Name: Dan Norris
Lives: London, UK
Profession: French Polisher by day, independent games developer and super dad by night!
Show your age…what was the first game you ever played? Horace Goes Skiing on the ZX Spectrum. I’d never used a computer before and I thought it was the best thing ever!
Best game of all time? Growing up in the Amiga days there were so many amazing games. I loved Populous, Mega Lo Mania, Sensible Soccer and the Secret Of Monkey Island Series. I got hooked on Rainbow Islands age 9 in the days before you could save games, and I can remember crying as I’d got to the end of level Badie and failed, yet again! It took hours to get there! In recent years one of my favourites has been Bastion. The number of innovations in a genre that had been done lots of time was amazing. They put some genuinely brilliant ideas in that game.
Most likely to be found playing..? I went through a huge phase of playing Hearthstone. Due to time now I tend to play quick games like Crossy Road and Angry Birds. I loved Laura Croft too, great puzzle game.
When did you first start programming? I wrote my first ever program on an Amstrad PCW9512 at the age of 9, and was hooked immediately. I loved that I could get the computer to do something I wanted it to do. I got the computer to tell the user their name and favourite colour and thought that was amazing!
Where did the idea for Sleepy Mouse come from? It actually started out as a completely different game…but that game didn’t work as I originally had 3 discs to work through each stage, but it became too complicated on mobile. I took aspects of the original game and changed it to be more aligned to the big mobile games of the time and changed the discs to cheese!
How long did Sleepy Mouse take to build? It’ll be close to 2 years by the time of completion but I had big gaps in its development as we had a baby (which takes up a little bit of time)…and running a French Polishing company full-time.
What were the main problems you faced when building Sleepy Mouse and how did you overcome these? The hardest thing, and thing I thought would be easy, was developing fun, creative yet challenging levels. It definitely gives me a better appreciation of what goes into the big puzzle games! It was also hard to stay motivated – when you’re developing on your own the progress isn’t very quick. I gave myself a break to focus on family life and when I came back to it I could look at it objectively and see that it was a good game. I also started using a bit of source control software which meant I could force myself to do one commit a day to ensure I was progressing.
What format will Sleepy Mouse launch in? iOS app.
When will Sleepy Mouse launch? 9th August 2016.
What’s next for Start Get Ready? If Sleepy Mouse proves to be popular I’ve got lots of ideas for new obstacles and levels, and will also convert to Android. I’ve lots of other ideas for new games too so you’ll need to watch this space!
Read my full game developer story here: madewithunity.com/frenchpolisher-to-game-developer