What do you get when Myst meets Tron in an indie game?

Today on the Downloads Blog, we interview Richard E. Flanagan, indie developer of FRACT OSC, a first-person puzzle adventure game.



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Coming off their 2011 Independent Games Festival win for Best Student Game, FRACT developers Richard E Flanagan and his wife, Quynh Flanagan, have been hard at work on a bigger FRACT world, called FRACT OSC. We recently spoke with Flanagan about this new expansion for his game.

GameSpot: For the users who are unfamiliar with your game, tell us a bit about it.

Richard E. Flanagan: FRACT is a first-person puzzle adventure game for Mac/PC, akin to the Myst series, but much more abstract and inspired by electronic music. In the game, players explore an abandoned, broken-down world, revive its forgotten machinery, and then are able to create their own sounds and melodies within the world.

Richard E. Flanagan
Richard E. Flanagan

GS: Coming off of your win for “Best Student Game Award” at GDC, what is the direction your team decided to take with FRACT?

REF: After winning the IGF award, my wife and I decided we wanted to take the game further (the 2010 version was really only a glimpse at what I wanted to achieve). So we founded our studio last May and brought our programmer, Henk Boom, on board. It has been a real learning process, and there has been a lot of iteration and evolution since then. While we always wanted to make the game have more emphasis on musical creation, now we're finally on track to achieving that.

GS: What are some of your inspirations for FRACT?

REF: FRACT is inspired by many things I love: electronic music, the process of making music itself, Tron, early computer culture, graphic design, data visualization… the list goes on.

Tron meets Myst
Tron meets Myst

GS: How much bigger is FRACT OSC compared to the game you won the award with?

REF: FRACT OSC will be a much bigger experience than the 2010 version. Not only are there going to be a lot more puzzles in the game, but the world itself is bigger, and the scope of what the player will be able to do is bigger.

GS: What platforms do you plan to release this game on?

REF: We are planning to release the game on Windows and Mac.

Beautiful visuals.
Beautiful visuals.

GS: With the smartphone industry getting bigger every year, do you plan to release a mobile version of FRACT OSC?

REF: We would love to do that, if we had the chance. I think a touch interface could lend itself well to the musical aspect in the game. But for now, we've already got quite a bit on our plate, so we're just focusing on finishing the game for Windows/Mac.

GS: Tell us how you got started in the industry.

REF: I'm actually quite new to the industry, despite working in related creative industries (graphic design, Web) for many years. I always wanted to make games, so I quit my job in late 2009 to go back to school for game design, and the program allowed me to work on an early prototype of FRACT. While looking for a job at one of the big studios (to little success), I continued working on FRACT towards the end of 2010, which is what led me to the IGF.

GS: What’s some advice you would give to people who want to get into the video game industry?

REF: Perseverance is key, because there will always be times where you encounter setbacks and obstacles to what you want to achieve. Believe in what you have to offer, but also get involved in the community (locally or online, or both) and get feedback from others - there is so much talent and support in the scene, if you just look.

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