Interview with Janusz Orliński by Peter Ward

“Apparatus” will be platform game, with characteristic static backgrounds and game-play mechanic, similar to titles like Oddworld Abe’s Odyssey or Heart of Darkness.
Players can traverse and enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature, robots’ factories and more others. Of course our enemies are robots and wild creatures. Main hero will cope with natural obstacles, puzzles (left by ancient race) and his own weakness.

We want to create an educational adventure game, which will be fully attractive in terms of both education and entertainment. And all this in order to effectively encourage the player to solve mathematical and logic puzzles.

The game is written in Java, so it will work in many platforms and operating sysytems. One of free programs – Blender is our tool to create backgrounds, animations… all graphic aspects.


What is your first gaming experience?
When my older brother bought 4-bit console Rambo (Atari 2600 clone), my adventure
with video games started. Obviously, Pegasus appeared next. However the first game, that
impressed me, was Mortal Combat 3 on Sega Mega Drive console. I had also Playstation,
Playststion 2 and Xbox 360. PC appeared in my house at that time. Although, I don’t have
any console now.
There are few titles, that have the strongest impact on my way of game-making. So there
are: Oddworld Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exodus, Heart of Darkness, Falout 2, Tactics,
Machinarium, Tomb Raider Underworld. Of course, I played many other. What’s common
and unique to aforementioned titles? Positive climate and detailed work – these features in
games I like most.

What got you into programming games?
Nowadays dangerous tendency can be seen among leading game-developers. It’s higher
and higher level of violence and cruelty. Even the cult titles become similar to the ones,
that are being sold best, e.g. recent Tomb Raider, which is rather Far Cry, that his own
Game-making is kind of art for me. Violence can’t be the mark of game quality. It has
negative effects, especially when cruelty is not necessary, but only make higher sell
statistics. The number of games, that I want to play, is still decreasing. So I decided to
make my own one.
A huge market gap is the second reason of my idea. Namely, educational games. Of
course, there are many of them, but majority is not attractive enough to play in a free time.
Gamers could spend numerous hours on puzzles and quests in games to reach another
level. Why couldn’t it be puzzles with hidden elements of math, chemistry, history,
I decided also to make my game in a retro style of 90., but to omit technical obstacles of
that time. I want my title to be detailed. Is it details, like barely audible sound of falling
case of Slig’s gun, that procure us to love Oddworld? I want also to attract gamers by
beautiful, detailed graphic. Every board and character in Apparatus will have his own
history and mystery hidden in details.
The third reason, why I develop my game, it’s huge fun of doing it.

What can You tell us about Your now developing game Apparatus?
It will be an adventure game in a retro style with characteristic static backgrounds (like in
Oddworld or Heart of Darkness), but with additional moments of moving camera. Main
character (not exactly human) lives in far future. He will encounter signs of “ancient”
civilization, that use mysterious language connected with math and logic. We’ll discover
the secret of disappearing the “ancients”, coping with various puzzles, especially when we
will meet electronic panels hidden in deep caves or tree trunks. The world of our main
character is wild, vast, interesting to explore. Sometimes we will have to fight with
unusual creatures or intelligent enemy…

What development tools or coding did you use?
I always wanted to do 2D games, I really appreciate them. Firstly I tried to do games in
JavaScript. I understood quickly, that I’ll need programming, not script language. It was
natural, to try to work in Java, which is similar. After year of learning (nights and evenings
after work) I started to create game engine to 2D games. Now it is finished in 50%. A
game could be developed using this engine, but I want to expand it. I have my head full of
ideas! And now I can say, that Java is great tool to making 2D games.
My graphic tool is Blender. I’m creating 3D objects and rendering them to 2D pictures. A
really nice graphic can be done in this way.

What hurdles did you have making your current game?
First and foremost it is the lack of time. Creating game engine, the game itself with all
various elements (graphic, music, plot…) takes my many days and hours. Now I work as a
math teacher in a high school, which is also time consuming. And my little son needs his
dad too .
Some of the game elements are a huge enterprise to me, e.g. music or sound. Sadly, as
many beginning game makers, I struggle with the lack of money to my activity. On the
other hand I want to be an independent creator, because I can develop my own ideas,
without fear, that I would have to abandon some of them under pressure.

After the completion of the game what game will you make?
Honestly, I don’t think a lot about it, because I’m concerned on my current project
Apparatus now. I can tell, that I wish to do RPG game (2D of course) with interesting
historic context. Maybe Middle East, few thousands years ago…

What other games have you made?
Apparatus is my first one, but I have started with projects of browser games.

My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a
Sega Megadrive is my favourite also. As I said, Mortal Combat 3 was the first game, that
impressed me.

What is your favourite retro game?
Oddworld series, without a doubt. I had found two first parts ideal. It’s easy to notice the
impact of Oddworld on my game. I think, it’s strange, that there is very small amount of
titles, which are similar in a gameplay style (static background). Thanks to their stability
You can create 2D backgrounds with unusual 3D perspective. Good example of this
gameplay style is Heart of Darkness (and Black Throne , but it was developed earlier).

Do you still game on the current consoles if so whats your favourite game?
I don’t play now. It’s understandable because of my lack of time  I treat seriously my
duties as a father also. However, the development of my game gives me maybe more
satisfaction than playing games. I observe the game market and new titles, also the
independent developers.

Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the
I want to see on the independent market more games, that requires higher skills than
thoughtless “clicking”. Of course there should be simple games also, but not too long  I
like Retrogamesmaster, because I can find there complex titles.
Additionally, I’m looking forward to the better promotion of valuable games. Video game
is an involving medium, therefore has a strong impact on gamers life. It shouldn’t fool or
make insensible to nonsense violence. I red once in Mark DeLour’s book “ Game
Programming Gems” that we, game developers, should take moral responsibility on the
games, that we create. He included the case of a kid from USA, who killed his school
friends and teachers, under the impact of game, that he had played. Do we think about our
responsibility connected with game making or our customers decisions? In my opinion
games are medium, that is often wrongly used. The reliance of profits has a dangerous
impact on the biggest productions. Maybe that’s why many people love retro games.