• Creator Spotlight 29 - Holguin86

    Wiki-Wiki-Wiki, He Da Boss
    Interview conducted by rialrees

    Let's play a little game of word association, shall we?

    I say Holguin, you think: Cuba, Sun, Sea, Sand...

    You say Holguin, I think: Boss Fights!

    Yes, the creator who took his name from a holiday he took when he bought his PS3 (Talk about random.... *cough*) is now under the Creator Spotlight microscope! Holguin86 is the perfect example of someone who likes to push the envelope. Every level on his earth is a refreshing take on established concepts within gaming: The Time Warp, The Dungeon, The Survival Challenge, and of course... The Boss.

    The man is infatuated with Boss fights - and each one he releases is even more challenging and intriguing than the last! But that's far from the only thing he has to offer - this creator is no one-trick pony. Imaginative settings and mind-blowing gameplay mechanics are a foregone conclusion when Holguin86 is involved.

    How does he do it? It's a mystery to me. I suspect there may be some sort of voodoo practices at work. Perhaps involving fabric effigies of sackboy in front of a bubbling cauldron, heaped to the brim with jelly. I hope that my questioning will help me find the secret of this witchcraft...


    Holy Black-and-White! We appear to have ripped the space-time continuum!

    All right, this one isnít really a question, but if you would be so kind, please list the levels youíve published to date and any statistics youíd like to share with us, i.e. plays, hearts, how many rocket animals per level, etc. Whatever you feel like sharing.

    CyberFox series
    Chinatown's Bear-Shaped Problem
    Escape from the Sewers!
    Escape from the Mines!
    Missile Works
    Clockwork Ruins
    Perilous Passage!
    Ultimate Volleyball
    Neon Facility

    Now, tell me... of these levels, which is your favorite? And why?

    I think my favourite has to be .. um .. Escape from the- no wait .. Missile W- agh I don't know! They were all so fun to make and I was really happy with how they were received, but if you had to force me to pick my favourite ... it would have to be Escape from the Sewers, not because it's my most-played level but because it had my favourite visual style and my most unique boss battle (which took 5 days to make btw ). It was a level designed to be dank and dirty and disgusting, and I think the atmosphere came off better than anything else I've made.

    How long have you been playing LBP?

    Since Day 1! And pretty much every day of my life since then (until this year because I started A Levels and free time flew out the window). But the less I play it, the more I miss it, and I don't think the obsession's going away any time soon

    What was the first full level you ever built? And what was it like?

    Oh my, this takes me back ... I'd barely finished The Gardens theme in LBP1, and suddenly create mode was unlocked. I remember completely forgetting the story mode for about a month and diving into create mode with nothing but basic materials and the Gardens background. I basically crammed as many obstacles as I could along the bottom of the level (including lots of wobbly wooden platforms, a giant dog made of squares and three massive firepits) and then I started building up the far right hand side too (that is, until my thermo ran out). So I plonked a scoreboard in at the end and published it as "Grizzly Garden". It was awful, and was taken down within the year

    What creators and levels (if any) have inspired you to create?

    So many people have been inspirational in the LBP community, willing to share advice, suggest ideas and amaze with their own creations. In particular, I'd say comphermc, Nuclearfish, rialrees, (Ria's note: I swear I didn't pay him to say that....) Mnniska, hallm3, TOBSn08, Bobtox, Lockstitch, L1GhTmArE, and others have done things in LBP that consistently impress and inspire me, many of which are solid-playing, well-decorated platformers (which are my personally favourite levels to play). As for specific levels, the latest revelations for me have to be dajdaj's ARABESK and Felkroth's amazing RPG series - those levels really set the bar for what can be done in LBP.

    Aside from drawing inspiration from other creators and levels, is there anything in the world outside of LittleBigPlanet that inspires you? This could be a hobby, profession, or even a particular movie or type of music. Pretty much it can be anything in your personal life that has contributed to your experiences as well as inspired you as a creator.

