Interview with Thomas Sharpe of Gossamer Games
Interview with Thomas Sharpe of Gossamer Games
Bob and Thomas explore the world of gaming and the development of Sole
Posted: 10/03/17 | Category: Interview | Developer: Gossamer Games | Platform:

Note: Published as submitted

On September 5, 2017 I was able to meet for a couple of hours with Thomas Sharpe of Gossamer Games. We spoke about the gaming world and how it has grown and shared some of our experiences.

Below is a transcript of the more formal portion of the interview. I hesitate to make the original audio available as we were in the middle of 30th Street Station and it is difficult to hear what is being said over the background noise.

Enjoy.


 

B) Bob Washburne here talking with Thomas Sharpe of Gossamer Games who have just completed their successful Kickstarter campaign for... is it Sole? or So-ley?

T) Yes, it is Sole.

B) Tom, why don't you tell us a bit about the game.

T) Yeah, Sole is an abstract aesthetic driven adventure game where you play as a tiny ball of light in a world with no light. We just kind of drop you in. We don't tell you who you are or what you're supposed to do. We let you explore and as you're moving through this environment everything starts out totally dark, but as you're moving forwards you illuminate everything around you. Once you light something up it stays lit up for the entire game. We like to say that this is almost like painting with light.

B) It would almost remind someone of the Warcraft fog of war.

T) Yes. Absolutely. We looked at a bunch of games which used fog of war because we were really interested in using this idea of using exploration as a game mechanic and I can tell you a fun story - the game actually started out as a strategy game, if you can believe it. It was very different and we looked at all these Civilization, Warcraft, any of these top down perspective games that emphasized exploration. And we actually tried to create a game like that where you’re moving through, you’re still painting with light, but the more you explore your ball of light is getting smaller and smaller so you are going to be expending light to explore. And it was this really interesting resource management exploration game. And that’s actually how the game started. But now it’s kind of completely different. It took a very different path and we wanted to do that to make it more emotionally engaging. That was really our main goal in this project.

B) Would you say your game was more exploration, story or puzzle centric?

T) I would definitely say that exploration was at the forefront of the game. We do describe it as a puzzle game in the sense that we don’t tell you what to do. So part of the game is figuring out what the game is – if that makes any sense. But it’s not so much a puzzle game where you are thinking through and solving problems. You solve problems and figure out how to move through the environment by exploring. So it is not so much solving puzzles by thinking as much as solving puzzles by exploring.

B) I have played through most of the alpha demo which is still attached to the Kickstarter site – and of course I would invite everyone else to go download it from the site so that they can get a good feel for the game.

Now that the Kickstarter has successfully ended, will you be continuing taking on other backers through some of the other sites out there?

T) We don’t have any current plans for continuing funding of the project. But we do have the game up on Steam right now. You can add it to your wish list if you would like to do that. We are also looking at trying to implement or figure out some kind of pre-order system.

B) But no slacker-backers.

T) No, not right now.
(Note: you can now pre-order through itch.io.

B) OK… so tell us a little bit about Gossamer Games.

T) Sure. Gossamer Games is a brand new independent video game development studio right here in Philadelphia. And we actually started out as a student group. We started as students at Drexel University which has one of the top video game production programs in the country and there is a really awesome program here called the Entrepreneurial Game Studio. We call it EGS for short. And EGS is this really awesome program because in Philadelphia there is an amazing independent video game development scene. But there isn’t really any major game publisher or game studios here in Philadelphia. You look at Boston. You look at New York. Anywhere else in the country and a lot of these major cities there is a pretty strong video game development scene with bigger studios. But here in Philadelphia there really isn’t. And so one of the problems is that you have all these students going to Drexel getting this amazing game design curriculum program, but then we don’t have jobs to go to.

So one of the visions behind this program, which was started by Dr. Frank Leave(sic?), is we take students and we get together while we’re still in University, and you can be from across the University. You can be from Marketing or Programming or whatever it is and we get together with the idea and the hope of shipping commercial video games.

So that’s actually how we all started. We came together through this idea that we wanted to make something that was more than just a portfolio piece. We wanted to make something that would actually help us grow a business. So we started there and started working on this super ambitious project that kind of got bigger and bigger the more, the further into it we got and that ended up being “Sole.”

We have graduated since starting this project, but we’ve been thankful for having support from the University. So we still have office space, we have all the hardware and software we need to actually complete the game.

B) Well congratulations on getting accepted by Steam. When do you expect the game to be available?

T) That is still a little bit up in the air, but we are sort of targeting Spring of 2018.

B) Up in the air? That is more like a fairy tail! I have done a few Kickstarters and the release date is usually wishful thinking.

T) Yes, absolutely. Game development is all about iterations and we have the game all planned out. We know from start to finish what the entire game is. And we have all the levels actually working in the engine. So now it is just a matter of going through and defining all the hard assets and adding all that polish that we really need to create this interesting engaging experience. Our goal is to have as many iterations, do as many passes of polish as possible. We are targeting, hopefully, the end of April.

B) Any chance at all that you will be supporting Virtual Reality in the game?

T) Ah yes… yeah, this is something that we have been talking about for quite a while now.

B) It would seem a natural fit.

T) Definitely! So one of our big goals for this project is to have this really immersive experience. To just kind of put you I this dark world and just really immerse you in this place. So yeah, Virtual Reality makes total sense. So we are looking at that. It would be a huge challenge for us dealing with the camera movement and making sure that did not make people sick. It is a third person game so it would take a little bit of experimentation to get right, but it is definitely something we are interested in. I don’t think at launch we will have any Virtual Reality support, but we are going to be talking with potential publishing partners, trying to get the game to as many platforms as possible, so that is something we are definitely going to try to explore.


 

And that is about where my smart phone battery started giving out.

Be sure to follow the game on Steam and check out the Alpha demo.

Bob W.

Specials from Digital Download
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JustAdventure
Cindy Kyser
Nice job, Bob! How nice to see more details from Gossamer about Sole. I followed the Kickstarter campaign and think it will be a wonderful game to play...
Posted Date : 10/07/2017
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