TR Member Perks!

This week I’ve been talking to game developer and animator Jennifer Dawe who is working with Lead Developer and Creator Jason Brown of Dapper Swine Studios to create SeedScape. Jennifer has been interviewed for TechRaptor before about women in the industry, so you should check that out, too.

I’ve heard lots of great things about SeedScape, people calling it the new Harvest Moon. Was that your inspiration? How does SeedScape differ, what makes it interesting and new?

Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing were probably the biggest inspirations for Jason and myself as we both love those games. SeedScape is a bit different than either of those games because the area you play in is procedurally-generated, and you are far less limited as to where you can put things. Jason is also making it so every game area you generate is just a little bit different in other ways that encourage people to always look for new things. You’ll have legendary plants among other things that are generated when the game world is created, and you will have different ones than other people, though there will definitely be repeats it won’t be a get it once and never again kind of thing.  There’s a very “Surface level” playing experience you can have where you never touch the deeper parts of the game and you can still do well in the game, but there will also be layers of complexity you can dig into if you dare. This will make the game more fun for all ages. You can continue the game long after you complete the initial story, and there will be lots of interesting things to do to keep you going for a long time.

SeedScape recently got Greenlit, congratulations! Was the response to SeedScape more positive in general than your other projects? If so what do you think makes the game so special?

Definitely, I think Jason and I are hitting all the right notes by making a game that not only we want to get made, but a game that people have been requesting for a long time. PC has been neglected in the “comfy simulation” market, it’s mostly been handhelds and consoles that have marketed to the demographic that enjoys this. I just think it’s something the PC market has been dying for.

If SeedScape becomes successful, could you see yourself creating ports?

Absolutely, it was one of the things we discussed early on, Jason always made sure when designing the controls to keep other systems in mind.

seedscape

You came under a lot of controversy when a user attempted to boycott SeedScape on Twitter. How did you feel about the public reaction to this?

Jason and I were actually relaxing after some pretty intense crunch time, streaming and marketing the greenlight, I had gone out with friends. I came home really late, and Jason was offline for the night, I had a bunch of Direct messages linking me to all sorts of crazy things going on. Honestly by the time I figured it out what had happened it was already a runaway train. Jason literally had no idea until the next morning when he logged in to check our page.

We received overwhelming support even when we were still very confused as to what was going on. I tried to ignore most of the people saying bad things as it was clear they were from a certain group I had run ins with and was targeted by before for years prior to this.

We were halfway to the top of Greenlight prior to this happening, and this certainly put things over the top though I was grateful that many people said that if they didn’t think the game looked good they wouldn’t have voted for it or promoted it. That’s the kind of honesty I have come to expect from this community, and I appreciate it.

The main thing I found disturbing about this is that Jason was targeted specifically because of me. He has not said anything for or against Gamergate, he just works on games and keeps to himself. They literally put him on a list of people to avoid simply for going with an animator who believed in the game but also had personal opinions they didn’t like.

We’re grateful for the chance to make a good product that will now get seen, it has taken a burden off of our shoulders as far as distribution goes, and we are certainly not going to let it go to waste.

Do you feel that this is a problem in gaming at the moment, where people are judging others for their opinions, and for their relationship to others rather than their work?

Absolutely. I noticed this problem back in 2012/2013 when I joined social media, if you weren’t  agreeing with the right people, you were mysteriously shunned by others who really had nothing to do with them, they should have been competition but it was clear they were not. I was the competition, but not with skill; for opinions as if that was the way you cultivate an audience rather than making a good game a lot of people enjoy. seedscape 2

What projects do you have in mind the future? What game would you love to make?

I may eventually like to get back to building online roleplaying communities, but I’ve also had people ask me if I would be interested in making a point and click adventure game, a platformer or a horror game so those are also options.

Finally, what message would you give to women who want to get into the industry right now?

Don’t let the fearmongering scare you. If you really want to do this there’s no reason you can’t. There are a few jerks out there but the industry has been overwhelmingly positive and most of my biggest opportunities have come from men welcoming me for my abilities not my gender. It’s only about that if you make it about that.

We would like to thank Jennifer for speaking with us. If you want to find out more about SeedScape check out its Steam page.

What do you think of SeedScape? Would you buy it? Please leave your comments below.

Edit: Changed wording to reflect that Jason is the lead developer at Dapper Swine and the Creator of SeedScape.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • Eagleeye595

    Yes i am actually looking forward to it, and hi there Jennifer! Thanks for not giving up on the game, and i hope it is as good as it looks.

