TJ Hughes, a video game designer and digital artist known under the pseudonym Terrifying Jellyfish, discussed his involvement in the visually stimulating adventure Nour: Play With Your Food.
TJ Hughes talks about Nour, his working relationships with his team, and his origin story to developers looking to break the mold in a similar work space. With his sophomore project Nour: Play with Your Food, Hughes demonstrates his desire to break the mold in a micro-labeled environment.
What prompted Nour: Play with Your Food on the PlayStation Blog?
Nour is described as "an experimental food art game that's designed to make you hungry," giving players the freedom to experiment with their food like a kid, but without any cleanup chores."
Hughes continues: “I was thinking of the best subject to emulate. I began to upload my art tests onto Twitter, where people would comment on how the images induced hunger.”
Hughes chose a physics-based game because it "allows a sandbox to be as chaotic and ridiculous" as a player wants, without the waste of food or mess.
“When faced with a physics-based game, we often have one of two objectives: arrange things as neatly as we can, or make as much of a mess as we can!”
The Nour team is a family-run business.
What do you do when you lead your organization?
Hughes adds that having a team that shares many of the same interests and fascinations makes communication and communication so straightforward. A lot of us are friends before coworkers, which fosters an environment in which even the most modest ideas are considered.
Origins and inspiration
What is your first impression of video game addiction?
Hughes replies that "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is probably my most early gaming memory, since I was a younger brother. Tails had infinite lives, which was fantastic because I wasn't good at video games as a kid. We'd spend hours tweaking games until it crashed due to how many objects we'd spawned."
Hughes would tell anyone who would listen that he wanted to be a game designer. Thankfully, he didn't have to travel far from home to find inspiration or support. "What I do is a true hybrid between my parents' interests," Hughes says.
"They were both supportive of what I wanted to do, which was incredible for me to boost my confidence," he adds.
Carol Mertz, Ben Valenti, and Dana Valenti of Rampant Interactive give him their first gaming gig and introduced him to the game.
“It’s amazing to work on Nour with Joe Paniello,” says the author.
Keep it simple and don't tell game developers your work.
Hughes encountered a snag with his first game Feesh, because he didn't understand how to use it effectively. He thought his arcade game needed multiplayer, but after further investigation, realized he simply did not have the skill or experience to implement it.
"I told myself,'it's my art,'" says the game. He chose to launch it at a reasonable price because he didn't anticipate any return on it. "Even though it was nothing fancy, the heart of the game shined through and it was well received."
When game designers read this, he draws on two fundamental findings from that experience to form the basis of his advice: Share what you're working on and keep it simple.
"Have deep conversations about [your projects] with people you trust!" Hughes adds, "A game is a continuous communication between you and the player; watching how your players react is crucial to that."
"Game development can be a lot of work, and you may find yourself carrying a lot of work." "Be patient, and don't be afraid to keep things simple."
Hughes says Panic Inc has been instrumental in making this unique project a reality. "This is the biggest project of my life and having such a trustworthy publisher backing it makes me so excited to demonstrate the finished product to everyone."
What makes a game a "TJ Hughes" game, whether it's Nour or a commercial project?
"You'll notice a tiny visual detail that you've forgotten about," he adds. "I'm inspired by games like Mirror's Edge that play with light in a unique way to achieve a certain fidelity, one that is heavily inspired by realism, but pushes the boundary on just one or two areas to create a whole new aesthetic."
What does the future hold?
Hughes: "I want to create more games/projects that involve people in situations and makes excuses to bring them together in person." "To me, there aren't enough places to just hang out without having to spend money," says the author.