Interview – Tim Veletta, Developer of Teleblast
TeleBlast was one of the many stellar games featured in the Indie Showcase at PAX Aus 2018. It’s developed primarily by the one man powerhouse Tim Veletta and features a cool arcade beat of shooting, teleporting, and making huge explosions to kill your friends.
Player 2 writer Hope Corrigan had already interviewed Tim in the lead up to PAX about TeleBlasts development from Global Game Jam project to featuring in the Indie Showcase. She then decided to stop by the booth for a play of her own and a quick chat. She’d like to let everyone reading this know that she quickly became very good and TeleBlast and defeated everyone exhibiting the game to her and that they totally did not let her win at all. Pulling Tim away from his stand for a few minutes she asked him how his PAX experience was going for this first timer.
So, how’s your Pax going?
The reception from people has been amazing. Just having people want to come up and play the game has been unreal. Seeing people enjoy it, yeah.
I’ve done a couple of showings at Perth, particularly around the game jam. We then had two weeks where we polished it off and then showed the progress from there. So that was the last major showcase that I had and then since then it’s been in continued development and then showing it to my friends and getting them to play it and give me feedback.
So yeah, this is the first real big showcase.
Do you think being in the Showcase section has helped people come to your game?
Yeah, Definitely. We get a lot of people come through as soon as the doors open and they just come past. We’re right in the entrance there so that definitely helps. We get a lot of people filtering back out to the cue hall and they see the game in action so they come to have a look.
Plus having a multiplayer game probably helps too?
Definitely. Also having two setups lets us showcase to 8 people at once. It’s amazing. We’re able to get people through and they regular stay for two or three games and they really understand how the game plays.
Quite early on, on Friday we figured out the best way to demo the game. We get people into a quick game, just a regular TeleBlast with no extras on. They understand how to shoot and get the explosions and the bigger explosions and dash around. Then we put them into our personal favourite game which is Capture the Flag and then some additional variants such as dashing through walls or having explosions have a black hole effect where they draw players in.
We took the glitch mode out for this particular showcase. We had a bit of a playtest last week and just found it wasn’t as polished as the other variations. So we decided to withhold it for the PAX version and for early access. We just want to put a bit more polish.
What are the plans for console releases?
Early access we’re on Windows, Mac, and Linux and on steam. I’m hoping to get Nintendo onboard. When’s it coming to Switch is a question I get a lot because being able to set it up and play on the Joy-Cons with four people would be so good. So definitely Switch and we’re also in talks with Microsoft.
Sony is very difficult especially for – I mean it’s just me developing games in my spare time, so their application process was a lot more onerous and in-depth than I could put time into.
The Switch is such a great platform. It’s sort of taking gaming out of the lounge room and making it social, which is great. You don’t have that personal device anymore, it’s just ‘hey, bump two controllers off the side and jump in’.
There is an arcade machine in the works. We’re hoping to put out a – well we might do a tour around Perth with a four-player TeleBlast arcade machine in the future. Because it is at its very heart an arcade game. A joystick and two buttons really, so it would be fantastic.
It’s releasing soon on PC though, right?
We went into early access the morning of Pax. So I couldn’t sleep Thursday night at all. I haven’t looked at the numbers yet, I’m not going to all weekend – just focus on PAX. But yeah I pressed the button at 2:30 on Friday morning just because I couldn’t sleep and yeah, now it’s out there in the world.
Do you think pax is helping to sell it?
Yes. So I’ve had a couple of people play the game, have a couple of rounds, then find out it’s on early access. Then they open Steam on their phone and be like ‘Hey I just bought it, right then and there’. Once they play the game and then they turn around and are like ‘oh yeah it’s just $8 for release week so they buy it right there’. A lot of other people are like ‘once I get home I’m going to buy it’, so yeah.
Is there anything PAX or the Indie showcase could do better to help?
That’s a hard question because this is my first time showcasing so I don’t have anything to compare it to. Not really, I guess the biggest thing I’ve noticed – I think they’ve improved on putting PAX rising right at the front as people queue up. So in previous years, it’s been right down the back corner so people slowly filter through but this year you get the rush as they come in the door which is amazing. As far as doing anything better – I can’t think of anything. It’s just been brilliant.
What are your hopes for the future?
What I hope for is to be able to get out of early access. I want to be able to add modes, add new maps, add new variations and get to a point where I’m happy with where this has gone. There has been a lot of stuff where I’ve been like this doesn’t feel great so we’re pulling it out. Six months down the track I hope to be out of early access, hopefully, be on Switch. From there I just want to be able to contribute to the indie scene, particularly in Perth. It’s just at the stage where it is growing and I just want to be able to help other people get to this point. I feel like in a way I got lucky because I found a really simple concept and it was enjoyed by a lot of people and then the Perth indie scene has been a great help to get it to this point. Let’s Make Games in particular. So I just want to be able to give other people that opportunity too.
Are you working on the ports yet?
No, so I had a talk to one of the community managers from Nintendo and he was willing to help get some Switch dev kits over to Perth. Then we’ve been in talks with Let’s Make Games to help make that happen. I had started on the Xbox port but then we found out about PAX so we knew we had to focus on Steam and getting it out there.
Especially with online multiplayer, a lot of people are like ‘oh you’ve got a local multiplayer it can’t be that hard to add something into play online’. But I think particularly with TeleBlast it would take away from the experience. We’ll consider it but all the other stuff first. We have an idea of how we might do it but it’s just something we’re going to have to wait and see. I honestly like to go down the path of just keeping it a local multiplayer experience because that’s where I feel like it really shines – being able to laugh at your friends when you actually kill them. I think if we make it online then it’s going to take away from that.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I guess I just want to say thanks to all the people who came down and checked out the game. Especially all those people who had no idea what TeleBlast was coming into it and then two or three rounds in they get it. Seeing that moment of “uh huh, I understand what’s going on”, yeah. So thanks to everyone who came down and played the game and enjoyed it, especially those that came back and brought their friends. It’s just been amazing.