Monday, October 26, 2009

Q&A with the "Righteous" Guys

Righteous! Book of Mormon Edition
Designed, Programmed, and Illustrated by Bryan Beach & Dave Thompson

This is an interactive DVD game based on the stories and characters from the Book of Mormon. Bryan Beach did the illustration and Dave Thompson programmed the DVD and did the animation.

I was able to ask a few questions and get a few answers from the designers about their process of game design, pitching it to Deseret Book, and pretty much their experience with the game. So, I figured I'd share it with the world (with their approval, of course). My questions are in bold and their answers in italics.

How did you get into game design?
We both work for the same company that produces and licenses films on DVD. We made a perfect team in creating a DVD board game, where Dave could design the interactive media and Bryan could design the printed materials.

What led you to design Righteous?
Dave came up with the idea while watching his relatives play the DVD/board game "Scene It.” He was surprised at how much his younger nieces and nephews had picked up on answers to questions of movies they had never seen before. We were hoping that the images and questions presented in our game would spark a child's interest in wanting to learn more about the characters in the Book of Mormon and create a fun opportunity for parents to teach them.

How long did it take?
To pitch of the game, we put about 25% of the game together in a month or so. Once the game had been accepted by Deseret Book, we worked on it for another few more months to fill-in content and finalize the project. Deseret Book, however, does have a time schedule in which they release products. After all materials are submitted to DB, it takes several months for the actual product to be printed/produced overseas. “Righteous” didn’t actually hit the store shelves until about 18 months after we initially pitched it to DB.

Was it a difficult process?
Since we both have full time jobs, we had to sacrifice a lot of our own time in the evenings. This made it difficult in terms of absorbing time, but the most difficult task was meeting the deadline with a finished and working product. It took some trial and error to get the board to line up properly when folded and the menu animation and DVD programming were quite a task.

What roles did the two of you take on?
Bryan designed and illustrated all of the printed materials. He also did the illustration utilized by the DVD, and the music/audio and the animated characters on the DVD. Dave designed and authored the DVD portion. He animated all of the effects on the DVD and conceived the interactive games and wrote most of the questions utilized by the DVD. We hired a contractor to write all of the written card questions.

How did you go about testing the game?
The hardest part about working with DVDs is that DVD players are all different. The quality of the DVD player and the features it offers, effects how the DVD will play back. Because of this, we had to test it in various brands of players and create a disc that would work best for the majority.

At what point did you pitch the idea to Deseret Book?
We pitched it as soon as we had a working proto-type, which was only a couple of months after we talked about the concept. There was nothing in the LDS market like it and so we had to act fast.

How did that all come about, how did you approach them, etc?
We made numerous cold calls trying to reach the right person. We told them that we had a product they might be interested in and wanted to set up a meeting. We were lucky in the fact that they happened to be looking for a new product at that time and that our game might fit the bill. Major luck.

How successful has the game been?
We didn't have much experience in creating a game for the LDS market and so were unsure of what to expect. Since we have nothing to compare it to, we really don't know if it has done well compared to the other games being sold or not. It seemed to sell well during the first few months, but sales have declined since then. Games really do best during the Christmas shopping season and “Righteous” was first released at that time.

Are you planning on doing any other versions?
We will most likely not create another version of “Righteous” but have a few other ideas on the back burner. Most recently, Deseret Book has released a card game that Bryan has created with the same characters from "Righteous" called the "Book of Mormon Card Deck."

Do you have any suggestions or specific insights you’d like to share with others who are designing games and trying to get them published?
Strive to make your game standout, be fun, LOOK professional and BE professional. The trick is to accomplish these things but also keep the costs low. It’s not easy but it is possible. Best of luck!

A big thanks goes to Bryan and Dave for their time in entertaining my curiosity. I really appreciate it!

Get a copy of the game here.
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Jim said...
June 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

We got a copy of the game, but have no rules. How can we get a copy of the rules for this game, since it is by Deseret Book?

Mike said...
July 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Sorry Jim to take so long to get back to you on this. The only way I've found to get rules from Deseret Book is to contact them directly. I ended up using their online customer service chat (on their website). That didn't work very well. Finally, through a long series of phone calls, I can't find my notes on that but when I do I'll post who the people were, they finally agreed to send me a pdf copy of the rules for Capture (after they gained approval from the designer and others). But I was told that I couldn't share that file with other people, so I haven't.

In other words, it's not easy to get the rules from Deseret Book.

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