Written by Cynella; PSHG Founder
Codeglue is a Dutch company that has been bringing the PlayStation Home community great virtual items over the past few years. Some of their most recognizable items include the exclusive G.I.J.O.E, Transformer and Star Trek items that were only available in the EU. They are also the developers that brought us the infamous Scre4m movie outfit.
I recently interviewed Peter de Jong, CEO & Co-founder of Codeglue.
PSHG: As one of Home’s leading developers, how long has Codeglue been in business?
Peter de Jong: As a company Codeglue has been in business since 2000. We started out developing games for mobile phones, but nowadays our activities are much more widespread. We have been developing for PlayStation Home since 2009 and around the end of 2010 we also became a publisher on the platform, so from that moment on we have been creating our own items and games as well.
PSHG: In addition to PS Home, you make games for the XBOX, Wii and other handheld devices. How different is it to create games and items on the different platforms?
Peter: Of course each platform comes with its own challenges and its own APIs, with PlayStation Home being no exception. But after you have overcome these challenges, developing games is basically the same on every other platform. Of course nowadays there are a lot of ways games are being controlled, think of touch screens, game controllers, keyboards, etc. That is an important thing to keep in mind when you design your games. Not every game will work well on every platform.
PSHG: Currently, you are finalizing the development of a new PSN game, ibb & obb, a cooperative game for two. What inspired you to create this cute puzzle game?
Peter: ibb & obb isn’t actually a game Codeglue designed. It’s a game by Richard Boeser from another Rotterdam based studio called Sparpweed. Codeglue takes care of code, animation and some modeling and Sparpweed focuses on design and communication. I know ibb & obb is Richard’s Master’s Thesis project in innovative game design and that the names of the characters originate from a novel called The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde. So if you really want to know more maybe you should interview him as well.
PSHG: When can we expect to be able to pick us up a copy from the PSN store?
Peter: We are planning to release ibb & obb in the first half of 2013. At the moment we are implementing the online multiplayer mode, which is sort of the last thing we need to do before the game is ready. You can follow everything about the development on the ibb & obb Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ibbandobb .
PSHG: How long does it take to create an item for Home?
Peter: That varies of course. Simple static furniture can be created in a few days. Clothing and hair can be a bit more tricky because of their organic character, which is harder to model. And spaces and games can take up to months to develop.
PSHG: Last year you had a dancing skull companion available only at the E3 space in Home, did Sony contact you about creating an exclusive item, or was it your idea?
Peter: The dancing skulls were our own idea. Sony contacted us and told us they were doing an E3 promotion and if we had items ready they could be included. The development of the skulls and the Mayan outfits was well under way at that moment, so they were a perfect candidate to be used for this promotion.
PSHG: What was the inspiration for the 2012 Mayan outfits and their unique dances?
Peter: Well, we heard the world was going to end on December 21, 2012, so we decided to do something with that. We thought it would be cool to have Mayan outfits and maybe have a party in Home on that date.
PSHG: Your website hints at a new mini game for Home. “We are currently working on a mini-game for your apartment. Expect to turn your apartment into a hectic gameworld!” Can you give us a hint as to when this will be available and what genre will it fall under?
Peter: I am not going to say too much on this game yet. You basically can use the furniture in your apartment to create a level for the game. The game is a bit freeform, so you have to set some rules yourself, but we’ve had great fun with it ourselves so far. We hope to release this game in the next couple of months.
PSHG: Early on in Home you released several licensed items in the EU, the rumors of those releases led to the mass migration of NA users to the EU to get their free items. Is the licensing for those products easier to obtain in Europe versus North America, or in other regions?
Peter: Actually we didn’t release those items ourselves, the PPC did. The PPC is an international creative production agency and they had some great clients they worked with for PlayStation Home. We just had the luck we could create these items for them.
PSHG: Is there any possibility to get any Transformer swag released in the NA, our co-founder is a huge fan?
Peter: We’d love to create some cool Transformer stuff of course, but we don’t have the license to do so!
PSHG: What is the biggest challenge publishing in more than one region?
Peter: Apart from the localization of your content and the increase in project management hours (you are dealing with 4 different teams), the biggest challenge is probably the cultural difference between the various regions. Items that do well in Western markets, don’t necessarily do well in Asian markets. And vise versa of course. So for us, it is a bit of a gamble what will work in Asian markets. But by doing, we keep learning.
PSHG: The U Love Green fashion line met with great success. Are there any plans on expanding on this line in the near-future?
Peter: Yes, we have plans to release more U Love Green clothing for PlayStation Home. The first collection was very successful and we have a new collection planned very soon. And we are already working with U Love Green on what the next steps will be for 2013. So expect many more releases from our collaboration with them!
PSHG: Do you use Home outside of development and promotions?
Peter: Personally you mean? Too little, I would say. From time to time I login and check on all the new stuff for inspiration. And if I am asked to join to do an interview or join a party, I always try to be there, but other than that I can’t be considered a heavy user.
PSHG: With all the new games on the horizon, what would you like to see implemented in Home?
Peter: I’d love to see more games that give the player the tools to create their own custom experience. You see that more and more within Home (like Home Tycoon and Blueprint) and I think that is a good thing. I’d also like to see more indie games come to Home, maybe in the form of arcade cabinets.
PSHG: What can we expect from Codeglue in the future?
Peter: Like said, in the upcoming months we will release a new clothing line with U Love Green and we will release our new mini-game. After that we have some locomotives and costumes that we are going to release. And finally we have a cool apartment/clubhouse in development. So we will be busy the next couple of months, so keep an eye on our Facebook page!
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions. I can’t wait to get my hands on ibb & obb, I have always been fascinated by puzzle games and this looks like a game that I can truly enjoy. Also, I look forward to playing your new mini-game, being able to create our own level sounds very exciting and it will be interesting to see the creations that people can come up with. I wish you much sucess in the new year and keep up the good work.