Thanks for all the questions, Reddit! Most of the devs have wrapped up, but some still may be around to answer questions. See you all next time! Don’t forget to pick up Humble Indie Bundle 9, live for just 14 more hours!

Hey everyone! Please welcome the awesome folks from Humble Indie Bundle 9. On deck we've got the creators of Mark of the Ninja, Eets Munchies, FEZ, FTL: Faster Than Light, Trine 2, and A Virus Named TOM!

In attendance:

  • renaudbedard: Renaud Bédard, Programmer at Polytron, FEZ
  • zasdarq: Matthew Davis, FTL Programmer / Designer, FTL: Faster Than Light
  • jarmustard: Justin Ma, FTL Designer / Artist, FTL: Faster Than Light
  • biiigfoot: Jamie Cheng, Klei Founder, Mark of the Ninja, Eets Munchies
  • jasondreger: Jason Dreger, Designer on Mark of the Ninja
  • tathamjohnson: Tatham Johnson, Programmer at Klei, Mark of the Ninja
  • KaiFB: Kai Tuovinen, Marketing Manager, Trine 2
  • MisfitsAttic: Tim Keenan, MisfitsAttic Founder, A Virus Named TOM
  • flibitijibibo: Ethan Lee, porting master for FEZ & A Virus Named TOM

We’re looking forward to your questions, so ask away!


Comments: 2219 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Fearlezz847 karma

When are we gonna get a FTL expansion?

zasdarq789 karma

We have some minor stuff in the works, but we're not ready to talk about it right now, sorry!

Chirishman189 karma

Just wanted to chime in on the love for FTL here and ask if there's any easy way to get data OUT of the game. I'm building a custom control panel a-la home made flight sims and I'd love to display things like shield strength and weapon readiness with LEDs on the control panel, maybe have a big red Jump button that lights up when it's ready to go.

zasdarq158 karma

No easy way at the moment, but that does sound super cool!

pilesofwater102 karma


zasdarq60 karma

Thank you!

SlenderDash631 karma

For FTL: any sequels, updates, or DLC coming soon?

zasdarq549 karma

While we have some minor stuff in the works for FTL, it's unlikely that we'll be jumping on to a sequel. We'd both be more interested in working on something new and exciting rather than returning to FTL for another 3+ years.

aaronflippo402 karma

Can we expect to see FTL on iPad? I love the game, play it a couple times a week, and would gladly pay $10 for it again so I can play it from the comfort of my couch or toilet :)

zasdarq594 karma

We are working on a tablet version and are pretty optimistic about it working out.

sudo_rossy400 karma

One thing I'd love to hear from all of you.

As a games programmer myself, I often come across strange bugs, or undefined behaviors, such as forgetting a break in a case statement made my player spontaneously catch fire in certain situations.

Have any of you come across funny bugs like that? I love hearing stories about that kind of thing.

zasdarq622 karma

My favorite bug happened during development. The asteroid fields difficulty are partially based on the player ship's shield level, and the code assumed that they would never have 0 shields. Then we added the stealth ship (with no shields), and the first jump into an asteroid field resulted in thousands of asteroids filling the screen and instantly destroying the ship. Modders later found the same problem if they made a ship with level 6 shields.

flibitijibibo487 karma

Oh, boy, where to begin...

Turns out that it was the only image in the whole game that was 24bpp rather than 32, so my assumption that all textures were RGBA caused that fun mess.

  • In another game, water turned into magical multicolor kool aid based on what direction it was moving. (Red was down, green was left, something like that). The problem was that we were trying to use EXT_framebuffer_object when we should have been using ARB_framebuffer_object.

  • In the same game, water colors/vertices weren't being properly read, so instead of looking like water drops, they were giant red triangles of death. Terrifying when it was raining.

  • In Capsized, using the grappling hook used to latch onto the ends of shapes, rather than where you actually pointed. It sort of looked like it was deliberately targeting "blocks"... turns out MonoGame's Vector math was writing into the result before it was finished reading it (read: vecThing.x = vecThing.x + vecThing.y; vecThing.y = vecThing.x - vecThing.y;).

  • In Proteus, stones were invisible. Turns out I needed to rename the file to fit with case-sensitive file systems and load the one material... but this one took a while to actually notice. I mean, how do you debug a game like Proteus? o_o

  • For FEZ, when I was porting Renaud's MonoGame branch to my SDL2 backend, I was getting this:

Turns out I was a big dummy and forgot to add a depth-stencil texture to my faux-backbuffers, so that data was getting lost in the drawing process.

