Creepy Castle |


October 26, 2016

Creepy Castle: Looking Back!

print_pic_1

Hey guys! Zach here again to discuss Creepy Castle. As I’m writing this, development is essentially all wrapped up, and I’ve found out that the game even has a tentative release date! Heck, by the time this gets posted, maybe it will even be out! At any rate, this seems like a good time to think about the experiences I had and things I learned during the development of Creepy Castle.

If nothing else, Creepy Castle has helped me become a more efficient coder. Back when I started this endeavor, I was really more of a designer than a programmer, so a lot of the code I wrote, particularly for the duels, was very redundant and messy. Sure, it worked, but I discovered it was a lot better keep things modular and flexible when it comes to designing game engines. Eventually I ended up going back to the old duels and collapsing all of the redundant code into standardized functions that I could apply to all the duels, both existing and yet to come. It was a bit of a detour to development, but in the end it really increased productivity and allowed me to add new duel minigames more easily.

Siege
The duels were initially pretty bloated and redundant from a programming standpoint, but they were streamlined during the development process.

Development also reminded me that not everything makes the cut. Most things did – in fact, if anything, I was guilty of making more work for myself so I could cram in more ideas. But a few things still got scrapped. At one point my friend/collaborator Krystal and I came up with the idea of this weird bug character that is mysteriously similar to Moth, but is a just a little bit “off.” It’s very small, it only has one ball shape on its antennae, and it walks on four legs. There was a sequence in which a weary Moth woke up to see it scurry across the ground in front of him and suddenly stare him right in the eye and really freak him out. Unfortunately we never really went anywhere with it after that, but maybe I can put it back in if I ever make a “director’s cut” version or something of that nature.

cc_291363
At one point in development, persistent items across scenarios were considered, but ultimately were abandoned.

Another idea I toyed around with was persistent items that functioned across the game’s scenarios. For the most part, each scenario is completely self-contained, but for a while I was thinking of adding special relics that functioned across scenarios. For example, on your second playthrough, you might be able to get a sword that could defeat any enemy in one hit. In the end, though, I could only think of cheat-type ideas that wouldn’t really make a meaningful contribution to the game in the long run, so they ended up getting cut. Maybe it’s something I’ll revisit some day if I can think of enough interesting ways for persistent game modifiers to work between scenarios.

twitch

One of the highlights of making Creepy Castle was getting to demo it on Twitch’s livestream during E3 2016.

But one of the best things to come out of the entire development experience was the friends I got to make, places I got to go, and people I got to meet, both online and in person. Thanks to Creepy Castle, I was able to come out to San Francisco back in May to mingle with the gaming press (and eat tacos) at a Nicalis demo event, and it gave me an excuse to attend E3 back in June where I got to show the game live on Twitch. Plus, being at E3 gave me the chance to ask a Naughty Dog employee if he’d be making an Uncharted racing game called Unkarted. (For the record, he walked off, quipping that everyone asks him that, apparently.)

Ultimately, working on Creepy Castle has been fun, rewarding, educational, and unlike anything else I’ve done in my career thus far. Thanks again to everyone reading this, everyone who supported the game on Kickstarter, and everyone who’s been looking forward to the game. I hope you’ll be playing it soon if you’re not already!

October 11, 2016

Creepy Castle: A Little of This, A Little of That!

Hey guys! This Zach again to tell you a little more about Creepy Castle. I’ve already talked about the scenarios, the combat, the characters, the items, the retro style, and the customization, so what’s left to tell you about the game…? Well, I like to think that Creepy Castle stands on its own as a unique action-adventure-RPG, but there’s no question that many games that I’ve played over the last 20-plus years have been influential in various aspects of the games design. In previous posts I’ve specifically mentioned Castlevania and the Mario RPGs as influences, but there are numerous others – some may be obvious in the impact they’ve had, and others not so much. Here are a few other ways in which Creepy Castle was influenced by some of my favorites.

scen1-using-phasing-device
Like in many classic action-adventure games, Creepy Castle has areas you can’t reach until you come back with the right item.

