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Interview with Rainbite, creators of Reverie

Interview with the creators of "Reverie" :
Rainbite Studio

(Interview disponible en français chez nos amis de planetevita.fr [FR])

"Rainbite", it may not tell you anything? This is the name of the New Zealand studio that has just released the game "Reverie" on PS Vita, available since March 29 for our North American friends and April 5, 2018 for Europe (soon available on PS4 ).

We followed for many months on Twitter the development of their flagship title "Reverie". This is their first title to land on PS Vita.

The studio makes us "dream" and especially stamping with impatience for a few months. It was enough for us to ask them more information on the occasion of this highly anticipated release. It was with great kindness that they agreed to answer us.

Hello from France Rainbite Studio! thank you for giving me your time!


Could you introduce yourself? Are you a large team? Are you all from New Zealand?

There is only three of us at Rainbite: Daniel, Jared and Tom. We all met at University when we started our Software Engineering degrees. We were all born in New Zealand and have lived here our whole lives.

Tom, Jared and Daniel
Tom, Jared, Daniel

 

Could you introduce us to the game that you are putting on the way to our PSVita: "Reverie"?

Reverie is a 2D, open-world, action/adventure game set on a small and fictional island off the coast of New Zealand in the early 2000’s. Explore the world through the perspective of Tai, a young boy unraveling a story inspired by Maori legends.

Tai
Tai

 

What does the word "Reverie" refer to? a wink to the French language? in French it gives something like "In my dreams"

Reverie in English means to be in a constant state of daydreaming, so a similar meaning to French! It is a more subtle theme throughout the game that we try to accentuate by the unnatural or supernatural situations the player gets themselves into.

 

Where did the inspiration come from? were there particular influences? (I find a lot of references including Zelda and Pokemon in your trailer)

We have quite a few influences and a couple that people have called out that we didn’t really expect either. Zelda, Mother 3, StarTropics and Pokemon are the main influences. We tried to not actively scrutinize the games too much as we didn’t want to come away from them copying what they had done.

Screenshot from Reverie

 

Why a Vita game in 2018? What was the trigger that made you want to release a game on PSVita?

All three of us wanted to create a game for the Vita whilst it still has a strong following. We love the console and wanted to help keep it alive for as long as possible!

 

The PSVita is for many an endearing console. What is your experience with this console? Have you been among the first to possess it?

When all three of us started university we got more interested in the PSVita. We all ended up buying one at some point throughout our degrees and loved being able to take some great games with us on the go, especially on commutes to and from university. Only Daniel bought a PS Vita early in its life cycle, but we have all come to love the community and the support that the console has.

 

How long have you been developing games? By which platform did you start?

We started developing games when we were in our first year of university so that would have been 2014. We started off with two small mobile games called “Crazy Cables” and “rotoQube” to get to grips with developing and releasing a full title. In our third year of university we released our student project called “Slick: Ruff Justice” on PC and uploaded it to itch.io. You can try and find some of these games but the ones on phones probably aren’t available anymore. Getting a game all the way to release is definitely a mission but is super rewarding to complete.

 

What development tools do you use?

We use Unity as our game engine, Aseprite for the pixel art and Visual Studio for the programming. We definitely recommend any of these tools if you want to start in game development.

 

You seem very involved with the other indie studios that develop on vita (I think including BehindTheStone that will release Sir EatsALot), do you collaborate between studios?

We love the feel of comradery of working on PS Vita games, especially between developers. We made friends with Behind the Stone pretty early on. It’s a complete coincidence that we are both being published by eastasiasoft. We actually found out by having a poster design sent to us that had both our games on it for TGS (Tokyo Game Show). There may be a small easter egg between our games.

 

You often put on Twitter screenshots and gif / videos of the progress of the game, with a lot of details, where did you get the idea? I personally find it very good as a relationship with the audience of fans and gamers.

We didn’t really get the idea from anywhere. We just thought it was the most natural way to get a committed following. We started our Twitter from nothing and we tried our best to share as much as possible because we didn’t really have anything to lose. Sure, some parts of the game would get spoiled but that is the price you pay for letting everyone get involved. There is definitely a lot of stuff that we didn’t spoil though!

Animated screenshot from Reverie

 

I imagine there are a number of technical constraints when developing on PS Vita? (especially RAM …) What challenges have put your patience to the test? Are you setting goals in terms of gameplay and quality? Which ?

