Interview with 4L GAMES, the developer of FRACTER
What happens when you mix black and white visuals with massive 3D puzzles and a “tiny” bit of horror? …well …you’ll probably end up with a game like FRACTER. Beautiful, puzzling, and kind of terrifying. 😅
If you have yet to check out our review of FRACTER, you can do so here!
Before we start we’d like to thank the 4L GAMES Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about FRACTER! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
Thanks very much for having us! My name is Sanatan, I’m the creative director for FRACTER and I’m here with Andrew, the technical lead, and Martin, our producer. We (4L Games) are a Toronto-based indie team of artists, and game developers who share a passion for creating artful & thought-provoking games.
We believe that unusual ingredients – if combined just right – can result in very interesting and engaging products. With this in mind, we put together a talented team with incredibly diverse expertise (ranging from art directing on an Oscar Nominated film to award-winning poetry among other things!) and set out to combine these wide-ranging skills into crafting a unique, nuanced and cinematic-like gaming experience.
(Edamame Reviews) Well, you definitely succeeded in creating something unique. We’ve never seen anything like FRACTER! 😆
Ok, let’s start talking about FRACTER… What are the highlights of your latest release?
As our debut release, we honestly couldn’t be happier with how FRACTER is being received! We got featured in on the App Store in the ‘Games We Love’ section as well as on the ‘Indie Corner’ in the Google Play store. We were ranked the # 1 puzzle game in Canada as well as the U.K a few days ago. We’ve gotten some terrific reviews from critics in top mobile sites, but best of all – we’ve gotten some incredibly warm and heartfelt feedback from the players themselves, sharing what the game meant to them. It’s an incredible feeling to have your game connect with your audience in such a meaningful way.
What was the core idea or inspiration behind FRACTER? And perhaps more importantly, where do you find inspiration for your games in general?
I (San) have always been fascinated with the concept of duality – this idea that there are two sides to all of us. A lot of what eventually evolved into FRACTER – a world where your demons were real and hopes scattered, is probably rooted in that thought.
Coming from an Art Direction background most of my ideas usually begin life as a sketch, much like the early black and white concepts for FRACTER. Eventually, these sketches evolved far beyond that original idea as they benefited from the talents of everyone else on the team.
How long was FRACTER in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
The game was in development for over a year and went through several iterations before becoming what it is today. We honestly wouldn’t even know where to start with the interesting moments – as all you devs out there are probably well aware – every day is an interesting moment. 😉
One thing we certainly got very good at – was scrapping things. It’s always going to be a balance between time invested, time left…but more often than not – if you don’t love it..try again.
What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making FRACTER? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
Unity for coding, Wwise for sound integration, Maya for animation and Photoshop for art.
How did you design some of the huge and very beautiful 3D levels in FRACTER? It would take forever if we tried to make something that big and detailed…
We would start by establishing what mechanics and puzzles we were introducing in a given level. Once we knew the pieces we had to organize, we would lay out a skeletal structure arranging these to make the most interesting and aesthetically satisfying experience for the player to explore. Then, of course, we’d do playtests and discover that a puzzle was too big a hallway was too short, and revise accordingly.
We knew the scope of the game and our team, so the art style & 3D workflow was developed to allow for beauty that came from strong design choices rather than a lot of art labor. It also made a huge difference that our tech lead (Andrew), managed to find a way to give us shadows on a mobile device! They made everything look better immediately.
Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
Play to your strengths. Every team may not be good at making every type of game. But every team is good at making a type of game. Find what you and your team can do well – and design around that.
(Edamame Reviews) That may be the best “Developer Advice” we have ever heard. Simple and direct! Thanks!
What can we expect to see in FRACTER or from 4L GAMES in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
We are continuing to improve FRACTER based on player feedback (we are currently adding a cloud saving feature among other things) and exploring the appetite for a port to other platforms. As for 4L GAMES – it’s too early for any official announcements, but there are a lot of interesting things happening behind the scenes. Follow us on social media and stay tuned for updates!😃
Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to our awesome team of Writers, Developers, and Patrons who keep Edamame Reviews up and running?
We love your site and are very grateful for the feedback and encouragement!
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