Greetings fair readers. Todays story is about an ex-swimmer who decided that there are better things to do with ones life, then to count the tiles on the bottom of a swimming pool. Since this epiphany he has decided to switch to the best sport not known around the world, Water Polo. 10 years later a certain Mr. Florio did not become a professional Water Polo player, but a professional Video Game Developer instead.
Video Games, you know, an industry that in 2018 racked unbelievable 120 billion dollars in revenue alone, and with 2 billion gamers world wide it is projected that by 2022 its revenues will sky-rocket to unbelievable 196 billion dollars!! (I googled that shit and added a bit of hype. Don’t take my word for it. You know how the media is.) Since in his spare time he still plays Water Polo, Mr.Florio has decided to try and combine his two loves. As we speak, somewhere in Brazil, Mr. Florio is all on his own dealing with two key issues that every pioneering Water Polo game developer simply has to tackle. Developing a Water Polo Game, and Developing a Game which has never been developed before. Period. Trailblazing in itself is hard, but trailblazing in Water Polo is the hardest. I presume that the Water Polo head honchos are not helping him. I personally don’t think, that during this latest rule change buggery, it never occurred to them to try and adjust the rules and the sport itself in such a way that it would be a lot easier for someone to develop a video game version of our beloved, but sadly completely unknown sport. Trust me, it was the farthest thought in their heads as they were making these new rules. But have no fear. If Water Polo doesn’t lack one thing, it doesn’t lack progressive forward thinking people… Anyways. In this interview you will find out what triggers somebody into taking upon himself a task of such immense work-load and of a such great significance like this video game, In this interview you will find out, ladies and gentlemen, what perils await for those who decide to wrestle with such a great tasks, and more importantly, In this great interview you will find out why do pioneers have to do double the work, and why do they deserve double the respect. In this great Interview, meine Damen und Herren, you will hear from a cat who was the first one to say: “Fuck it! Yolo! I’m creating myself a video game about Water Polo!”
Now that I have your attention. Now that you understand how important this project is for the whole sport of Water Polo, and now that you all understand what is at stake here, without any further ado, my fair readers I bring you… The Water Polo Revolution.
1. Hello Eric Florio. It’s a pleasure to do this interview with a potential pioneer like yourself. Let us start with your relationship with Water Polo? How did it started, where is it now and does Water Polo still play any significant role in your private life?
First, greetings to your readers and thank you for giving me this opportunity to write about the Water Polo video game I’m currently developing on my own.
I started playing water polo when I was relatively old, around 21 years old (I’m 31 now). Before that, I practiced swimming. I liked to swim, mainly because of the competitions, but little by little I started to get tired of it. I was always looking forward to the last Friday of the month, when my swim team used to play Water Polo. At some parts of the pool the water was so shallow that we could touch the bottom and we didn’t know the rules, but I still had 10 times more fun than any other swim training. So one day I decided to leave my comfort zone and switch swimming for Water Polo once for all.
Since then, water polo has been an extremely important part of my life. No matter what problems I’m going through, I forget everything when I’m playing. And when training is over, I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Water polo is not one of the most famous sports in Brazil (football gets almost all the attention), so much that my team is the only one in our state. We need to travel to other states and nearby countries to play tournaments.
I am not a professional water polo player, I play only because it makes me feel good (in many ways). But I wish I could bring the sport even closer to me, and the way I’ve found out to do it is by creating the Water Polo Revolution. This way I can combine my two greatest passions, water polo and video games, into something that (hopefully) can support me.
2. Since you develop video games for money, could you tell us a little bit about your professional background as a video game developer and how did it all came to be?
Although I have always enjoyed games a lot, it took me a while to discover that I could actually create games as a profession. My first academic degree was in graphic design. For about 4 years I had a company specialized in Visual Identity and Websites. The knowledge I acquired during this period certainly helps me to this date in game development.
The turning point was when I decided to do some post-graduate course, but I didn’t know exactly which one to do. I was thinking about choosing marketing or branding… But I ended up choosing Game Development, the option that really got me excited and motivated. Today I clearly see that it was a very wise decision.
Since then I have developed some personal projects (which have not been published yet), worked on some mobile games, and I was also the game designer of an educational game in virtual reality.
3. Now that we have done the necessary small talk and chit chat. Let us start with the most obvious two part question we could start with. How did you got yourself involved with a Water Polo video game and how long did it took you from an idea of a Water Polo video game, to an actual realisation of the Water Polo video game?
