Here comes the blog ... here comes the blog ... the Aisledash wedding blog! | Add to My AOL, MyYahoo, Google, Bloglines

PS3 Fanboy interviews Everyday Shooter's Jon Mak

One PSN title captivated us more than any other at E3: it's Everyday Shooter, an award-winning music-shooter game. The smooth visuals, combined with the absorbing music, and addictive gameplay, made it one of our favorite (but underrated) games of E3. We had a chance to talk to Jon Mak, after his incredible E3 showing to talk more about Everyday Shooter, and working with Sony as an indie game designer.

We've been having trouble describing Everyday Shooter to gamers. Maybe you'll have a better way with words than us: how would you describe Everyday Shooter?
Everyday Shooter is like a music album, except instead of it being a collection of songs, it's a collection of shoot-em-ups. Each track/song/level is completely different visually, musically, and in terms of gameplay. You can see the screenshots to get a feel for the diversity in levels.

Each level focuses on a different chain reaction system that is not explicitly explained to the player. So with each playthrough, the player gains a sense of wonderment as they discover the nuances of each enemy and how they relate to form the greater chain reaction system. Although this gives a slight puzzle-y aspect to the game, make no mistake, this is a SHOOT-EM-UP, and not a puzzler.

One popular aspect of Everyday Shooter is the way it treats audio. All the sound effects in the game are guitar riffs harmonizing over an all guitar soundtrack. Bigger reactions causes bigger riffs to play. Thus you'll feel as if you're playing along with the music, except that your intstrument is the shoot-em-up!

How did Everyday Shooter begin? The first time I heard of it, it was winning awards at GDC.
Back in Spring 2005, I started working on a new game which I thought would provide maximum replayability through ingenious game design. Of course, the design was crap, and that project went nowhere. At that point, I realized that I had never made a game I was truly proud of, so I set out to make a tight, simple little game that I could be proud of. For me, that meant the shoot-em-up. At the time, I was also obsessed with Every Extend for it's chain reaction gameplay, and Lumines for it's album-y feel, and so those ideas eventually worked their way into the pot. By October 2005, the game officially became Everyday Shooter.

People have been comparing Everyday Shooter to games by Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Do you think that's a fair comparison?
Well, maybe, but probably not to Mizuguchi! Rez is such an awesome piece of work that it's hard for me to see Everyday Shooter existing on the same plane.

A lot of the comparisons come from how both incorporate music into the game. Contemporary music games such as Guitar Hero treat music as a form of enemy: if you cannot play the music then you lose the game. However, in Rez and Everyday Shooter, music is treated as a form of reaction: as you play the game, music will occur. But even with this similarity, both Rez and ES diverge. Rez is dance music oriented, so the musical reactions are fairly calculated, on the beat, and rhythmic. ES on the other hand is the opposite. Since the game is not beat-aware, riffs can sound at any time. It can sound on the beat, off the beat, 137 ms after beat 3, etc. Yet despite the seemingly random mess that might occur, it is not random at all because there are rules to gameplay, and because riffs play in response to gameplay -- there is an order to it.

Essentially, the idea is that you can go anywhere in the world and there will be a sort of music playing. That is, sounds occur and there is a loose order to them. For example, in downtown traffic, you might hear a lot of honking, the cars accelerating and decelerating, perhaps the bell of a streetcar, etc. But the frequency and the timing you hear these things are not random. There are very loose rules that govern when things occur. For example, honking occurs when people get angry, cars accelerate on green light, decelerate on red light, streetcars ding their bell as they cross intersections, etc. So just like how this soundscape is not truly random, so is the soundscape in Everyday Shooter not truly random. There are loose rules such as the frequency of enemies appearing, when they appear, how many shots it takes to destroy the enemy, etc.

So while Rez and Everyday Shooter are both music-reaction games, they both realize the idea in completely opposite ways. Rez is with a strict order, Everyday Shooter is with a loose order.

What went into creating the music for the game? Did you just start strumming on your guitar, or was there a more methodical method to the music design?
The only real method was trusting in what I talked about in the last question. That even when you think there aren't rules, there are rules. After that, then it was just playing whatever I liked. At the time, I was very much into indie rock, so everything has that sort of characteristic to it.