Exploration and Ability Gates: Metroid and The Legend of Zelda are kind of the prototypes for all exploration-based, action-adventure games. Like in those games, you’ll explore large areas and sometimes come across “ability gates” where you’ll need specific items to proceed, or a new item might bring new meaning to a place that was previously thought to be a dead end.

Siege
The duels in Creepy Castle were inspired in part by the minigames of Mario Party.

Skill-Based Minigames: I’ve mentioned before that the battles in Creepy Castle take some cues from Mario & Luigi and other Mario RPGs, but they’re influenced by Mario Party as well. Specifically, the battles require technical skill in a variety of minigames. Sometimes you’re mashing buttons, sometimes you need perfect timing, sometimes you need keen observational skills…

ui_plant-border
The framed HUD and picture-in-picture-style gameplay window is reminiscent of many classic RPGs.

Picture-in-Picture HUD: A lot of Falcom’s classics (and other vintage RPGs) used a good chunk of the screen for the HUD and had sort of “picture-in-picture” window that served as your viewing port into the game world for the actual gameplay. I used the same style for Creepy Castle to give it some retro sensibilities.

cc_1056996
The characters in Creepy Castle are designed to be cute and cuddly, sort of like Kirby or Pokemon.

Charm and Appeal: One thing I really wanted was to make sure that Creepy Castle had a cute and likable aesthetic for the character designs – something broadly appealing and really memorable, like Kirby and Pokemon. The visual style of Kirby and Pokemon didn’t influence Creepy Castle directly, but I was hoping to capture that same whimsical charm. Pretty much all of my artistic inspiration and character design sensibilities come from Japanese art.

Replay Value: When I was a kid, Super Smash Bros. Melee always stood out because there was just so much to see, do, and unlock. It was like a fountain of infinite gameplay. With Creepy Castle‘s multiple scenarios, unlockable characters, a bestiary of monsters to defeat, and a library of lore to fill, I hope it gives players a little of that same excitement. Even if you’ve already beaten the game, there are still new things to do and new goals to achieve if you’re feeling so inclined.

cc_890727
Like many modern adventure games, Creepy Castle is full of backstory to discover if you so desire.

A Detailed World: I love it when a big RPG or an adventure-style game has a lot of thought put into its world and backstory. Similar to Metroid Prime, King’s Field, or the Souls series, Creepy Castle lets learn a lot about the world through the lore and from NPCs that sort of creates an interconnected web of personalities and events. It’s easy enough to avoid if you aren’t interested in that sort of thing, but if you do want to learn all about the details of this world, then it’s there for you to discover and learn about.

So there you have it – how some of my favorite games helped inspire Creepy Castle. They say nothing’s created in a vacuum, and that’s certainly true in this case. I think that there’s still plenty of originality here (there’s aren’t too many games that star a moth as the main character, right?), but if people play the game and they’re reminded even a bit of the classics that influenced me as a gamer, then I’ll know I’ve done something right.

October 5, 2016

Creepy Castle: Cameos’n Crossovers!

scen2-yokai-world

Hey guys! Zach from Dopterra here again to talk some more about Creepy Castle. You know the phrase “It’s dangerous to go alone”? Well, it’s certainly true when it comes to game development. Or, if not dangerous, at least less than ideal. During this experience, I’ve had lots of support from friends, colleagues, the crew at Nicalis, and other indie developers. And speaking of other indie developers, I’m pleased to say that I’ve collaborated with several of them to give Creepy Castle some crossover indie star power.

As you might have seen on Creepy Castle‘s Kickstarter page, the game will include cameo appearances from Plague Knight (from Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight), Chica (from Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s), and Dr. Fetus (from Team Meat’s Super Meat Boy). Basically, I just wanted to work with some of the characters and creators of games that I really like, so I was absolutely humbled when they allowed me use these guys as special guests. It’s almost like getting to write creator-approved fanfiction! I suppose I could have asked to use the protagonists, but for some reason it seemed more special to use characters that were a little off the beaten path, so to speak.

drfetus
The evil Dr. Fetus will make an appearance in Creepy Castle, complete with sadistic buzzsaw!

