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Interview with Blue Shield Alliance Designer Nicholas Puleo

Posted on September 5, 2012 AT 06:51am

Some games have co-operative play tacked on to fulfill a bullet point–others are built from the ground up to host a co-operative experience. SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance, a twin stick shooter with a co-op bent, has released on Xbox Live Indie Games and now makes its debut on Desura, offering co-op play as well as survival modes and story modes. I sat down with the man behind Brain Shape Games, Nicholas Puleo, and discussed his recent release.

Rich McGonigle (DigitalNoob): You recently launched your own game, Blue Shield Alliance, on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Indie Game service. How long did that take you, from the conception of the idea to the final, finished product?
Nicholas Puleo (Brain Shape Games): Well it was conceptualized a long time ago actually, it wasn’t only until October of last year before we started actually developing it.
Rich McGonigle: Was there a particular reason you chose Xbox Live Indie Games as your platform?
Nicholas Puleo: well we chose XNA as our method of development because it offers a really flexible API for game dev.  With XNA you can develop for both PC and XBLIG simulteanously with little changes to your code.

Rich McGonigle: Did you set out from the beginning wanting to make a co-op focused game?
Nicholas Puleo: Absolutely.  After all, I run a co-op video game website!
Rich McGonigle: Before you started work on Blue Shield Alliance, did you have any experience programming?
Nicholas Puleo: I’ve been a hobbyist programmer since I was 12 or 13.  I do web development professionally (though that’s not really programming) – I’ve been coding with Dave (the co-coder on the project) for a long time though and we’ve made several games together, just nothing we’ve released to the public.
Rich McGonigle: Was implementing co-operative play tougher or easier than you had planned?
Nicholas Puleo: Implementing it was easy, playtesting and balancing for it was fairly difficult. So I guess in retrospect, it was a bit easier than I thought in the short term, but harder in the long term.

Rich McGonigle: Whether it’s the finished product, or a certain aspect of the game, which part of BSA are you most proud of?
Nicholas Puleo: The fact that it’s a real videogame that people can actually play still blows my mind.
Rich McGonigle: After a almost an entire year of developing the game, in retrospect, what advice would you give an indie developer programming for XBLIG?
Nicholas Puleo: Keep your options open, despite the potential for a large market, the reality of the situation isn’t always what it appears.
Rich McGonigle: About how many hours have you playtested the game, and is it still fun to you?
Nicholas Puleo: oh god, probably hundreds of hours.  We had several co-op play sessions as well where I just sat back and watched.  But the game is definitely fun, and the best part is, when I play it if I see something that annoys me – I can change it!

Nicholas Puleo can be reached on Twitter, and runs Co-Optimus.com. SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance can be purchased from Desura, and is looking to get onto Project Greenlight on Steam.

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