Interview with Hevipelle - creator of Antimatter Dimensions
We sat down for an exclusive interview with Hevipelle - creator of well known game Antimatter dimensions. Gain unique insights into his creative process and the road to crafting a great game.
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12 months ago
3 min read
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Hello Hevipelle! Very excited to have your for our 2nd interview piece with indie incremental game developers. Your game, Antimatter Dimensions, is a cornerstone of the genre and has inspired countless others to dive into developing in the genre - so I’m really excited to talk to you about your game and your development process! Some foreword - our primary goal with these interviews is to promote indie developers and their games, as well as provide their fans with some insight into their development processes as well as maybe even get to know the creators a little better. Thank you for taking the time to join us!
Yeah no problem! Thanks for having me!
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Great. How about we start with a bit of background. Where are you from?
I'm from Finland, there might be some references in AD to that
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I see. So presumably, English is a 2nd language for you?
Yup, you can sometimes see it in my English grammar
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Sure. You would never know from how well the game is translated, though! Lets talk a bit about your background. Is Antimatter Dimensions the first game you have worked on?
On that I can add that there are native speakers also working on the game who have pretty much purged all the grammar issues Yeah I'd say it's the first one, I started building something akin to AD with Scala at first, but that transitioned to Javascript and eventually AD.
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I see. Do you have a background in programming? As in, do you have more of a formal education, or are you self-taught?
I study Computer Science, so that's my background, they taught Scala in our university, that's why the initial thing was in that language. I've done all the courses in my Master's, only thing left is the thesis. I did learn Javascript myself though, outside courses.
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Cool. Do you plan to use those skills & degree to persue game development full-time? Or is there some other kind of software / hardware development that you have your eye on?
I've been working as a full-stack engineer for the past 5 or so years. I do have minor in Game Design, but I will probably leave game development as a hobby. I feel like if I would do it full time, I would lose the enjoyment of it.
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Thats understandable. There seems to be a pretty high burnout rate - even among some indie projects. You mentioned AD is programmed primarily in Javascript - is JS your language of choice?
Nowadays I'd say TS (Typescript) would be my choice, but it would be too big of an undertaking to translate AD to use TS for it to be worth it. AD also uses Vue.js nowadays.
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That seems to be a pretty common mantra these days. Typescript has really gotten quite popular. I was going to ask frameworks - but you've just answered that with Vue. It seems Vue gets a lot of love these days. Were you not using it initially? Did AD start in pure JS?
AD was basically my 'Learn JS/CSS/HTML' -project, so it started as completely vanilla JS, and the original code was so horrible that I'd probably crawl in some hole in shame if I were to look it nowadays.
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Pretty amazing that your 'learn JS' projects actually morphed into AD. All of mine ended up a completely broken, abandoned mess haha. You know, I actually used your Youtube tutorials as one of the resources that I personally used to get started with Vue. Do you have any plans to update that series? ('So you want to make an incremental...')
Well to be frank, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I'm not all that satisfied with the code that I taught in that series, so I'd prefer starting a new redux series, which could even use something like Svelte, but I don't have plans for that currently.
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Svelte is somewhat underrepresented in the incremental genre - so that could be cool. Just to put a button in the environment questions - do you have a favorite IDE that you use?
I use VSCode for everything programming related.
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Indeed. VSCode tends to dominate! How about this - do you have a VSCode extension or two that you wouldn't want to work on a project like AD without?
Hmm good question, I'd say that I really like clean code, so Eslint for code quality, and lately on work I've been configuring it with Prettier to automatically format on save, which is really nice. But they don't work straight out of the box, they need some configuring. Oh and github copilot, that's a godsend for any developer.
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Yeah I actually just bit the bullet and paid the $10. It is quite nice. Lets switch gears and learn a little more about you. Do you have any hobbies outside of game development?
I do bouldering, which is basically rock climbing without ropes on somewhat less tall walls. I mainly do it in climbing gyms, not outside. I also really enjoy watching movies.
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Oh nice! Me too! Well, more rope climbing, but also in gyms. Very cool! Have a favorite movie or favorite movie genre?
Nowadays I'd say my favorite movie is a tie between Oldboy (Korean version, the US version never happened), and Everything Everywhere All At Once. I watch all kinds of movies, but I'd say I really enjoy dystopian sci-fi and mystery, if I'd have to say something that I like. What grade do you climb by the way?
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I don't know that the grading would be universal between here and there, but most lately I've been around a 5.10 and able to do some 5.11s. And you?
Yeah there's tons of grading systems, luckily there's charts for those. I'm climbing 7A's, have done a single 7B (5.11d and 5.12b apparently for USA grading)
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Oh wow - impressive. That takes some dedication. I have to assume readers won't be as interested in rock climbing as we are haha - so lets pivot back to AD. What gave you the inspiration for AD?
I've been playing incremental games for a long time, and I just wanted to make a game that I myself would like to play. I really liked the polynomial growth that appeared in Derivative Clicker, and wanted to take that for my own game. Later on I got inspiration from other games. I took the multiple layers of prestige -aspect from Realm Grinder, automation from Transport Defender and challenges were inspired by Idle Wizard. I guess I took most of those aspects further than in their original games though.
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That seems to be the key. Everyone I've spoken to so far has said that one key line - 'a game that I myself would like to play.' Are those games listed your favorites, way back when AD was just a thought? Any other incrementals you really enjoyed that you'd like to give a shoutout to?
