Interview with Tonypa – Part 1

Categories: Interviews


I had the opportunity to chat recently with Tonypa. He took some time to answer a few questions for FreeGamesNews (thanks Tonypa).

FreeGamesNews: Could you please introduce yourself?

Tonypa: My real name has non-English letters so I use Tony :)

FreeGamesNews: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Tonypa: I have mostly worked as newspaper/magazine designer. I learned computers at school and made animated movies too.

FreeGamesNews: For how long have you been developing Flash games?

Tonypa: Since 2000.

FreeGamesNews: How many games have you already developed?

Tonypa: No idea. Already forgot some old ones, they were not very good when I look at them now, but then of course I loved them :)
Maybe about 30…

FreeGamesNews: How do you proceed to develop a new game, and what kind of tools do you use?

Tonypa: I use Flash8 currently, but for many years I used Flash5 without upgrading. I loved the speed and simplicity of Flash5 and like with so many other programs newer version only made it slower, more complex and more difficult to use. I still feel for most text editing tasks MS Word 2 was the best version ever made. But Flash8 has many new features which are worth for upgrading now.

I like to keep my Actionscript code out of the source fla in separate as file and because actionscript editor Flash had was not very good, I am used to SciTE|Flash. Sadly it’s not being developed any more so it’s missing new commands, but I am too much used to it. I also use it to edit all txt, xml, php, html etc files.

My main fla usually has preloader and then in main game frame it has include command which then takes the external actionscript file. I tend to put simple Stop() actions inside movie clips, but usually like to keep every piece of code in that as file. Its so much easier to debug and change the code if you keep all the code in one place and not spread all over the frames, movie clips and layers.

For the graphics I use old version of Photoshop. Even for some pixel sprites I have made.
To modify sound wav files I use a free version of WavePad and again, it’s a nice and simple program which can do pretty much everything you need to get the “boings” and “wooshes” right! I can connect a microphone to my computer, record a sound and then edit it in Wavepad until effect sounds are good enough.

FreeGamesNews: Some of your games are really innovative. Where do you get your
inspiration from?

Tonypa: Usually, I think through the whole gameplay idea in my mind and then I write it down shortly so I don’t forget it and I know what to do when I start to make it.
Then I write the actionscript code and most times it turns out that the idea was not so good after all and it has to be changed a lot or even abandoned. I have many half-done projects which looked like good ideas, but when tried never really satisfied me.

I’m not sure if they are all very innovative, I play lots of online games and can get ideas from other games too. I also try not to do same type of game over and over again as it becomes boring. Creating something different is more challenging.

FreeGamesNews: For each of your games, you usually release several versions. Why?

Tonypa: Some bugs I have found need to be fixed. Some games I rewrote because I still liked them and I learned better ways to code. Sometimes some players also propose additions to my games, some very good ideas.

FreeGamesNews: Could we say you’re a perfectionist?

Tonypa: I don’t think so. When I am finishing a game, I cant be bothered to fix everything,
it’s more about getting it done. But I have certain standard, if the game doesn’t look good enough or is not that interesting I rather never publish it.

I don’t have any deadline and I don’t do games for customers, so I can just say “this won’t work”.

FreeGamesNews: You seem to pay a lot of attention to the look-and-feel and the general design of your games. Where does it come from?

Tonypa: I do not consider myself a great artist so I pretty much do know what I can do and what I can not. While I would love to make great graphics and animations, I am aware that it would take months and maybe even years from me to get good result, plus I would probably need to learn to use several new programs.

So, I usually use Flash to draw whatever is needed. I have some games (Coldwing, Starrunner) which use pixel graphics made in Photoshop and imported into Flash, but it’s very slow and time consuming process so I wouldn’t want to use those kinds of graphics in every game. As I start to make new game with clear vision about the gameplay, but little about the look of it, the design is usually last to be added, once the game is pretty much coded and I am sure it will be interesting to play.

I have worked most of my life as newspaper and magazine designer so I try to create my games somewhat same way I would design page in the newspaper so that result is pleasing to look at, clean and clear. Many things like color theory, font usage and keeping relations between visible objects are exactly same no matter if you design printed page or Flash game.

I also spend lot of time finding correct music and sound for the game. Not being musician myself (it would be best to be good coder, good artist and good musician if you want to make games on your own) I can spend days to search for the interesting music loop that is either free or I can ask the author to use it. Plus it would need to be short so the file size doesn’t get too big.

Sadly, many Flash games still use bad loops and not enough time is spent to improve sounds. I also try to add sound ON/OFF button so people who dislike my chosen music can at least turn it off :) For the Finding4 game I created whole Midi engine by recording single notes for different instruments, importing them into Flash and then playing the notes in order specified by the code to get soundtrack. In Mullimaa game (not available at this moment) I used songs of the whales.

FreeGamesNews: And where do you find your soundtracks?

Tonypa: Searching the web!

There is not one single source. I visit pages of good musicians and if I find interesting music, I will try to contact them and ask if it’s ok to use it in my game.

Read the second part of our interview with Tonypa here….


One Comment to Interview with Tonypa – Part 1

  1. Briggs says:

    Thanks, very insightful interview. I love Tonypa’s games, PixelField is a bitch though.