Bugs like this are pretty much what I live with every day. :)

boredzo24 karma

The problem was that we were trying to use EXT_framebuffer_object when we should have been using ARB_framebuffer_object.

What's the difference between the two?

flibitijibibo40 karma

EXT_framebuffer_object has a lot more limitations. The big problem we had in this case was that color attachments weren't all the same size; ARB_framebuffer_object allows for this.

If you're doing offscreen rendering, this is definitely worth researching if you want to support a very large range of hardware. At this point, I just use ARB_framebuffer_object without hesitation.

renaudbedard297 karma

There was a bug in the FEZ Xbox launch version where if you hit the bell at the bell tower and let it be for a long time, there'd be a feedback effect slowly ramping up with the bell eventually swinging wildly and going off-screen, disappearing forever. That was pretty funny. :P

SpudOfDoom47 karma

My favourite Fez bug on Xbox (after patch 1, not sure if it matters) was during the intro sequence where the game "crashes" and reboots like a DOS prompt, my console actually did freeze and become unresponsive while the screen was glitching out. I was so confused and thought the game was doing some Kojima-style meta thing.

renaudbedard37 karma

Hahah, yep, that was a good one. As far as I know it still happens very rarely, and I could never find the exact cause. Creepy...

KaiFB156 karma

Here's on of the fun bugs found during Trine 2 development

MisfitsAttic140 karma

This video shows one of my favorites. We added a quick lock image to show a tile couldn't be rotated, and we made an epileptic rave :)

renaudbedard55 karma

Now that I'm home I finally have access to my FEZ screenshots folder, so here you go! Fun FEZ glitches throughout the ages.

MrBushido2318337 karma

An evil genius has kidnapped your family and they are hanging above a pool of laser sharks, ready to be dropped at the whim of aforementioned evil genius. The only way to save them is to do one of the following, which do you choose and why?

  • Write an MMORPG in Visual Basic
  • Make an FPS involving Zombies
  • Create a openworld sandbox building game where everything is made of cubes
  • Work under the management of EA
  • Profess your approval of zynga game design

MisfitsAttic296 karma

What color eyes does the evil genius have? I feel I can't make an informed decision without that.

MegamanExecute149 karma


MisfitsAttic294 karma

Then definitely "Create a openworld sandbox building game where everything is made of cubes"

directhex283 karma

/u/renaudbedard: What's the future for Polytron, post-Phil? There hits a point where there are no more platforms to port FEZ onto

renaudbedard241 karma

Good question! Phil is off doing his own thing with Polytron, and I'm not directly involved with Polytron's future, so I'm as much in dark as you guys are. The immediate focus is bringing FEZ to the platforms we've announced and more, and it's already a heap of work for Phil and Marie-Christine, who coordinates production.

directhex108 karma

So Phil is still involved with Polytron? I know it's his baby, but I'd sorta assumed when he dumped the industry due to asshole saturation, that would have meant dropping Polytron too.

renaudbedard173 karma

Yes, Polytron is still his company and I'm sure he intends to do more stuff with it. What shape it will take, I have no idea, but he's creative guy, he's got more cool stuff in store I'm sure.

50lerp82 karma

Hi Renaud, I was just wondering why we didn't see more of you in Indie Game: The Movie.

renaudbedard206 karma

The FEZ part of the movie is about Phil going through that part of development, it just happened that they followed that narrative trail, and it probably made for a better movie than trying to force me in there. I did do a day's worth of interview with James & Lisanne, but keep in mind that they filmed a TON of footage, and I can't imagine the headache of editing that into a feature film. Plus.... I'm sort of camera shy.

Delocaz276 karma

To Klei Entertainment: Your games are the most fun I've had in the past many months. Keep on being awesome. That is it.

biiigfoot189 karma


tathamjohnson130 karma

Thanks! :)

pseudolobster259 karma

Why does FTL on linux consume 100% cpu and turn my laptop into a scorching hot leaf blower?

zasdarq911 karma

Try enabling the V-Sync and/or Frame Limiter in the FTL options. Your laptop is just trying really hard to impress you with its power.

therealmusician174 karma

We want fez 2. That is my question.

renaudbedard396 karma

You should focus on wanting things that exist!

purefloat160 karma

To each developer: what's your favorite (besides your own) game in the bundle?

tathamjohnson254 karma

FTL was one of my favourite recent game experiences. It'd been a while since a game had me just wanting to play it all the time because of interesting mechanics.

zasdarq185 karma

I loved Mark of the Ninja. One of my favorite games from 2012. One of the rare few where I began a new game immediately after finishing it and seeing the main menu again.

cahaseler156 karma

I've given you all appropriate flair. Have fun!

parsap35 karma

Thank you very much!