When creating the sounds/riffs, usually high-frequency events play shorter/quieter riffs while big events like a huge chain will play longer/loader sounds. The sounds also have to be chosen to work harmoniously with the background guitar track.

When did Sony contact you about developing for the PLAYSTATION Network?
Shortly after GDC. My agent, Warren Currell, just called me up and said "pack your bags, we're gonna meet Sony."

Sony's been differentiating themselves from the competition by going after "artsy" games for the PSN. What do you think of Sony's approach to downloadable games?
What differentiates them for me isn't the games that they're going after, it's the way they're going after them. Other publishers take a purely business approach to game making which leads to copy-cat, feature-oriented products built on market analysis and the suffocation of talent and creativity. It seems that Sony, or at least the Santa Monica studio, understands that games are not mere products of commodity, but works of expression and personality. From my point of view, this understanding leads to the ideal relationship between game maker and publisher. The game maker is given space to be creative, and the publisher is given an excellent game to market.

One caveat of course is that the game maker might make an unsellable game. But saleability of a work is closely related to accessibility (ease and want to experience the work) of a work. It is not uncommon to view a medium as a method of communication between artist and audience. If the work is inaccessible, then the communication between artist and audience is severed, and at that point, the work of the artist becomes self-indulgent. This isn't necessarily bad, it just means that the work is not meant to be shared with others and thus a relationship with a publisher is inappropriate.

But if the artist genuinely wishes to open a dialog with the audience, then for sure that artist will make all attempts to increase the accessibility of the work, including making it easy and desirable to experience. Because there is a close relationship between accessibility and saleability, then of course the artist will make something that is marketable. And if the artist can do it on his/her own terms, then the final work will be the best he/she can make it. Thus in the end, the publisher ends up with an excellent work to market, the game maker makes the game he/she truly wanted to make, and the audience/consumer is given an awesome game to play. Everybody wins!

I think it is this point that differentiates Sony from the rest of the publishers out there.

How is programming for the PS3? Has it been difficult rebuilding the game from PC to the console?
Technically speaking it's been relatively easy. There were several parts in my code that I had to change because it wasn't being very nice to the PS3. One of the harder parts was porting the gameplay from regular 4:3 format to 16:9 widescreen format. This was not as trivial as adding more enemies because that would completely upset the gameplay balance. In the end I think I've devised a few simple tweaks so that playing in 16:9 and 4:3 is nearly an identical experience.

Is partnering with Sony something you'd consider again in the future?
If they continue to give me the freedom and space to do my thing then absolutely.

How does the superstar status of becoming a published game developer feel? What's the future of Jon Mak?
Superstar status!? Ha! Uhh, it feels tiring? Putting out a game is a lot of work and so the future of Jon Mak is a pillow, a bed, and lots of sleep.

Finally, did Sony ever give you that PS3 they said they would?
They did! And a PSP with Loco Roco too! So I had to violate my no-game diet for a day, but I dunno, it's hard for me to play games right now since it makes me feel guilty for not working on ES. I really just want to finish the game already. Oh, and I got the 60 GB model, which is actually the one I wanted.

Is there a set release window for Everyday Shooter yet?
Not sure, but at E3 we kept saying late summer early fall. I'm working as hard as I can!

We want to thank Jon Mak for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with us. Keep your eyes peeled for Everyday Shooter: you don't want to miss this one when it comes out on the PSN later this year.

Gallery: Everyday Shooter

Related Headlines

Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. Sweet game, can't wait for it :)
Thanks for the interview.

Posted at 6:04PM on Jul 30th 2007 by Darkdrium777

2. It's so pretty.

Posted at 6:24PM on Jul 30th 2007 by craig

3. oh man i'm definately buyiing this game for sure, i love trippy visual games.

Posted at 6:34PM on Jul 30th 2007 by philmcneal

4. man, I love playing my guitar. And I love playing games. When I saw the gameplay vids for this game, I went to heaven. Can't wait. And hopefully he makes more stuff on the PS3!!

Posted at 6:53PM on Jul 30th 2007 by CrashSharc

5. Ok, what is wrong with this picture:

1. It is a JPEG picture. JPEG is great for photographic material, but for pictures like this with sharp lines, artifacts are visible. Even at first glance, it makes it look kind of ‘flaky’. It is better to use PNG or GIF here.
2. The quotes are ugly "-quotes, using the real quotes “ and ” would be so much better.
3. The text is not anti-aliased, which doesn’t look very good either.

