Miniverse is a new puzzle game by Ryan Rothweiler of Ryt Games. Ryan is a local Portland game developer and I first got my hands on the Miniverse beta at a few events we both we boothing at. Miniverse is a pretty unique game in that you take control of planets to move people around the universe. So far, my wife and I have been playing it together in that we both alternate the iPad to complete levels. The game is very challenging as Miniverse starts out straight forward and ramps up the difficulty. It never seems impossible, but the timed missions and quick turn arounds mean you have to be quick.

Miniverse is available for free with in game DLC on the iPad, right now.

jdodson: Miniverse was recently launched on the iPad. How has the launch gone and how does it seem people are receiving it?

Ryan Rothweiler: The launch has gone great. And really questions like this come down to what your definition of success is and the goals you had coming into the project. I started this about three years ago just after releasing a much smaller game which was just a clone of Super Meat Boy. So my goals with Miniverse were to come up with an appealing original concept and create a game around it. I learned a lot about teaching the player how to play, how to expand on mechanics, how to construct and structure mechanics, game designey things like that. Which was my goal. I also learned a ton about talking with press and how to market a game. I think Miniverse was actually too unique, I can't say it's like anything else (because it isn't) so there was no reference to market it from. I think people are receiving it well. That is kinda a hard thing to judge. I do know that players understand how to play, and are successfully playing. The game has fulfilled my initial goals, so I'm very happy with the launch.

jdodson: Are you planning to release Miniverse on Android tablets or other platforms like the Smartphones or PC?

Ryan Rothweiler: I'd like to. It would be nice. The only barrier is money and time. I think the concept of the game is strong, but I don't think it's strong enough to spend more money and time for other platforms. The iPad launch isn't monetarily successfully enough to warrant other platforms. So no.

jdodson: If you could ask Santa for one thing for Christmas and you would get it, what would it be?

Ryan Rothweiler: Surface Pro 3! For sure! My desktop is falling apart and I reeeallly need a new workstation! I'm pretty entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem (though mostly just because I'm a design and typography nerd, so the flat typographic Metro design Microsoft has going REALLY appeals to me). I've wanted a Surface for a long time. Probably not this Christmas though. :( Oh or a boat! I'm learning how to sail right now, and hoping to live on a boat within a year, so getting a sail boat would be amazing.

jdodson: Was there any game in particular you have played where you started to think you wanted to make games?

Ryan Rothweiler: Nope. I think I have a pretty unique take on games. I didn't grow up playing games, I've never been in an arcade, and I never really played console games much. Growing up I always thought I'd be an engineer. After starting to follow that thought I realized I wouldn't be happy with an engineering job because I couldn't put a part of myself into it. I want my work to speak about myself, and communicate who I am. I just can't do that with engineering. So I thought next I'd try graphic design, thinking hey that's more artistic yet somewhat technical. Which I did enjoy, but it was too artistic. I came to games because it seems like the perfect balance of artistic and technical skills. I also think that there is a HUGE inability to think progressively in the games industry. So really no there wasn't any game that made me think that I wanted to do games. I just think that I'm somewhat good at making games and that I enjoy making games!

jdodson: Any aspect of gaming or gaming culture you would change if you could?

Ryan Rothweiler: Mostly just the social stigma. I think that type of change has to come from internally though. As an industry and as individuals we need to take ourselves more seriously and hold ourselves to higher standards. We need to be more confident, dress better, speak more eloquently, be more professional, be more apart of the world. I really dislike Call of Duty not only because it's not a good game but also because it propagates the white male in his basement culture. I do think this will slowly get better as the gamer culture ages, and really it's already happening.

jdodson: You are living on a planet where one in ten people had died due to “the simian flu”. You notice that your small ragtag band of humans lives close to a race of super intelligent apes that ride horses and seem to be pretty handy with guns. What’s your next move?

Ryan Rothweiler: Find some sort of commodity that they need and take control of it (maybe the horses). Somehow become a linchpin in their society using the horses. Train the horses and trade with the apes, or kill a ton of horses while only keeping a few for yourselves and then trade. Also while building the human society. Training armies and building economies and such. Buy time by holding the apes in a poor economic situation while building human society. If they turn out to be cool and peaceful then try to integrate the two societies. If not then work on overpowering them.

jdodson: What are game(s) are you playing right now?

Ryan Rothweiler: Dota2. I've been playing a ton of Dota2. I have some ideas on a VR based eSport. Again I think in the next few year this is going to be a huge market. There are no good non team based eSport games. So it started as research, but now I play because I'm addicted. I want to play ShovelKnight though. That looks interesting. I'll probably pick that up here soon. I really don't play much games. I don't really consider myself a gamer. So I'll play a game if it's unique and interesting, but it usually doesn't last long.

jdodson: What’s next for you now that Miniverse has been released? Any thoughts to what the next game you release might be?

Ryan Rothweiler: It will be a while before whatever I do next is released. It's going to sound weird, but my goal for the next 5 - 10 years of my life is to win the igf. You don't have to release a game to win that award, so I don't have much incentive to release a game. I'm very goal oriented if you didn't notice. For my next project I'm looking for something that fits into the mold of games that win the igf and into the brand I'm trying to build. That's about it. Right now I'm prototyping a single player VR eSports game based around poker. Which really doesn't fit into the mold of the igf, buuut maybe. Still just prototyping ya know. I'm prototyping a new game each week, trying to hit an idea that I think can win, and then get it as good as possible for the October igf deadline. After that trying to get a job anywhere in the games industry to further my game design knowledge.

jdodson: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions today. Anything you want to say before we wrap things up?

Ryan Rothweiler: Thank you Jon! I do want to say thank you for taking the time to look at my work. And for taking the time to help out and be part of the indie community here in Portland. I've really enjoyed becoming more and more apart of the growing community. Also good questions, it was a joy writing answers. :)

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