IGM Interviews – Pablo Navarro (RAWRLab)


Explosive Dinosaurs is a multi-player party game with the ability for users to create their own levels, both for personal play and to share with others. It’s currently on Kickstarter with 12 days to go, as well as Steam Greenlight, and we were able to have a conversation with one of the developers, Pablo Navarro of RAWRLab, about the game and plans for the future.

Note: Navarro’s first language is not English, but his written answers have been left as-is, since there’s not enough of a disparity to cause issues with understanding his point.

IGM: Let’s dive right in – what IS Explosive Dinosaurs?

Pablo Navarro: Explosive Dinosaurs is a party game, with 40 minigames having each one its own game mechanics, and lots of fun. It will be released first in OUYA, PC (Steam, Windows, Linux) and MAC.

IGM: What gave you the idea for this game? I saw some definite references to the first Jurassic Park move, as well as the Worms game franchise – any other Easter-egg-type references to look for?

Navarro: The idea came from the Global Game Jam 2011: The assistants had to create a game in just 48 hours related to the theme “extinction”, so I thought about doing a minigame party game with dinosaurs and… alcohol. The dinosaurs would play minigames one after another, and the loser players would have to drink shots (it was a “drink game”). It was called “Don’t play if you have to drive”…

As I didn’t have much time in that Gamejam for adding nice details, I thought of just making the dinosaurs explode when losing. And this is where the idea came from.

The five of us (the RAWR-Team) are old school gamers, and fans of the gaming culture, and we’re planning to have loads of easter eggs and references. One is already in the demo: When winning, sometimes it will show the “winning” scene from Street Fighter 2:
moonlanding and sf2 reference

IGM: Why the comic-book format (I love it, by the way)?

Navarro: Our 2D artist, Jorge de Juan, has also drawn a few comic books, and he thought it would be fun to have an animated introduction in a comic style. It really fits the kind of humor we are trying to put in the game. (Thanks!)

IGM: How long have you been working on this project?

Navarro: Around 10 months already, but not at full time.

All of us have our own jobs, and we’re doing this in our free time. Our plans were to create a demo, launch a Kickstarter, and some of us would then quit our jobs to start developing the game at full time, but well… It’s seems we’ll have to wait a little more for that.


IGM: Tell me about your development team?

Pablo Navarro, comic-book style!

Pablo Navarro, comic-book style!

Navarro: Well, we’re a web programmer, an aeronautical engineer, a book illustrator, a computer technician and a web designer. None of us has ever worked professionally in a video game development company. All of us have stable but boring jobs, and this is our way to express our creativity.

In the game, I, Pablo Navarro, am the main programmer. I’m the one in charge of the game overall, the minigame framework and some minigames.

Jorge de Juan is the graphic artist. He is the responsible for making the game really eye-catching and good looking. If it weren’t for him, the game would look really bad, like the “Don’t play if you have to drive” prototype.

Daniel Aguayo is our musician. He’s been busy lately and he was only able to create a few themes for the game DEMO, like the main theme or the winning/losing jingles, but I know him from other free games we made before (in PiX Juegos) and I know his music will be really catchy, fun and immersive.

Carles Vicent is the minigame coder. Specifically, he does the math parts in the minigame programming: complex artificial intelligences, labyrinth algorithms, etc…

I’m more like a visual and game mechanic coder, and he’s more on the “mathy” stuff.

Joseba García is the engine guy. He’s improving a free open source game engine called BennuGD which lacked some features, like GPU acceleration. He’s upgrading it for this project, but his improvements will also be available for any other game developer when it’s ready.

None of us has ever worked professionally in a video game development company. All of us have stable but boring jobs, and this is our way to express our creativity.

IGM: What makes Explosive Dinosaurs stand out from other popular party games, like Mario Party or the aforementioned Worms?

Navarro: Well, we have in our plans many different, hard and original minigames. Mario Party‘s minigames are easy, designed for 7 years old children, but our minigames will be harder. For example, in one of them the players will have to pre-program a robot, to make them move and attack the other players, and in another the players will even have to convert a binary number to decimal. To be honest, we made a mistake on our demo as we only shown the action, casual and easy minigames, but not the complicated ones. Most people thought our game was pretty generic because of that.

dinos are the new zombies 1280 x 720

IGM: What are your expectations for player customization? (i.e. how deep does it go?)

Navarro: We will be releasing a Minigame Development Kit along with the game, which will let the users create their own minigames with an easy visual tool or by programming. In fact, by using our programming framework, they will be able to do any kind of 2D minigames, with the common minigame assets or with their own. The game will be really breakable: Players will be able to create a score switching minigame, overriding graphics for the whole game or even a minigame that would retire a player for the rest of the game.

Also, our players will be able to create and publish their own version of Explosive Dinosaurs (under the name of “username’s Explosive Dinosaurs”) with their own minigames, or the ones created by the community. The only restriction is that they must release them for free, without ads and non-commercially.

IGM: Any last thoughts or words about the Kickstarter OR the game?

Navarro: After 20 days, we’ve only reached a 5% of our Kickstarter funding goal, and this was a bit of a downer for us… but, yesterday, we were on the first PAD Congress in Barcelona showing off our game, and it was really exciting to see how many people would come, play, and have fun challenging other players.

We came to the conclusion that we’re really bad at communicating or promoting our game, and we still have a lot to learn.

IGM: Thanks so much for agreeing to the interview! Best of luck!

Navarro: Thank you and Vinny for your interest and support!

Explosive Dinosaurs still needs support – if you’re interested in the project, check out the Kickstarter or vote for them on Greenlight.

Bonnie is a streamer, gamer, and word nerd who enjoys puzzle and horror games, and getting entirely too excited about both genres. She's been writing professionally for 18 years, but IGM is her first foray into gaming news. Bonnie's life outside of IGM involves massive amounts of hair dye, sewing, and being a cat lady. Feel free to contact her on Twitter!