As for how these characters are going to appear in the game… Well, I don’t want to give everything away yet, but as I write this, the plan is to spread the character cameos across the scenarios, and to allow you to fight them as super-powerful hidden bosses. Once you defeat them, they’ll become playable in the game’s Free Mode!

Dr. Fetus should show up somewhere in Scenario I: Creepy Castle where he’ll try to cut you down to size with his buzzsaw in the Struggle duel. Plague Knight and Chica will appear in Scenario II: Ghostly Mystery; Chica will fight using the rhythm-like Slider duel, and Plague Knight requires you to dodge potions in the shooter-inspired Siege duel.

chica
I’m pretty excited to have Chica from Five Nights at Freddy’s in the game. It’s a real honor to have Mr. Cawthon’s permission!

Oh, and guess what? In addition to the three crossover characters that were announced during the Kickstarter campaign, two more are on the way thanks to the folks at Nicalis. (See, I told you they were helpful!) You can also expect to find Aban Hawkins (from Aban Hawkins & 1001 Spikes) and Balrog (from Cave Story) in the game! Given that he’s an explorer, Aban will show up in the exploration-heavy Scenario III: Depth, where he’ll make good use of his throwing knives… on you! And finally, Balrog will be found in Scenario IV: Due Exaltation.

aban
As an explorer, Aban Hawkins is a perfect fit for the vast expanses of Scenario III: Depth.

Considering that I’m including all of these cameo appearances, you might be wondering if the characters of Creepy Castle are going to show up anywhere else. Personally, I think it’d be awesome if other creators want to include them in their games! I don’t have anything I can confirm yet, but you might want to keep your eye on Puzzle Depot from Laughing Manatee games.

Once again, thanks for reading, and I hope you look forward to seeing some of your favorite indie characters in a brand-new light once you get to play Creepy Castle!

September 27, 2016

Creepy Castle: Custom Creepy!

Hey guy, this is Zach again. I’ve talked a lot about the content and features in my previous updates about Creepy Castle, but this time I wanted to touch on something that isn’t really directly related to the gameplay: the customization options. If you checked out our Kickstarter campaign, you may recall that a customizable interface has been one of the planned features ever since the beginning: you can completely change the border around the gameplay window and choose between hearts or a bar to represent your life meter. In addition, you can select from multiple color palettes.

oldui
This is pretty much how the interface looked when we first designed it.

It might not seem like a huge thing, but I honestly think that having multiple borders is a great way to make the game better suited to the player’s personality. In the beginning, of course, there was only one type of border. But then it went through revision and redesign, and the new interface looked quite different from the original version. I showed it to my friends, and opinions were mixed. Some liked the old one, and some liked the new one. Some preferred the hero and enemies to have their remaining health displayed as a somewhat nebulous bar, while others preferred seeing it as distinct hearts so it was a bit more obvious how much health they had left. It seemed to be a simple matter of personal preference. So I figured, what the heck? Why not include all those options and let the player decide which to go with?

updated
Do you prefer the old look or the updated look? Either way, you’re good to go.

The custom interface choices grew from there. You can select from one that’s red and smooth, one that’s blue and stony, one that’s grey and mechanical, one that looks like castle parapets with dragon heads breathing fire, one that looks like a lush forest, and others. There are currently nine border choices in the game, but that could end up expanding before the game’s release.

ui_plant-border
This plant-themed border is pretty soothing, don’t you think? It’s one of nine you can choose from.

The customizable color palettes came about during the Kickstarter campaign. One of the stretch goals (which we hit) was to include a greenish four-color Game Boy-style palette for the game, so to do that I implemented a shader that can swap certain colors with other colors. Once the shader was done, it was no problem at all to include other alternative palettes as well, and the number of color options has currently climbed to 10 (though, as with the borders, the number may grow).

gamebro
It’s like 1989 all over again with the Game Boy-inspired color palette!

You can choose to go with a brighter color palette, a more muted palette (if you find the default palette tough on the eyes for any reason), a grayscale “noir” palette, a pastel pink palette, a black-and-white palette, and even an NES color palette. There’s also one that makes all the colors weird – it was sort of inspired by Super Mario World, specifically the way the colors and character art would change once you cleared all 96 exits in the game. Sorry, no pure-red Virtual Boy color scheme though!

