Interview: Vosmug (July 2016)

Interview: Vosmug
This month our interview features the cricle Vosmug who creates the Mega Hit Action Game "Xenotake"!! We hope you enjoy the read!

1. Thank you so much for this interview! To start things off, could you please introduce yourself to the DLsite.com users?

Hi there, I'm some random guy on the internet named Vosmug, I make sexy games sometimes, nice to meet you.

2. How did you come up with your Circle's name Vosmug?

It's just the screen name I decided to give myself, there's really no interesting story behind it, I just wanted to come up with something weird and unique, I didn't think too much about it, it's something I just came up with on the spot, nothing special.

3. What led to becoming a professional game programmer? Was there something that specifically triggered your desire to begin programming?

I don't think I can consider myself a professional since I'm still doing it as a hobby, plus there's a lot of things about programming I don't know and I'm scared of the "high tier" programming languages like C++, the only thing I use is Game Maker's GML and I'm still far from an expert at it so I don't know if I could call myself a professional, maybe in the future I'll be more serious about it, but more to the point, it was mainly RPG Maker, I remember being frustrated about the limitations and being restricted to the same battle system for every game, that made me interested in wanting to expand more on game design in general and being able to control as many aspects as possible, instead of being restricted to what the engine was specifically designed for, I know RPG Maker later expanded in that aspect but I had already changed engines by that point.

4. Why did you select DLsite.com to market your product?

Honestly, it was mainly due to the reach it has in the Japanese market, since Japanese creations in general are one of the main reasons I like the things I like I really wanted to somehow share with them what I've done thanks to their influence, it sounds cheesy but it's true, don't judge me... also, there's not many adult game distribution platforms that I know of that lets independent creators reach a wider audience, it was a good opportunity to put things like these out there which other platforms don't dare to even acknowledge.

5. Have you ever purchased any products from DLsite.com? If so, who is your favorite artist/creator and what are your favorite products?

A couple, I like Dystopia Story and Pixel Factory, their pixel art specially is pretty fantastic and StudioS was the first adult game dev that actually made me want to jump in, but as favorite right now I would say Trollbusters by RED Paprika, again fantastic pixel art and animations... I don't know Japanese but I can appreciate it mostly graphically, also just recently I found out about Mansion by Alibi, I like dark atmospheric stuff, it has some problems in my opinion but I like the idea and art style quite a lot.

6. "Xenotake" was the first game you published on DLSite.com. Prior to your success with "Xenotake" on DLSite.com, were you involved as a contributor to other games?

Yes, I've made several games before but not adult related and under a different name, for paranoid reasons I don't want to mix both personas, I want to keep the adult oriented games separate, those are old and nothing that special though, mostly practice runs learning game design.

7. We note that "Xenotake" has remained consistently popular since its release in May of 2014. It has proven to be a long time hit. What characteristics of the game do you attribute to its long-running success?

Well, that's really cool... I would say that I spent time trying to polish it and tried to make the best I could at the time, I think that shows and people respond to that, also maybe the style is a bit different to what we're used to, there's not that many games that I know of in that Adventure/Survival-ish kind of style, so maybe it was an untapped genre... or maybe that's just my bias since I quite like that style.

8. When you were planning and developing "Xenotake," were Japanese part of your intended audience? If so, what characteristics of the game did you try and tailor for Japanese players?

Yes definitely, I know Japanese players tend to gravitate towards narrative games, or at least I assume that because of the popularity of visual novels in Japan, even though my narrative style is not that in-depth, you could say it's pretty shallow actually, regardless, because of that I really wanted to have a Japanese translation from the get go; there's some other stuff which I don't know if it was intended for Japanese players or if it's just me being a weeb but there are things like the name of the main character which is a variation of the Japanese pronunciation of the word "Alien" and the fact that I gave the little robot the name "EXO-3" just so in Japanese it would sound "Exo-san"... but yeah, I'm probably just a weeb; I could say anime archetypes and art style count but really, it's a Japanese influence that I have more than a conscious effort to appeal to a Japanese market, even though I think it helps. As somebody who likes anime and Japanese games, I think things that appeal to me and I would naturally put in a game are something that would automatically resonate with at least some Japanese audience.

9. Your product has received many reviews from the users. Have you read any of the reviews of your game written by Japanese users?

Yes, but there's only so much you can get with machine translation alone since I don't know Japanese, sometimes you can't really tell if the review is positive or negative, I wouldn't mind a more direct communication but the language barrier is something you just can't do much about, I'm trying to learn Japanese but yeah, it's going to take a while, one thing I noticed is that In several of them the Japanese translation was mentioned as something positive, that's cool.

10. The people that review "Xenotake" comment that they really like the storyline, design and the world-view. What was the inspiration that guided your development of those characteristics?

