a bontegames interview with ... ROBAMIMI

Welcome to a new episode in the series of interviews with game designers, answering questions from bontegames readers.
Robamimi is famous for her many high quality escape the room games and has been featured dozens of times already on bontegames.
I'm thankful Robamimi took some time to answer your questions, so let's hear it for Robamimi!

(Note: Robamimi is Japanese and I would like to thank Takahiro for translating the Japanese replies.)

What inspired you to start making your own games Robamimi?

I have always been interested in 3D computer generated graphics, but as it seemed too technical for me I hesitated to learn it. One day I stumbled upon the 3D-animation software called Blender on internet. It's free and open-source software, so I just started using it to create my first graphics. It took me a while to create a sample graphic of a room using Blender, but the sample graphic was the one that gave me inspiration to start creating escape games after all.

Is making games your full time job or a hobby?

It's my hobby.

Are your skills self taught or did you follow special education?

I studied and gained skills by myself reading books and internet resources. Books and the internet are my teachers.

What is the story behind the name "Robamimi"?

Robamimi is a clipped form of the words "donkey's ears" in Japanese. I have quoted it from "King Midas has donkey's ears", a fairy tale of which the Japanese title is "Ousama no mimiwa roba no mimi." There is nothing special with the story, but when I had a chat with other escape game developers, we touched on the subject. Then I just liked the sound somehow, and decided to use it for my site. Hee-haw :D

Where do you get your inspiration for your games? What is your process when creating a new game?

Where do I get my inspiration? I'd like to know where I could get it... Normally, I get inspiration from the stuff around me. In my game Ancient Scripts for example, some characters or the design patterns used for the puzzles were created from a pattern of a carpet in my house.
When starting a new project, I always keep in mind to try not to place any unrelated objects to solving the mystery, and I begin with thinking of the apparatuses in the room I will use, which is the work I dislike the most.

Your games have such beautiful graphics. What tools do you use and how long does it take to create the graphics?

I'm using Blender. As for the production time, I really don't know. I'm working on it very easy with no deadlines. But I'm still not 100% comfortable with Blender and stumbling a lot, so there were situations where I couldn't solve technical issues for many days.

Are there real locations that inspire your designs?

There were no real locations that inspired my designs directly. Those designs are created based on partial scenes of TV shows, advertisements of real estate, or cafes in my neighborhood. In my latest game The song of flowers the theme was flowers because I wanted to have a rose that I just bought in my game. Creating the rose was the hardest part, and I couldn't make it as I wanted but it's too late... Anyway, I'm getting many hints for the designs from those things around me.

What do you enjoy the most when designing your games?

Creating the general atmosphere of the game. In my opinion, an escape game should be a time killing game for many people, and should not give them stress. I believe most of those who enjoy escape games play the games during their break time. For those people, I'm trying to produce a relaxing, a heart-warming atmosphere in the game so that they won't feel stress from the game. For example, I use slow-tempo music instead of up-tempo for the background music and I use low contrast colors avoiding wacky colors to reduce the stress to players' eyes.
I'll be glad if those players could feel healed by playing my game for even a short time.

If you had to name one of your games that you're most proud of, which one would it be and why?

Well it's difficult for me to choose only one because I'm emotionally involved with all my work. That might sound a little exaggerated, but only looking at the game titles reminds me the whole context when I worked on them, such as the technical difficulties I encountered, the feelings I had at the time of creation, and so on.
However, if I should choose one, that would be Smile for me. Through this game I learned I could share feelings with other people. It is a story about a dead man who tries to encourage the people crying for him. I decided creating this title when I saw my mother crying for loosing her pet. After it's release, I received lots of thoughtful messages and comments from people who have gone through similar situations. I really appreciated that.

Do you often play escape the room games from other game designers?

Yes, I do. Most of them are Japanese games as I'm not good at reading other languages, but I like TomaTea's games.

Are you playing a lot of other games yourself? Which recent games did you like?

I like fantasy games. I was involved with MMORPG's in the old days, but I don't play them anymore. The game I've been hooked on lately is Candy Crush. It doesn't make me finish easily because it requires some favorable conditions or luck as it proceeds, but I'm impressed by the design and the logic.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Lately I've been studying Java to create a Robamimi series for Android devices. I've released only one game, but I'm going to increase the number of titles for Android. Finally, I'm very grateful to everyone for playing my games despite the clumsy English. Getting to know many people playing my games cheers me up. Thank you all.

Thanks for the interview and your games Robamimi!

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