Gamer9870121 karma

Hey biiigfoot, how did you get the idea for mark of the ninja and eets?

biiigfoot303 karma

The seed of Ninja came as we lamented in a hotel room that Splinter Cell was no longer about infiltration and instead about shooting people in the face. That and video game Ninjas all seemed to charge in head first. I mean, what kind of Ninja does that? (Naruto)

Eets was basically some weird amalgamation of a physics engine I programmed in my spare time and silly dudes goofing off and making toilet jokes.

At-M118 karma

any new trine in near future?

I'd like to play anotherone (:

edit: omg they did it!

KaiFB212 karma

The Trine series is very dear to us, and we're definitely going to bring a sequel at some point :)

onefifth94 karma

/u/flibitijibibo What's the hardest part about doing a Linux port? Other people's code? Packaging? Drivers? Support/patch ports?

flibitijibibo130 karma

Support can be pretty tough, but that's about it. Maybe deadlines can be tough sometimes?

For Linux, drivers aren't an issue. I think I have more trouble with Apple in that regard...

Galaxymac24 karma

What makes you say that about Apple? Genuinely curious.

flibitijibibo91 karma

Generally the NVidia/AMD hardware works. Intel has most of the really egregious issues, like the one with FEZ on Intel HD 3000 hardware:

As you'll find at the bottom of that thread, we found the fix: upgrade to Mountain Lion.

That's my biggest problem with Apple OpenGL: Drivers only come as OSX updates; not just minor updates, but major OSX releases. This is partially in line with how they treat hardware, wrt EOL'ing their products, but for essential software components like drivers, it's totally absurd. Having to tell FEZ customers that the only way they'll get the game to work on the hardware is to pay Apple 30 bucks or more is total nonsense, especially when we know that the hardware can run the game. I even had Mac users installing Linux on their machines so they could run the game, because the Intel open source drivers run FEZ just fine on the HD 3000.

I used to be pretty annoyed by their lagging OpenGL support (3.2 only arriving in Lion, etc.), but looking at Mavericks it seems this is being taken more seriously now, so I'm glad to see that moving along.

tathamjohnson12 karma

Debugging the Linux versions in-studio was nigh-impossible for Klei, as we only have a couple of Linux machines and none of them are set up for development, only testing or building. Luckily, we work with another very talented company whose Linux skills are much more proficient than ours :)

Jourdy28881 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA guys! I have a question for the FTL folks: when do we get a mobile version? I'm dying for one, haha.

Serious question: did you intentionally add FTL's grayish morality system? I wrote about it because it seriously impresses me- while the "right" or "wrong" thing to do is usually obvious, the consequences of doing it will vary. I appreciate that.

zasdarq106 karma

Tablet version is in the works, no new news on that for now.

We did intentionally have a fairly gray morality system for FTL. I originally didn't even want to make the Rebels quite as plainly bad as they turned out. It's just more interesting when things aren't clear cut, and doubly so when you don't get morality points for your decisions! (And I had read your write up a little while ago, thank you for the kind comments!)

blamedrop75 karma

FTL guys:

  1. Any plans for other languages support?

  2. Also, any plans for Steam achievements thing (I know that there are achievements already in game but possibility of getting them on Steam would be ever cooler!)?

FTL is such an amazing game. Hope you will make sequel some day (maybe with open world, or even with multiplayer!).

Thanks for hours of fun with this game! :-)

zasdarq66 karma

Thank you for the kind words! The answer to both of your questions though would be: I'd love for it to happen, but there are no immediate plans. As a two man team, it can be hard to do everything... even outsourcing localization work (as we don't speak 15 languages) requires managing it along with any straight technical hurdles. Once things calm down with the tablet port, maybe we'll have time to look into them!

blamedrop10 karma

Enough for other languages support would be giving technical possibility to do this. I think that there would be many people willing to help with translating game into their language (I would) ;). But as I remember parts of game HUD text are in images. So you would have to make game render HUD text rather than use images with text on them. But then there would be problems with fonts etc. ;)

zasdarq15 karma

Yup. It's a bigger task than it might initially appear, even ignoring all the text (equivalent to a decent sized novel).

kanewaltman65 karma

That's a very Finnish name Kai. Any ties to Finland?

KaiFB105 karma

Yep! I'm Finnish like most of us at Frozenbyte. Our office is here in Helsinki.

kanewaltman15 karma

Awesome! Any plans after splot?