That's a good thing because I doubt a lot about that, sometimes I just feel like is not worth to put so much effort in text nobody is going to read or details that nobody will care about, but recently I've realized that there's an audience for everything and there's people who care as much as I do or even more, and I shouldn't worry about appealing to everybody, just to the people I share tastes with since that's the best I can do, maybe I'm too paranoid... anyway, the reason I like those aspects is because that's something I really care about, I'm one of those crazy people who say "gameplay is not the ONLY thing that matters in video games", I like context and reason for stuff to happen, I like to see a setting and characters and then events unfold within those, not saying I dislike other ways of doing it, but this is my preferred style. You could say there's a bit of influence from Visual Novels and the way they present characters and situations but of course not even close to the same degree of detail.

11. Can you tell us approximately how long it took you to create your game? Do you have a specific process you use or do you begin just in freestyle?

Xenotake took well over a year and my current project it's been about 2 years in the making and counting, the process is not something I consciously choose but just the way I'm use to do things, that is planning as much of the game as possible before hand and start making everything by level of importance: basic movement goes first, then basic interactions, then keep moving through all of the other elements, systems, menu functionality, enemies, events, graphics, backgrounds, sounds, music, etc. then at the end once all the elements are finished I build the game as if it were a puzzle, dragging and dropping elements, building levels and modifying things when necessary; contrary to what a lot of people believe, building levels, finalized level layout and enemy placement is one of the last things to do, the only reason I had some levels made at the beginning was to make a demo; In my opinion going in without a plan and making things along the way is not very productive and lends itself to lose of focus very easily, but that's just the way I do things, I'm sure there are detractors to that idea but it works for me. It's easier for me to focus on one aspect of design then move to the next, until all the game is basically done but not put together yet, if that makes any sense, instead of jumping all over the place according to the specific elements you come up with along the way, making a game is not the same as playing one, making elements along the way according to level progression as if you were playing it in my experience never really worked, or at least as I said, I never found it very productive.

12. From where do you draw your greatest inspiration to create your products?

For the themes and situations, I don't really think about it much, I draw ideas mostly from other games I play and the things I like, like horror, anime, etc. In general, it's mostly things I already like, nothing especial. As for the actual process of game making, seeing other developers is always a good inspiration, as I mentioned before StudioS with Super Strip Fighter IV was the game that made me want to jump into adult game development, seeing the work of creators like Kyrieru and Datanony was and still is very helpful and gives you some sort of competitive vibe, and of course reading comments and feedback lets you know that people really care about what you're doing, that helps.

13. What is the most important consideration when you are developing your products? What element is the most important to you?

As I've said before, I do like to focus on characters and setting and the situations that happen along the way, usually that's the first thing I come up with, all of the other elements which are no less important happen eventually and sometimes naturally.

14. What tools or software do you use when you are creating your products?

Game Maker Studio for the game itself, Adobe Flash and 3D Max Studio for sprites and backgrounds, sometimes Photoshop when is required.

15. How do you enjoy spending your time when you are not working? Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

Video Games and Anime really, there's not much else going on in my life, I used to draw as a hobby way more often, ironically I barely do leisure drawing anymore, since I stopped practicing I kind of got stuck, all of my drawing now goes into the game creation process. Then again, I don't really consider game making as "working" in the strict sense of the word, I consider it a hobby too; you could say making games is my hobby.

16. So many users are enjoying your games, and they are curious what you have in the works for your next project. Can you provide a preview of what you are working on now for future release? Also, please let us know your goals for your future.

The game I'm working on right now is called Ghost Hunter Vena, It's similar in playstyle to Xenotake but with a different "combat system" if you can call it that, it has more of a survival horror vibe but lighter, it has horror elements but it never really goes into spooky horror territory. It's about 4 girls going into a haunted mansion with sexy results. It's taking forever but hey, these things take time.

17. You have been so very successful in this field. Do you have any advice for new developers to help inspire them?

I don't know if I want to call myself successful because I want to at least have a couple more games to show and have a solid foundation for whoever hears that to actually have a catalog to look at and judge for themselves, dumb modesty aside, with the things I've learned doing this I would say, do whatever you feel like doing, don't try too hard to appeal to anyone but yourself, if you make something you would enjoy playing yourself you will be more comfortable working on your projects, you'll find an audience with similar tastes who will enjoy it too, it's very difficult to appeal to everybody and could hurt your product; also, stop thinking and start doing, I keep hearing about people wanting to make games but feel intimidated for how difficult it can be, just get the information you need and start practicing, you learn by doing, nowadays there's no shortage of sources to learn pretty much anything you want on your own, being an ideas guy is fine if you get close to people that can make things for you, but being an ideas guy and a creator guy at the same time is even better.

18. Any message for your fans?

I want to say I appreciate the support I've received, I'm not a very open person but hopefully I don't come up as a total jerk for not acknowledging gratitude that often, but I really do want to thank those who follow me and care enough to still stick around. Also, patience is really the biggest thing any dev could ever ask for; also... you know... buying our products... but patience is cool too.
You haven't tried their works yet? Then check them out now!
Vosmug
Title Xenotake
Circle Vosmug
Genre
Price : 1,296 JPY
Points : 3% (36 points) → 10% (120 points)
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Last Modified: Apr 16