It is hard to believe that Pigeons Stop – a very cool game is made by an only man in his “living room” studio. That’s correct, Giacomo, a former civil engineer, has made the project for a year and it includes everything in the game except the music: design, coding and sound effects (even the pigeons’ voices). Pigeons Stop had been released in the end of November 2020 and soon after that was noticed and invited to participate in GDWC (Game Development World Championship). Pigeons Stop is an addicting action puzzle game. The player has to help the pigeons stop before night by avoiding or using the obstacles in the different levels. No more, no less the game manages to use the best ideas from Tetris and Lemmings. What does it take to become a successful video game developer? Read more…
Tell us who you are and what inspired you to create the game Pigeons Stop? Are you working alone or with a team?
Cico Dev is a single person. My name is Giacomo, I am Italian and my studio, for the moment, is located in my living room. I’m a newbie as a game developer, but I am not young, I am already 46 years old. One day I was scribbling on a piece of paper during a business meeting and I drew a pigeon. It seemed nice to me and I started thinking that I could make a game. I’ve never played many video games, but my favorites were Tetris and the Lemmings. I believe that in Pigeons Stop you can see the idea of these two games. I did everything in the game except the music: design, encoding and sound effects (even the pigeons’ voices). I asked my brother Eugenio to compose and perform the music.
How did you start programming? At what age did you write code for the 1st time?
When I was still a child (9-10 years old) my father bought our first PC (a Texas Instruments TI-99 / 4A) and I started my first little experiences as a programmer. Growing up, I changed interests and became a civil engineer. A few years ago, when I found out that I was going to be a father for the third time, I decided that I would take back my old passions. Last year I definitely started working on the Pigeons Stop project.
Why have you decided to participate in GDWC (Game Development World Championship)?
When I was invited to participate I thought that the GDWC could be a good vehicle for my game to be known. To be honest, with my game released in late November 2020, I didn’t have much hope that the GDWC would notice me, but I was delighted.
What time does it take to develop the game from the idea to the final product?
The idea for the game was born about 7 years ago, but I didn’t have the chance to develop it. It took me about a year to complete the project, even though I’m actually continuing to work on it. I probably could have taken less time, but due to the covid-19 lockdown, having the whole family at home, I couldn’t work at full capacity for a few months.
What development tools/platforms do you use during the development process? Do you have a favorite one?
For the development of the game I used Unity and VisualStudio. I love Unity and the ability it grants to publish the game for different operating systems.
What about the design? It’s colorful and very cool.
First of all thanks, I am very pleased that the design is appreciated. The game was born from a graphic idea rather than from the actual game dynamics. I wanted the game to be visually and acoustically relaxing and so I thought the colors and a watercolor style achieved this effect. This aspect had to go in contrast with a game that seemed simple and “childish”, but which in reality turned out to be difficult and even a little irritating.
In the game pigeons stop when they meet an obstacle, were there any obstacles that you met during the development of the game?
I think that developing a game is a continuous series of obstacles, big and small that must be solved every day. However, if I have to point out an obstacle that most of all made my life difficult was having to insert advertising into the game. I wasted a lot of time understanding all the technical aspects and even now I think it is the aspect that most complicates the further development of the game. The original idea was to sell the game, but nowadays, for these types of games, customers expect to download it for free.
So pigeons that fly in one direction, walk in that direction, is it the same in real life?
Fortunately in real life we are not forced to always follow the same direction. My life proves it, I decided to radically change direction when after 15 years of working in the same office as an engineer, I embarked on this new adventure as a game developer. The change brings new stimuli and, at least in my case, much more serenity.
So why exactly a Golden popcorn? (pigeons can buy accessories with golden popcorn)
Pigeons need to buy some accessories to dress more elegantly, right? I had to find a “coin” that could be of interest to pigeons. Simple corn was too obvious … popcorn is definitely tastier, my daughter would only eat that! A splash of gold to add extra value to the popcorn 🙂
Do you work at night, because pigeons don’t? 🙂
I imposed some rules on myself before starting this work. One of these is not to work at night. The reason goes back a few years ago, when trying to develop the game for the first time, I found myself doing it at night. After a few weeks, I started having panic attacks, probably related to lack of sleep and little physical activity. So I play the pigeon, as soon as it gets dark, I slip into my safe haven and rest.
Do you think that playing mobile and video games enhance imagination?
Playing always stimulates the imagination. I believe that playing mobile and video games is a way to disconnect from reality for a few minutes and dive into an imaginary world designed by someone else. Like reading a book or watching a good movie, but with the added possibility of interacting. Video games are truly another world …
What accessories, gadgets, do we need in real life to succeed?
I believe it is not just a question of what accessories and gadgets we have available. I think everyone should understand what their natural gifts and knowledge are and try to find a way in life that exploits them. I don’t have extraordinary skills, but I discovered that I have good graphic taste and a certain ability to draw, I am good with numbers and logic and in the course of my life I have learned a bit of programming … it took a while to understand it, but these factors told me that I should be a video game developer.