KaiFB15 karma

We do have plans after Splot, and it is not the only project we are working on at the moment (we have a separate team for Splot). The other stuff is yet unannounced though :)

DANNYonPC64 karma

@ the polytron employees

How is it to work with Phill phish, and what do you think about his comments?

renaudbedard175 karma

I've worked with him for many years on FEZ and while we had our falling outs in the harder times (which are attributable to maaaaaany factors, and not strictly personality conflicts), it's been smooth sailing for much of the ride.

I started working with him because I thought he was an amazingly creative artist and one of the most motivated people I knew. Throughout development he's kept impressing me with crazy ideas, and going all the way with them even if I had doubts about whether it'd make a good game (and it sure did!). He's got vision, and he knows what he wants, and yes he's very vocal, but that's what he is.

bhran55 karma

this one is for Kai: Trine 2 is one of the most beautiful video games I've ever played. Anything you can tell us regarding the technical differences between Trine 2 and the original?

KaiFB51 karma

Thank you very much, this means a lot to us. Trine and Trine 2 were made on different engines, although both on our own tech.

Questions about technical differences beyond that are out of my expertise, and something that could be better directed at our coders/artists. Sadly none of them are here right now, but I'll try to get back to you if I can get a hold of someone more knowledgeable on the subject.

niko83852 karma

This one's for /u/KaiFB: How's it going with Splot and Frozenbyte in general?

KaiFB63 karma

It's going good with Splot and Frozenbyte, thanks for asking! I know Splot has taken long, but the future is looking brighter. We want the game to be great, so polishing it takes it's time. Hopefully it pays off and people enjoy it :)

Thanks for everyone for your patience.

Mmarzex49 karma

Those of you who ported games from windows to mac, what was the hardest part of it?

renaudbedard68 karma

For FEZ it was kind of a two-parter, first I ported the game from XNA to MonoGame, which made it run on OpenGL and replaced the sound/music stuff with OpenAL, and made it more possible to run on other stuff than Windows. Then Ethan came into the picture and made his magic work so that the game runs on Mono and on Mac (and Linux). The details of his magic, I do not know, but it sure works!

MisfitsAttic50 karma

Dealing with Ethan Lee... I kid I kid. Seriously Ethan did an amazing job. The hardest part for me was that someone else was handling the bulk of the work. We do everything ourselves, even the PS Vita port we're doing, so trusting someone else to get it done was new for me and I just had to breathe ;)

FlyingOnion34 karma

I just want to give kudos to the Trine 2 artists. I haven't made it past the second level because I keep stopping to admire the backgrounds.

KaiFB28 karma

I'll be sure to pass on the praise to the art team, thank you :)

PettyNiwa33 karma

I just finished my first game from the Humble Bundle last night, Trine 2. Love this game!! No questions, just wanted to share my love. FTL is next!

zasdarq39 karma

Hope you like FTL!

KaiFB38 karma

Thank you very much on behalf of Frozenbyte :)

Misterbobo30 karma

@Klei when will we see a Mark of the Ninja sequal?

seriously love that game and played it to death. I need more!

biiigfoot31 karma

No plans right now -- too many other experiments going on!

SuperSumoUSA30 karma

For the FEZ guys, I am a completionist. If the community never figures out all the secrets, when will you guys tell us the answers or at least give us a hint? I always get so disappointed when secrets are never solved in videogames, especially when I am so, so, so curious. Is there a set date? If not, will you come up with one? :(

flibitijibibo56 karma

There was an easter egg in the Atari 400 version of Donkey Kong that was not found until 2009: 26 years after it was released.

I think it'd be pretty cool to have more games with timelines like that.

renaudbedard35 karma

What he said!

Stuff like the easter eggs and the Stop'n'swop in Banjo Kazooie ( blow my mind, and even if I don't think of FEZ as being at the level of insanely obscure, I'm happy that we got the internet perplexed for as long as this.

jakukufumenase26 karma

FTL guys, was there anything more you wanted to do with the game, but couldn't- either due to budget or time constraints, because it was too difficult to code or implement, or because it wasn't suitable? If so, later down the line, if additional content or a sequel is ever released, could we expect to see any of it in some form or another?

jarmustard46 karma

There was oh-so-much that we wanted to do with FTL that had to get cut. From large features that would only work with different core gameplay (like managing food supplies and morale) to smaller features that took too much time or weren't as interesting as we initially hoped (like a fighter bay system or a very simple ship customization mechanic). In the end we prioritized a more streamlined an clean game over trying to add as many features as possible.

salithtaydan23 karma

Will Mark of the Ninja have it's editor released?

biiigfoot62 karma

Alas no. Making a level is ridiculously complicated, actually, and the tool is not very friendly for modders at all :)

tathamjohnson46 karma

It would be nice to be able to make the game more open for modding -including being able to release the editor - but the amount of work required to make the tool viable for public consumption is a bit much. The editor was originally created for Shank, and then grew as it was used for Shank 2 and then Mark of the Ninja. These days there's a whole lot of menu options and key commands that don't work, don't make sense, or just end up crashing the editor. It worked great for the specific workflow we needed for the game, but stepping outside of that (or trying to pick it up without another designer explaining how it works) would take one into the realm of madness I expect. We're certainly learning as we go though, and Don't Starve and our next game is and will be much more open to modders.