It’s something I’ve been wanting to develop for a while, but I have never had the opportunity, until the beginning of this year. A series of factors allowed me to completely dedicate myself to the project. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the most basic mechanics are already in place and the graphics quality is already decent. I believe what I have developed so far already shows that this will be the most advanced water polo game ever created.
A few years ago, I decided to create a little water polo game. Something simple, only a few days of work. I had no intention of publishing the game or anything. It was just a learning exercise and a modest tribute to the sport I love. After about 3 days, the Water Polo Pixel Challenge was ready, a really simple game where the player always controls the attacking team, and the defending team is computer controlled, with extremely basic artificial intelligence. Each defender stands in his position, moving toward the nearest opponent only when he has the ball.
(Water Polo Pixel Challenge is available as a reward for Patreon supporters. More info about Patreon coming later in the Interview)
Despite its simplicity, many Water Polo practitioners who have tested the game have been able to see similarities with the actual game. That was a good indication that I was on the right track for Water Polo lovers to really feel represented in a game.
Unfortunately, after some time playing, It was possible to discover some tactics that made the game very easy to beat. To create a game that really resembled the real water polo, and was deep enough to be played for a long time, I would need to create a more complex game with a lot more mechanics.
However, the idea was kept aside for a long time. Since I was working on other projects, it was simply not the right moment to focus on it. But the moment has finally come. After finishing the last project I was working on and having some money saved, I realized it was the right time to devote myself completely to this new project that had already become my dream game.
4. So you finished your last project. You had some money saved. Now prior to making Water Polo Revolution your next project, could you walk us through the decision making someone has to have before grappling with such a task. What role do the finances play? Have you thought about creating your own team?
At first, I wanted to create a water polo game just because of my love for the sport. Over time, however, it was necessary to explore other aspects of the idea. Did dedicating myself to this project fit my career plans for the future? Would there be enough people interested in buying the game? Could I get a financial return that would allow me to continue developing games?
In terms of career, I came to the conclusion that doing this project is a good choice, it can be a great case for my portfolio. It would also allow me to learn more about certain areas that I am not so knowledgeable about, such as programming. The freedom to work on a game of my own, and the motivation to be creating my dream game also weighed in favor of devoting myself completely to the project.
In terms of financial return, I do not have a definitive answer yet, but I believe it is possible to get a good result. Water polo is not one of the most famous sports, but it still has many practitioners around the world. Since there is no other decent Water Polo video game currently in the world, I would have no competitors. In addition, I also want to reach the general public, people who don’t know Water Polo yet, which could significantly increase the size of my target audience.
Besides deciding if I would really make this project, I also needed to define how I would do it. I ended up choosing to work alone, being responsible for all areas of development (game design, art, and programming), as well as other related areas such as marketing and community management. The main disadvantage of this approach is that development is slower because I don’t have other people to share the tasks with. However, building a team can be difficult, especially when there is no money for hiring. Without a reliable source of income, team members are much more likely to leave the project during development in favor of another opportunity that provides more financial stability. In the future, if I need help in any specific area, I can look for partners to develop the project with me.
5. So basically nevermind how the video game ends up being, you will still gain certain experience and expertise, which you will later put on your CV. Not bad, I must say. Are you an entrepreneur, or a hustler I still don’t know, but I do hope that everybody is learning a thing or two from you here. But let’s get on the money side again. Personally I think, that it would be of a great value for our sport if this video game of yours turns out to be profitable. So with that in mind, let us continue. You never know, there could be potential investors reading this interview. Would it be worth their while? Have you already laid the fundamentals for the game? What are your objectives? Is the game made for the real gamers, or just for waterpolites? What do you try to achieve with the video game itself? Could you try pitching this game to me or to somebody from our audience? 🙂
Overall, I want to create a realistic water polo game where you can perform the main actions of a real life water polo game. I am following these 3 principles to develop the game:
The True feeling of playing water polo: I am creating mechanics that can simulate the feeling of playing Water Polo in real life. To do this, I needed to rethink some patterns already used in other sports games. A good example of this is the central role faking plays in the game, and the way controls are designed to allow variations of faking > shot and faking > pass. In other words, the unique characteristics of Water Polo will be represented in this game.
Fun way to learn: Water polo has a lot of rules, and requires a lot of interpretation in every situation, being relatively complicated for beginners to understand it completely. In addition, beginners may also have difficulty with tactical concepts (what are the most common tactics, when to use them, how to override the opponent’s tactic and etc). As Water Polo Revolution will seek to represent the sport with realism, the rules and tactics concepts will be absorbed by players as they play the game, in a natural and fun way . There may also be tutorials or guides that teach these concepts more explicitly.
