Ido Tal - The Flash Guru

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Hi, could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Sure thing! I’m Ido. It’s a tricky one to pronounce, it’s originated from Hebrew. I love video games, and I’m an independent game developer. A highschool student as of today, but this is my last year. Hurray!

When and how did you become involved in Flash game development?
I was always curious about what’s happening behind the scenes in video games. I found video games and interactive worlds inspiring since I was a little kid. Eventually I got my hands on Flash 5 back in the day, and started out as an animator. I was never good at animating but it was fun, and in the long run also useful as I began to program games in Flash, using Actionscript 2 and then 3.

What do you like most about developing games in Flash?
I love how smooth it is to deliver the game to the player, since it’s played online. And everybody’s online. It’s incredible how a single indie production can reach millions. It gives the developer exposure and space to express creativity, while it gives the player a free game to play (well, in most forms). Win-win!

What were some of the first games you developed?

I developed little games in my early Flash years but none of them were worthy of a release. The first game I developed and actually released was the fan made game Portal: The Flash Version with my partner Hen who nailed the graphics. It was my ‘breach’ to the online game scene. I guess that’s how I am here!

Could you tell us about your future game trilogy, Echoes?
Echoes is an action-strategy game. It’s set in an extensive universe on a torn Earth almost three-hundred years in the future. It joins the famous Real Time Strategy genre with many elements from the Third Person Shooter genre, in a side-scrolling environment.
It is explored in three Acts, released as three games. Every Act is built from 5 stages and an unlockable challenge game-mode. Every stage has its own learning curve and objectives, and is loaded with dialogues carrying on the storyline of the series.

What kind of game-play can we expect to see in Echoes?
The gameplay in Echoes is combined. As mentioned, it joins RTS and Shooter. Ingame, this means you can switch live between Strategy-mode and Combat-mode.

- In Strategy-mode, you’re able to construct a base, recruit an army and control them around. To encourage that, some of the resources in the game are collected throughout the map by capturing Control Points.
- In Combat-mode, you’re able to join your army in the mission to repel the enemies. The cursor turns into a crosshair and the camera focuses on the hero – D.e.m. (name is storyline-related). Controls in Combat mode turn into action game controls. Dem is packed with abilities and weapons which he can carry out during the battle, to support allies and resist enemies. So basically you join your own army, and fight with them side by side in Echoes.

Every stage is filled with dialogues and cutscenes, each time revealing more about the universe of Echoes. All dialogues in the game are voiced, not a single line out! :)
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How long has Act 1 been in progress and when will it be released?
We’ve been developing Act 1 and Echoes in general for some time now – the original design is over two years old! Echoes is a massive project, and it was not easy to develop independently, especially not for a perfectionist :) . However I’m happy to say it’s a few weeks to release now.

When you are not developing games, what are some things you enjoy doing?
Hmm, random things I enjoy… I enjoy listening to music (I am pretty open about the genres), playing the drums (on and off for around two years), hanging out with mates… and I can drown myself into a 2 hour movie at 4AM after work spontaneously. And when I am not being teeny, I talk: I try to take opportunities to talk in front of a crowd. This is an opportunity that was given to me through the game industry after the first game I released, and I realized it’s a skill I must develop, especially because it’s not natural for me, deep down I’m kinda shy!

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Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions Ido. We look forward to playing Echoes.