If you change those three things, the picture should look a lot nicer :).


Posted at 6:41AM on Jul 31st 2007 by Laurens Holst

6. I downloaded the demo of this game and couldn't stand it, terrible graphics, poor game play and just all around a game I wouldn't want to play more than once. In fact, after I played it the one time, I deleted t.
So, what am I missing? I've seen others with a similar sentiment about this game, but I just don't get it. Obviously, I'm missing something, because I just didn't think this game was worth the time I spent on the download, much less worth any sort of money. Help me understand this.

Posted at 10:42AM on Jul 31st 2007 by scooterge558

7. With all the buzz surrounding this game... I really am interested to see how this game turns out. The E3 trailer didn't really provide me with an in-depth look at how the game actually works...

@#6 scooterge558: Where did you download the playable demo from???

Posted at 5:15PM on Jul 31st 2007 by never$$hort

8. There's no download available that I know of, so yeah, how did you play it? Are you sure you didn't download a different game by mistake and think it was this one?

Posted at 7:12AM on Aug 1st 2007 by Paul Eres

9. Scooterge558 is right!
The non-existent demo for the game is terrible!

Posted at 12:23PM on Aug 2nd 2007 by RohoMech

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use


New Users

Current Users


Win the Ultimate Halo 3 setup from Xbox 360 Fanboy!!!Check out the PlayStation Fancast podcast!PS3 Fanboy interviews Everyday Shooter's Jon Mak


Contests and Giveaways (14)
Community (74)
Galleries (34)
Guides (3)
Hands-on (14)
Interviews (216)
Podcasts (13)
Polls and Surveys (43)
Rants (17)
Reviews (21)
Wallpapers (7)
Blu-ray (182)
Business (40)
Deals and Bargains (39)
Demos (49)
Downloads (80)
e-Distribution Games (79)
Firmware Updates (37)
Game Patches (18)
Hacks and Homebrew (19)
Hardware (27)
Multimedia (30)
New Releases (125)
News (309)
Peripherals (46)
PlayStation Network (166)
PlayStation Store (184)
Previews (490)
Rumors (336)
Videos and Screenshots (409)


Powered by Blogsmith

Sponsored Links

Featured Galleries

Lost Planet
Soulcalibur IV concept art
Wipeout HD
MGS4 TGS swag
LocoRoco: Cocorecho
Ratchet & Clank: Concept Art


Most Commented On (14 days)

Recent Comments

Weblogs, Inc. Network

  • Autos
    • Autoblog
    • AutoblogGreen
    • Autoblog Spanish
    • Autoblog Chinese
    • Autoblog Simplified Chinese
  • Technology
    • Download Squad
    • Engadget
    • Engadget HD
    • Engadget Mobile
    • Engadget Chinese
    • Engadget Simplified Chinese
    • Engadget Japanese
    • Engadget Spanish
    • TUAW (Apple)
  • Lifestyle
    • AisleDash
    • DIY Life
    • Gadling
    • Green Daily
    • Luxist
    • ParentDish
    • Slashfood
    • Styledash
    • That's Fit
  • Gaming
    • Joystiq
    • DS Fanboy
    • Nintendo Wii Fanboy
    • PS3 Fanboy
    • PSP Fanboy
    • Second Life Insider
    • WoW Insider
    • Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Entertainment
    • Cinematical
    • TV Squad
  • Finance
    • BloggingBuyouts
    • BloggingStocks
  • Retired
    • AdJab
    • BBHub (BlackBerry)
    • Blogging DEMO
    • Blogging E3
    • Blogging ETech
    • Blogging Gnomedex
    • Blogging Milken
    • Blogging Ohio
    • Blogging Web 2.0
    • Future of Music
    • Bluetooth
    • Card Squad
    • CSS Insider
    • Design
    • Digital Music
    • Digital Photography
    • Divester (scuba)
    • Droxy (Digital Radio)
    • DV Guru (Digital Video)
    • Enron Blog
    • Flash Insider
    • Google (Unofficial)
    • JavaScript
    • Live 8 Insider
    • Magazine Design
    • Medical Informatics Insider
    • Microsoft (Unofficial)
    • Mortgages
    • Nanopublishing
    • Office
    • Open Source
    • Peer-to-Peer
    • Photoshop (Unofficial)
    • PVR Wire
    • RFID
    • RSS
    • SAS (Unofficial)
    • SCM Wire (supply chain)
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Social Software
    • Spam
    • Tablet PCs
    • Telemedicine Insider
    • Unofficial Playstation 3
    • Unofficial Xbox2
    • Video Games
    • VoIP
    • WiFi
    • The WiMAX Weblog
    • Wireless Dev
    • The Wireless Report
    • Yahoo (Unofficial)
  • Also on AOL
    • African-American Culture
    • Autos
    • Coaches
    • Diet and Fitness
    • Food
    • Games
    • Health
    • Horoscopes
    • Jobs
    • Maps
    • Mobile
    • Money
    • Movies
    • Music
    • MyAOL
    • News
    • Online Radio
    • Real Estate
    • Shopping
    • Slideshows
    • Sports
    • Storage
    • Switched
    • Television
    • TMZ
    • Travel
    • Truveo
    • Video
    • Weather
    • Winamp

