We speak to American programmer Tom Fulp who created run-‘n’-gun game Alien Hominid (released on GameCube, Xbox, PS2, PC and GameBoy Advance). He’snow working on the forthcoming Xbox Live beat-’em-up Castle Crashers. So Tom, you created your own game?
Back in 2002, Dan Paladin (the artist) and I teamed up to make Alien Hominid for the web. A few months later, the game company Dan was working for shut its doors and his co-worker John came up with the idea of forming a new company to make a console version of AH! Fifteen months later, we had achieved our dream of making a console game. It was a difficult but rewarding process, so we decided to do it again with Castle Crashers. Three years later, it’s almost done!
Was the transition from website development to programming console games difficult?
I wouldn’t say it was a difficult transition, but it was on a much larger scale and required a lot more discipline. With web games, you can wrap things up in anywhere from a few days to a few months, or never. With a console game, you need to work hard every day, for years if necessary, and you can’t quit because it would let too many people down and families would starve to death.
What happens in your typical day?
A lot of the time I juggle both running Newgrounds and programming for the Behemoth, where I’m a co-owner. This past five months has been 99% Castle Crashers, for the sake of getting it done. Otherwise, I would have spent the rest of my life trying to finish it. Getting it done has required 12-18 hours of non-stop programming every day (including most weekends), depending on how crazy and obsessing I’m feeling. It’s been a rewarding experience and I love the end result, but I’m looking forward to waking up in a world where I can work on something new, or maybe nothing at all.
Just how much of your input goes into the games themselves?
If I can program my idea, I put it in the game, unless anyone else thinks it’s a bad idea and convinces me otherwise. So overall a lot of my input gets put to direct use.
Any encouraging words for future programmers out there?
Finish your projects! Finishing is the hardest part of any project, and if you never finish it, then it might as well have never existed. So many people work on amazing games that never see the light of day because they never follow through with finishing them and getting them out there. Don’t be afraid to share your game with people. I love Flash because it lets you share your game with more people than any other medium.
PICTURE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
1) A Tankman figure that we produced and sell in our on-line store!
2) My cat tape dispenser… I am totally obsessed with cats, and it goes way back before the whole Lolcat craze.
3) Advil, because I need it sometimes.
4) A tank trophy that we created for our annual awards on Newgrounds.com
5) A picture of my wife, April! It’s from our wedding day.