    My maths book is, weirdly, my key inspiration - loads of what I make has been doodled in the back of my maths book first, which is why loads of my stuff is very griddy I also like to have a pint-glass of iced Coke next to me while creating, which seems to help me think better. I gotta also confess to being inspired by gameshows like Total Wipeout and Takeshi's Castle - their crazy obstacles have given me ideas for gameplay that isn't just jump and grab, as well as being mildly amusing.

    What are some of your favorite video games (excluding LBP) - new and old?

    One of my favourite games of all time is Super Mario Galaxy 2, which I loved for all the awesomely unique gameplay it featured, the bright, geometric visual style and the killer music. It's taught me that something doesn't have to have bajillions of corners and perfectly placed stickers to look good; sometimes less is more. On the other hand, games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted, full of cracked ruins and rubble and vines and booby traps and setpieces get my gaming juices flowing just as much

    If you could list your favorite things about LittleBigPlanet, what would they be?

    The community has got to be the best thing about LBP ever. Sure it would be fun making your little creations on your tod on some far off moon with no interwebs, but with such a large, friendly community a button press away you can share it with others and get ideas and feedback, and also play their stuff and be amazed. Everything else is just pure awesome.

    And your least favorite thing(s)?

    Spammers, trolls and level copiers! OH and "LittleBigInvites" that get sent 10 times in a row. Still, 99% of the community remains awesome!

    Whatís the worst thing thatís happened while creating?

    I remember in one of my first levels in LBP1 I built a massive bridge of 100+ different parts, and glued score bubbles to it. In those days, score bubble gluing was incredibly glitchy and could cause everything in the object to come unglued ... well, it did, and I was at the other end of the level creating happily and didn't notice. By then it was too late to undo and I'd saved about 50 times But compared to some things I've heard I think I've been rather fortunate. LBP seems to like running smoothly for me

    On a sort of similar subject, have there ever been any great ideas you had that failed or for any other reason you never implemented?

    As it happens, I have a super-massive 3-stage boss battle sitting unused on my moon right now, that's been there since last summer (which I spent the whole time of creating it). Gotta find some use for that at some point.

    If you there was anything you could change about the game, what would it be? This could be anything from adding materials or tools to eradicating H4H.

    Ledges and ladders - staples of the modern platformer - would complete the toolset in my opinion. That is all.


    I'm just a mean green mother from outer space and I'm BAD!

    Okay, you know Iím going to ask you this, so letís get it out of the way! Anyone whoís played your levels will have probably noticed your love of Boss sequences. Where does this particular passion come from, where do you look for inspiration?

    Well, you've got me talking now (shut me up if I carry on for too long!) I've had an obsession with big bad guys for a long time now.

    The first ever boss battle that really made me go WOW was the cave serpent boss from Tomb Raider Legend (if you haven't played it, YouTube it up ). It's basically a massive snake out to eat you and immune to your bullets, so you have to find another way to whittle down its health. That's what really impressed me - loads of boss battles I've played just have a health bar in the top corner and you have to spray them with bullets for five minutes and watch the health bar drain away really slowly, and the difficulty comes from how big their health bar is. But the thing for me is making something unique, so I like to make damaging my bosses a little different to just spamming them with attacks and dodging theirs - you have to grab a weakspot, grapple a missile round to return it, things like that. Also, it kinda makes me feel I have a "trade" in LBP, if you know what I mean - you don't often see boss battles in LBP levels, so it's something that's relatively unique to me, something I can be different and stand out with. As for inspiration, I think modern games are starting to push the boundaries a little where boss battles are concerned (take Super Mario Galaxy 2 for example, the bosses in that game are superb!)

    One thing I've noticed about Bosses in the general gaming world is how they are supported by a much stronger story now. Rather than fighting a guy 'because he's evil', we now have much more investment in the character, in our reason for fighting, just like the old days. You do the same in your levels - it's not all about the boss after all!

