LittleBig Tikis – Tiki Kart Island Interview with Aaron Boucher

Mar 23, 2018
Racing

We take to the Tiki Islands with Tiki Kart Island’s Aaron Boucher.

Appolicious: What inspired Tiki Kart Island?

Aaron Boucher: After the success of Tiki Kart 3D, I realized that kart racing wasn’t going to be enough for a sequel. I wasn’t sure if racing on it’s own would be enough. Therefore we tried many new things with [the sequel]. The inspiration was in fact to revitalize the kart genre[;] something crazy insane that has never been done.

Appolicious: What goes into crafting a kart racer campaign?

AB: We never saw a good example of it, so we [iterated] three times before we finally found something that was fun for us and our testers. We wanted to make it completely crazy and unexpected. We didn’t want it to feel forced. We needed to build many levels so we created the data driven building system. We redesigned the physics from the original to support a lot more speed and a jet feature. Then we needed to bring all the characters from the original and added a female tiki princess and fully animated standing versions of each one of these so we could have a storyline.

Appolicious: Outside of Mario Kart and Sonic: All-Stars, we’ve seen a decline in platforming kart racers. What’s Tiki Kart Island got up its sleeve to help revitalize the genre?

AB: You’re right, the kart racing is pretty much the same when you go play it. [S]ame goes for Mario Kart[;] your kids sit down, play a few times, and they don’t play it again. For us, we weren’t sure where we were going until we got there. It took 5 years and many reworks of the game, but what we came up with is a storyline-driven campaign that is full of light humor, but also a core overarching mission. The campaign we built [is] data driven so it has over 60 levels, 8 maps, and 2 secret maps. [That way] we can scale and add completely new campaigns server side.

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We also spent an extensive amount of time on a battle arena that was publicly tested at Otronicon over 2 years ago. [S]ince then we’ve refined it extensively with many many weapons and interesting map physics based gameplay. [Additionally, we] took all of our tools that we use to build the game and created a track creator for users to create their own track experience and these tracks become part of our weekly track creator tournament that people can participate all over the world, play other people’s tracks, win in-game currency, and notoriety.

Appolicious: Your level editor has a wide array of tools, more than most mobile games would boast. How does the track creation kit work?

AB: To elaborate all of the levels and props are scalable. We really focused on making it easy to use for […] a wide range of ages by simplifying a lot of the more tedious tasks. [With] auto-gen track, you can create different shaped tracks very quickly until you find one that you like, then you can go in and customize and decorate with boosts, statues, ramps, housing, rafts, and traps. Then you can submit to the online track tournament and others can play it and vote. One of the neat things that happens when others play your track is a random AI event will occur, making the track a little different each time you play it. [We’ll be adding] more AI events random over time; currently, there are a few [for players to encounter].

Appolicious: What drew your team to Polynesian culture?

AB: [With] our original tiki golf game, we enjoyed the genre so much it inspired u,s and as we learned more of this deep mysterious ancient culture, [so] we just kept going with it. For example[:] in this game, we modeled a lot of our statues after real historic tikis [but] with a twist.

Appolicious: Can you tell us what game modes can players will experience in the final release?

AB: Campaign, Online Battle Arena, and Track Creator.

Appolicious: What can players expect in the current open beta?

AB: [As of now, the] beta is almost over and we are going to be in a release candidate this week. In the current beta you can play a little bit of everything.

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Tiki Kart Island
Tiki Kart Island
Developer: Arb Studios LLC
Price: Free+
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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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