Arik Zurabian and Edo Brenes talk about creating Dude, Where is My Beer? – a game where you have to try to find a good old bottle of Pilsner in the ocean of craft beer and rivers of IPA.
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We are Arik Zurabian and Edo Brenes. I am Arik from Oslo, Norway. I have a Bachelor's degree in Animation from Volda University College in Norway, and during the last years, I have been mostly working with e-learning animation videos. Edo is a Costa Rican animator and graphic novel writer.
At some point a couple of years ago I lived in Costa Rica and worked part-time and wanted to have a creative hobby. That’s when the idea of making a video game appeared. I had never done it before and in the beginning, it was supposed to be just a small hobby. When I decided to find a designer to give the game a unique graphic style, a friend of mine recommended that I contact Edo Brenes. And with Edo on the team, the project got more ambitious than I ever could imagine.
Creating Dude, Where is My Beer?
I used an engine for adventure games called Visionaire Studio to create the Dude, Where is My Beer? game. The game is inspired by my own experiences from the late nights here in Oslo, Norway. In DWIMB, we even have one of the rock bars where I use to hang out and some other real places in the city. There are also a lot of conversations in the game, which are based on real people, people I know or have met. And also the so-called craft beer revolution is something that many of us are a part of.
When the idea about making a game came up, there was no doubt that it would be a point-and-click game with the same mechanics as the old Sierra and LucasArts games. Those were my favorite games that I played as a kid back in the day in Moscow, with no English skills. And the combination of this retro navigation and the satirical view on craft beer culture makes the game popular among the older players as well.
Promoting the Game
Since we did not have any experience, a publisher, or a promotional budget, the only way to promote the game was to do it myself on social media. I created profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and started to post screenshots and small GIFs. That helped us a lot. Also, occasional posts on Reddit gave a lot of feedback. Visibility on social media has helped us to be discovered by players and media and increased our sales.
Learning from Mistakes
We would definitely have saved a few months of work by planning more of the story and puzzles before starting the development process, but I do not think it is possible to plan everything. A lot of stuff should be changed or adjusted even when the game is finished, after discussing your team's or other testers’ feedback.
I only made one game, so I am not the right one to ask for advice on game development. But it looks like a lot of indie game developers start making new games after working on one game for several years. It is understandable that the new idea is much better and you have more experience and skills. But sometimes it is better to finish one game rather than have several unfinished projects.