I've never really had a favorite game, those are all games that I've enjoyed though. Lately I've been enjoying Fundamental, it's a really slow phased idle game, which is a bit outside the trend of fast phased idle games that exists nowadays.
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Theres an ongoing almost civil war in the incremental community between 'needs more idle' and 'needs more active' haha. Did you have an idea of what you wanted AD to be going in? Or was it something that evolved over time?
It basically just evolved over time, never had any great end plans outside 'haha numbers go brrr'
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Fair enough! The news ticker was a stroke of genius. Was that all you, initially, or was that always community driven in one way or another?
I think it has been a community thing from the get-go, lots of in jokes and anti-puns. There was a channel for a while with suggestions for it, but it became too used to be able to curate. In other words, too many suggestions to go through
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Sure. A lot of the mechanics in these types of games can be math-heavy. Is math something you're interested in generally? Or just a necessary evil?
I have kind of a love-hate relationship with math, I really disliked it in university, but I do like coming up with formulas for upgrades and all that kinds of stuff. Luckily there's people that know math much better than me in AD's server.
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I certainly hear that. Lets talk content - and recent content. After a full 5 hour wait, Reality has released and has been out for quite a while now. How are you feeling about the initial reception of the update?
From what I've heard, people do really enjoy it which is a huge relief for me
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Yeah - all jokes aside it was a long time coming, the pressure must have been high.
Yeah, if I had a penny for every time someone asked me when the update is coming out, I could probably big crunch already.
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Haha. What part of the game do you think turned out best? Or, what part of the game are you most proud of? I thought the entire TT Tree was particularly inspired, personally.
I think the entire Reality part turned out really well, with plenty of choices to make and variance between player experiences. I also like how the the last Celestial turned out.
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Looking forward to it. I'm actually only on the 3rd row of Reality Upgrades myself atm haha. Is there anything you aren't happy with? Anything you'd change if you could go back?
The very start of the game isn't the best in terms of player choice, it's just 'click the green button' -simulator. But in a way it's necessary for what comes after that. I'm also not all that happy with Time Dilation, especially just prior to first reality. That part was sped up quite a bit with the update.
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Yeah, I can see that. It just sort of tapers off if you don't have reality yet (like on Android.) Was any part of the game particularly challenging to create, from a development standpoint?
Well I did the last celestial like 4 times, the first three times I wasn't happy with the outcome so I started over. That was kind of a pain. Also at some parts there has been difficulties balancing the game properly, and there's also been performance issues which needed to be addressed.
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Sure. Especially I mobile, seems like these games can tend to set batteries on fire. I remember hearing at one point that Reality is going to be the last content update. Is that still the case?
Yes, the game has a definitive end now. I wanted that because I don't want to force content that would end up being like time dilation. Also having the game have an ending is kind of a closure for me that I can move on to new projects.
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That is very satisfying, after playing an incremental that spanned such a long period of time. Do you have any current plans for a future project that you'd be willing to share?
I have made quite a few prototypes, but I think the one I'd most want to complete is a space exploration type incremental game.
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That sounds interesting. Care to expand - or share where fans can keep an eye out for more information on this as it develops?
I don't want to share too much, as I have no idea how long it will take, or even if it will ever come out. It really depends on what future brings and how much motivation I have. But I can say that I've had the idea for this game for like 5 years now I think.
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Very cool. We will instead, then, just direct all fans to your discord to ask 'space game when?'' every 2 or 3 hours. (Kidding! Obviously, I hope!) I understand that AD started as a solo project, but has since developed more into a team effort. How many people would you say were working on the game at the end?
I counted 26 non-testers in the credits including me, so quite a few! Not everybody worked simultaneously though, so I'd say in the very end prior to release it was 5-10ish?
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That really is an incredible thing - to see a game develop from a one-man passion project into a team of developers delivering a finished, polished project. You know I have to ask - can you share any info on when fans can expect to see Reality on mobile, or share any update?
I really don't know, Kajfik is the one who's working on it, but he doesn't really know either. There is constant progress though, the reality update is/was a huge one.
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Fair enough! I have two questions from our users on Incrementaldb.com's discord. The first was - Since the game has been updated for so many years, did you and your team have any financial incentive to continue working on the game? Or was it purely a passion project, for the sake of making a great game?
Well the game has in-app-purchases, but the purpose of it has always been to make a good game, not to make money.
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The second question was - why you decided to do one giant update with the celestials, rather than separating them and having more frequent content updates?
We actually contemplated on the idea of separating the update to reality and celestial, but at that point the celestial code was so intertwined with the rest that it would have been too much effort to remove them, and then add them back again later. The idea was always to make one last content update, but it kinda grew quite large on the making.
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Interesting. Alright, so wrapping up with a final few thoughts - Do you have any advice for developers working on their first incremental game, hoping to one day find the success that you've had with AD?
Think of what kind of game you'd like to play and build it! Also try making something unique.
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Awesome. Where can fans of AD and Hevipelle generally look to keep tabs on future projects you may decide to work on?
I used to post everything in the /r/incremental_games subreddit, but because the future of that is somewhat uncertain, it will probably be on the AD & the r/incremental_games discord.
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Alright! and before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share about AD, yourself, game development, incrementalDB.com, shoutouts, etc.. ?
I'd say keep making more incremental games, I'm running out of games to play!
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Haha, very much agreed there! From IncrementalDB.com, myself, and the fans, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Hopefully all of the readers will have learned something and gotten to know Hevipelle the developer a little better. Personally, I'm going to go back to working on my Cel1 unlock
Yeah no problem, it was a nice chat!
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