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Bugs N' Guns looks like Jet Force Gemini meets High on Life - BIG Conference Interview

Bugs N' Guns is the (U-tad) student vertical slice that won the "Best University Project" at the 2023 Titanium Awards in Bilbao. Here we chat with Markel and Valeria from Blinkshot to learn about the online co-op third person shooter, the inspirations behind it, and some tips from the dev students.

Audio transcription

"Alright, we are at the Bilbao International Games Conference, as you can see, and as you can see we learned about the best games yesterday in the awards, and the best university game is Bugs N' Guns, so thank you so much for joining us, Markel and Valeria."

"Congratulations on the awards, how do you guys feel?
Ok, we feel really good, we have worked too much for this prize, it has been like 8 months of hard work, it's our first game, we are students, and we have also done an online game that is very difficult, so please if you are a student don't do an online game, but now to be here is something incredible."

"I'm gonna draw a reference, I don't know if you guys, you guys look young, so I don't know if you guys are gonna catch it, but it looks like, it reminded me of Jet Force Gemini, which is a rare game that released on the Nintendo 64, where you faced alien, insect-shaped sort of rivals, and they exploded and it was very splashy, it also looks a little bit like Plants vs. Zombies, so what can you tell us about the inspiration that you guys got for this game?
Well, we are inspired by the alien insectoid world, so this is like our environment, I am from the art group, for the art team, so we use rifle and colorful palette for this world and for this adventure."

"What can you tell us is going on on the screen right now, for players to learn about the game mechanics?
Ok, right now they are on the hive, this is maybe the most important part of the game, the players will be two times here, it's like the final boss, and this is the first time that they see, and here also something that we like too much, that are the pesticles, so here player needs to destroy all the pesticles, and the gas is going to be increasing and increasing, so then they will need to leave, and then with new weapons, they will come back here and they will destroy this hive, so this is maybe the most important part of the game."

"And by destroying those bubble things, they gain some sort of power, it's a comparative game, right?
So it's two to four players if I'm correct, and what do they do with this sort of mechanics of recharging, and what do they have to face?
In this game something that we have very clear is that we want to move away from the competitiveness of the shooter multipliers, and we want to focus on collaboration, so something that we want is like, each player has different weapons, and the combinations are always with a partner, and this is the focus, so then they will unlock also secondary weapons, but the only combination will be with your partner, so this is our focus here, have only one multiplier but with combinations, collaboration, data independence, this is important for us."

"And you Valeria, you were telling us about the art, and how do you guys work on the graphics, what technology are you guys using, is it Unity, is it Unreal, and how do you guys work on graphics at the university?
This time we worked with Unreal Engine 5, and one of the games we used as a reference was High on Life, so we used this reference for the concept art, the tree modeling, and we always have to look that we want to give enjoyable, how do you say, the right idea of this kind of adventure, so we used kind of funny silhouettes and colors with all that, and also on the characters, you know, it's like between, it's light and realistic."

"And you told me that you guys worked on this for 8 months, but the first 2 months were conceptualizing, so it's 6 months to build this, which looks really nice for just 6 months, so how do you guys work at the university, how do you sort of define the roadmap, in order to be ready with this demo at this stage?
We have had a clear roadmap since the first day, for that Udacity University has helped us a lot, Belen has the producer vision, so she has helped us a lot, and we also have different producers during the time, so like this we have planned everything, and then we want to finish in 6 months, we have a vertical slice, so we have worked so hard to finish this in 6 months, and we have worked in the university maybe 10 or more hours every day, so this is how we do this amazing game."

"Ok, and finally, what's next? Are you guys using this as a cover letter, to perhaps land on different studios or new opportunities, or is it the goal to finish this game, try to find a publisher and really compete in the area, business?
Of course our dream will be to find a publisher, to find someone that puts money here and we can finish our game, we have also different design views if we want to finish a game in 10 or 12 hours, or finishing just adding one level more and another final boss to have like 4 or 5 hours of game, and of course this will be our dream, but we know that it's very difficult, so maybe if we don't have this publisher or this help, maybe we'll leave, like it is right now that we think this is a good experience and people enjoy it a lot, also when we come here all the people playing enjoy it a lot, but yeah, we are looking for publishing of course."

"Do you feel likewise?
Yeah, we are really proud of the work we did.
Thank you so much for your time, looking forward to what this becomes in the near future, and good luck with your education and your developer career. Thank you so much."

"Thank you."

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