    Yeah, you gotta have a reason for wanting the bad guy defeated. Either he's kidnapped all your friends or he's sucking up everything creative or just throwing taunts at you. Really gives you that motivation to defeat him, and makes you more satisfied when you do.

    So you have the original mechanics, and the drive to defeat the bad guy and be the hero. There's something else that I notice about your bosses: Stages. Every fight goes through phases, increasing in difficulty: it's an incredibly satisfying fight! How much trouble do these sequences give you in create mode?

    Well actually, not too much trouble at all. Each stage has its own chip, and each chip is turned on by a MASTER SELECTOR (I know, cool right?) so whenever I want the boss to switch to the next stage, the entire previous stage's logic turns off! Obviously it gets a bit fiddly when stages are changed if the boss is in the middle of attacking you but I put in bits and bobs to sort that out All the attacks are activated by OR Gates so more than one stage can use a specific attack!

    You're bound to have a few sequences on your moon that havenít seen the light of day yet. Are you storing them for some dark purpose, preparing for world domination? Or are they doomed to spend an eternity in limbo, waiting for a moment that will never come?

    We shall see, we shall see ... I don't have much time for LBP any more because I'm so darn busy, but maybe my latest (and by far the biggest) boss battle will some day be unleashed upon the world. Maybe in a month or two, once I've made a level to go before it, I'll have everything finished, but I have so little time!

    I'm sure the community at LBPC have noticed how quiet you've gone lately (I'm actually considering pulling puppy dog eyes to get you to rectify this, but that's probably selfish of me...). You have played a role in a fair amount of community projects in your time at LBPC- The Community Spotlight crew for one thing, and helping to start the LBP Wiki for another! What made you want to help out with these projects?

    I love to get involved/be nosy/be helpful/talk to people/make friends etc etc, it makes me feel important and loved lol, but seriously, it's great contributing to the community, there are so many awesome projects out there doing great stuff and making LBP fun to be a part of, and so many awesome people running them! It's great giving something back to the community. And as for my quietness-ness, I can only say "sowwy" as I'm so busy I'm struggling to get onto LBP much any more. I have exams approaching, a busy summer ahead and my university application is commencing at the end of this month so I'm slowly running out of brain! I should still be around and about though, so don't forget me too quickly!

    You were recently invited to attend the LBP Vita Game Jam at Tarsier Studios. How did this trip affect you? Has it made you consider pursuing a career in games, for example?

    It was probably the most fun I've ever had playing video games, ever, and was so nice to meet everyone and see an LBP game being made behind the scenes. It's made me really want to work in the creative industry because everyone's so fun and and passionate in what they do, and the work would be so much more rewarding than pretty much anything else I can think of, because you'd have something to show for all your hard work after you've finished a project (I didn't have much to show for my all-nighter at Tarsier though because I was so exhausted and fell asleep before I managed to finish my level properly, but there you go ).

    Having seen you create, Iíve always been struck by how organised everything is. Every microchip is perfectly ordered, labelled and stickered. You never seem to create with the grid offÖ Has this mild obsession always been in you, or has it developed purely out of necessity?

    Well, you've taken me back to my first ever level again! I discovered the grid halfway through making it and I remember thinking how much easier some of the early sections would have been to make if I'd known that tool existed. Also, I think it's the maths book doodles that encourage me to use the grid too, so everything translates perfectly from paper to level. As for organisation, I am the most forgetful person ever so if I just jumbled together a few heavily wired chips and it worked I'd completely forget what everything did, so if someone finds a bug I wouldn't have a hope of fixing anything. I also like to build in sections so the whole level isn't glued together ... which is another reason to use the grid, because you can just snap everything together like bits of lego and it's as if you built everything into each other. So yeah, I have mild organisational OCD, but it weirdly makes creating sooo much easier.

    It must have been a pretty handy trait to have in many of your levels! "ACID FACTORY", for example, seems like it would have been a nightmare to create without some major organisational skills to back you up! The puzzles in that level flow seamlessly from one to the next; Where did you think up the mechanics for this level?

    I was inspired by a few online games for that one. I wanted at first to create something akin to Breakout but using all 3 layers, but it was all getting way too complicated so I settled for one layer and single boxes, which was much simpler. Then I remember wanting 3 layers again, so I placed some purple freaky cloud material in the background, shaped the foreground into a blocky platform, and then created for 10 hours straight as I fleshed out my idea. I was then a zombie at school for the rest of the week because of lack of sleep, so that level cost me dearly!

    Ah, sleep deprivation. The bane of every LBP creator. I find a strong coffee and a bar of chocolate go a long way to helping! Surely that wasn't the first time you'd missed out on precious sleep for the sake of one of your creations, though?

    Definitely not! If I'm tired at school my friends automatically assume I've been up all the night before playing LBP, so I'm kinda known for being dopey at school pretty much all the time. I was so sleepy at the LBPVita game jam too (as leklack and ladylyn1 will testify, having seen me fall asleep while eating a cheeseburger). So yeah, I suffer for my art with an irregular sleep cycle and sometimes bags under my eyes ... really need to learn how to call it a day before midnight .....

    Finally, is there anything you, as a creator, would like to add to this? Or any other experiences youíd like to share? If not, Iíd like to ask one more question of you: If you could give any bit of advice to new creators out there who are thinking about entering the wonderful world of creating, what would it be?

    I'd say to you, "Go for it!" Even if at first you don't get many plays or you find the tools hard to use, some dedication and practice (and maybe some YouTube tutorials) will get you creating awesome things in no time. Also, LBPC's F4F feature is perhaps the best way to get people interested in your levels on LBPC - I used to do loads of them when I had more free time, and you can get some really constructive feedback if you look for it hard enough. I'd also suggest you try and be as unique as possible! - copying someone else's designs or hanging up a few sponge swings won't get you far, so play others' creations and other games, draw out ideas in the back of your maths book (when the teachers aren't looking, of course) and don't get too hung up on plays or hearts, they're just numbers after all. I get my kicks out of making unique gameplay that I haven't seen anywhere else in LBP, and that's what keeps me coming back for more!


    Statik was so relieved that Ria forgot her bikini for the match...

    So it turns out that Holguin's "secret" is no more than good old-fashioned hard graft, a healthy dose of talent, and a bucket-load of imagination. What a let-down! No witchcraft, not even a decent Goddess to idolize.

    I could fawn over Holguin's bosses all day, I really could. They are intense. Reaching the fight to begin with is a journey, not just a cut-and-paste platformer placed as a little padding before the main event. Every piece of the experience is hand-crafted with love and care, from varied gameplay mechanics to captivating settings and memorable characters. By the time you reach your destination, you are left huffing and panting, begging for a moment to rest, whilst in the distance an angry foe awaits...

    It's an experience I've had time and time again on Holguin's earth, each one memorable, challenging and above all, enjoyable.

    So if you're looking for something riveting, something which could quite possibly make you tear your hair out, but will just as likely make you grin madly when you reach the scoreboard, go to Holguin's earth. You want a puzzle, a platformer, a racer, a versus game...

    You know what? Just go, right now. You know where!

    In the meantime, I'm off to see if I can find that voodoo doll. The one that bears a striking resemblance to Spaff. I'm sure that'll set me on the right track...

    Well, that's all, folks! We hope you have enjoyed this installment of the Creator Spotlight. For past spotlights, please visit this link. See you next time!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Creator Spotlight 29 - Holguin86 started by Morgana25 View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Kalawishis's Avatar
      Kalawishis -
      Oh Yes. This is perfect.
    1. Lockstitch's Avatar
      Lockstitch -
      Congrats man, good read. It was a nice compliment to getting to know you personal-like this past summer.
    1. Mnniska's Avatar
      Mnniska -
      Excellent spotlight you guys!
    1. JakePutz's Avatar
      JakePutz -
      Great Spotlight! Holguin86 RULES!!!