increpare1.PNG[In his latest interview for GameSetWatch, writer and GSW correspondent Mike Rose talks to indie game creator Stephen 'Increpare' Lavelle about both his intriguing games and plans for future titles.]

Stephen Lavelle is a prolific indie developer who goes by the pseudonym Increpare. He is well-known in the indie community for churning out games thick and fast and exploring a wide range of concepts and game mechanics.

Of his 100+ games, highlights include triptych, Signifier, Opera Omnia and Whale of Noise. The subjects of his work range from side-scrolling shmups to exploration experiences, and many of his releases are rather NSFW.

In a recent interview, we talked to Stephen about his minimalistic style, why he got into game development, and why his job changes

Hi Increpare. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

My name is Stephen and I make games.

Why did you choose to go by the pseudonym Increpare?

I used to have a thing for the composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, and he wrote a piece called Increpatio. I chose that as a pseudonym when I was wandering around music fora, and modified it slightly when I decided to set up an account on an indie games forum (TIGSource).

When did you start making games, and what led you to do so?

I started making games a while back. There was a copy of Delphi (a programming IDE) that was given away free on the cover disk of a magazine. It took a year or two before I figured out how to do anything other than database programming with it. Then I made some other games.

None of 'em are on the internet now. The stuff I have on my site now is all from when I was in college.

Over the last few years, you've released over 100 games. Do you have any favourites?


increpare2.pngYour games are usually graphically minimalistic, and even your website is monochrome and bare in style. Is it that you'd rather focus on the game's concept over creating 'real' graphics, or do you simply not see yourself as a good artist?

I try to find an aesthetic I find acceptable - I've been working on the design of my website for years now, though usually when I come to change it I end up removing things rather than adding things. I think that at some point my internal organs that mediate sexy-website desires must have atrophied.

A fair few of your games take quite disturbing turns, featuring subjects such as sexual fetishes and nudity. Is your goal with these particular releases to shock the audience, or do these ideas feel no different to anything else you create?

You're such a prude! They do feel different to other ideas, and it can be difficult to work with them, but I've no goals as such.

You've collaborated with the likes of Terry Cavanagh and Hayden Scott-Baron in the past. Do you enjoy working on your own rather than with other people?

If I was faced with the choice of always working alone vs always collaborating I would unhesitatingly go with the former rather than the latter. I do really appreciate working in the company of other people, though. That's why I'm looking forward to moving down to Cambridge and getting together with some more people.

increpare3.pngYou recently made a post on your site announcing that you'd been made redundant from your job, and asking for people to make donations. Have you had a good response from your followers and fellow developers?

So far yes, people have been pretty good (developers and non-developers). I'm not going to become a wealthy man off of it, nor do I even expect to be able to subsist on donations, but even from what I have already I know that I'm going to have a much easier time getting started in Cambridge thanks to the contributions that people have made. That makes me really happy.

You said in a comment on the IndieGames blog last year that "I don't make money off my stuff, and I don't want to". With your current situation, are you now considering a future in charging for your games?

I'm not actively considering it. I don't think my desire to make games would survive the transition.

Do you have any big plans for your future game development-wise, or will you continue to build your concepts on the fly?

I hope I can get some time to sit down and consider what the hell I'm doing games-wise. I don't feel like I've had a moment to stop and think for over a year. I've just been working on things.

I'm looking forward to being able to do that, if only for a couple of days. For now, though, I'm caught up in trying to tie up loose ends here. Once I'm done here, I can start making games afresh.