On top of all that, there’s also even more adjustable shader options that let you tweak the game’s aesthetic to your liking. All of the aforementioned options from this update are available from the get-go – you don’t need to unlock them or anything – so I hope you enjoy trying them out and finding your favorites once you play the finished game.

June 30, 2016

Creepy Castle: Let’s Battle! II: Burning Fight

Hey there, this is Zach again. In my last post I introduced you to Creepy Castle’s combat system and discussed some of the duel types. This time I want to tell you about some of the other duels you’ll encounter as you get further into the game.

scen1-boulder chase

Parry: Like the Pursuit duel I mentioned last time, Parry takes place on a three-by-three grid. This time, though, the grid display represents the location of incoming enemy attacks. These attacks take the form of icons with rapid countdown timers, and you must target each icon with your reticle before the timer hits zero to deflect the attack. As you deflect the attacks, a meter fills up on the left side; once it’s full, you win. Fail to block three hits, though, and you’ll lose this duel. You’ll also have to be on alert for grey feint icons; if you target a feint icon, it’ll also count as a miss. Part of the inspiration for this minigame came from the rhythm game Elite Beat Agents, and although it wasn’t really an inspiration, the parrying in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is sort of similar.

Parry
Target the exclamation-point icons before time runs out to block the incoming attacks!

Shove: I’d consider this duel to be the most like a typical video game quick-time event. It’s basically a sumo wrestling match in which you’re trying to push your opponent back and knock them out of bounds. A string of input commands appears at the bottom of the screen; if you enter these correctly you’ll knock your foe back, but if you mess up you’ll get pushed back instead. There’s also a time limit on this one, and if neither of you get shoved out before it expires, the contest ends in a draw.

cc_599476
Channel your inner sumo strength to knock back the enemy.

Teleport: This one is kind of like the cup game in which you put a coin under a cup and then quickly slide the cups around, with the goal being for someone to guess where the coin is hidden. Only instead of cups and coins, it’s an enemy moving rapidly between several locations, and you have to identify the spot the enemy ended up at when he stopped moving. The number of teleportation spots varies by the enemy, as does the speed at which enemies teleport.


Can you spot which enemy is the real deal?

Siege: Siege is another duel that uses a grid for movement, but this one draws its inspiration from classic 2D shooters. Projectiles come at you from the right, and you must move up and down on the grid to dodge the incoming shots. Different enemies have different firing patterns and types of attacks, so this duel can feel quite distinct from one encounter to the next. For instance, there’s one enemy who can fire big, burning, meteor-like projectiles, as well as a volley of three fireballs, plus smaller, faster projectiles; I’m especially fond of that one. In fact, right now this is probably my personal favorite type of duel.

Siege
Siege takes inspiration from old-school shooters.

Maze: Think Pac-Man and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the duel is about. A small maze is randomly generated, and you’ll have to move through it and pick up some collectibles while avoiding the enemy. Coding the random maze creation has been one of the trickier aspects of programming the duels, but it wasn’t too bad.

Maze
Unfortunately, there are no Power Pellets to help you here
.

Slider: Basically, there’s an indicator moving across a slider, and you have to press the button when the indicator crosses over strips, kind of like in a rhythm game. When you successfully hit the command button while over a strip, your bar is incremented. Catching the strip over red regions will increase the bar a bit, and if you hit the button while the reticle is over a golden “perfect” region, it will increase by a lot. If your bar is close to full by the duel’s end, you’ll snag a perfect, and if it’s next to nil, the duel will end in failure. This is the last type of duel I have planned for Creepy Castle, but you never know what could happen before it’s all said and done!

There you have it – a full list of the types of duels you’ll encounter in Creepy Castle. I think it’s safe to say that they’re not your typical RPG battles. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy playing them once the game is released!

June 22, 2016

Creepy Castle: Let’s Battle!