Other Weblogs Inc. Network blogs you might be interested in:

DS Fanboy
  • Shigeru Miyamoto is a man -- and how!
  • Rhythm N' Notes schools you in music
  • Oink oink, mama: Barnyard Blast trailer
  • Gametech card case makes room for reading material
  • New Viva Pinata screens burst out
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Second Life Insider
  • MMO Watch: Bunnytown
  • Yesterday's Money: 23rd October
  • Today in Second Life - Tuesday 23 October, 2007
  • Short notice voice maintenance early tomorrow morning
  • 5 Companies Who Need Virtual Worlds
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Nintendo Wii Fanboy
  • Another Tuesday, another Trauma Center update
  • The mystery becomes unraveled in these screens
  • Revolutionary: Answering the Call
  • Saturday: ramen eating contest, Sunday-Tuesday: cleanup
  • Wii Fit boxed, screened, and put in motion
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Fanpoll: Rock Band Vs. Guitar Hero III
  • Xbox 360 stencils + pumpkin = great Halloween
  • UK: Watch Jade and her Assassin's demo at HMV
  • Xbox to have 7 million-sellers by end of year
  • New Forza 2 racing turf releasing this Friday [update]
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Today's most time-traveling video: GTA: Vice City Back to the Future mod
  • Today in Joystiq: October 23, 2007
  • Joystiq interview: Silent Hill: Origin's Akira Yamaoka
  • Ratchet & Clank Future glitch may halt play
  • Joystiq interview: Castlevania's Koji Igarashi
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Tarina Tarantino Hardcore Minibox Clutch, Handbag of the Day
  • Yin-Yang Soaking Tubs
  • A Wedding Dress with 4 Pounds of Jewels
  • Dream Light Chromatherapy
  • Boldwater, Estate of the Day
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • OLPC XO hit with production delays
  • Toshiba nixes Xbox 360 with built-in HD DVD rumor
  • adNav Boomerang, the ad-based GPS "conceirge"
  • Runco sets up camp with outdoor LCD
  • Toyota's i-Real: wrap yourself in a killer whale
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Engadget Mobile
  • Palm Treo 800w revealed?
  • Gmail goes IMAP: finally your mobile email client & Gmail fall in love
  • Hands-on with Sprint's BlackBerry Pearl 8130
  • Talkster brings free ad-funded worldwide calling
  • Sharp develops "world's thinnest" 2.2-inch QVGA mobile LCD
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Download Squad
  • Gmail gets IMAP
  • Will Hulu launch next week?
  • Google to let you tweak AdSense layout without tweaking HTML code
  • MapQuest Mobile gets overhaul
  • coming soon to an iPhone near you
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Subaru WRX STI debut
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Live shots of the Nissan GT-R!
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Touch me, I'm PUYO!
  • AutoblogGreen for 10.24.07
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Honda CR-X CR-Z Concept
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
  • Gmail flips the switch on IMAP support
  • Leopard/Parallels/Windows bundle on Mac Warehouse
  • Send files directly from iPhone to another
  • European Online Stores Down
  • Apple adjusts side-positioned Dock in Leopard
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines