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Developer interview with Daniel Linssen

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This post is part of day three of itch.io week. We'll be interviewing developers all week. Learn more here: https://itch.io/week

Daniel Linssen

View on itch.io: https://managore.itch.io
Follow on Twitter: @managore

Daniel Linssen, also known as Managore, is a prolific game developer producing games of great design primarily during game jams. He recently won Ludum Dare 35.

When did you first start making games? What's the first game you can remember making?

I used to play around with RPG Maker a long time ago, but I never came close to finishing anything, and before that I used to draw Sonic levels on graph paper and make up ridiculously overpowered bosses for shmups.

The first game I actually finished was in 2011, a flash game a friend and I made for a small game jam. The game was a single room platformer and it wasn't really all that interesting.

Got any interesting stories from any of the first people that played one of your games?

I'm not sure whether this counts, but the second game I ever finished was a platformer called Violet, and I remember very distinctly how amazed and happy I was when the game was covered in a Youtube video

.

At the time, I couldn't believe that had actually happened.

How did you first hear about and start using itch.io?

I honestly don't remember! I think the reason I started using itch.io is because I wanted a place to put a web build of Javel-ein, one of my earliest games, and I must have already played a few games on itch.io by that point. Shortly after that, jams were introduced and the Flappy Jam was announced, and so I stuck around for that as well. And then never left.

What are some of your favorite features of itch.io?

It's quick and painless to set up a simple webpage for a new game, but you can also (if you're neurotic like me) spend an hour tweaking the page to look exactly how you want it to look.

Leaf (as well as everyone else who works on itch) seems to want to make the best possible platform for developers (and players), and is exceedingly friendly and approachable. I don't know if that counts as a feature, but either way it lets me segue into talking about itch.io's cut from sales and donations. The minimum cut itch.io asks for is 0%, and the default cut is 10%, which is incredibly generous.

If you could do your own take on another developer's game, what would it be?

One of my games, Sandstorm, was actually inspired by a game called Step by takorii, so I suppose I've already done this! Anyway, droqen has released a huge number of really interesting games and I would love to explore some of the ideas in them myself.

What's the last game you played?

I've played a whole bunch of games for Ludum Dare 35 and the bit jam I organized, but the last game I sunk some time into was Stephen's Sausage Roll by Increpare, which I really enjoyed. I've also been playing Mini Metro a lot. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but I'm starting to really like puzzle games!



Daniel's Ludum Dare 35 entry, windowframe, was voted #1 overall.

You've become a kind of game jam superstar. What do you enjoy (or not enjoy) about game jams?

There's something about game jams and the crazy deadline which means games get finished. Instead of trying to do something the right way, or the most efficient way, I'll do it the way that works immediately. I don't know if this is a good idea in the long term!

I also love the community feel that game jams have. Even ignoring the fact that you'll be playing and rating each other's games (and getting feedback and suggestions), knowing there are dozens or hundreds of other people struggling alongside you is really encouraging. Even if you're making a game by yourself, it feels like you're all in it together.

The biggest thing I don't enjoy about game jams is the severe lack of sleep, but that is always very much my own fault!

What would you suggest to developers who are trying to get their games noticed?

I'm sure there are lots of good approaches to this, but what has worked for me is to figure out what aspect makes your game interesting or unique, and use that as much as possible. If you're still figuring out the details of your game, consider trying to explore that interesting or unique aspect as much as you can, and build the game around it. Obviously that's not always possible or appropriate.

If you can show off this aspect of your game visually, make use of this by posting images or (even better) animated gifs or videos on whatever social media you use, and spend some time making sure that whatever you're posting is as cool as possible. If you're posting gifs, make them loop if you can. If you're posting pixel art, check what dimensions work best (for example, twitter apparently likes widths of 506px for images and 560px for gifs).

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Games by Daniel Linssen

GIF
a game whose window you can manipulate
Action
The deeper you travel the darker it gets, and you only have your arrows to light the way.
Platformer
GIF
a planet generator with creatures and secrets
Simulation
GIF
send messages, receive messages, play messages
Platformer
GIF
build a world of paths for your rabbit to follow
Puzzle
GIF
it's a wibbly wobbly world, for four friends
Action
GIF
explore the islands and grow crops to survive
Adventure
GIF
Pick up rare, mysterious treasures and give them to your pirate friends
Adventure
GIF
live life as a cog
Adventure
GIF
explore an island filled with 10,000 birds​
Adventure
GIF
help Santa deliver all the presents
Platformer
GIF
climb a mountain and push some blocks
Platformer
Play in browser
you discover a strange manual
Puzzle
try not to lose your way
Adventure
GIF
a silly game for two players
Action
Play in browser
It's finally time to leave the nest.
Platformer
GIF
// add a short description here
Platformer
GIF
it's a wibbly wobbly world
Action
GIF
a plant generator
Simulation
GIF
get the drop on your enemies
Strategy
they came across a ghost with a dream like their own
Action
HopSlide consists of two games, not connected in any way.
Puzzle
GIF
what story does it tell
Platformer
Every death brings you closer to victory.
Action
Four players each take control of a superhero
Platformer
Platformer
Play in browser
Turn colors on and off!
Platformer
This little beaver has one goal in life: do-it-yourself home renovations!
Platformer
Play in browser
You only get one javelin. Please don't lose it.
Platformer
Play in browser