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Auditorium is a mesmerizing new game that combines sound, light and color in what can only be described as a completely cool and sensationally-addictive experience. Created by Will Stanwood and Dain Saint of Cipher Prime, the Auditorium site has garnered several design awards as well as the withstood over 1 million games played. Auditorium was ByteJacker's ‘Free Indie Rapid Fire‘ game of the week and its creators are currently in discussions regarding releasing an iPhone version of the game.

website: www.cipherprime.com

Auditorium: www.playauditorium.com

published | february ‘09

Q & A | WILL STANWOOD + DAIN SAINT, CIPHER PRIME

Auditorium screenshot 1 Auditorium screenshot 5 Auditorium screenshot 3Auditorium screenshot 4Auditorium screenshot 2

The Arc: How did you come to work together and what are your backgrounds?

We met through a mutual friend while playing a game of Smash Bros. We touched base a few months later and decided to start working with each other on some mutual projects.

[Will] I have an arts background graduating from The Art Institute of Philadelphia with Best Portfolio in Multimedia and Web Development.

(Dain) I went to Northeastern University for mechanical engineering, surprisingly. I've been programming forever, as well as doing web and graphic design.

The Arc: How did you start CipherPrime and what sort of projects do you do?

Cipher Prime started as a Web Agency doing all sorts of rich media web applications. Now we are focusing primarily on games. However, we have done all ranges of projects from small mocks and html pages to full-blown CMS systems for large corporations.

The Arc: What was the inspiration for Auditorium?

The idea of Auditorium was born when developing a particle effects engine for an explosion animation. With our love of music and games, Auditorium was born.

The Arc: Who is the Auditorium Team and what are their roles?

[Will] Dain and I are 'the team.' Dain and I both do the game development side of things. Dain also does all the audio. He creates everything you hear from the small sound loops to the full tracks we'll be releasing later. Meanwhile, I concentrate mostly on the game design, everything from how something looks to level creation.

(Dain) Keep in mind we both have our hands everywhere and we both contribute in many ways to every side and every aspect of the development process. We are very much a team and do anything we can do. One moment we could both be neck deep in code; the next, talking about container fill rates, or sketching out how a new icon should look.

The Arc: What was the process for developing the puzzles in Auditorium?

[Will] Developing the acts and levels in Auditorium has been a difficult task. Our main objective was to make sure players learned as they went.

So, the way levels ramp in difficulty plays a huge role. Introducing concepts is also a major role. We introduce one or two new concepts per act. In fact, our designed gameplay doesn't even start until after act 3 of the demo, but act 1 and 2 teach you everything you need in order to brave this bold new environment.

(Dain) One of the biggest things we decided early on was "No Instructions." Everything had to be obvious or readily apparent, and it's probably taken us twice as long to develop the game because of that one over-arching constraint.

I think, though, that the level of attention to detail that design decision forces has lead to a much more satisfying and complete experience.

The Arc: How and where are you promoting the game?

Honestly, we don't promote Auditorium at all. All our promotion has been word of mouth. We do our best to respond to any feedback emails that come in. Knowing our audience is more important than anything else. In that mode of thinking we recently started a blog -- this has been great for us and the people who comment have given us great feedback!

The Arc: There’s talk of Auditorium being on the iPhone! What can fans do to help support the game?

That possibility is a HUGE reality, we are talking to publishers right now and just have a few decisions to make. If things continue as planned the iPhone version will soon be a reality. As far as support, there are a few things you can do: join our mailing list, get active on our blog, donate, or buy the full version when we release it later this month.

The Arc: Auditorium has been winning some awards lately! How has this affected your progress with getting the game more widely-known?

A lot of the awards have been web development / design related, so we are not really sure how much of an impact that has made. But, more and more articles are popping up in the game community about Auditorium every day. These little articles of praise mean so much more than any award we could possibly win.

The Arc: Who and what are some of the people and things that inspire you the most?

[Will] I am inspired constantly by my love of juggling, games, and design. These things have played a huge role in how I shape ideas.

(Dain) I love capoeira and parkour -- they're both very dynamic, physical activities with a lot of real-time problem solving. Just the kind of thing to keep my attention for longer than ten minutes.

The Arc: After Auditorium, are there more similar projects on the horizon for Cipher Prime?

We have so many game ideas laid out right now. It will be hard to decide what game to build next. But we can promise some more innovative games will be coming out of Cipher Prime.

The Arc: Some final thoughts on creativity?

Auditorium is all about creativity. The game idea was never set in stone or static in any way. The ideas and execution have been molded and crafted along the way, changing in almost every form. We wanted the game to be an experience of experimentation and have let that fuel us along the whole process.

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