Interview with Chris from Lightwood Games

Originally Posted January 10th 2016 on the Seafoam Gaming forums


Recently I managed to get in contact with Chris Newman from Lightwood Games, one of the creators of titles that Seafoam Gaming have reviewed in the past such as Word Search by POWGI and Word Party. We managed to have a nice, short interview regarding their future plans for amiibo, ports, and other interesting details!

Interview with Chris Newman, founder of Lightwood Games

Connor (AKA “Dreamer”): Your upcoming title is set to have amiibo support of all things! What made Word Puzzles by POWGI get lucky enough to earn the ability to use amiibo? Did Nintendo invite you to use the NFC technology for that game, or did you send a request to them in hopes of getting it implemented?

Chris Newman: It is really exciting that we’ve been allowed to add amiibo support to the game. I know not many third-party developers have been authorized to do this yet, so it’s a real privilege. We managed to meet some people from Nintendo at the E3 expo and talked about an idea for using amiibo in a puzzle game. We got some good advice on what was possible and what the hurdles would be, and they invited us to formally apply.

Connor: Will Word Puzzles by POWGI’s amiibo support vary based off of the figures that you can scan, or is it like other games that use amiibo, where every single amiibo will do the same effect? (Like what amiibo tap does, everything working the same regardless on if it’s a card or figure amiibo) I know you guys can’t base things off of the characters themselves due to licensing, but could we perhaps see it unlock puzzles based off of the colors of the amiibo, the type of amiibo (Figure or card), etc?

Chris: The game doesn’t react to the particular character that is scanned. To do that might have created complex licensing issues, leading us to pick only certain characters to support. Also, because the game code would
need to be aware of the current amiibo product line, it would need patching to support new figures in future.

The way we’ve implemented it, every single amiibo is supported – even ones that haven’t been announced yet! I don’t mean that we have secret knowledge of upcoming amiibo figures (we don’t!) but that the game is not tied to any particular amiibo series or character. It uses the nickname you set when you register the amiibo to generate a unique puzzle so what you get by tapping an amiibo is absolutely unique to you.

Even the Animal Crossing amiibo cards are supported, as long as the card has been registered and has a nickname set. As that’s not something that’s required for Happy Home Designer, you’ll probably need to go through the registration step before using your cards in Word Puzzles by POWGI, but they will work just the same way as a figure.

Connor: Have sales of your Nintendo eShop titles been meeting your expectations? Even if you can’t release exact sales numbers, hopefully they’ve been doing well on the marketplace.

Chris: I can only speak vaguely about this, so let’s just say I’ve been pleased enough that the Nintendo eShop is a significant part of our plans for 2016!

Connor: You guys have published games on the 3DS eShop, as well as the Wii U eShop… Any plans for a New 3DS exclusive eShop title? Perhaps a puzzle game with a ginormous board, packed to the brim with content that takes advantage of the extra power and things like the C-Stick, ZL/ZR buttons, etc?

Chris: I don’t think we’ll make anything that requires the extra features of the New 3DS. It’s not likely to be necessary for our style of game, and requiring the new hardware would exclude a large user base. I would expect our future 3DS releases to continue to use touch screen controls.

Connor: Your catalog of games have included modes like Word Search puzzles, crosswords, and spelling challenges. Is there a potential chance that we will see other word modes in future titles, like Sudoku, Nonograms (AKA Picross), etc? Or maybe something that has nothing to do with word puzzles?

Chris: Word Sudoku is one of the games in Word Puzzles by POWGI. Instead of using the numbers 1-9, you place 9 letters into the grid using the same rules. One row or column spells a word, which can act as an extra hint in addition to the usual sudoku logic.

I very much enjoy Picross and I would like to make a word puzzle that results in a pixel image when it has been solved. It’s something we’ve not quite figured out yet, but there’s a good chance you’ll see that in the future.

Connor: You mentioned earlier how you were considering porting your earlier titles from other platforms to Nintendo’s eShop in the future… Any early titles in particular you think would be best suited for the touch screen setup of both systems, or do you plan to simply try and get your entire back catalog ported over?

Chris: We’re only going to bring over games that make sense on these platforms and, wherever possible, can benefit from some of the unique features that they offer. Stereoscopic 3D isn’t a priority, because I don’t think it adds very much to a 2D puzzle game, but our next project, based on our mobile game Worcle, will use local network play between Nintendo 3DS consoles as well as online play between friends.

We’ll continue to focus on word games, but there is a strategy board game which I’m keen to bring to Nintendo 3DS – and possibly Wii U – too!

Seafoam Gaming thanks Chris for taking time to do this interview and to reply to our questions. Hopefully you folks found this interview interesting, and feel free to look forward to their future titles if they sound interesting to you!

Check out the review of Lightwood Games’s Word Party, here (currently not migrated over)


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