Day Four of EGX 2018 was a highlight for me primarily because it came with an opportunity to indulge in a title I had been following for a while. Blueprint Games vibrant 3D platformer quite literally had me at hello, appealing to my inner child and profound love for the genre. However, what moved me more than the game itself came after having a delightful conversation with Katie from Blueprint Games about her creation. The roaring passion in her words have stuck with me since and I was ever eager to share with you her words about the game. Rendered useless thanks to a throat infection, I turned to an email interview with Katie after the event to run some questions by her. Her words are as follows.
NH – Billie Bust Up is described as a “A thrilling mystery that will put a spring in your step!”. Could you outline it’s premise? What inspired it?
KN – Billie the goat dreams of adventure and exploring. She explores multiple worlds, saving others and gaining new powers, but in between each mission she notices more and more goats are disappearing from her local village. She has to figure out who is taking her friends and stop them before anymore goats are taken. Our game was inspired by Disney movies and tv shows like Steven Universe or Gravity falls.
NH – During our discussion at EGX you mentioned you had to find a balance between the game’s somewhat dark story told in a typically light-hearted genre. How have you found that balance?
KN – We’ve taken inspiration from the way Disney sets up its stories. They don’t lower the quality of the content just because it’s aimed for kids. Some movies are much darker than I remember as a child.
NH – What games have served as inspiration for Billie Bust Up?
KN – We’ve taken inspiration from all our favourite games, these include: Psychonauts, Super Mario, Sly Raccoon, Prince of Persia, Spyro, Banjo Kazooie, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango
NH – You mentioned during our discussion having some trouble getting the right look for Billie, have there been any other significant hurdles you’ve have to overcome in development?
KN – The hardest part was getting her 2D eyes to work so that Billies animations from Maya could be imported directly from Maya and work instantly in Unreal Engine 4. We came up with a system that uses bone rotations from Maya, Unreal grabs the bone rotation and changes her facial texture to fit the one from Maya. It took a while to set up but saved us a lot of time in the long run.
NH – What is the relationship between Billie & Oscar? Will it be tugging at the heartstrings of players?
KN – Oscar was found as an orphan, Billie took him in when she found him alone and scared. The other goats don’t approve of her pet as he is essentially a predator and could be dangerous once he grows up. Oscar finds himself totally dedicated to Billie for saving him and will do anything to make sure shes safe. We want to look into adding small sections in which you can interact and play with Oscar, where you can pet him, feed him treats and play with him.
NH – Tell me a little about the team behind the game? How did you come together to create this brilliant 3D platformer?
KN – James and I both went to Bournemouth University for Games Technology, we originally started Blueprint Games to make a realistic horror game, but started making Billie Bust Up as a creative break for a UE4 game jam “spring into action”. We enjoyed working on the game so much we started to focus on it entirely.
NH – What stage is the game currently in? When can we expect a release date and on what platforms?
KN – We’re currently in pre-alpha, we have a sandbox to test character movement and mechanics. It’s important to us that the characters feel fun to manoeuvre in an empty space before focusing on the levels, characters and storyline. EGX was a very positive experience, it was the first time we had people playing the game outside of our development team, we’re feeling confident so we will be moving out of pre-alpha soon!