Talking Pop With Soda Drinker Pro’s Creator
Will Brierly, the creator of Soda Drinker Pro, has built a name for himself in the video game industry thanks to his unique title and unique vision. Soda Drinker Pro has gone from a cult sensation, to being Greenlit on Steam, to securing a release on the Xbox One, and planned virtual reality support in the near future.
To think that this all started when Brierly woke up thirsty in the middle of the night is a testament to his creative prowess. This past week, Brierly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about Soda Drinker Pro
RP: Your game, Soda Drinker Pro, is undeniably unique. Would you mind explaining the basic premise of the game?
WB: Basically you walk around drinking Sodas in a wide range of environments, from inside an ice cave to with your best friend, in a jail and many more places. When you finish the Soda you go on to the next level. It’s an FPS (First Person Soda Simulation).
Where did the original idea for Soda Drinker Pro come from?
One day I was very thirsty, I woke up one morning at 3 am and thought making a video game about drinking Soda would solve my problem, I think it did!
How did you get into game development?
I have always loved video games and wanted to be involved in them, I originally went to college for music business and performance because I wanted to write music for video games. I ended up playing as a professional musician for years but then one day it hit me and I decided I wanted to make games. I started learning as much as I could about the process and I started my first release (a game for arcades called Get Outta My Face). This wasn’t a big commercial success, but it did teach me a lot about what worked and what didn’t. I’m constantly learning new things on how to make my games better so it’s an ongoing process.
Despite being a game that is essentially about drinking soda in different – albeit often zany – locations, Soda Drinker Pro has been a massive hit. In your opinion, what has helped the game grow such a massive following?
I think people love Soda and while it’s a fun, silly game, there’s a lots more to it under the surface both in Vivian Clark and in SDP. SDP is one of those games where it starts out like it’s going to be this stupid thing but as you play through it, it all makes more sense and pulls things together more. Then when you play the stuff in Vivian Clark all the way through, that makes the world of SDP make a LOT more sense (the two worlds are very connected in a way that you’ll be able to see when we launch the full version).
In addition to the hundred-plus levels you have designed for Soda Drinker Pro, the game also has a second game (Vivian Clark) built entirely within Soda Drinker Pro. Where did the idea for Vivian Clark come from?
That was originally inspired by this song by Harry Nilsson as well as the TV show Mr. Show. I liked the idea of things flowing in and our and constantly changing perspectives, so I started to make a game about it. I made the first prototype for a big hackathon called AngelHack. That ended up making it to the finals of the event so I thought it was worth taking further. Here’s some footage of the original presentation of it that I made at AngelHack.
Is working on Soda Drinker Pro a full-time job for you?
I still have another job too but it’s coming closer to being a full time gig every day.
Soda Drinker Pro has been confirmed to feature virtual reality support when it releases via the Oculus Rift. Could you explain how this came about?
I made the Oculus version of it and my brother made the Google Cardboard android version. Basically it’s amazing hardware, and I thought it was perfect for releasing SDP on it. I can say from spending an insane amount of hours inside Soda simulations in the Rift that it’s a really cool experience. It’s really fun to just imagine that you are in these strange worlds drinking a Soda for some reason.
In your opinion, do video games have a future full of VR compatibility? Or do you see it more as a niche trend?
I think it all comes down to the game. Some games are perfect for it while others are not. With VR, I think it’s best to build the game specifically with VR in mind because there are so many things to take into account, like motion sickness, UI setup and lots of other things. For the VR version of SDP, while the levels are the same, there are a ton of things we re-built from scratch to make it work with VR that you wouldn’t expect. Things like the player height, cup placement (so it lines up with your lips) stuff like that. I absolutely LOVE VR though and I’m so psyched to have the opportunity to make games for it!
Where do you see Soda Drinker Pro in five years?
It’s hard to say. I guess it comes down to when we launch on Xbox One and Steam to see how well it goes. Either way it’s truly been an honor to have so many people play and enjoy what we’ve done so far! Hopefully people enjoy this new version. We have some gigantic new surprises that we’ll be announcing this year at PAX East too that will be taking this to levels that I don’t think anyone expects so I’m pretty psyched for that! So only time will tell, but either way we’ve got a lot more in the works both on SDP and other fun things!
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in creating video games?
I would say just start off and make something, chances are the first time it won’t be that great, but keep doing it and find out what didn’t work and make it better, look at yourself really critically and always try to improve. Make something you are truly passionate about that you love. It’s really a rewarding experience to put 100% of what you’ve got into something and no matter what – if it’s a success or not – in the end you will have something that you are happy with. Also, I recommend looking into areas for inspiration that are not just in games. Go on adventures in real life, read interesting things, look at all forms of art and music. All of that will add to you as a developer and give you more to pull from in the end. There is no one right way to do it but if you put everything into making something happen there is a much better chance of it happening than if you don’t try it at all.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d just say stay tuned for PAX East, we have an insane announcement coming up so I can’t wait to share it with you! It’s really really fun!
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”