Interview with Game Designer Auston Montville
The master of simple ideas that turn into simple but exciting video game concepts comes from Too DX and is called Auston Montville. The game designer has always been a passionate gamer and aspired to become a developer from his teenage years. After two successful games that were launched in 2013 and 2014, we can say that Auston made his dream come true. After college, he decided to open his own video games studio but was not into the corporate stuff as he was in games. He met with an old friend, Ned Green, a game lover alike, but also a sharp business mind, and the two of them did not need long to make a concept. In 2013, they opened together the video game design studio Too DX.
The first game released was Bosses Forever 2 Bro in the same year, and Sportsball came out in 2014. The interview is devoted to the Sportsball game that takes up to 4 players. Sportsball sprung out from a simple idea: soccer plus birds plus jousting. The game is easy to grasp based on two-button control, but yet it can account for several nerve-wracking moments. What Auston, the main game designer has to say about his accomplishment, can be found below.
Ausotn, just like his business partner Ned Green, drew a lot of attention upon the game’s release and everyone wanted to have a chat with the gamer and game developer to grasp the idea behind the big project.
Gamers in Beta conducted an interview with the game developer which revealed many inside details to the public. First, Auston explained the concept of the game stating it was a mix of soccer, jousting, and birds that fly. Since it is a multi-player game, once you beat an opponent, you get to see a colorful explosion of them turning into balls, and then, these balls have to be kicked into the goal that is featured on the screen if you want to earn some points. He also reiterated that the game was not only fun to play but also to watch making you and your opponents laugh.
Of course, inspiration is a big part or the element that set everything in motion, so Auston was asked what motivated him to design a Joust-like game. He stated that he was definitely inspired by the arcade game Joust, so he took some elements from it and incorporated them into his own game. Still, he left the high competitive feature out by introducing multiple teams where the main goal was not only to beat the enemy, but to aim the balls and score goals.
Auston observed the faces, players, and teams carefully once the game was ready for test playing. He noticed that the game had a high entertainment factor, not only for the players but also for those who watched it cheering for their team. He observed that the adrenalin would increase when it got tense in the game. Was the team going to score or would they be tackled down by the opponent was one of the most exciting moments during the test phase.
What Makes Sportsball Distinctive from other Fighting Games?
Of course, the highly competitive video games market provides numerous, infinite games, so it is hard to design a concept that stands out. Auston was asked what it was about Sportsball that attracted many people. Auston believes that the secret of Sportsball lies in the fact that it is meant for four players. The crowd effect is its special effect. Other fighting games focus on the individual, but this one includes four teams in one room. Every team is defined by its own set of attributes that no other team has, and four birds are part of every team, which also differ from team to team. It can be even said that players get emotionally involved with the team they are cheering for. For example, when they pick a bird they like, and when they later see another bird from the same team, they will be rooting for that bird. It is similar to real soccer or other sports whereby every fan has their own team they unconditionally support.
Sportsball is about the atmosphere it creates in the room among players, their sports spirit, and emotional experience.
Auston emphasized the social element of the game and how it connected people. He stated that online playing with anonymous players and strangers did not deliver the same emotion and atmosphere as sitting next to the people you play against. He believes that he has taken out a classic from the drawer, brushed it up, and put it on the gaming market.
We agree with this statement since in today’s digital world people get more and more alienated, so it is nice to see that the digital world has found a way to link individuals back again. There is nothing that can compare to a night spent with friends doing something fun.
Austin seems to agree too since he stated that Sportsball is a game that encourages friendships and spending time together.
What Do People Enjoy the Most in the Game?
Auston believes that many people like the game because they can start to play right away without any prior knowledge of how to make their moves. Players can learn on the go and spontaneously since there are no complicated features or commands that have to be memorized. The game makes players use only two buttons beside movement so that everyone can pick up easily on the game. It is not only meant for kids but all generations can enjoy it equally.
Auston gave a truthful portrayal of what happens at the end of the match. It is a special moment because nothing can be taken for granted even if the ending comes closer. Both teams still have the opportunity to win. If the ball is denied to the team that carries it, the match will go on, and if the team succeeds to outmaneuver the opponent, they win and the match is over. The Too DX team highlighted that moment by slowing the world around on the screen which creates additional excitement while awaiting the outcome. The slowed-down phase also gives players more time to make a move, four times more to be exact. The adrenalin runs high in these moments, which drives the fun factor up.
Auston believes that details like this one are important to provide a fully-fledged gaming experience, but unfortunately, he also said that it was not often the case, since developers give the advantage rather to other things. He is proud to have taken the time to work out the details since they really contributed to the game’s uniqueness.
Another detail that rounds-up the game is the feature of the announcer according to Auston. Every time a player selects a bird, the announcer will shout their name. It is hilarious, but at the same time draws the attention to the bird.
Auston also said that they paid attention to other details, like their outstanding sportsball history, upon which, the rules are based, but which is only a result of the developer’s imagination. They integrated a futuristic menu and selected the colorful uniforms with great care.
Auston also generously shared a story from a convention that touched his heart. While having a convention in Austin, a boy came along with his mother and he wanted to try the colorful birdie game. Then Ned, Auston’s business partner, tried to convince the mother to play with her son. Even if she was not up for it, eventually she gave in and grabbed a controller herself. Her son was so surprised to see his mother hold the controller that he got more excited. The two of them seemed to have so much fun that Auston was genuinely touched that the mother and son shared a great moment together over a match of Sportsball. The game indeed connects people and gives them the opportunity to have a blast.
Regarding the future of Sportsball, Auston said that they would be working on the game further trying to promote it to other platforms, making additional apps, adding new levels since they define the major part of the game. For the most part, Auston and his team said to be observant to the fans and see what they would like to see in Sportsball. Based on their wishes, he would try to plan the next move in order to adapt it to the fans’ suggestions.
He also revealed that the announcer could be a real person, which would make up for a fifth player who can take the mic and announce the teams as well as use the opportunity to comment on the game and spice it up with some nasty and funny comments. This entertainment factor draws the focus off the competition leaving room to the commentator or entertainer. This role is meant for the witty one in your circle of friends.
The bottom line is that the game developers took into account many details and features to make the game fun at many levels, whereby the competition element is mitigated through the many entertainment extras that contribute to the gaming experience as a whole.