Hey, guys! This is Zach here once again to tell you about Creepy Castle. In some of my previous posts I’ve alluded to the game’s unique, action-oriented battle system, but I figure it’s time to go in-depth on this subject, since it’s one of Creepy Castle’s defining features. If you followed our Kickstarter campaign then you already know a lot about the battle system, but if not, this should give you a good grasp of how combat works.

scen1-special attack

As you’re exploring the castle (as I discussed last time), you’ll frequently cross paths with stationary enemies blocking the way. How do you get past? beat them, of course. Nothing happens from just touching an enemy, so it’s up to you to initiate combat by moving the cursor to the sword icon and attacking. Sometimes, you’ll simply strike the enemy, causing them to strike back, basically trading blows until someone, preferably the bad guy, is defeated. (If the enemy has only 1 HP, you’ll defeat them before they get a chance to retaliate.)

cc_856826
Select the sword icon to lay the smack down on your foes.

But most of the time, striking an enemy will cause a duel to take place – essentially a minigame that you could say is inspired by the Bros Items in the Mario & Luigi games, or maybe you could attribute them to the minigames in Mario Party. No matter which way you think about it, it’s a quick, reflex-based form of combat. If you do well on the minigame and earn a perfect, you’ll damage the enemy; if you merely do OK or fight the enemy to a standstill, both you and the enemy will take damage; and if you mess up, you’ll earn a failure and only you will take damage. If the enemy is still standing after the duel, you’ll have the opportunity to attack, and likely duel, once again.

There are nine types of duels in all, and the type you play depends on the type of enemy you’re fighting. (Some enemies only offer one type of duel; others, like bosses, have several.) Here are some of the duels you’ll encounter:

Quick-Draw: This is the first, and the simplest, duel that you’ll come across. It’s a pure battle of reflexes: when the indicator appears on screen, you must press the button to unleash an attack on your opponent. If you’re fast enough, you’ll score the hit without taking any damage. Don’t get antsy, though – if you press the button too early, you’ll fail the encounter. This was the only type of duel featured in the original Creepy Castle prototype, but the addition of eight more duel types brings some much-needed diversity.

Quick Draw
You need fast reflexes to win the Quick-Draw duel.

Struggle: Struggle occurs when an enemy tries to grab you, choke you, or otherwise get a little too close for comfort. When this happens, you’ll have to quickly alternately press left and right to fill up a meter in an attempt to break free. If you fill up your meter before your opponent can, you’ll earn a “perfect.” If the enemy fills up its meter first, don’t give up; your meter will drop a little, but you still have a chance at earning an “OK.”

cc_389085
Mash buttons with all your might to break free!

Pursuit: This duel takes place on a three-by-three grid, where an icon representing the enemy moves from spot to spot. You must move your cursor to overlap the enemy image, then press the confirmation button to nail him! Hit him three times to emerge victorious, but miss three times and it’s over. There’s also a time limit on this one, so you’ll need to be fast! Fun fact: This duel was mildly inspired by the shooting sequences in the classic Sega CD game Snatcher!

Pursuit
Don’t let the enemy get away…but try not to miss, either.

That should give you some idea of how combat works in Creepy Castle, but there are still more duel types to tell you about. I’ll explain more about them in my next post!

