December 5, 2012 at 11:35

The making of Cave Diver

 Adam Dickinson, Production Director at Mi talks with Thumbstar about creating Cave Diver. You can download the game for iOS and for Android 

Tell us all about Mi. How did the team come together?

Mi's been successfully trading in the CGI sector for much of the last decade. Our offering as a Creative Production Studio has see us work closely on 2D and 3D projects for the likes of CBBC, SONY, Eutechnyx, MTV, Sumo Digital and more.

It's no secret that the past couple of years have been tough on the northwest games industry seeing numerous large studios close. This has meant a lot of talented individuals through no fault of their own have found themselves back in the job market. However, being flexible enough with our approach to recruitment has allowed Mi to assemble quite an eclectic "band of brothers" from this influx of talent. That's how Mi culture has evolved to where we are today.

Despite our varied backgrounds we all have something in common. We love Games and are all kids at heart and hopefully this comes across in our work.

What are your favourite games to play when you’re not making them?

The team has pretty eclectic tastes really. We enjoy AAA team games in the studio like classics such as Unreal Tournament. Call of Duty and the new Hitman have also recently been in the machines with the guys who are “working late”. When we are out and about on IOS/ Andriod we like to play anything from angry birds to ISniper., a current favourite is Smash cops, and Bike Baron.

Why did you move into mobile games development? What are you looking to bring to the field?

It was a natural progression at some point we would add development of our own IP in conjunction to still making other peoples look great. It just works seamlessly for us given the talent which we now have in house.  

Plus there's the creative ownership which goes along with the exercise.  Every ones ideas are pitched in and assessed.  Cave Diver was the brain child of a very junior member of staff so we make sure we don't discount an idea just because it hasn't come from a senior.  We know games from a marketing point of view inside out, we have worked on many campaigns, but we also help companies create concepts and R and D innovations and green lights. We can iterate quickly and our production speed is very quick. We can take it through the gears – Concept to production to test to trailers...all in-house.

In terms of what we bring externally? I think it's safe to say less headache for the publisher. (Ask Thumbstar) They only have to call one studio and any issue at any point in the game development can be addressed. Thumbstar find that a big plus using Mi. 

What are your biggest influences both from within gaming and that inspire you from other areas?

Our biggest influences in games have been things like ICO, to Trials HD for pure addictiveness, We love a good shooter though, there is a Mi clan for COD much to the dismay of some wives and partners. Some of these hardcore influences may make into future games but we are real film buffs @ Mi, that is where we draw real inspiration we have a weekly trip to the cinema, and some of us are keen photographer’s amateur filmmakers.

It’s all about the image, moving or still. 

What was the inspiration for Cave Diver?

We decided to make Cave diver out of a fondness for Mega Drive games, such as “Echo the Dolphin” and the water based levels on sonic games. (Not to mention the classic from Durell Software “Scuba Dive” on the ZX spectrum.

All of us wanted it to be incredibly easy to play, whilst quite hard to master and get maximum points.


How does it feel to be creating your own IPs?

Very satisfying indeed and the studio has really got behind the idea of our creating and releasing our own product. We've got so many internal ideas generated it's a going to be tough to get through them all and assess how we think their playability will come across.  It's a nice problem to have though!

What are your best tips for playing Cave Diver?

Softly softly catchy monkey!! / More haste less point!! /Relax and enjoy it.


What is Mi working on next?

Our second release will be hot on the heels of Cave Diver and will make it to the apple store in time for Christmas. We also want to do an endless runner update for Cave Diver for “Master Divers”. Beyond that into the New Year we've got several working titles in development one that is just HUGE with Thumbstar, but we cannot discuss that just yet. We would also love to work on some VITA stuff as we have some great ideas brewing for innovative use of the tech. All will be revealed in the New Year we promise!  For now though, we are just keen to watch and see how this first little game goes and pay close attention to any constructive feedback we get. We'll take any lessons learned there and apply them to the next game and so on.  It's all about evolving your trade to us.  Onwards and upwards as they say!




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