Games |


April 13, 2016

Creepy Castle: Meet the Developer

Hi guys! This is Zach, creator of the upcoming PC/Mac/Linux game Creepy Castle! It’s been a while since the game was guaranteed life through Kickstarter, but development has been moving along, and I feel like there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hoping to keep you informed here about some of the various aspects of creating Creepy Castle, but before I do that, I thought I’d give you some background about myself.

Creepy Castle Title Screen

Creepy Castle is almost here, combining old-school looks and ideas for an all-new type of RPG.

I’ve been a gamer for almost as long as I can remember, my first console being the NES before moving on to the Super NES. I enjoy almost every game genre, but I’ve always had a special spot for platformers in particular. Some of my favorites include the Super Mario games (of course) and the Castlevania series – both the classic action-platformers and the more recent Metroidvania-style games. There’s just something special about venturing through those haunted halls of Dracula’s castle! I’m also a big RPG guy. You can’t go wrong with the Final Fantasy series, and the entire line of Mario role-playing games is spectacular. I’ve always appreciated how those games have tried to bring something new to the table to make them more than just menu-driven RPGs – stuff like the timed button presses for extra offense or defense in Super Mario RPG, and the little minigames used to execute special attacks in the Mario & Luigi titles. (Not coincidentally, you’ll probably notice the influence of a lot of these games in Creepy Castle.)

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Look! It’s Bee, who’s going on to bigger and better things in Creepy Castle.

When I was still pretty young I started creating my own games with RPG Maker 2000 on PC, and after spending a lot of time with that, I began fooling around with GameMaker. When I wasn’t attending school, I spent my time learning the things I needed to know to better make my own games: programming, writing, art, and, more recently, music. Along with one of my friends, this led me to establish Dopterra back in 2008. You could call it an indie game studio now, but back then it was more just for fun, and it allowed me meet a lot of other people who’ve contributed to Creepy Castle’s development. (Dopterra is also the name of the world where Creepy Castle takes place). We’ve mostly dabbled with smaller browser-based games, like Flutter Moth, a Flappy Bird-inspired game starring Moth, Creepy Castle’s main character. I was also commissioned to create a simple browser-based shooter to go alongside a book called Echo of the Boom a couple years ago – my first professional game!

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Classassin, a shooter created to promote the novel Echo of the Boom, was my first professional game.

But everything I’ve done before has been on a much smaller scale than what you’ll find in Creepy Castle. It’s by far my most ambitious project to date, and even though the going has been a little slower than expected, I think the extra time and effort are going to pay off. Next time I’ll write a little bit about Creepy Castle’s origins and how it’s become what it is today. Thanks for your interest!

April 4, 2016

Ittle Dew 2: Introduction to Ludosity

Greetings from Sweden! This is Joel from Ludosity; I’m one of the designers of Ittle Dew 2, which we’re bringing to Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One with the help of Nicalis.

If you’ve had a chance to play the original Ittle Dew or any of our other games, like Card City Nights or Bob Came In Pieces (it’s a horrible name, I know), then that’s great! Thanks for the support! For those of you who don’t know us yet, here’s a little bit of background.

Personally, I’ve been a huge gamer ever since the days of the 8-bit NES. One of my favorites? The Legend of Zelda, naturally. That was my go-to game back in the day, and I was mesmerized as I explored its forests and deserts and dungeons. It seemed like there was always something new to discover; it was amazing. Another one of my favorites, for a lot of the same reasons, is Super Metroid, which might be the pinnacle of game design as far as I’m concerned.

Ludosity logo 2011

This is our logo. It proves we exist!

Back then I never thought I’d be a game designer, but one day I was criticizing some game — I don’t remember which one — and my girlfriend at the time told me that if I was just going to complain about video games then maybe I should just learn to make better ones myself. And I hadn’t really considered that before, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, and so I applied to university to learn about programming and game creation, and I loved it.

Bob Came in Pieces

Bob is in pieces. Or, at least, his ship is in pieces, and you need to rebuild it.

I formed Ludosity with a bunch of fellow students back in 2008, and we made a handful of games (like the aforementioned Bob Came In Pieces, which was released on Steam), but team members kept coming and going, and it wasn’t until 2010 or so that we came together to form what I call Ludosity 2.0, which included myself, Daniel (a fantastic level designer who I met at university), Anton (our art director), and Gustav (our programmer). Ever since that core team came together, we’ve been finding our own identity and aesthetic and sense of humor, and we’ve been continuing to create games we want people to enjoy, like the original Ittle Dew (which came out in 2013) and now Ittle Dew 2.

