[This article appears on Indie Haven courtesy of Steven Savage of MuseHack. You can find a link to the original article here. MuseHack is dedicated to helping geeks apply their passion, inspiration and skills into a sustainable career.]

I met Eli Piilonen through the HouseOGames, which I profiled a few interviews ago.  He and his partner David Carney are creating “Not The Robots,” which fills the need for a stealth-based rougelike with a furniture-eating robot as a hero (now that you’ve heard of it, you want it, don’t you?) So let’s ask Eli how he got his Applied Geek on!

Eli, how did you and Dave get into making Indie games?

I emailed David when I heard some of his music on Kongregate.  The first game we made together, a puzzle game called “The Company of Myself,” was well-received enough that we were both immediately sold on the idea of continuing to collaborate.

How did you two hook up with House of Games and what difference has it made?

I met Yulia, one of the House’s co-founders, at Casual Connect in Singapore, where she was organizing the Indie Showcase.  Having a service like this is an unbelievable opportunity for an indie…we were used to being totally in the dark about the overall industry.

How do two people manage to actually make a game?

You learn to do a bunch of different jobs!


So tell us a bit about “Not The Robots.”

It’s a stealth game that builds new levels for you every time you play it, so you can never win by losing until you memorize the level’s layout and patterns.  It’s an action game, but it’s not about fighting enemies – instead, it’s about gathering resources while trying to stay out of danger.  Trouble is, the resources you’re eating happen to be the furniture that you’re hiding behind, so the more you eat, the more dangerous the room becomes.  It’s a game that has a bunch of secrets and mystery to it, with a bizarre setting that slowly reaches coherence over the course of a bunch of play sessions.

How did you conceive of the game and why did you choose to make this as opposed to another type?

Roguelikes are a really fascinating genre that’s been gaining some popularity lately, and action roguelikes are especially interesting to me.  They keep some of the best aspects of traditional roguelikes, but they are presented with a play style that is more easily approachable.

How are you going to promote the game when it’s out?

Along with the expected “show it to press people,” we’re trying to use our existing fanbase to draw up some early hype for the game by releasing a free demo on Kongregate.  HouseOGames is also giving us access to industry marketing folks, whose advice and connections are incredibly valuable to us.

What have you learned in making games that was not what you expected?

I’m always amazed by how fast the average computer actually is.  It’s easy to call your computer “slow” or “laggy” when it’s having a hard time with something, but when you’re programming, you start to see just how much the machine is capable of doing.  I’ve been at this for a long time now, and this still surprises me on a consistent basis.

So where do you think the game industry is going, it seems quite chaotic?

I have almost no idea.  I figure that PC gaming is here to stay.  Everything else is a mystery to me.

How did your hobbies play into your choice?

Well, I spend a lot of time eating furniture.  To be honest, it’s a hobby that I can’t afford.  I’m starting to think that I should switch down to something like…only appliances and knick-knacks, but I seriously doubt that it would be as satisfying.

Any advice for aspiring game and geek professionals?

Try to make things that you like for long enough, and you’ll start to actually like them.