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Feature: 'Catching Up with Llamasoft's Jeff Minter'

For today's exclusive Gamasutra feature, we speak to Llamasoft founder Jeff Minter about the upcoming Space Giraffe for Xbox 360, his work ethic, his involvement with the ill-f

Brandon Boyer, Blogger

April 4, 2007

2 Min Read

For today's exclusive Gamasutra feature, we speak to Llamasoft founder Jeff Minter about the upcoming Space Giraffe for Xbox 360, his work ethic, his involvement with the ill-fated Nuon 'console', and his pet sheep, in this in-depth interview. In this excerpt, Minter, many of whose games have been re-imagined versions of arcade classics from Tempest to Robotron, says that there's still plenty of room to take classic design and re-work it into something new, versus creating wholly original gameplay, as long as it's updated in turn for modern expectations: "I think it's perfectly fine to draw inspiration from old games, but people expect more than from what's in old games. In Xbox Live Arcade, it's nice to have the old emulations, but you tend to get them and play them for five minutes here and five minutes there and then put them away and don't play them much anymore. You need modern thinking as well. You need to address what today's players want. They want something a bit more lasting, something a bit more deep. They want something that uses the new hardware as well. I like the way a lot of classic games are designed. They were fashioned within such a small space, with such a small collection of behaviors that together added up to make something that was bigger than the sum of its parts. That's the kind of design philosophy I'm using to develop Space Giraffe, but it has to go a bit further, and it has to be much longer, deeper, and much more rewarding to today's audiences. I think it's something that Geometry Wars did very well, but then again, after you've played Geometry Wars for more than 30 minutes you've seen everything that's in it and it just gets faster. With Space Giraffe, each level is its own different graphical theme. There's a bit more depth and substance, and you get the feeling that you haven't seen it all within the first half hour." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature with much more from Minter on his ill-fated GameCube original, Unity, the visual overload of Space Giraffe, and how his interplay between music and visuals differs from that of other games such as Rez (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

About the Author(s)

Brandon Boyer

Blogger

Brandon Boyer is at various times an artist, programmer, and freelance writer whose work can be seen in Edge and RESET magazines.

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