Dreaming Sarah

Dreaming Sarah

I usually write in Spanish, but today I’m going to make an exception and I’ll be writing this in English because this post comes with a surprise 😉

I heard about this game on Desura… I think. The first time I saw it, I downloaded the demo and played it infinite hours. I loved it… almost instantly.

Geez, I remember playing the demo SO many times, I think it got worn or something haha.

After a while I saw it on Greenlight and I was like: OMG OMG OMG I’M SO HAPPY YEAH YEAH YEAH *danced in front of the computer* Obviously I voted for it and shared it everywhere so everybody could get to know about it and then waited for months until it got to the Steam Store so I could play it entirely.

And that day finally arrived… with something special 😀

OK, so Dreaming Sarah finally was on Steam and when I saw it, I tweeted about it and a few moments later someone Favorited my tweet… it was the game’s developer! *INSTANT FOLLOW*. We exchanged a couple of tweets and I ended up interviewing himmaking him an interview 😀

Yay!

But before I share the interview with all of you, I want to tell you a about the game.

Dreaming Sarah is a plataformer/puzzle game about a girl in a coma. Her mission? She has to travel through different scenarios to find a lot of different objects.

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Do I have to say that the art is really really beautiful? Nope. Really. Ok, maybe “it’s just pixel art”, but to me, I don’t know, It has another thing, it is more delicate, it has something *extra* that makes it special. Sarah is a really beautiful character, and reminds me a lot of Ramona Flowers with that blue hair ♥.

The music is another fabulous thing to mention; it combines perfectly with every little thing in the game and it creates an excellent climate. That is the awesome work of Anthony Septim!

I noticed that the game grows on you very slowly, a thing I like a lot in games. In the beginning First It makes you feel like you are playing just another platformer: you are just another one more character in in just one more common game, having the same dialogues, making the same moves. However, , but as you progress (?), you find yourself in these weird scenarios (like this one) and it’s like WOW, when did this happen!? And you wanna keep playing for just 5 more minutes, just to see what happens next, and then other five minutes… and yet other five minutes, and then it’s like… Oh my god I have to go to bed because it’s 12 am and tomorrow I have to work. Damn.

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So yeah, that’s Dreaming Sarah.

And now, the interview with Andre Silva (btw, he thinks my name is cool :D)

*Drumrolls please*

– Tell us a bit about Dreaming Sarah, What is it about? What’s the story behind the game? How was it born? How many people are involved in it?

Dreaming Sarah is a long term project that I’ve had in mind since 2009. It came to be when I fell in love with a game called Yume Nikki, which is about a hikkikomori girl who won’t leave her house, and all she can do is sleep. When she sleeps, you explore her dreams collecting objects and after 24 objects, you get to see the ending. That game was really simple and had no text or anything anywhere on it. You just explored, saw new things, listened to new music, and that was it.

That said, I’ve made the story behind the game as simple as I could too. The main character (Sarah) is in a coma. She has been in an accident and can’t wake up. The goal is to find all the items and go to a certain place to see the ending.

Right now I’m the only one working on it, but I did have a lot of help. Anthony Septim, the musician, gave all his music to me for free. I found him on Jamendo.com, a website that has some royalty-free music, and took 6 months to find him (since Jamendo doesn’t give away their artists emails). I also had a lot of help from Devi Ever, an artist that helped making the haunted mansion area in the game and a few more areas I still have to implement. She also helped a lot with marketing!

– How long did the development take?

– I had the main concept in 2009, but I only began truly working on it in 2012 after getting fired from what was my day job. I decided to have a go at making games (since I already did it as a hobby) and began working on it. It’ll make 2 years this September I think!

– What is your motivation for making games?

– Making games is something I’ve been making since I was 13 years old, when my parents bought me “Klik ‘n Play”, a tool that made games easily. In my opinion making a game is something you just have to do. It’s hard to explain but I think it’s a feeling that most game developers have. You have a good idea and you just have to put it out somehow.
– Which obstacles did you have to overcome during the development of the game?
– The main obstacle was and has been money. Making Dreaming Sarah has become my day job in these last 2 years so before I started selling it I had to cut down a lot of meals. There was a point where my dad also got unemployed, and my computer broke at the same time… I thought I wouldn’t be able to overcome it but some friends helped me with spare parts and everything is well again!

– A few weeks ago media started talking about indie gaming as a bubble about to explode. What do you think about this? Do you think that indie games are bound to disappear as an important subgenre?

– I honestly think that there’s space for everyone. There has always been. The problem isn’t that there are “too many games being made”, people are just complaining because they can’t get easy spotlight on tools like Steam, PSN and XBLA when it was so easy before since it was hard to get in, making sales harder. But again, in my opinion, if you’re not working on Space Marine Shooter #394 I don’t think you have to worry. There’s a lot of market for different games.
– How hard was is to make it into the Greenight program? If it was 😛
– I posted Sarah to Greenlight when it opened up in 2013 (or 2012?) when it was still free. At the time all I had was a small prototype, and the feedback was horrible. Most people hated it because they though that Greenlight was not a place for unfinished games. Still, I left it there and after a while some people started to notice it. It helped me to build a community around my game somehow, and I kept updating the announcements and such. Then suddenly Valve started having those 50-150 batches every month and it got in!

– Does Asteristic staff work as full time developers or you guys have “day jobs”?

– Right now I’m the only one working directly it, but I do have a lot of help from some friends, Yasmin Maria and Alex Rothier. Yasmin has a day job but she also helps with marketing for my game (updating the Facebook page for the game). She also made the Asteristic logo! Alex, he helps me sorting out the ideas for the game so it doesn’t become a complete mess. They’re all important to me, even if not working on the game directly.

– What tools and methods did you use to make it easier to work as a team while having team members in different countries?
– Mostly Facebook and Skype for communication, but also Dropbox so they all can have the game assets for promotion and things like that. When I worked with Devi we talked on Skype a lot, and she had full access to the Dropbox, so whenever she did something new she would put it there and I would get it here automatically. Dropbox is awesome.

So… Andre is pretty much a cool guy, he thinks my name is cool, he thinks Dropbox is awesome, he likes anime (specially from the nineties!) and he makes games (check his other games on http://www.asteristic.com/). AMAZING!

Summarizing, grab your copy of Dreaming Sarah on Steam and be happy while playing beautiful games made by beautiful people :)

P.S: Dreaming Sarah is on Early Access right now, although I’m not 100% in favor of these kind of games or publishing process or whatever , I wrote about this one because I think Andre (and the whole team) has made a great work, plus I’ve been following this development since it was a tiny little baby, so I think the game deserves it :) 

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