Chris Chung, cat lover and genuine genius behind Catlateral Damage, reveals his secrets about developing the full version of the most accurate feline simulator in conjunction with Fire Hose Games and more!
KYLE: Catlateral Damage allows me to be the jerk I've always wanted. This isn't a question, but a thank you.
CHRIS: Haha, you're welcome! :3
KYLE: What kind of things have you learned working alongside Fire Hose Games as part of their indie acceleration program? What were some of the most beneficial resources that were made available to you that you may not have had otherwise?
CHRIS: I've found that I'm pretty good at development (programming, art), decent at marketing, and not so good at everything else. Fire Hose has been extremely helpful with general feedback on the game, as well as with a lot of the business-y, non-development stuff I don't have a lot of experience with. They've also been able to help me show my game to so many more people since they're already an established studio. Being able to work in an actual office rather than just my apartment is great, too!
KYLE: Even if you don't hit your stretch goal on Kickstarter, are you still willing to try to put your game on the PlayStation 4? Have you considered other platforms outside of PC/Mac/Linux and OUYA? (Perhaps the Vita? Hint hint)
CHRIS: If we don't hit the stretch goal, PS4 might not happen. Once the Steam and OUYA versions are out we'll see how well the game does and see if it's possible for us to bring it to PS4. It's really a matter of how much money and resources we have for development. I'm hoping the game does really well so we can make console versions!
KYLE: References to Katamari Damacy have been brought up. Do you plan to have outlandish events to create perhaps the most unrealistic cat simulator known to man? We must infiltrate a safe deep in a mansion, but what about cat adventures on the moon or deeper in space?
CHRIS: Katamari is one of the big influences of the game, and I love all the silliness about it. Catlateral Damage is pretty silly based on the premise but I think there is absolutely more crazy stuff that can be added. One of our stretch goals is actually a moonbase themed bonus level that would put you in a low gravity environment filled with high-tech space equipment. I don't think we've ever put a cat on the moon, and maybe this game can show us why.
KYLE: Will many other cat activities be incorporated into the lifeblood of Catlateral Damage? There are mentions of catnip-induced activities and mice will eventually come into play, but what about the possibility of being chased by, say, doggies? Or taking opportunities to groom your feline form?
CHRIS: The main mechanic of Catlateral Damage is really knocking stuff over, so we're focusing on making that as fun as possible. Other cat-like mannerisms will be in the game (like a catnip power-up that makes you stronger, faster, and crazier), but they will probably be small optional mechanics to reinforce your feline behavior. Ultimately, this is a game about cats so dogs won't be present, but you can be sure there will be cat toys, lying in sunbeams, and sitting in undersized boxes.
KYLE: Will humans potentially be a factor? Cats are known to use humans as places to sit or as climbable objects, but they make worthy antagonists, too.
CHRIS: I had thought about having a human make an appearance after you had trashed a room, but now I think the focus should really be on the cat and what he/she is doing. Humans, while possibly entertaining, might be overly complicated to add on top of the current mechanics. I'd like to have the levels (houses) reflect the people that live there, but I'm not sure they'll have any affect on the gameplay. Compared to cats, humans are pretty boring creatures in my opinion, too.
KYLE: Cats regularly defy the laws of physics, often being classified as a liquid. Do you plan to incorporate sweet cat parkour or similar into the game? What about finding ways into strangely-shaped containers?
CHRIS: The controls will definitely be getting a lot of love at some point. Right now they're pretty basic so I'm planning on improving general movement and the jumping controls. Not sure it'll be full-on parkour, but it will feel much more satisfying than it does now. Fitting into small areas is another cool thing that I'd love to add! You can currently jump into the trash cans in the demo, but I can imagine a cat smacking off a vent cover and climbing through the air ducts of a house to get around.
KYLE: Will future versions of the game integrate game controllers fully? The alpha doesn't seem to support them without tweaking (this may have been my bad).
CHRIS: Yes! Since the game uses pretty standard first-person shooter controls, it's pretty easy to translate from a keyboard and mouse to a gamepad. The current demo has support for Xbox 360 controllers on Mac, Windows, and the browser version but it has bugs in it. Sorry you had trouble with it! The controller support with be fixed up and polished for the final release! I hope to have custom key/button mapping, too, so the game will be more accessible.
KYLE: What do you feel is the best music to knock things over to (in and out of the game)?
CHRIS: I think something lighthearted and cartoony would fit the feel of the game. Since the game modes are timed and the messes get bigger as you go, I think a background track that increases in tempo and volume would be pretty cool to emphasize the demolition. Something weird like the Katamari soundtrack but with meows might work, too. I'd totally listen to that outside of the game while making a mess of my apartment.
KYLE: Have you assimilated any cat-like behavior in your daily life to be more in tune with the development of Catlateral Damage?
CHRIS: My girlfriend and I recently adopted two young cats, named Wil & Lyn, who are 1 year old and 5 months old respectively. They're quite energetic and love to cause trouble, so they are great members of the development team in the research department. I'll frequently lie on the floor with them and try to see our apartment from their point of view to get some ideas. I also observe them carefully to see what things they prefer to mess with. Crawling on all fours and meowing kind of freaks them out, but I do it anyway.
KYLE: Say you became a cat for a day, but retained the consciousness of you as a human being. What would you do with your 24 hours as a feline? Cat also suggested "24 hours as a female," so feel free to answer that version as well.
CHRIS: I'd love to just explore my surroundings using my incredible feline superpowers. It'd be fun to see how high I could jump and what places I could get to. In reality, I'd probably just sleep for 20 of those hours and scramble to do something interesting in the last 4. If I was a female cat for 24 hours I don't think it'd be much different. If I was a female human for 24 hours, I'd just keep making and playing games and demonstrate that games should be made and played by everyone, regardless of gender. The industry needs more diversity and less discrimination!
Day 5 | Chris Chung