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 DS FEATURE

Alex Houdent explains why webgame Globulos is pinging over to DS

Simple - it's simple and playable
Product: Globulos Party | Developer: GlobZ | Genre: Arcade, Casual
 
Globulos Party DS, thumbnail 1
There are an increasing number of social networking and webgames making the move over the DS in 2009. But while you've probably heard about Club Penguin or Neopets, French casual gaming company Globz is also looking to take its Globulos game dualscreen.

Of course, there's more to releasing a DS game than just making a DS game, as we found out when we caught up with Globz's MD Alex Houdent.

So starting from the beginning, what is Globulos?

Globulos is a game. Well, in fact, it is more like a gameplay or a game system that offers many different games that share the same core mechanic - which is very simple: draw an arrow to move your characters.

Also, the game is turn-based even if the turns are not 'one after the other' but simultaneous. Both players prepare at the same time and then watch the result at the same time.

You can play it for free on at globulos.com, and there's also a mobile version, which Pocket Gamer gave a 8/10.

Can you explain the inspiration behind Globulos as a game concept?

Olivier Besson had marble races in the sand and blood cells in mind when he came up with the first prototype. The physics was really funny. Still, the whole concept entered a 'pause' state for several reasons.

But after a while Fabien Riffaud added the Arena gameplay with the Kings characters and so on. Then Olivier said, 'Let's do a football game' and Fabien did the gameplay with the holes and the fact that you can fall into them (otherwise the game would never end).

Then I said, 'Let's do a croquet game'. Finally Laurent Fernandez did the superb graphics and animations and the first version was out on the web in 2003.

How did you design the mini-games and which are the most popular with players?

The ideas come from anything but mainly three sources: sport (football, volleyball, basketball etc), 'English' games (croquet, snooker, pinball etc), and a few video games inspirations (Arena, Save the King, Bomber, Pac-Glob).

The most popular ones are football, Bomber, Arena, pinball and volleyball. These five games are played two times out of three.

In terms of the Globulos website, what's the rough age breakdown of players?

Well it's very wide. You can check out the Globulos Facebook group we opened with the relaunch of the new version in December 2008 to get an idea about the demographics and geographic spread of players.

Why have you decided to do a DS version?

When the DS came out we thought that Globulos might be fun to play with the stylus. We did a first prototype in December 2005, which you can see in this YouTube video.

It was really simple and playable, so given the gameplay of Globulos, the DS seemed a natural fit for us.

How will the DS versions differ from the web and mobile versions?

On a DS title you have to have a big Solo mode. We have done an artificial intelligence version, which is incredibly difficult, an Adventure mode, a Story mode and so on.

The gameplay is still the same as you can see in this newer video - we had to play in a zoomed view because the game needs a minimum resolution to be precise, otherwise it is not fun.

Will the power-ups of the webgame be available in the DS version?

When we started working on the DS game two years ago, the power-ups hadn't been introduced into the web game so we decided not to include them. The game is already very deep and strategic without the power-ups.

Will the DS version support multiplayer games either local or via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection?

We have already developed four multiplayer modes for the DS version:

2 players with 1 DS (a pass-around mode);
2 players with 1 cartridge and 2 DSs;
2 players with 2 cartridges and 2 DSs via local wi-fi;
and 2 players via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

How will you make the decision between releasing a retail game or doing a DSi download?

The choice will be simple: to go to retail we need a publisher who will pay for the cartridges, the distribution and maybe some marketing. Given all that, the money a publisher is willing to share is really low. On the other hand, on a DSiWare we don't need a publisher and the share is higher.

When do you expect the DS game to be released?

The development of the game is pretty advanced - around 80 per cent complete. Still we are not in a hurry and we are very busy with the web version. Still, we hope the DS game will be out this year ;-)

Thanks to Alex for his time.

And while you're waiting for the DS version, you should get online and start playing Globulous for
free and without registration at Globulos.com.
 

Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan 27 January 2009
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