Porrasturvat? Rekkaturvat? What the hell is he talking about? Don't fret, the two freeware games I'm referring to are also known as Stair Dismount and Truck Dismount respectively. Now that probably sounds more familiar. The main goal: push a ragdoll down the stairs (Porrasturvat) or create a truck accident with it (Rekkaturvat). A high damage score is what you're trying to achieve in either case. Sounds simple, but before you know it you'll have spent more time on the games than you really feel you should have. If it wasn't for the fact that you can run in window mode it would certainly be that kind of software that needs a boss key.
I recently sent some questions over to Jetro Lauha, creator of the games. Read on if you want to know more about his inspiration, development time, feedback and potential sequels among other things.Q: How/where did you get the idea for Porrasturvat?
Jetro Lauha: It's almost based on a real life situation. During one regular workday at my workplace (http://www.fathammer.com) I had just left for lunch with my colleagues. While going downstairs I almost fell down, barely getting a grip from handrail. Somehow this popped up the idea of making a game out of falling on stairs. The Assembly'2002 demo party was coming soon and it were to have a game development competition category for the first time. So I had already thought up of a few original game ideas since I was thinking about participating in the competition. Porrasturvat came out to top of the list as a nice and original idea to start working with.
Q: How long did you work on each game?
JL: I used roughly only about 1,5 weeks per game for actual developing them. The games are mostly made during summer vacation time so I could work long hours each day pushed by inspiration to get the thing done. Quite a significant part of making the first one was playing around with the ODE physics engine as I hadn't used it before.
Q: What are your personal highscores in Stair/Truck Dismount?
JL: I have reset my high score table quite often for testing purposes and because of changes in the physics setup. So I actually haven't really kept track of my high scores. But I guess my personal top scores are less than the best ones got by enthusiastic players.
Q: Are there any rough estimations on how many people are playing the game and submitting scores?
JL: I was surprised about how quickly Porrasturvat got spread around the world. It seemed to pop up in forums and websites here and there and eventually it got mentioned even in some high profile web sites like Slashdot. Average score submits per day is around 900 so far. Number of downloads is higher and I believe size of total audience may be even bigger than amount of downloads, as many people probably show the game to a few friends after downloading it.
Q: Have you ever received or perceived serious complaints about the 'violent' nature of the content featured in the games? Or claims that they might even induce such a behaviour?
JL: I have got loads of positive feedback and very little negative feedback, which hasn't even had much reasoning or other constructive points. My main intention was not to create violent games. The point is about taking advantage of physics simulation making a small game fun to play with them. Putting a ragdoll in some environment just seems to get most of people have a few good laughs. I have intentionally left the graphics quite limited and not very lifelike by weighting other things to be more important than making the graphics better and more realistic.
Q: Have you played any of the Porrasturvat clones mod developers are trying to create based on games such as Unreal Tournament 2003?
JL: No, but I would love to see any clones people are making.
Q: People who like the games obviously want to know if you are going to work on another one. If so, do you already have an idea or inspiration of what it will be about?
JL: I'm not short of ideas, and I have got loads more from the feedback people have sent me. Time limits me from working much with hobby projects like these, so I really can't say when or if there will be a new sequel. But I hope some day I'll be able to put up a new one which would hopefully have a bit more customization possibilities. I also have a few other game ideas I'd like to work on. If I would have been less busy before starting to work on Truck Dismount I would have done totally different game instead of a sequel, but since I wanted to participate in the Assembly'2003 game development competition again I had to build up on the same codebase to get something done quickly before the competition deadline.
Q: You're part of a crew of people who are also creating demos. Why is the demo scene in Scandinavia, especially Finland, stronger than in other regions?
JL: One legend says that because the winter is quite long and dark in Finland, the Finnish coders don't have anything other to do than to sit at home and code demos. If that isn't true then I don't know what are the real reasons. :-)
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer the questions!
If you want to download the games, donate some money or see more information and online highscores, head over to the official Porrasturvat/Rekkaturvat homepage.