May 23, 2016

Creepy Castle: Exploring the Castle

Hey, it’s Zach again. If you’re going to have an exploration-heavy adventure-RPG like Creepy Castle, one of the things that you obviously want to get right is the level layout: you have to make a game world that’s fun and interesting to explore. In our case, though, we didn’t want to make things too complicated either. In the end, I’d like to think we found the right balance. scen2-tower climbing Butterfly can’t fly, but she’ll have to climb a lot to explore the Creepy Castle. Actually navigating the castle is kept fairly straightforward to begin with: Moth can move left and right, climb ladders (and chains and vines and whatnot), and plummet incredible distances to reach new areas. (Yes, even though he’s a moth, he can’t fly or even jump.) However, we’ve filled the castle with lots of branching paths to keep the game fun and involving, and there are plenty of goodies strewn about so you’ll want to check out every nook and cranny. Treasure chests contain pickups like keys, attack items, and delicious discarded foodstuffs to replenish your health, and you’ll want to go out of your way to find invaluable crosses that provide experience points so you can level up. You’ll also find bookshelves all over the castle containing lore that explains story details and fleshes out the game’s world and characters. They’re not essential and you can skip them if you want, but we hope you’ll have as much fun reading them as we did writing them! scen1-taunting vampire There’s lots to discover, both on and off the beaten path. As a nonlinear adventure, the game, naturally, contains lock-and-key puzzles – some of the literal type, the require you to search an area to find the appropriate number of keys before you can move on – and some that require special gear to move forward. Although there aren’t too many exploration-assisting items in Scenario 1, there are a few must-have pieces of equipment that you’ll need to reach new areas, including the Phaser, which lets you move through certain solid doors, and the Ice Rod, which freezes ice and lava so you can walk across them. (Later scenarios will introduce additional items.) scen1-unlocking doors   There are two types of locked doors: standard white ones, and red ones that lead to optional rooms. And, of course, Creepy Castle wouldn’t be very creepy without traps and enemies to get in the way, so there are loads of those, too. Since enemies are immobile, they sort of work like obstacles you need to get past, and then there are plentiful traditional hazards, too: collapsing ceilings, retractable spikes that require skillful timing, swinging balls on chains, fireballs that pop out of lava, and a giant boulder that will crush you instantly if it touches you (yes, it’s my homage to Indiana Jones). scen1-falling into second area and avoiding falling ceiling Honestly, the collapsing ceilings are the least of your troubles around here. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what you’ll encounter once you set foot in Creepy Castle – and all this is just in Scenario 1! I hope you look forward to experiencing it for yourself once the game is finished.

May 18, 2016

Creepy Castle: Creepy Origins

Zach from Dopterra here again! So, you might be wondering why I decided to make a retro-inspired adventure-RPG starring a giant anthropomorphic moth. Well, as for the moth thing, I’ve just always liked ’em. As for the rest, Creepy Castle started as an idea I cooked up for a 48-hour RPG competition back in 2009. Or was it a game jam? I can’t even remember anymore, but either way, that’s where the concept for the game took root: a retro-looking, side-view, nonlinear, exploration-focused RPG with an action-oriented battle system. I created this early version of Creepy Castle using GameMaker, and a lot of what’s featured in this prototype version will still be found in the final game, including a good chunk of the map design and the locations of enemies and bosses. In fact, some of the original code is still around, too!
old_final_boss

Behold, the original Creepy Castle! It got its start in a 48-hour RPG competition.

After the 48-hour contest, my plan was to flesh out Creepy Castle and turn it into a full-fledged game that was worthy of being released to the public, but one thing led to another and I ended up putting it on the back burner for years until I finally got motivated to commit to the whole indie thing and put the project up on Kickstarter in September 2014. Was the gaming world ready for an RPG with active duels and a cartoony bug protagonist? Apparently it was, because not only did we meet the funding goal, but thanks to everyone’s support, we managed to hit a few stretch goals too! (Yay!)

The new incarnation of Creepy Castle is miles apart from the original version. Despite the fact that some of the aforementioned original content is carrying over, and that the game is still being built with GameMaker, there are tons of new additions, and a lot of what was originally there has been rebuilt with updated code. In the 48-hour version of the game, for instance, there was only one type of battle, but there will be nine in the final game, plus there are substantial new areas, as well as the addition of art for character portraits and cutscenes, and a whole lot more. The story has been rewritten, too, and it’s now presented in a different way – in the form of lore that you encounter as you explore the castle.

fire_area

The Fire Dungeon is just one of many, many enhancements made to Creepy Castle since it was first conceived.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that the original Creepy Castle scenario is just the beginning. There are now four scenarios in all, some of which are bigger than the Creepy Castle portion of the game. The stories in all four scenarios are interconnected, too. And as you might have seen on our Kickstarter page, the game will even feature cameo appearances by some of your other favorite indie characters.

Creepy Castle Kick Starter

Creepy Castle wouldn’t be here without the support of our fans on Kickstarter.

For something made in 48 hours, I think the original prototype of Creepy Castle turned out pretty darn good, but it’s only a shadow of what the final game will be. Once it’s complete, Creepy Castle will be exponentially bigger and better in every way, and I’m hopeful you’ll agree that the time invested in all the enhancements has been well spent.

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.)

fm_4

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!

class_1

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!