Game Development Reference
Interview with Exploding Barrel: Give Them
What They Want—cont'd
need to know for the game or you can be working on my boat. You could
be the captain of my boat or working in my bar. So there are a lot of dif-
ferent ways you can play with that.
Q: So you're integrating friends' avatars into the game as NPCs [nonplayer
SB: Yeah. The NPCs are mostly there to provide some color and as a
reflection of how well you are doing in the game. As your bar gets better,
more people will enjoy being in your oasis, being on your beach. They'll
be out there mingling or dancing à la Beach Blanket Bingo . Some of them
will be your friends, who also fulfill a purpose.
In the game, you can have a five-piece band. If you don't have a steel
drummer yet, we drop the steel drums out of the music. I want a drum-
mer in my band or else my bar isn't operating as well as it could be; my
vibe isn't as good as it could be.
Q: You mentioned steel drumming and some minigames earlier. Can I
expect a drumming minigame here?
SB: Yes, It is a turn-based memory game. You start it by playing against
Bobby G, who is a character from Jimmy Buffett's fiction. There was a
story where they had to go into the jungle to find this guy because he
was hiding out from the authorities. We played that up a bit. He'll play a
couple notes and I'll have to play them on my drum. The sequence gets
longer and longer and it makes a song. Just like Guitar Hero , if I play a
bad note, it'll play a false note and sound off.
Q: How do minigames affect monetization?
HP: They cost energy to play. Minigames are so important to the experi-
ence, so it can feel as big and rich and fun as it is. Although there is an
energy mechanic in the minigames on iPad and Facebook, we are also
making them the core of the iPhone version, so people can just have fun
playing with them.
SB: On Top Bar, we originally didn't have an energy mechanic. We
found that people would come in and play a minigame like Beer Pong
for an average of 40 minutes! So we were giving away too much for
free. Then we turned it into a one free-play per day, and you had to