Crimson Owl Studios is a very particular studio. In fact, there is no physical studio at all. Every Friday all team members take a day of unpaid leave and gather at their kitchen tables scattered throughout Utrecht and Amsterdam.
We have talked about all aspects of the development of Caromble! on this blog, but we never had the team talk for themselves.
The coming weeks we’ll have a series of short interviews on this blog where all team members will be given a chance to talk about game development, Caromble! and how the last couple of years have been.
So let the first interview begin!
Who are you?
Wow, that’s a very philosophical question to begin with! I like philosophy. Of course it’s impossible to describe in a few words who one truly is. But let’s try. I am one of the creators of Caromble!. My name is Raymond Bijl and I like video games.
What is your favorite game?
It’s hard to name only one game. I can really immerse myself in a fantasy themed game with a good story. In that genre Baldur’s Gate is one of the best. Next to these comprehensive role-playing games I can truly enjoy arcade or puzzle games created by fellow indie developers. From a game design perspective I can wonder at the elegance of these apparently simple games and then think ‘I would have loved to have made that one!’. World of Goo is a great example of this.
Let’s talk about work. What are the consequences of splitting your time 80 / 20 between a regular paid job and creating Caromble!?
For a lot of game studios there is no guarantee for success and no room for failures. For me, a regular job means guaranteed income and that’s a certainty I really appreciate. Especially when I notice that I have all kinds of financial responsibilities every month. Anyhow, it means that creating Caromble! goes a lot slower in comparison to the development speed we would have if we were a full time game studio. When we say we are working on this game for four years, we mean one day a week for four years, and those days go by fast.
How about the people around you. Do they see you as somebody with two jobs?
Most see the ‘creating games’ part as one of my hobbies, but maybe that’s because how I first approached it myself. My personal goal was to learn to create games by creating games, but not necessarily in a professional way. However, the things that I do, I want to do them well. And I soon realized I could not approach this project as a hobby. Creating a good game means you’ll have to work hard and do that professionally. Of course, we are also friends, so we have fun and drink beers, but most of the time we just work hard. Creating games is not always as romantic as I would like to think it is!
Keeping it romantic. What is the element of Caromble! that you are most proud of?
I would not name one element, but the whole game. I think it’s really nice to see all the pieces fall together and to realize that we are creating a full-blown game that looks, sounds and feels like one of the real games I have always wondered at how they were created.
A very open and last question. What if?
I would really like to see Caromble! succeed and I believe it has the ingredients to do so! I think Caromble! will breathe new life in the brick-breaking genre. This genre is based on a simple concept – keep the ball in play and break stuff – but it has always proven to be fun and addictive. I hope that other players will enjoy Caromble! as much as I do!