BaronVonBondage22 karma

First, thank you guys for your generosity!

To any of you:

  • How was the game development process?

  • What's your background and how did you find yourself in the position you're in now as a game developer?

zasdarq44 karma

Thank you for supporting us!

I went to college and got a BS in Computer Science. From there I started work at a major studio in Shanghai, China, which is where Justin and I met. We discovered we worked quite well together and decided to strike out on our own.

I much prefer working at home in my pajamas, so the development process as an independent developer as been enjoyable :)

MisfitsAttic22 karma

I went into console dev, then animated film (effects animator/developer) and finally to doing my own games. I loved working where I did, but at a point just wanted more creative freedom and to be a bigger part of a smaller product. Basically I'm a brat ;)

c0debunny22 karma

What would you say your biggest challenge was during development (or your biggest 'lesson')?

Thanks guys :)

zasdarq41 karma

Trying to release our first game on all three operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) on day one, as the only programmer. That was a silly mistake. Just delaying the Mac/Linux version a month after the Windows would have made release calmer, and I think 99.9% of the players would have been incredibly understanding.

MisfitsAttic40 karma

For me it was a small team and there was a lot of turnover. I underestimated how much time everything would take because I came from larger companies where the team was stable and everyone worked on it 50 hrs a week. Plus I had to wear every other hat in the "company".

Neotian20 karma

I just want to say thank you for those awesome games !

MisfitsAttic20 karma

Thanks for grabbin em :)

Seyiji18 karma

@KaiFB: I don't know what manner of Steam/Humble Bundle/Developer wizardry is at work but I very much appreciate the ability to use the Trine 2 key from Humble Bundle 9 to upgrade a previous Steam purchase of Trine 2 to the collectors edition. Also thank the devs for integrating Stereoscopic 3D options directly in the game.

KaiFB19 karma

Glad the upgrade worked :) Wizards work in mysterious ways...

foobraco16 karma

How much time took each one of you to develop your games?

renaudbedard36 karma

FEZ took infamously 5-ish years to make, kicking off the project in April 2007 and shipping on XBLA in April 2012. Then I spent most of the late summer/autumn of 2012 porting to MonoGame, finished up the PC version part-time while working at Capy in early 2013, and Ethan helped me do the Mac & Linux ports this summer!

MisfitsAttic30 karma

A Virus Named TOM: if I condensed it down to full time probably 2.5 years, but in reality it was more like 4 since I was still working at Dreamworks and doing about 10 hrs a week on it for the first 2 years.

foobraco18 karma

Thanks! That's a long time to commit on a single game! How did you avoid the burnout? For me, after about 8 months, it gets harder to keep on working on a game. I would appreciate the tip :)

MisfitsAttic17 karma

Honestly I have no idea. I think I did get burnt out several times. If I could go back I think I'd accept that it's going to take a long time and prepare myself for that. Of course you have to push hard or it'll never get done, but within reason. I think setting popper expectations is huge.

zasdarq29 karma

It took us ~18 months from beginning to end. Justin and I were on it full time from day one (and double full time in the last 6 months after the Kickstarter). The response we began getting at only 6 months was what fueled me and helped prevent burn out, though it's terrifying to start showing a game early in its development.

Parodyself14 karma

ever thought about FTL's workshop?

zasdarq12 karma

Kind of covered it here. Sorry to disappoint :(

TheGameOverGuy11 karma

How was it like to learn all of the programming that goes into making a game? Any advice for someone who is learning to code?

MisfitsAttic18 karma

I had a background in Computer Science to start with, but I'd recommend doing something that will motivate you. AKA start making your game a circle/sphere at a time and it'll motivate you to figure it all out ;)

tathamjohnson16 karma

I learned the basics of my skills in University, but far better programmers than me started by sitting down and doing tutorials, then just working out how to do the things they wanted to do. Over time the skillset just gets bigger as you want to do more things and decide to figure out how to make it happen