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Ittle Dew was our first stab at a puzzle-filled adventure game.

The Ittle Dew games are top-down adventures born from our love of classics like The Legend of Zelda, hopefully delivering that same sense of wonder and surprise and discovery, but with the Ludosity brand of style and humor and our own take on adventure-y gameplay. Ittle Dew 2 is going to be way, way bigger than the original, with new abilities, revamped graphics, better combat, and much more to explore, and we hope you stick around in the coming days and weeks to get a taste of what we have in store. Thanks for reading…and playing!

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Ittle Dew 2 is on its way to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Adventure and shenanigans are guaranteed!

March 29, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Hello from Voodoo Land!

Greetings! This is Rob from Over the Top games, developer of the roguelike action title Full Mojo Rampage, which we’re bringing to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with some help from Nicalis. I’ll be bringing you a bunch of details about the game in the near future, but first I thought I’d tell you more about myself and Over the Top.

I’ve been a gamer for a long time – I’m an especially big fan of Nintendo games, particularly the Mario and Zelda titles. I also love deeper, story-driven games like Deus Ex and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. My colleagues and I are also huge fans of The Binding of Isaac, and I’m not just saying that because we’re partnered up with Nicalis!

After I became a programmer, my first job was at a company called Pyro Studios, which is best known for the Commandos series. My first project was a strategy game called Imperial Glory, which I worked on from start to finish over a couple of years. The next title for Pyro was a WiiWare game, but after around two years in development, one of the higher ups decided to scrap the project. That was my wake-up call to go independent, so in 2008 I decided to start Over the Top Games, where I was joined by my brother and one of my friends.

Our first game, which you might have heard of, was a 2D platformer originally called Icarian: Kindred Spirits, but was later renamed NyxQuest. It was fairly well received when it was released on WiiWare, and it later came out on Steam and iOS. That caught the attention of the folks at Electronic Arts’ EA 2D studio, who were interested in using the engine we developed for NyxQuest. That led to us working with them to bring Fancy Pants Adventures to console and mobile.

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Platformer NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits was our first release as Over the Top Games.

After that we considered doing something a bit bigger, something grander. We started prototyping a few game concepts and began reaching out to publishers that could help us bring these ideas to life on a greater scale. In the end, however, we decided that the financial environment at the time just wasn’t right for what we wanted to do. This could have been considered a setback, but it was actually a good thing, as it allowed us to make exactly the game we wanted, completely by ourselves with our own funding. That’s the game that ended up becoming Full Mojo Rampage: a voodoo-themed procedurally generated multiplayer action game that provides a new experience every time you play. FMR hit PCs via Steam in 2013, and now we’re working on bringing the game to console. The PS4 and Xbox versions will have all the features that the PC version had, along with some technical improvements and even a new mode.

Full Mojo Rampage, an action game fueled by the power of voodoo, will soon be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

We’re very excited to be bringing this game to a whole new audience, and we hope you come back to hear more about the development process. Next time: how we ended up going with a voodoo theme in the first place!

February 4, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: World

Hello! Matt Kap here again, with another dev blog about Castle In The Darkness! Today I’ll talk about the game’s world!

This game is split up into areas, but it’s also a large open world. Before describing any further, I’ll show you guys a zoomed out map of the entire game.

To give you a sense of scale, that red mark on the bottom left is about the size of one screen, so there is a LOT of area to explore in Castle In The Darkness! Of course, you don’t have to explore at all, you could take a straightforward path to the end, but you will find that by skipping all the secrets and upgrades, the game will become hard REAL quick.

Sometimes, certain obstacles will be unpassable, so you will be forced to take a different path, then return later on once you are able to pass the obstacle. These types of games usually require some backtracking. Luckily, there is an item you will obtain part-way into your journey that will facilitate this:

This is the warp stone! Once you get this item, you will be able to use warp points scattered across the world to travel, first to a place called Warp Zone, and from there you wil be able to warp back to any of the warp points.

Warp points are similar to save points, but with a different colored crystal. Without the warp stone, the crystals will not be able to take you anywhere, and will appear as plain rocks. Using the warp stone will make it easier to traverse such a large world, and who knows, Warp Zone may also be hiding secrets of its own!
(And maybe those secrets also have secrets…!)

