1. Interview of Noego, the studio who created Level 22

    1/ Tell us about yourself(ves) : how did you get involved in video games?

    Noego core team is composed of the two creators of the studio: Régis Leboeuf and Raphaël Sautron (myself).

    Régis, after his Master degree in computer engineering and software architecture, worked for the Marseille studio Exkee for 4 years. Then he joined Succubus interactive as a Lead programmer, and this is where we met each other.

    Before that, I was a student at the Enjmin (French graduate school of games and digital medias) and joined that studio as a game designer and project manager. All through the projects we worked on, we found we made a pretty good team. That lead us to build up our own studio. That’s how Noego was born.

    2/ What does “indie” mean to you? Why did you make that choice?

    Actually, we don’t really think about being independent or not. We just try to make games we like. We don’t want to force ourselves to enter in a specific category.

    The independence of a creation is to be considered from a “project” perspective, not a studio. Many studios like us develop few games in the meantime with very diverse ways to finance them (editors, crowdfunding, grants, etc). It’s elementary that the more a financer takes in charge the cost of a development, the more he has a say on creative aspects. In short, on some projects we are totally autonomous; on some others we are a little less autonomous. There are still many tenacious “clichés” about independent game development (young hairy guys coding in their garage, etc.) and we should really get rid of them. New methods of development, financing, and communication around games are constantly evolving. New kinds of developers are born every day and invent their personal ways to be independent.

    3/ How many of you are there in your studio? Are other people contributing to your work?

    On LEVEL 22, we started with a team of three people: a graphic designer (Thibault Jaouen), a developer (Régis) and a game/level designer (me). During the final stretch we needed back up and called another graphics creator (Philippe Salib). For the sound design of the game we contacted Game Audio Factory. They also put at our disposal Morusque’s talents (Yann Van Der Cruyssen), an amazingly gifted chiptune music composer.

    At the moment, our entire game development team is composed of 4 people.

     

    4/ Where does your name come from?

    Noego is the idea that the game and its player always come first. Our desires are secondary. During the development, when decisions must be made, we try to never let our “ego” talk but we do our best to do what is best more coherent for the game and generous for the player.

     

    5/ What makes a great video game according to you?

    A good game is always a game that manages to surprise you and stay in your mind many years after you played it. Considering the amount of games we constantly play, when a game reaches that point, it’s really something.

     

    6/ Why did you decide to join FrenchCows? What do you expect from this adventure?

    Frenchcows represent an opportunity to try to do everything differently. It’s about getting into a group to mutualize our competences, to talk differently to those who are directly concerned about the game (players), to be put forward… In short, to participate in an exciting experience that showcases innovative creations.

     

    7/ Can you tell us a few words about your game (s)?

    LEVEL 22, Gary’s Misadventures is a pixelated stealth game. You play as Gary, an office worker who overslept and must sneak his way to his desk without being noticed by his colleagues. Tons of easter eggs mixed with a great sense of derision made this unique stealth comedy game.

    8/ What are your hopes for both your game (s) and your studio?

    The most important thing for us is to explore new stuffs for each projects. For our next one, we are preparing something completely different in terms of graphic style, gameplay, business model and technology. But it is still a little too soon to talk about it.

     

     

  2. Level 22 is on FrenchCows and will soon be on Steam because it’s just been greenlit. A fun mix of stealth game and point’n click. Here comes the pitch.

    Gary is an office worker, and he has a problem: He is late at job. His real big problem is that it’s far from being his first lateness. So now, Gary run the risk to get fired at any moment if some of his colleague catch him in the act of being late. He will need to use all the stealth and tricks he has, to be able to climb the 22 floors leading him to his office. And he will have to do it, without getting noticed.

    THE FIRST STEALTH GAME INSPIRED BY THE UNFORGIVING AND HECTIC WORLD OF OFFICE WORK

    Hide in closets, crawl in pipes, hug the walls… you don’t want anybody to spot you!

    Use whatever you have on hand to reach the end of the level: coffee machines, pen, donuts, photocopier or laxative!

    - Go through the underground carpark, the research and development department, or the boss office: explore the madcap universe of the Overyld Company !

    Watch the trailer and much more on FrenchCows,

     

  3. Our revolution : a new website, new android app, new studios, new games : and you can get all this with a 4€ pass !

    Want to know more ? Go to http://frenchcows.com

     

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  5. Radical Dungeon Sweeper’s team is working on graphs.

    Here are a few tiles for the setiing, a few sketchees of the monsters and the heroes….

    Quite promising!

