusiast. When not designing, developing, or learning about games I spend my spare time writing reviews for other indie developers. I believe that feedback is the most important thing for a developer so that they can learn how to improve their work and make their next game even better than their last.

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