As usual, thanks for checking this out! Just to remind everyone reading, the game will be out on Steam TOMORROW! Please come back to this blog in the future for more updates, even AFTER release! Till next time!

January 30, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: Monsters!

Hey everyone! Matt Kap here again. Today I will be touching on something that you will see a lot of in Castle In The Darkness, the monsters!

For a game like this, there really has to be a lot of enemies to make each area feel different, and to keep the challenge ramping up throughout. So, though there are a couple (very few) palette swaps, Castle In The Darkness features over 100 enemy monsters! It would take far too long to write about every one of them, so I have picked a few early-game monsters to share some info about.


Flouse
A flying eyeball with scaly wings and some legs. They aren’t hard to defeat, but report what they’ve seen to the sorcerer that summoned them.


Arrey
An arrey is a skeleton that has been reanimated by evil magic. Because they are missing any heavy flesh or muscle, they move faster than the zombies, and throw bones at the player.


Blue Devil
This mischevious devil spits fireballs at the hero, mocks him, then quickly flies away before he can be punished!


Beastman
The hair coming from this guy’s head looks like a strange mullet, but it’s really his fuzzy and floppy ears. When he’s not attacking you with his whip, he likes to go for walks and play fetch.


Mushman
This creature walks around in Agros Forest. When startled, it will squeeze its fungus muscles and shoot out burning spores through its cap.

This post just happens to scratch the surface of what you can expect in terms of enemies, so maybe at some point I will do another post that will show some of the late-game enemies or more obscure/secret ones.

Last, but certainly not least, the lovely Karrie Shirou made a video of herself LPing the first area of Castle In The Darkness! Keep in mind that this was made a while back, so the build is dated and things will be a bit different when the game drops next week. It was a pleasure for me to watch this, and I’m proud to be the cause of the intense emotional ups-and-downs she had to experience :). Thanks Karrie!

Again, thanks for reading! Please keep checking this blog for future updates! Till next time!

January 22, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: Release Date Announcement!

Hey guys! Matt Kap here again. I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard any news about Castle In The Darkness, but I’m posting here today to rectify that :). Please see for yourself below:

So there you have it. Castle In The Darkness will finally be available on Windows through Steam on:

February 5th, 2015 for $5.99

For the full press release, click on this link!

This isn’t all there is to announce, there will be a lot more upcoming posts between now and the release, so make sure to keep an eye on this blog, and follow me and Nicalis on twitter! Thanks a lot!

August 14, 2014

Castle In The Darkness: Design Pt. I, General Design

Hello! Matt Kap here again, with another dev blog about Castle In The Darkness! Today I’ll spend some time talking about the general design of the game! But before I do, I’ll show you a piece of promotional art.

As I have mentioned in the past, my main goal was to create a game that would have been my absolute favorite as a kid, had it been released on a classic console like the NES. I loved action platformers and adventure games the most, especially those that allowed some exploration (Metroid, Castlevania 2, Faxanadu, etc), so the main choice was that simple. This has always been my favorite genre of video game.

But…

In order for it to work better in this day and age, I felt like I had to make some changes to the formula.

1. Movement: To keep up with modern design sensibilities (and to avoid getting shot at by angry players), I did away with antiquated game design decisions like ultra-slow (why do Belmonts always walk?) movement and not being able to alter direction mid-jump. Instead, you are free to run and dodge at a fast pace.

It takes just a couple seconds to run from one end of a room to the other, but by doing so you might not be seeing obstacles, traps, and secrets. The plus side to this is that slower players can choose to play carefully, and impatient players (like myself) can blast through the rooms after dying learning where the traps are! Also, you get more airtime by holding the jump button, so it’s possible to tap jump to do a short hop, and hold jump down for a leap.

2. With the exception of projectiles, attacks come out as fast as you can press the button. So players can wait through an enemy’s patterns and strike a few times to play it safe, or use that window to dice them up by fist-of-the-north-star-ing the attack button! You will still lose momentum while attacking on the ground, but no more taking damage because you’re stuck with your sword out for half a second!

In the old days, slow mechanics were commonly used to extend gameplay time. So, by getting rid of those slow mechanics, the only way to extend gameplay time in Castle In The Darkness was to add as much content as I could. I’m hoping that players will appreciate this effort, and work together to uncover all the stuff I hid in this game.

