Post feature RSS Giant Interview: Jamie Evans

Q&A with Paper Giant Studio's Development Director on Seed Pod Shuffle, the development process, and the future of the studio.

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! My name is Jamie Evans, and I'm the Development Director at Paper Giant Studios. We've all got very exciting titles that don't necessarily mean very much! Mainly what I actually do is design how our games will work, build 3D models and digitally paint things. I also keep our website and Facebook page up to date and tweet for the studio on Twitter.

What was the thinking behind developing a game like Seed Pod Shuffle?

When we first set up Paper Giant Studios we had a very ambitious and experimental game in mind. A short way into the development process it became clear that we were going to need a budget in the millions, a development team of hundreds and about 5 years to actually create the thing! So we made the decision to take some of the characters and design elements from that game and create something much more focused and manageable that we could be pretty confident people would like.

We settled on creating a match 3 game, in part because we knew they were popular, but also because there's a lot of scope for building interesting new features and gameplay on top of the basic match 3 elements. That game became Seed Pod Shuffle.

So what does Seed Pod Shuffle have that other Match 3 games don't?

When we were designing Seed Pod Shuffle we were very conscious that we didn't want to just throw away all of the stuff we'd designed for the aborted 'epic' game. It was going to be set in a stylized forest environment, and we had a lot of cool drawings of plants and animals, so we decided to let the player grow some of these plants and meet some of the animals as a reward for progressing through the match 3 puzzles. We ended up developing that idea a lot further, so now the whole player experience of developing an on-screen environment is tied in really closely with the match 3 gameplay. Most match 3 games don't have that close, rewarding relationship between the match 3 gameplay and the other elements of the game.

Do you have a release date for Seed Pod Shuffle?

Not yet! But it will be soon...ish. That's not very helpful is it? The trouble is, every time we set a deadline for ourselves we end up over-running, usually because unexpected technical issues arise - we're still getting used to the technology and the realities of the development cycle. But we're talking weeks, rather than months.

What's next for Paper Giant Studios?

Once Seed Pod Shuffle is released for PC and Mac, we're hoping to develop a version for the iPhone and maybe even Android, so people can shuffle seeds on the move. We're also already in the early development stages of the next game, which is going to be coming to the iPhone first and will be very different to Seed Pod Shuffle. So we're going to be focusing on mobile devices for a little while - it seems to be where all the action is!

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