A: Even the Ocean supports DualShock 3/4, and XBox 360 (and probably Xbox One) controllers. It probably supports any other kind of controller because of how the controller-setting menu works. You can also use Joy2Key as Even the Ocean only has eight buttons, four of which are directional.
A: The energy bar affects Aliph's maximum running speed and maximum jump height. When her energy becomes more green, she jumps higher and runs slower. When her energy becomes more purple, she jumps lower and runs faster. This effect is gradual, i.e., at 90% purple, she will run faster than she does at 70% purple.
This sort of gameplay idea means that as you play the game, you will constantly be intuiting ways of making it through any given level's space. But be careful, filling up the bar completely means Aliph will die!
This also lends itself to diverse playstyles. Some players may prefer to stay safe in the middle, other may choose to use energy carefully, and some skilled players may decided to haphazardly use extreme values of the energy bar to quickly leap through levels.
The shield acts as an additional layer of complexity in the game. The shield is always equipped and can be pointed and locked in any of the four cardinal directions. It can be used to block projectiles, or interact with objects (such as geysers). Thus, it can be used to navigate areas more efficiently, or safely, allowing further personalization of playstyle.
A: Even the Ocean has four different 'paradigms' of level design. The largest two are Nature and Power Plant areas. The other two are World Map and City areas.
A Power Plant area is the most similar to existing video game levels. These are areas that, story-wise, take place in the Power Plants around Even the Ocean's world. Their level design is linear and action-oriented, as Power Plant levels are composed of series of small rooms, each with a unique combination of objects to interact with.
A Nature area is an area based on a type of geography we might find in our own world. For example, one area, Restview Beach, is made of rolling sand dunes and small islands. In these areas, you meet NPCs, solve small problems, as you make your way to the power plant at the end of each area. The level design's geometry is based on recreating a feeling of navigating unique geometry via landmark (e.g. the hills of sand dunes, or the walls of a canyon). We hope Nature and Power Plant areas will be interesting contrasts.
World Map areas work like maps in RPG games. You navigate them in a top-down view, and can go between main City and Nature areas via travelling in the World Map.
City areas are where the main story of the game take place. You will return to the main city of the game, Whiteforge, in between going out to Power Plants.
A: Yes! Even the Ocean is designed so that beginners to platforming and adventure-style games should be able to learn the required skills to play. If the player is not comfortable with the dexterity required for these games, there are a number of difficulty options (such as removing dying, or removing the need to jump altogether.) It should be noted that the focus in Even the Ocean is on presenting interesting ways of travelling through 2D space, rather than focusing on extreme difficulty.
A: Only two, Joni Kittaka and Sean HTCH. Joni does all of the art (environment, portrait, character, animations, concepting), and much of the writing. Sean does all of the programming, music, sound effects, some of the writing, and the marketing and business stuff. They both work together on game design, world design and story design.
A: I (Sean) use the Haxe language, the HaxeFlixel framework on top of the OpenFL/Lime stack. I use FlashDevelop as my IDE in Windows and Sublime on Mac. I used REAPER for the soundtrack (much of which was finished at the end of 2014) although I have used Ableton Live for a few tracks and mainly use that now.
We use e-mail and google docs and dropbox for collaboration. We use version control for backup and you should too!
A: Development started in March 2013, but didn't pick up until July of that year. As you may imagine, development went through a number of strange phases in fleshing out the final design you see today. One day I'll write a book about it... maybe. You could say we were distracted most of 2013, since Joni and I were graduating college, Joni moved across the United States, and I was working on the iOS and Android builds for Anodyne.
A: We pretty much only work M-F, with a few exceptions when deadlines come along. Thus we treat Even the Ocean like a full-time job, and maintain a life outside of game development.
Sean likes studying Japanese, essay and fiction writing, writing music, mobile photography, going to art events, hanging out with Braingale and reading and playing games.
Joni enjoys cooking, organizing the house, and building/crafting useful or fun objects. At various points Joni gets into drawing comics, reading novels, and writing/playing music. They also regularly play games and watch movies and shows.
A: No. We work remotely across the United States.
A: I'd put my guess at the 10-20 hour range. It's hard to tell though, and we'll know better after we get some testers. After all, my guess for Anodyne was 6-10 but I know of first-time playthroughs as short as 4 or as long as 18. My guess is that it will vary a lot depending on one's skill with games in general, as well as engagement with the story (are you skipping text, etc.)
A: There is no violence or gore in Even the Ocean, and no explicit sexual content or swear words. There might be a few light drug references, but nothing explicit. I'd say it's "No Worse Than Final Fantasy 6."
A: Probably July-September this year. Check back later (updated 2016/1/15)
A: No plans at this time due to insufficient resources. Check back after release, although it does not seem likely. Only Mac and Windows are planned right now.
A: Just English at first. If we ever have the money, then Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and EFIGS (in that order maybe.)