Recently, Mo, from the Montreal Indie team "Artifact 5" picked up Bolt and used it for a game jam. The results were astounding, so we sat down with him to pick his brain on his inspirations and process during development.
From Music Video to Game Jam to Viral Success.
Ludiq: For those who don't already know you, please introduce yourself!
Mo: Hey! My name is Mo, from Montreal, Canada. I have a BFA in Computation Arts. I like cycling, dogs, bike polo, and cigars!
Ludiq: A lot of beginners out there are curious as to how people get into game design...can you give us some insight into how you got started?
Mo: I was taking my first 3D art class at University in 2004 when a friend proposed starting a mod project in Unreal Tournament 2003. Until then, I had no idea how games were made. The project failed miserably but it got me in an engine and I was hooked ever since! I focused the rest of my school years on learning 3D and game development. I freelanced for a few years after school before co-founding Artifact 5.
Ludiq: Mods are a great way to get started in games. Tell us a little more about your studio, Artifact 5.
Mo: Artifact 5 is an indie studio I co-founded with Ramy Daghstani and Samantha Cook. We focus on making emotionally driven trippy games. We just shipped Anamorphine in the summer of 2018! Now we’re working on getting a new super exciting project started. Keep an eye out for an announcement.
Ludiq: Here's the Anamorphine trailer for context:
Ludiq: Please introduce your project and the inspirations behind it.
Mo: Lucky Me is a Puzzle Shooter where talentless hacks copy your every move. Sometimes you have to use their stupidity against them to survive. Lucky Me is a solo side project right now, Artifact 5 might take it on!
I’m a big fan of Eminem. When I saw his music video, Lucky You ft. Joyner Lucas, I thought it would be cool to make a shooter with no AI, everyone is just a copycat that repeats your every move. The rest of the concept made itself from there!
Ludiq: When and how did you start working on this project?
Mo: I wanted to test the concept of Lucky Me at a local ~20-hour game jam with a programmer friend. He ended up getting sick just before the jam and had to bow out. I decided I’d try to do it on my own. I should mention, even though I have about 9 years of experience in games, I haven’t written any real code in all those years!
Ludiq: What got you started with Bolt?
Mo: I had a few hours of experience in a couple of node based scripting platforms (PlayMaker and UE4 Blueprint). I didn’t really like them and ended abandoning them. I was gonna bite the bullet and try to get back into one of them to get through the game jam with something playable. Luckily I remembered Bolt (Fun fact, Artifact 5 is based out of the same office space as Ludiq!). After a couple of hours of tutorials, I was confident enough to go to the game jam.
Bolt didn’t just help me get something playable at the end of the jam, the game was feature-complete in a couple of hours! Freeing me up to experiment with gameplay, make art, set up a level manager, and design a whole bunch of levels.
Ludiq: How has Bolt enabled you in terms of game development?
Mo: Without Bolt, Lucky Me would’ve been one of these ideas that gnaw on my brain for months! Instead, it’s a playable game with some potential! My favorite thing in Bolt and why Lucky Me exists is that Bolt uses the regular C# terminology and structure. Whenever I got stuck, I didn’t have to google “How to do this in Bolt”, I can just look up how to do it in C# and do it with Bolt! The only negative side of Bolt is that I can’t play games without thinking about how I’d make them in Bolt anymore…
Ludiq: Any final thoughts or comments?
Mo: I owe a huge part of the recent positive reception of the game to Bolt! I wouldn’t have been able to make the game without it!
As a creative director with a lot of ideas but no experience in coding, Bolt did not only allow me to make a fully playable game, it fueled my creativity further. Compared to all the other visual programming tools I’ve tried, I felt like Bolt was working with me, not against me! It made the transition from an idea in my head to a playable feature pretty seamless! I’d recommend it to everyone!
Ludiq: Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us Mo!