Ryan Tomko on Clones

Ryan Tomko on Clones


We sat down with Ryan Tomko, co-founder of Tomkorp and half of the programming team of Clones. He told us why “Clones is to Lemmings as Unreal Tournament is to Wolfenstein”.

Hooked Gamers: With the cute characters and the colourful visuals, the game seems aimed at a younger crowd. But older gamers who were fans of Lemmings would be interested in the game. Who was the game primarily aimed at?

Ryan Tomko: We wanted to make the game as inclusive as possible. The characters and the visuals are definitely aimed at the younger crowd and we tried to stay away from anything with violent connotations. At the same time, we wanted to give older gamers who have played Lemmings before a familiar but fresh experience and we think those players will appreciate all the unique elements that Clones brings. One of our reviewers commented that he “felt like a kid again” when playing Clones. The singleplayer part of the game is more casual although very challenging in some parts, and the multiplayer can get very competitive. So there’s something for everyone.

Hooked Gamers: How important is input from the online community in developing new ideas/improvements to the game?

Ryan Tomko on Clones
Ryan Tomko: Critical. The only path to perfection is iteration. We are constantly processing feedback from our players via the forum, email, or in-game chat and using it to improve the Clones experience in every way possible. We have a few dedicated fans that really go out of their way to help provide bug reports and feature requests. Since launch we’re released 3 patches full of minor tweaks and 1 multiplayer map pack to satisfy our customers. One of the benefits of being an indie company is fast response times.

Hooked Gamers: The multiplayer game is fun to play, but at present can be sparsely populated at times. Hopefully word of mouth will fix that, but how have you been attempting to rectify this issue?

Ryan Tomko: The multiplayer is very fun. It was the driving force behind the entire game. To help bring the multiplayer community together we hold an all-day “Multiplayer Jam” every 2 weeks or so. It’s a chance to learn from a pro, school a noob, show off new levels you’ve created, and partake in some chaotic 4-8 players matches. During the most recent Jam one of the maps that was popular is a football-style map in which two groups of Light Clones run around trying to pick up a particle (i.e. the football) and carry it to their goal to win. If the particle carrier is touched by another clone then the particle transfers, like a hand off. So either everyone is chasing you if you have the particle, or you are chasing the particle carrier. It was exceptionally addicting and worked well for 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 3 configurations. The map is now available on our website as part of a free level pack so anyone can play it or open it up in the editor to see how it was made.

We would also like to hold 1 vs. 1 contests with an entry fee and cash prizes to be won. Clones is a great spectator sport, watching two pros play is very entertaining. Ultimately I’d like to see a professional multiplayer Clones league in Korea :)

Ryan Tomko on Clones
Hooked Gamers: The Level Editor in the game is fairly detailed with countless configurations possible. How similar are these tools to the ones you used to develop your own levels. And why did you feel the need to include it as part of the package?

Ryan Tomko: All of the over 150 singleplayers puzzles and over 50 multiplayer maps were built using the same editor that is included in the full game. As the player solves each puzzle it unlocks so that they can view it in the editor and learn how it was created. The editor is WYSIWYG and fully featured. We included it as part of the game because creating levels is a lot of fun, and it adds value to the game to be able to download unlimited user generated content.

Hooked Gamers: The game is currently only available via digital distribution...are there any plans to produce a boxed version of the game?

Ryan Tomko: There sure is! We’ve partnered with Lace Mamba Global, a European based game publisher, and expect retail versions to be in stores this summer. Clonetastic!

Hooked Gamers: Are there any plans to develop the game for other platforms? If so, how far down that path are you?
Have you got any other games on the horizon, or are you fully focused on Clones?

Ryan Tomko: We are considering creating a native port for Mac and Linux, but we haven’t yet officially started on this. We made changes to Clones to make it work under Wine as an interim solution.

Ryan Tomko on Clones
Clones supports a touchscreen input mode making it easy to play on touchscreen laptops or monitors. You just touch a clone to select it and then slide your finger in the direction you want to assign a command. Eventually we’d like to port Clones to the iPad or similar table device to take advantage of this input mode.

At the moment we are focused on Clones for PC. There’s still some enhancements that we want to do to the current release of Clones to improve the game experience. In the future we will probably be working on a sequel to Clones rather than starting a different game. We’ve got a lot of cool ideas for the sequel.

Hooked Gamers: Well Ryan, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. As is customary for all our interviews we’ll give you a chance to spruik your game a little...Why should our readers buy Clones and where can they find more information about the game?

Ryan Tomko: Clones has been lovingly hand crafted for years and is one of the rare indie games that provides features such as user generated content and multiplayer action. Each level offers a new challenge and it is infinitely replayable via online matches or your own custom maps. You will get every penny’s worth! For more information visit our website: www.ClonesGame.com