Interview: Ashal of AHA Studio

October 5, 2002 12:01 AM PST


Pion: Tell me about your background.

Ashal: We have been making games since we were elementary school boys. The first game we tried was "Es the Adventure", but because of our lack of experience, we managed to make an opening scene, but that was it. The second try, "Es-Fighter" was finished. You can see some of the pictures from our homepage. You can actually download the game from our homepage (at "Profile" section). The other game we tried to make is "Vision".

Pion: Hong-Ik drew the graphics at that time?

Ashal: Yes. He has been talented in the arts - he draws graphics, and also writes music.

Pion: Cool.

Ashal: When I found out about GP32, I persuaded him to return to the game-developing world, saying, "resolution is 320x240!"

Pion: If resolution is high, is it harder?

Ashal: In general, the lower the resolution, the harder to draw. Because He used to work on low resolutions, he just likes it.

Pion: Before he re-visited game development, what did he do?

Ashal: He drew only for a while.

Pion: His major is drawing?

Ashal: Yes.

Pion: Wow. He must be very talented. <Note: Hong-Ik's university is THE best one in arts, in Korea>

Ashal: Yes.

Pion: Now, please tell me about "Wings of Soul".

Ashal: It's an YS-like RPG. I think of myself as a RPG maker, and we like RPGs very much.

Pion: So, what's Wings of Soul? The name of an item?

Ashal: No, it just shows the main theme of the game. When we decided to make an RPG, we automatically decided to make a game like YS, and decided to have a heroine who guards a weak handsome boy. At that time, the A button and dash attack (like YS) were the main concept, so the project name was "Let's break A button". After that, while we developed story and world detail, we borrowed the theme of Vision - Wings of Soul. Those games are very different from each other, but the theme is same in story telling.

Pion: Then, what's the relationship between the heroin and the boy?

Ashal: The heroin loves the boy. One-sided love.

Pion: Sounds very interesting. :) Now, how's the progress of the game?

Ashal: Game desion - 6.74%. Programming - 0%.

Pion: 0% ?!

Ashal: I have to do the coding from the beginning, but there will be no brand-new algorithm. Actual programming should not take long.

Pion: About a week?

Ashal: Less than that. But, it will take more time to make tools.

Pion: You have to make tools too?

Ashal: Yes. The tools I have been making are all 3-D ones.

Pion: I see. So, when can we see the first demo?

Ashal: We will make a play movie in this month - we hope.

Pion: How's the graphic part going?

Ashal: The first town is near-finished. See here.

Pion: Cool!! Is this 16 bit color?

Ashal: No. it's in 256 color mode.

Pion: How will you distribute the game? in Mega-GP?

Ashal: No, we want to make a package game. I have various ideas of how to make the package attractive.

Pion: Like what?

Ashal: Like illustration poster, additional service, or OST CD,... They are just ideas.

Pion: How broad will the game-world be? How many cities in the game?

Ashal: No cities, but about 5 towns, and 1 castle. There will be about 3 dungeons.. the rest is field.

Pion: Very big...

Ashal: Not that big.. The story will be a little short..

Pion: Will you support RF?

Ashal: No. If you support RF, the development will take longer.

Pion: Do you have a plans for your next game?

Ashal: In next game, Hong-Ik will be the main story teller.

Pion: Ok.. Do you have any other things to say?

Ashal: We think that, we will distribute tools freely, for developers. And...yes. Please buy our game as many as you can.

Pion: hehe...Well, thank you for the interview!

Ashal: No problem!

Thanks again to Pion for conducting this interview...I checked out ES-Fighter. It's not bad if you consider how young they were when they made it. If it's got powerups and bosses, I'll call it a shooter! Give the game a download from their profile page. Wings of Soul is shaping up to be a nice game!! Well...seeing as how I consider Ys the seminal ARPG of our era as I do...

Brandon Sheffield