Positivity in Gaming – Alexander Conferno

In a change of pace for the series of interviews I've been conducting over the last couple of months, I've decided to bring similar topics to a wider range of gamers including developers, writers, streamers and more. In my latest interview I speak to game developer, Alexander Conferno, creator of a peculiar looking music game that recently caught my eye on Twitter!

Mike: What first enticed you to game development? Has this been a lifelong goal or was there a particular trigger or spark that made you take it seriously?

Conferno: “Hello Mike, hello to everyone! Making games was my childhood dream. I have spent many time playing video games, so it was a lifelong goal, to became a developer. A two years ago, I has left a cool big company, gone to a little town, where I can cheap live, and has started my game Frakktus. Now It is a second my game, which most part of I am doing as solo, but the last time my friend start to help me with some graphics.”

Mike: Developing solo comes with complete freedom of creativity, though equally requires you to solve every problem on your own. What motivates you to keep going?

Conferno: “Oh, to be honest, it is very hard. But it is very interesting process! As a designer and motion designer, I love to create my own designs and style, where I can experiment, combine ideas by myself. Sometimes my girlfriend can help me with some decisions, but most issues I am solve alone. I love mobile games, so I am playing in most popular games, then look and analyse how these developers solve their own issues, as mine.”

Frakktus (3)

Mike: Have you found the gaming community to be supportive through the development cycle to date?

Conferno: “Hell no, my game not so popular(hope only for this moment). I have my own Frakktus page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and VK, but I think it’s not enough. I am do not doing any target ads, before the release date. People are not too willing to subscribe to me, put likes or make reposts. But instagram activity is certainly better, but it is still not sufficient. Perhaps this is because I do not often release new posts, due to lack of time. At the moment, besides development, I sometimes study places where you can get more promotion and feedback for free. Some times I think that it will be a good idea to make streams with development process on the Twitch. Or make a Patreon, maybe.”

Mike:  In my mind, gaming has a lot to offer society, be that socially, for unique family interactivity or, for some of us, mental health issues. Have you any personal experience of using games as a positive influence?

Conferno: “Yes of course. I believe that the games are very well suited for psychotherapy. For example, I am suffered from chronic depression since childhood. And the games all my life helped me to deal with stress. People often live in a familiar environment, and often do not even notice how much this environment affects them. Over time, people become accustomed to the colors around them, because of which they can become very closed in themselves. Colors play a very important role in psychology, so in my games I make it necessary to play with moods by color palettes in order to shake a player, pull him out of his bubble. It’s like a color therapy.

All my life I live in a place where gray colors prevail, cloudy weather, dirt and the frequent absence of the sun. I see how this adversely affects people and their psyche. People become withdrawn and aggressive. And I would like to help them overcome their ailment. Frakktus is made specifically so that the game can always change its colors, affecting the player, and synth music can ease according to their mood. I believe that someone will not only like my game, but will also be able to overcome their internal ailment with it. At least a little bit, I hope so.”

Mike: What’s your biggest inspiration for Frakktus and how does it differ from your previous game, Purfekkt Universe?

Conferno: “In fact, they are completely different games, but in both I try to maintain my own style. The first is the brightness and colorness of the game. The second is the music. In present time, many developers pay very little attention to music and sounds, forcing players to play in silence or turn on their music, I think this is fundamentally not the right approach. So the whole atmosphere and style of the game is just losts. Judging about the genre, then Frakktus is also an arcade, more addictive. But Purfekkt Universe has a fairly short playing time, and Frakktus is sharpened for a longer game time and a kind of immersive.”

Frakktus (1)

Mike: You describe Frakktus as an ‘immersive abstract arcade game’. What gameplay elements are involved in Frakktus?

Conferno: “The gameplay is quite simple. There is a player, he is a probe of our consciousness. There is a Frakktus – a certain mandala in the center, which is generated from special elements. I call them mind blocks. They block the central core – our wisdom, enlightenment. Our goal is to get rid of the blocks, reach the core, without dying ourselves. The farther away – the more difficult and dangerous the mind blocks of Frakktus. Also, the player will be able to unlock all the new and new blocks that will have unique types of attack. So the game is becoming more diverse, and its gameplay is inherently endless.”

Frakktus (4)

Mike: What’s your personal approach to game design? Do you plan ahead, largely sticking to a roadmap or do you work with some initial ideas and let it flow from there?

Conferno: “Since only I am fully engaged in the game, I can draw design freely. But I try to stick to my particular style. There is a certain graphic style that I really like. It is not very common, but met in a couple of games of recent years, such as Hyper Light Drifter, Songbringer and Hyperforma (I was very inspired by them). Then I decided to mix it with Spiritual Art, adding some of my own styles. It turned out as something like Electro-technological art with elements of spiritualism. I redrawn just the menu about 3 times, and came to this style slowly. While the screenshots are not particularly show other interfaces, but the full design can be enjoyed after the release. I try to make this game not so much a game, but also as an art. Also, it will have a special Chill mode, to enjoy the music with cool visuals.”

Mike: Have you any plans to expand into console releases or do you feel touch controls are a must for the experience?

Conferno: “Yes, there are such thoughts. First of all, I focus on the mobile market: iOS and Android. Perhaps AppleTV and Nintendo Switch. The game is already perfectly optimized for PC and gamepad, but in order to release it to Steam or Discord, I will need to consider alternative internal monetization or completely abandon it. But I, of course, would like to release it for the PC. The console market has not yet been studied by me, but if I can get a good amount on mobile revenues, then maybe I will release it on the console for sure.”

Frakktus (2)

Mike: Here’s a tough one for you; Pick one, Rez or Tetris Effect?

Conferno: “I have played only in Tetris Effect and it was great. But as I see, Rez a great game too, very stylish, but I have no any luck to play it, because I am playing only on PC or mobile whole life, and have no own any console.”

Reggie Reviews recommends you follow @frakktus on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date on development and see some awesome updates throughout the cycle. Keep a close eye out for the eventual release of Frakktus on iOS and Android! 


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