More fans: I’m developing this game having in mind mainly people who are already Water Polo fans, people who would feel represented by the game, who would be excited about the idea, and who already feel the need for a Water Polo video game. However, this also seems to be a great opportunity to reach people who don’t know the sport yet, through a medium more familiar to them: the video game (not everyone is used to sports in real life, especially in the water). I hope this game can bring more fans to the sport, contributing (even if a tiny bit) to make the sport more widespread.
6. Not a bad pitch I must say 🙂 Let us continue with it and see where it takes us. How is the game now and what features do you expect the game to have once it’s finished?
Currently it is possible to move your characters around, pass the ball and shoot towards the goal. Characters already have animations, and the basis of the customization system is in place. Players already have a basic understanding of their position on the pool and can change formation and fill in the blank spaces left by others.
My next step will be to focus on players’ artificial intelligence, a complex task that will have to be revisited throughout the game’s development, but which is essential to making the experience fun and realistic.
These are the main features the game will have when it is finished (there may be changes, this list is not definitive):
- Character customization;
- Team customization;
- Championship creation;
- World Championship (between national teams);
- Different defense and attack strategies;
- 3 kinds of shots (regular shot, skip shot and lob shot), plus some situational ones, like backhand shot;
- 3 kinds of passes (dry pass, wet pass and lead pass);
- Player attributes (Shot, Speed, Defense, Strength, Intelligence, Ability);
- Camera replay;
- Local Multiplayer;
- Player statistics (goals per game, shots per game, blocks per game…);
- Career Mode;
- Explanation about specific Water Polo tactics;
- Commentator (in English).
I just released a new Pre-Alpha version, including everything that has been developed so far. It’s open for Patreon supporters of any tier. If you are already a Patreon supporter, just access this link.
If you are not a patron yet, you can learn more here.
7. If by any chance somebody wants to get involved in the development of this Video Game, or if somebody just wants to help you finish this project, how and where could they do that? Do you have your own company they could donate their money to?
I’m not a big game company. I don’t have much money to invest in the project. I can’t afford to hire people to work with me. I am an independent developer, creating this game because of my love for the sport, working alone and full time on this project.
Therefore, all help is valid to get the project off the ground. Here are some ways you can contribute.
Through Patreon it’s possible to contribute with monthly donations. Different values give you access to different rewards. As I’m only working on this project, I have no other source of income. That way, the donated money helps me to pay the bills and to buy food. I also use the donations to buy some softwares needed for the development of the game. For more information, check out my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/waterpolorevolution.
Follow and share on social media
I’m mostly using Instagram to promote the game and to keep people updated about my progress. That way, it would be a great help if you could follow me and share my page with your friends. Just search for @wp_revolution on Instagram. You can also share it on other platforms, such as the WhatsApp or Facebook group of your Water Polo team.
There is also a Discord channel where you can participate more actively in game development, discussing ideas, giving suggestions and feedback.
Here is the link to join the channel: discord.gg/Rma8xJx
8. There you have it folks. If any one of you has any question, or donations, or both you know where to contact Mr. Florio. It’s time for our last question, and we end it with the most important two part question with which we could end with. All through your interview I never saw any mentions of goalkeepers. What do you plan to do about that and are goalies gonna be able to block with their foot?
I see you have a personal interest on this topic. I haven’t started to work on the goalkeepers yet, but they will have a central role in making the game realistic. A goalkeeper who plays too well or too poorly can break the immersion. Not only that, the goalkeepers need to feel realistic in a variety of different situations. Players will try to break the game, to take advantage of any possible glitch they find, so I have to make sure all the characters (but specially the goalkeepers) behave in a consistent way in all situations.
Besides their specific behaviours, goalkeepers will also be able to do everything the other players do. So, for example, you could go with your goalkeeper all the way to the opponent’s goal and score (thanks to the new rules).
However, there is a lot didn’t figure out yet. I don’t know if you’ll be able to control the goalkeeper when they are not with the ball. Or maybe you’ll be able to do it just in some situations, like in a penalty shot, or in a men down.
As for blocking with their feet, I had not thought about that. But I think it would be really cool, so thanks for the idea! I don’t know exactly how it would work in the game, but I’m adding it to my to-do list.
And now that it is all said and done, let us hope that this little pitch, turns into a Home-Run for our Mr. Florio. To all the rest of you Waterpolites, from the dance.hr crew and me personally, we wish y’all Merry Christmas, Joyful Holidays and a Happy New Year. Word to your mother!
Don’t forget to click like, share and hit that follow button on our Facebook page. This is just our second interview on english. In advance, thank you very much for you future support 🙂