Interview #005: Zac Pierce - Lead Developer for BOMBFEST
Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Are you ready for an intense game that is best described as sumo with explosives?! Then get ready to learn about BOMBFEST by Zac Pierce. At the time of this interview, there is only ~1 week left of the #Kickstarter campaign. So if you haven't backed it yet, what are you waiting for?
I even provided the link for you here.
Thank you Zac for speaking with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Zac Pierce and I'm the lead developer of BOMBFEST. I graduated from the University of Akron in 2015 with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Entrepreneurship. What was the first console/game you remember playing?
I remember growing up with an SNES and playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I used to play on my father's 100% save in the Dark World, wondering what the point of the game was. What is your fondest childhood video game memory?
I remember playing Halo: Custom Edition during LAN parties with my friends! We would drive around the big island stage hunting each other.
Zac, was working in the video game industry a goal you've always had?
I've always wanted to make games, ever since I was a child! I've been making games since grade school, whether on paper or in editors like StarCraft's world editor or Team Fortess 2's Hammer. Let's get personal! Before we talk about your latest project, BOMBFEST, I wanted to touch upon your background a bit more. I see that you speak at universities and schools in your area about your experience as well as provide Unity support. Was teaching and inspiring always a passion for you?
I've always found joy in facilitating others to reach their full potential. I'm inspired by the incredible things others can accomplish, and I want to do what I can to help more people succeed! Teaching is one way to do that and working with colleges is another. I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had so far in my career. One of your goals is to become a full-time game development teacher. Are you currently working towards this?
Not currently, with BOMBFEST in full swing. Once it's released next year, we'll see what my opportunities look like! Outside of the gaming industry, you're also a musician, singer, and an amateur ballroom dancer! Tell us more! Well, I took something like 10 credit hours of ballroom dance in college, so I've definitely invested plenty of time in that. I go to dances at least once a month and I enjoy instructing for my friends and family. Also, I play some guitar and I enjoy singing.
Back in 2015, you began work on the game Well Wishes and while ultimately too large in scope to complete, a demo is available to play. You've mentioned this became a precursor for BOMBFEST, but for those not familiar with Well Wishes, what is this game about?
Well Wishes was a co-operative action adventure for up to 4 players! It was heavily inspired by Four Swords Adventures, a spin-off game in the Legend of Zelda series. In Well Wishes, players were tasked with defeating enemies, collecting gold, and depositing it in a wishing well. The original concept didn't get to far, but it's still a fun game to play with friends!
During, and since, your time with Well Wishes, what did you learn that helped you prepare for BOMBFEST?
Well Wishes helped me solidify my experience I learned in my first year as a full-time, professional game developer. That, and it laid the groundwork for BOMBFEST's physics engine and general style. With BOMBFEST, I believe you described it best when you said it's like sumo with explosives! Currently, a Kickstarter campaign is underway. Personally, I fell in love with the concept immediately after watching the trailer and couldn't backed it fast enough . A frantic, physics-based multiplayer game that sees you control a toy-like character in fun settings (e.g., sink, dining room, garden, etc.) to knock your opponents off the stage...with bombs!. How did you come up with this concept?
I'm always quick to say BOMBFEST was inspired by Kindergarten. My friend would build a tower of blocks, I would knock it over, and then I would lose a friend! Now, I can ask the computer to build all the block towers I want and I can topple them without fear of offending anyone! The bombs were heavily inspired by Well Wishes, and everything else fell into place.
What is it about BOMBFEST that those who have yet to back should know about?It's accessible fun you can pick up in seconds. If you've got a party, we've got the perfect party game for you. In the event that your Kickstarter goal is not met, will we still see BOMBFEST arrive on PC and consoles? Of course! The Kickstarter is to help offset costs that I would be taking on personally. If the Kickstarter fails, I plan on taking out a few loans and finishing the thing by early next year for all major consoles.
With BOMBFEST, would you like to quickly give a shout out to the members of your team?
Marisa Hike is our 3D artist and her stunning environments bring the game to life in ways I couldn't dream of. Since BOMBFEST is scheduled to release on all major consoles and PC, I'd like to focus on Nintendo for just a moment. What your thoughts are on Nintendo's newest console?
There has been no better console than the Switch and Nintendo will struggle to create something better. Do you play the Switch more in docked or handheld mode?
I play 50/50! For Splatoon, I play docked for most weapons, but I have to play handheld for sniping and fine movement. Tilt controls are the future, folks. If you have to pick one game, past or present, from any console, which game would you like to see on the Switch?
Kirby Air Ride. Besides your own, what game(s) are you currently playing and looking forward to?
I'm playing through Enter the Gungeon these days on Twitch and I fight for my Platinum rank in competitive Overwatch! Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share today?
I hope readers enjoy the game! Thank you for having me.
Follow Zac Pierce and BOMBFEST