I encourage you to experience the game first hand and you can do so by communing with the link below.
jdodson: So congratulations on the successful release of Animator’s Nightmare. We all know that lots of game development is crippled by slipped deadlines, bugs and unmet expectations. How were you able to release the game nearly bug-free so quickly?
Travis: Not only did it release on time, but I was able to launch a few days early! The final code wasn’t due to the publisher for another three days. But as for the bug-free quality of the game, I’d have to attribute that to myself. Being the smartest person in the room has it’s advantages.
jdodson: How is it working with Epic Software to license the Unreal Engine for the game? I know they recently switched to a new flat price model that seems to have gained them much attention from Indie Developers.
Travis: Epic are amazing people. Who knew that you could easily wrap a Flash SWF into the Unreal Engine? This is truly next-generation thinking on their parts.
jdodson: Animator's Nightmare starts with a view of someone sleeping and the player can clearly hear crickets in the background. Are we experiencing a creepy telepath watching the player from outside a window and then later uses his mental abilities to invade the Animator's mind?
Travis: You know, I had the idea of all the symbolism in my mind, but I think I’ll let the player decide on this one. I don’t want to tell you how you should feel about something, or what symbolism you should see in the game. If you think you’re playing as the animator, or if you think you’re playing as a telepath, it doesn’t matter to me as long as you love the game.
jdodson: After watching Indie Game the movie I realized a couple things. First off, I am just like them in that I am a guy that loves video games. I am also strange and quirky and can talk for hours about nerd things. Since I shared so much in common with the people in that movie that later went on to become quite rich doing the things they loved I expect to achieve that level of success. Since it will happen for me any moment you must feel similarly being a creative so I wonder what your plans are for spending your first million dollars? I don’t mean to say we will stop at just making a million dollars, I bet we will make like 50 million dollars I just mean what you will do with your first million?
Travis: The first mil goes toward fixing world hunger. That should only take a million to fix, right? Then, you’re right, I’ll make 50 easily. The next 49 is all yachts, planes, and mansions. I’m in talks with ISA to customize a Granturismo already.
jdodson: With the social and cultural impact of Animator's Nightmare being so large have you considered releasing the game as Open Source?
Travis: I had no idea how huge it would be. With the next release, I’m definitely shipping the source. The next release will be transcendent, genre-defining art. I’m just worried about making it too hard for future developers to follow this up.
jdodson: So the first place where the game started becoming truly great for me is the first time I had to jump over the first static alien graphic. Something about pressing any key to jump and seeing the character fly upwards was magical. It’s as if my spirits were lifted with the key press. As you consider game design elements, how do you try to imbibe these emotional elements as a gift to the player through your art?
Travis: Look, I don’t pretend to be a master at evoking emotion. I don’t have to pretend. You’ve seen it. Not many people have been animators before, and I wanted to really make the player feel like they’re the animator, trapped in their animation software, and being attacked by their former creations. It’s terrifying, and if the player isn’t terrified, what’s the point?
jdodson: The moment in Animator's Nightmare where we all approached the dancing baby is iconic. I think it really allowed generations of gaming history to payoff in a way I haven’t experienced before. What aspects of game history influenced you here?
Travis: Ah, yes. The dancing baby. An homage to the dancing baby gif of the 90’s, and a tribute to my friend’s son. But it takes on whole new meaning when the baby is a danger, and must be jumped over. To be honest, game history didn’t influence me in this moment; I’m making *new* history.
jdodson: I’ve played Animator's Nightmare for around 36 hours and I am still not done with it! I appreciate how much time and effort went into creating a game that rivals Skyrim in terms of hours spent. How long did you target the single player campaign to take the average person to beat and what are your thoughts on other games that simply offer a couple hours of gameplay?
Travis: This is the beauty of the game, and not to spoil it for you but… the game never ends. You can only ever escape by being killed by the former animations. It’s a statement on how stress affects us all, and the inevitable end that we all must face.
jdodson: Fallout 4 was panned by many for it’s lack of graphical fidelity. The level of clarity and artistic vision demonstrated in Animator's Nightmare is truly breathtaking and seen more so when you jump over a chicken with a plain paint bucket grey background and a Microsoft Paint styled window in view. I can’t help but this this style is a statement but I wish you could elaborate more here?
Travis: Fallout 4 is terrible. Weird physics glitches, and many textures that just look jagged up close. That grey background you mention: did you see any texture issues? Of course not.
jdodson: Is there anything you want us to say before we wrap things up here?
Travis: Two things: First, why are you even reading this interview when you could be playing my game? Second, in case anyone read this far without realizing, all of this is for fun. I made a game for a class and Jon and I thought a faux interview would be funny. Any HR employee reading this considering whether to hire me, I promise I’m actually a very nice person.