We knew we were aiming for the PSVita from the beginning so we made sure the type of game we were making wouldn’t struggle on the system. Our gameplay is quite segmented by loading different rooms or areas one at a time which means we don’t have many memory problems. In terms of quality there wasn’t anything that we wanted to do that we couldn’t do really. We just had to be careful with large amounts of any intensive effects. We ran into many issues that put our patience to the test which we didn’t even think could be a problem. Some of the smaller ones that had a large impact were sound loading, adding shadows to text and setting text colour. Some of these problems took a lot of trial and error to figure out, but we got there in the end.

Twitter post from Rainbite

 

Is it complicated for a team of independent developers to release a game on Playstation and especially on PSVita?

It definitely is a lot more work then putting games out on mobile or PC platforms. There is a lot of paperwork and trying to pass QA and do everything right. We have learned a lot from the process and we were up to the challenge. In terms of barriers to creating games on the platform it wasn’t very hard, we just signed up and were able to buy a testkit and get straight into it.

Twitter post from Rainbite

 

The question arises also for the cartridge release, it is a sacred bet and I imagine even more investment and effort than to leave the game simply in digital download, no? Do you have partnerships at this level?

When we started making Reverie we had a dream to have a physical game but weren’t exactly sure how that would happen. About halfway through 2017 we were approached by eastasiasoft which allowed us to create a physical edition without any extra cost to us, only our time. We can’t wait to get a physical version of Reverie in our hands!

Working on cover art
Working on the cover art

 

Reverie seems to support many languages. Is it complicated to make a multi language game? How is it managed?

It is something we have had trouble with in the past, so from the start we had implementation in place for translation. The system we have is a text file that has an ID that relates to strings of dialogue. Each NPC has an ID assigned to them and it searches through the text file for the correct line of dialogue. The ID is the same for every language but the text connected to it is different which is how we get it to show different languages.

 

About graphic and musical creations, who does it? Some of you are as strong in design and music as in programming :) ?

Although we all did a Software Engineering degrees, Daniel leaned into doing all of the pixel art and most of the sound effects for Reverie. The music is outsourced to an external composer called William E (Alexander Gleich).

 

During development time, how is the overall planning broken down from the initial idea to the exit?

We started off with a basic plan trying to scope out the length and complexity of the game. We were determined to create a hand crafted experience that kept changing and didn’t overstay its welcome. Throughout development we planned each dungeon one at a time always trying to bring something new and unique with each new offering. We planned our time fairly well but ran a bit overtime as we wanted to add more extras throughout the game.

 

Is there a lot of "round-trip" to the final version delivered in the PS Store? Are validations and certifications long to pass?

We had heard some stories of people having really hard times and we definitely had some troubles but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t fix. The worst thing was just how long some of the processes took as we just wanted to get the game out to the fans as soon as possible.

 

What would you recommend to a developer or a small team that wants to launch and release a PS Vita Game?

If you plan on getting into development for the PSVita I would strongly recommend getting involved with the community. Everyone is super passionate and it really keeps the team motivated and inspired to do our best.

 

Are you in the mood to release other games on PS Vita in the future ?

We would love to release more games for the PS Vita and we hope that it stays alive for as long as possible.

 

What games are you playing right now? (if you have time of course)

We always make time to play some games. We all play League of Legends together most days. Individually we also play a lot of single player games.

Daniel is playing Persona 5, Demon Gaze 2 and Shiren mostly.

Jared is playing some indie games like Mutant Blobs Attack on PSVita. Also he is playing Burnout Paradise Remastered on PS4.

Tom is just getting into the God of War Collection on PS Vita.

 

Do you have other passions than video games and programming?

Gaming is our main passion that connects us but we each have individual interests outside of gaming as well.

Daniel likes watching old movies, reading and playing squash.

Jared likes discovering and listening to new music and sleeping.

Tom likes hanging out in various Twitch streams, interacting with the live chat and getting involved in the different communities.

 

What are your favorite consoles (present and past)?

The team’s favourite consoles are the PSVita (of course), Nintendo Switch, Gameboy, and any of Sony’s mainline consoles.

 

Vita 1000 or 2000 ?:D

This is the age-old question that has no true, right answer. The OLED screen for the 1000 is really appealing but the battery life and universal port for the 2000 is too good to give up.

 

A word to conclude?

Thanks for the great questions! There are some questions in here that we have never been asked before and it was fun writing down the answers. We’d also like to thank everyone who has supported the Vita over the years, and everyone who has supported Reverie throughout its development.

 

Thank you for this interview 

Dimitri(@dimeao, for chromabox.com and planetevita.fr)

More informations about Reverie at : rainbite.net

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