  • Alex

    Looks great, I’ll be getting it on release!:D

  • dasCameo

    as someone who really likes harvest moon and rune factory, I am pretty excited about a pc native similar game, I hope it can live up to the expectations.

  • Sounds interesting. It’s not the sort of game I would immediately have taken notice of, but the more I learn about it the more I like. In fact, I’m beginning to think it’s the kind of thing I would like. (That happens a lot; I remember a friend telling me that TES: Oblivion was “the kind of thing you hate”, and I pretty much agreed. I ended up putting about 300 hours into that sucker. 🙂 )

    “people are judging others for their opinions, and for their relationship to others rather than their work

    But that’s what “social media” does. I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of it – I’m not on Twitter or Facebook – but could never quite put my finger on why. I mean, it’s just another name for online forums, right?

    But I was still uncomfortable, because I’ve long been of the opinion that the word “social” destroys anything it touches. And now we’re beginning to see it here. Relationships start to matter more than opinions, and opinions more than facts. The blocklist is a perfect example of that: it doesn’t matter what you said; it doesn’t even matter if you said anything; what’s important is that you have a tangential, fleeting, acquaintance with someone the originators of the list don’t like. (And then the burden of proof is on you, the accused, since that’s easier than proving guilt. Because social media is about nothing if it’s not about convenience.) It’s the schoolyard clique gone global.

    So screw, quite frankly, that shit.

  • vivianjames

    As a Harvest Moon fan, I’m looking forward to this and future ports. Vita please. 🙂

  • Kacho_ON

    It’s still early but so far I like the direction they’re taking with the game. There definitely is a lack of “chill simulation” games on PC.

    Oh and for people who want this on Vita/PS4, you need to make your voice heard. I find the people of SCEA are very open to suggestions for indie games.

  • Red Lagoon

    This game looked and is still looking good. May I suggest humbly to the author as someone who never made a game, to add more secret places and perhaps some town in the wild.

  • Guest

    My wife and I are really excited to play this one together, and it’s just icing on the cake that we get to support such a reasonable couple of people by doing so.

    Thanks!!

  • ZURATAMA1324

    Legendary fruits….
    As an RPG junky who gets satisfaction out of getting low percentage rare drops, I very much like that.

    I’ll prepare all the Doritos and Hot Pockets for this game’s release.

  • ZURATAMA1324

    Question: How do I defend myself from ‘LEGENDARY FRUITS”?

  • Derp_Meowslurp

    i heard anti-gg was boycotting this game, so i’ll be buying a few copies to share. Thanks anti-gg!!

  • Jake Martinez

    I think there is a plan for a town in the wild that you can find! Check out their steam page there is a little faq that might have more information.

  • Invin

    You two ladies are awesome. I wish the mainstream media would cover this, but of course it doesn’t fit the narrative.

  • I P

    I’m definitely looking forward to this. having been a fan of both AC and HM for years the second I saw the video on the Greenlight page that was the feel I got. I’ll be picking it up for sure and I’d love to see ports of this on the Vita or 3DS

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    I definitely like me some Harvest Moon, so when I saw this game and learned about it, my mind instantly went “yep, I’d like to play that”. Best of luck on the game, Jennifer (on the off chance you’re reading these comments), I look forward to playing it.

  • Fenrir007

    Excellent interview! As usual, I much prefer seeing articles that celebrate gaming instead of loudly complaining about made-up issues. Success stories are much better than slandering game devs.

    “and most of my biggest opportunities have come from men welcoming me for my abilities not my gender”

    This is because Jenn is a wonderful pixel artist. She has talent, so she can say that. What about all those poor people with no skills whatsoever that always wanted to get into the gaming industry but never lifted a finger to get the needed skills??? OMG think of the patreons!

    Seriously, though, that is exactly what it is. The industry welcomes skillful individuals. I, too, wanted to be a game dev, but I also never lifted a finger to get the needed skills. I could either: a-) resign myself to the fact that I am too lazy to pursue this OR b-) scream to the top of my lungs that the industry is unfair and unwelcoming to third world latinos, and it needs a better representation of us both in the games and in game development (while linking my patreon while going on my tirade). Because I’m a sane person, I chose “a”.

  • SevTheBear

    Looks like a fine game Jennifer. It’s good too see you got it through greenlight 🙂

  • Iminspace

    I’m not the only one who sees a Budew, am I?