Topic: Kongregate /
An interview with light_bringer777 (Game Developer)!
Interview No. 16
Interview By: Thomas
Interview Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Welcome Jean-Marie Prévost! You have been nominated to have an interview conducted on you! Jean-Marie Prévost is the sole creator of the Learn to Fly series! With Learn to Fly 2 gaining over 25 million plays, his game will definitely go down in the Kongregate arsenal as some of the best!
Thomas: How has your day been so far?
Jean-Marie: Nothing special, it’s 10AM and I just got up but my brain is still in bed I think. These days I’m pretty overwhelmed by the final preparations on Learn to Fly 3 (-｡-;
Q: When/Why did you become interested in flash gaming?
A: Back in 2007 I decided I would move away from messing around with RPGMaker 2k3 the moment I heard you could make some money from flash game sponsorship. Thought I could make a few hundred bucks making games and ended up making Learn to Fly!
Q: What was your first console you ever played on?
A: SNES. Played a bit of NES and Sega Genesis around the same time. The SNES and PS1 were the peak of console gaming for me personally.
Q: What is your all-time favorite console video game?
A: Tough question… so I’m gonna cheat.
Young me would’ve answered Megaman X, X2 and X3.
Current me would have trouble deciding between Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 and Super Mario RPG.
Runner ups would be (in no particular order): Front Mission: Gun Hazard, Harvest Moon, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Ocarina of Time / Majora’s Mask, Breath of Fire III, FF8, FF Tactics, Monster Rancher, Parasite Eve 1 & 2, Valkyrie Profile, Dark Cloud 1 & 2, FFX, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Pokemon Red/Blue, Patapon, Digimon World…
I still play the games on this list every year or two.
Q: Besides Learn to Fly 3, do you have any plans for future games or for more sequels?
A: I’d really like to continue the Learn to Fly series so long as people want more, most likely coming back to the original formula. I’m thinking about revisiting Learn to Fly 1 with a more modern and polished look and a flight school plot where you select different characters and train them.
Other than that, a Learn to Fly Idle 2 is very likely to come after Learn to Fly 3. It’s currently a pretty polarized genre on Kongregate, but it’s easier to do than other genre and a lot of people ask me about it.
During the next year or two, I will probably start moving towards PC games for Steam instead of free flash games since the market is not able to support bigger productions anymore.
Q: What are your hobbies besides game development?
A: Playing video games obviously, a ton of reading (around 190 books in the last 3 years) on a lot of subjects, a lot of messing around and learning all sorts of stuff. It’s funny because a lot of my time is spent learning, but I hated school and couldn’t bring myself to pursue any study beyond highschool. I also play classical and electric guitar and would like to start playing cello. I’ve also started gathering material to try my hand at writing books.
I do all of this in a very disorganized manner, often reading 4-5 books at the same time, 5 minutes of this, 20 minutes of that, 15 minutes of guitar, take a walk… However when I play video games, it’s the opposite; I pick up a game, play it 10 hours a day for a week until I’m completely done with it and hate myself.
Q: Out of all of your games, which was your favorite to develop?
A: The original Learn to Fly, no doubt. It was a much more naive experience, messing around, wondering if I could maybe get a hundred bucks out of it, and the original intention was to create a better launching game for myself. I soon learned that once you spend over a year working on a game and testing it 50 times a day, you don’t feel like playing the thing once it’s finished. It was poorly executed and the code was a total mess, but I enjoyed making it and it was very rewarding to see it succeed.
Next would be Learn to Fly Idle. It was done from start to finish in less than 2 months which was very refreshing. “It’s over before it’s a mess” is what I really liked from this project. The start of any project is always exciting, but then you fall into 1-2 years of grinding tasks like creating content and balancing. Short projects have more of the exciting part and less of the boring stuff.
Q: What inspired you to create the Learn to Fly series?
A: Nothing much really. I’m someone who thinks originality is overrated, or at the very least I’m terrible at it, so I focus on other elements. I was playing Shopping Cart Hero at the time and really enjoyed it, so I set off to make something that would have the same mechanics I enjoyed. I didn’t like the fact that most launch games give you little control after launching and you’re basically left hoping you hit the right items and not the bad ones; like dice rolling 2.0, so I added the gliding mechanic and removed random elements.
I picked penguins for the theme because they’re cute and a lot of people like them, plus it was easy to draw! It was overall just an exercise of “What’s easy to do” and “What do people like”.
Q: Did you expect Learn to Fly to gain the popularity it did?
A: The original game? Not at ALL. I thought it would only disappear silently and that I would be happy to just have reached a few thousand players who maybe would enjoy the time they spent on it.
Learn to Fly 2 however was all about taking what worked in Learn to Fly 1 and making it bigger and better. I built it for success and to give people what they asked, and I think it worked. Now I’m pretty much trying the same thing with Learn to Fly 3, and I can only hope people are gonna enjoy it once more.
I think that’s something some devs overlook; my main focus is always to create something people will enjoy, the rest takes care of itself. They’re not the games I would dream of or the things I would really like to create, but they’re projects people ask me to do and I try to give them what they want.
Q: Where do you view yourself in the next five years?
A: Nothing too different I guess. Like I said, I don’t think I’ll be sticking to free flash games for very long, and I don’t feel like running a multiplayer micro-transaction game like a lot of other devs have done recently. Paid Steam games is where I’ll be trying to go, and with any luck if the release of Learn to Fly 3 and the mobile port of Learn to Fly 2 bring in enough money, I would like to build myself a team and launch a small studio instead of being a one man army.
Q: If you could high-five anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: Francis of Assisi, because if I had half the determination to live a good life, I would want it to be something close to how he lived.
And if I can be cheesy, my grand-father. Man passed away a few years back and I just miss him still. A great man living a simple life, just a good person through and through.
Thank you so much for answering the questions!
Have someone for me to interview? Leave their names in the comments below! Make sure they’re either an administrator, moderator, or a well-known participant in the community of Kongregate!
Master Thread: http://www.kongregate.com/forums/1/topics/407273