August 12, 2014

Castle In The Darkness: Ye Olde Introductions

Hello internets! My name is Matt Kap, the lead artist here at Nicalis and the designer/creator of Castle In The Darkness!

For those of you who don’t know, Castle In The Darkness is a 2D classic-styled action-adventure game that I have spent the last three years developing. We are proud to announce that Nicalis will be publishing the game on Steam this summer! Before I go into too much detail about the game, have a look at the new trailer below!

Castle In The Darkness is an action platformer with RPG elements, and a big focus on exploration. When I started development on it, my goal was to create a game that was faithful to the games I played as a kid in terms of concept and aesthetics, but with a fast and modern approach to control and game design. As you have likely noticed from watching the trailer, I’ve done my best to retain the 8-bit look and styling in the graphics, and though you can’t tell, the in-game music is all chiptune as well.

This game was inspired by many games, including (but not limited to) Mega Man, Castlevania, Kirby, Zelda, Ys, and many more, so fans of those series’ will surely find something to enjoy in Castle In The Darkness. Starting now, and until around the time of Castle In The Darkness’ upcoming release, I will be making posts here regularily to outline both aspects of the game content, as well as aspects of the development process.

Please keep checking this blog, and be sure to follow @nicalis and @mattkap1 on twitter for future updates! Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with these moving screenshots to check out! Thanksth!

May 24, 2014

’90s, Steam, non-Steam and new screens

For this update I would like to address some concerns and share a few more screenshots from some of the game’s new cars and tracks.

I have received several emails asking about the game’s release date and why we haven’t shown any gameplay videos yet. There is nobody that wants the game released more than we do and we are working hard to make it happen.There are still some areas that need work and I’ve kept postponing any gameplay videos until we are happy with what we are showing. I understand that the people that helped fund this project want to be more involved in the development process but I feel that releasing unpolished or rough material can do more harm than good. It’s a fine line and I apologize if some people feel left out.

Also we’ll make sure that everyone who doesn’t use Steam will be able to receive a copy.

Last but not least..

May 7, 2014

’90s Arcade Racer and Nailing Every Part of the Game

We’ve have been quite for a while on the ’90s Arcade Racer front and there are a few (good) reasons why.

First, the game has taken on a life of itself and we really want to get it just right. Yes, there are a number of racing games coming, but none have really taken on the idea of reviving an era that we both love and find the most appealing in the genre. To be more specific, we’ve found that as we continue to polish the game, its visual style, a physics model we’re happy with, everything else needs to be powered-up so to speak.

We know we have something special with ’90s and we want it all to be special, every. single. part. of. the. game! With that said, we’ve secretly been trying to get some of the best talent for basically every aspect of development, even if it means we need more time .

One of the aspects of the game we really haven’t spoken much about, but have put a lot of time and effort into getting just right is audio. Neither of us are audio experts so to speak, but we have found one!

The engine work and accompanying game sound effects are going to be handled by Stafford Bawler. That name probably means nothing to you, but it should! He’s working on everything from Dirt, GRiD and Forza to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. He’s that good. We’re already working with him to create some really amazing, authentic and very dynamic sounds that you’ll hear in the finished product.

You can follow Stafford on Twitter: @StaffordBawler

The other area we haven’t talked much about is music. We’ve received so many requests to enlist Takenobu Mitsuyoshi (famous for Daytona USA). But, unfortunately for us, he’s still employed by SEGA. However, we do know a number of really amazing musicians who have taken on the cause of ’90s Arcade Racer.

We’re taking a different approach to ’90s Arcade Racer and treating the soundtrack like a compilation of great music from great musicians. Each artist will be giving his or her take on what they feel the ’90s sounded like and we’ll announce each them as we progress through the final development of the game and near release. By the way, if you can convince Takenobu to do a track for ’90s Arcade Racer, we’re all for it!

We’ll be announcing the first musician in the next couple of weeks with a tiny sample of his track.

As a reminder for anyone who hasn’t followed our updates recently, our plans for ’90s Arcade Racer were to launch on PC (via Steam) and Wii U and follow-up with mobile. However, given the prevalence of Unity 3D on PlayStation 4, PS Vita and Xbox One, you can be sure we’re trying to find a way to get the game on those platforms as well. However, we’d like to get the game out for backers on PC and players on Wii U first–you’ve been patiently waiting and we do want to give you the ride of your life.