    Pictures : http://legrandvrac.tumblr.com/

    Radical Dungeon Sweeper is available on http://frenchcows.com

     

  6. Meet Bits, a great ARTE tv show that tells you everything you need to know about the geek culture and video games. In this first episode, sandbox.

     
     

  7. Our FrenchCows team went to meet Cap Sciences in Bordeaux last week ; they presented a few games, including Gulag paradise, by Armel Gibson

     

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  10. And here’s a new addition to the FrenchCows Season !

    Meet Ratz’n’Godz and their new game 1Quest, that you can purchase through the season at http://frenchcows.com

    So that makes 11 games and 9 studios on our season. Pretty good start!

    About 1Quest :

    Rats in dungeons, an adventurer in the middle: you. It’s classic, we call it “roque-like” and this kind of games has its own codes: actions are described with little texts, numbers, labyrinths, monsters, the hero progress and loot, a lot.

    Antoine Moreau from Ratz ‘N’ Godz decided to dedicate himself to the genre and gives you his first game: 1Quest, dig into its dungeons and help Antoine improve his game!

    1Quest is available on Mac, Windows, and Android.

    About the developer, here’s an interview :

    Tell us about yourself(ves) : how did you get involved in video games?

    I’ve made my first game … more than 20 years ago, which make me feel old. It was in Basic on my father’s Apple IIc. With a scenario as complex as a 20 pages gamebook (Yes, this reference makes me feel old too) and graphics made with lines and plots.

    Later, after my graduation, I’ve worked at Widescreen Games (a studio in Lyon) during a year, but given the economical state of game industry in France in 2003, I found reasonable to get à job elsewhere.

    But the game creation continue to tickle me, and I start again as a hobby 3 years ago until I created my own studio this year !

    What does “indie” mean to you? Why did you make that choice?

    There is several ways of being independent. In my case, it was for the freedom of working on the game I choose, in a sector (“conventional” rogue like of dungeon crawling) where there is several games of high quality, and free, which does commercial company rarely wander there.

    How many of you are there in your studio? Are other people contributing to your work?

    I am alone in my studio, but I work with Jul from Storybird Games (makers of the wonderful Finding Teddy) for the graphics and sounds part. It is going to be one year and half we work together but we only meet once!

    Where does your name come from?

    At start I have think to « Of Rats and Gods », as a reference to the bestiary of all that I will but in the player’s way. But in the end, it was not really the place to make a literary reference. So I’ve reworked the name to end up with « Ratz ‘N’ Godz », whose initials are well suited to the type of game: RNG for Random Number Generator. Some say that this is the true player’s opponent in the game.

    So in my games you will often going to cross rats at first.

    What makes a great video game according to you?

    Broad topic. What I expect from a game depends greatly on the type of game:

    • From certain games, atmosphere, feelings, but not all
    • From certain games, challenge, well balanced difficulty, but not all.
    • Certain games need to be immediately pleasant, others need depth.
    • Certain games need the highest graphics, for others it is completely unnecessary…

    I think the main thing to avoid is the tedious in game. The game where you spend too much time doing simple things and/or on not interesting gameplay (like killing 150 rats for a quest).

    Why did you decide to join FrenchCows? What do you expect from this adventure?

    First of all, pragmatically, it is not easy to get visibility as an Indie studio.

    Then, exchanging with players is really precious for me, specifically for the balance of the game. 1Quest wants to be rather rich in content, but the more you add, the more it becomes hard to get a satisfactory overall balance.

    Can you tell us a few words about your game?

    1Quest is a classical rogue-like. One Hero, some monsters and loot to grab, and innocents to save!

    I aim for a game with avergage play about 2 or 3 hours, but a good replayability., with various choice for the player, and a few random in the choice of dungeons. At each step of the quest, the player must choose a new dungeon, with specific rewards that can direct the character development. But you cannot always have the dungeon of your dreams.

    The packs will have a three months evolution : how do you plan to benefit from that time? Sharing what kind of content or experience with your players?

    We will certainly add more loot, we asked Santa Claus a lot of nice artifacts, which should come into play by then.

    Then we planned to make small content packs, DLC type. The first should be around the air with flight mechanics, adding a new race, a few spells, items and monsters!

    What are your hopes for both your game and your studio?

    In the near future we will add content to 1Quest for 3 months and balance the game based on players’ returns, then we will try to release it on iOS.

    After, once the game completed I will definitely spend time to clean internal engine to make the game officially moddable by the players. All content is externalized in XML files, but without documentation I doubt that modders can works on them.

    And finally, once all that have been done, I got the basics elements for the nQuest games from 2Quests to 5Quests, so I won’t bore me.