The following interview is with John Saba, developer of Dinos in Space.
Hey John, so since Dinos in Space is your first developed title, what were some of the challenges you faced while developing the game which you will be able to avoid in the future?
I didn’t do any planning before starting the game, which ended up being both a bad and good thing. The bad is that I was slowed down by having to rewrite or trash a lot of the code later in development because I didn’t have a clear design driving my decisions. The good is that I just started making the game (a step that many new devs have trouble getting past) and learned quickly from my mistakes. For my next project I’ll definitely start out with a clearer vision for the end product, but for new developers I think it’s also important to learn by just jumping in.
How long did Dinos in Space take to develop? How long have you had the idea bouncing around in your head?
Dinos in Space took about a year to develop. I got the idea for the game after making a little tech demo of some dinos flying around in space. The initial vision for the game was simply, “get the dinos from point A to point B”. The puzzle aspect evolved as I started adding little elements to the program.
Was it difficult to map out the puzzles, insuring they increase with difficulty as the game progresses?
At first I was pretty bad at designing the puzzles because I didn’t have good feel for how they actually played. After I made the editor, I designed a bunch of puzzles at once and got people to play them for feedback. Those were too hard and tedious so it took practice to make them easier and fun. To scale the difficulty, I just arranged the puzzles after I designed them all with my best judgment. Most of the puzzles were designed in the last month of development so by that time I had a pretty good feel for their relative difficulty.
Do you have any idea on what your next project will be?
Most likely it will be a sequel to Dinos in Space for iOS. I also am planning some original board-game inspired things that multiple people can play on one device, like Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride.
Where can the readers pick up their own copies of Dinos in Space?