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May 24, 2016

Ittle Dew 2: Improving Upon the Original

Hey! This is Joel from Ludosity again! Today I wanted to talk about the thought process behind making a sequel…and by that, I mean Ittle Dew 2, of course. Naturally, when you make a sequel, you want to take everything that people loved about the original and make more of it, cut out or fix things that didn’t work, and hopefully add something new so you aren’t just offering the same old thing.

With Ittle Dew 2, we had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to go, and we got some valid critiques of the original game, as well. With the first Ittle Dew, we knew we had made a very good puzzle game, and everybody seemed to like the puzzles. And there’s a very good reason for that – Ittle Dew was originally conceived as a very dense puzzle game, but as we worked on it, it grew and expanded to become an adventure game, complete with combat.

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Fighting is going to be a lot more fluid and varied this time out!

Still, some people have thought that the adventure parts were unfulfilling, or that there was no real need for combat – that those elements felt tacked on. Those are both things that we wanted to address from the beginning with Ittle Dew 2. We updated the visuals from 2D to 3D (more on that in a later post) so we could allow for smoother, 360-degree character movement that would lead to better combat, plus we added an evasive roll that would add more depth to the combat and permit us to include more aggressive enemies.

On the adventure side of things, not only have we made the game world much bigger, but we’ve designed it with nonlinearity in mind, so you can tackle the game’s seven dungeons in any order. And secrets! This time we tried to pack in as many secrets as we could, so we could give you something really rewarding for exploring the island on which the game takes place.

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The game world is a lot bigger than before, which means a lot more to explore and discover!

Of course, there are some things that worked really well in the original, such as restricting ourselves to four active items, each of which is mapped to a face button on the controller. No mucking around in an inventory screen to switch tools and weapons – we wanted to keep things straightforward and focus on using the tools in creative ways rather than loading players up with extra clutter. Naturally, it’s not the same set of tools in Ittle Dew 2, but they’re still upgradable, and our philosophy of creative item use – which includes using items by themselves as well as in combination with one another – hasn’t changed.

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The puzzles and limited inventory were received well in the first Ittle Dew. Those elements will return with even more polish in the sequel!

Hopefully this extra emphasis on fighting and exploration will go a long way towards making Ittle Dew 2 address any issues people had with the original game, and the result will be a bigger, better adventure game that even more people will enjoy.

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!
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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.

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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.

May 17, 2016

Ittle Dew 2: Meet Ittle and Tippsie

Say hello to the protagonists of Ittle Dew 2, Ittle and Tippsie. I guess you could say that Ittle is the true protagonist, given that it’s her name in the game title and all, and she’s the one that you’re controlling, but she probably wouldn’t be the same without her flying-critter sidekick, Tippsie. Or maybe she would. To be honest, we never really cooked up much of a backstory for this duo – they just love to go on adventures, crash onto islands, and beat the crap out of anybody that gets in their way. We wanted characters that were straightforward and not too complicated – this was just one of the ways that we wanted to “trim the fat” compared what you might find in other adventure games.

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One’s a big jerk and the other’s a cynic, but there’s no greater adventuring duo than Ittle and Tippsie!

To be blunt about it, Ittle is an unscrupulous jerk. She might not look like it, but she’s a dumb brute who doesn’t really think things through and is more than willing to resort to violence to get what she wants – and what she wants is to explore, loot the places she visits, and bash anyone who’s unfortunate enough to get in her way over the head. She pretty much wreaks havoc wherever she goes. (And, of course, she’s pretty good with tools like fire swords and force rods and ice rings and dynamite, but we’ll get to those in another post.)

Tippsie might not take as much action as Ittle, but her extreme cynicism makes her more than an match for her companion. Deep down inside she’s probably more good-hearted than Ittle, but you’d probably have to look pretty hard to find it. And if you’re wondering about her name, it’s actually pretty simple. As the thinker of the pair, Tippsie gives tips to help Ittle get through the tougher parts of the adventure. Of course, she may also be a little bit inebriated as well. Tippsie is constantly in need of “health potions,” if you know what I mean, although Ittle doesn’t always allow her to have them.

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Actions speak louder than words, but it’s nice to have a friend to talk to.

The selfish, brutish adventure-seeker and the super-cynical companion…they might not fit the mold of typical game heroes, but that’s the point, and we think you’ll learn to love ’em anyway. We’ll be telling you more about their adventures in Ittle Dew 2 in the near future!

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!

February 5, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: RELEASE DAY!!!

Hello! Matt Kap here again, posting on the day some of you have been waiting for…

CASTLE IN THE DARKNESS IS NOW AVAILABLE ON STEAM FOR $4.97 UNTIL FEB 12TH, AND $5.99 AFTERWARDS!

For those who are just seeing this, I am Matt Kap, a pixel artist at Nicalis. I’ve worked on 1001 Spikes, Legend Of Raven, and was the lead artist on The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth. All throughout the dev cycle of those projects and the last 3 years I’ve been working on my own project, called Castle In The Darkness! I’m proud to finally have it complete and released on Steam!

For the price of a McCombo you can enjoy several hours of retro goodness, so please give it a try :). Also, I should mention that the soundtrack can also be purchased as a download here for $3, or 50 cents per track! I will be putting the profits from the soundtrack back into making music for future games and other soundtracks, so please support it if you like what you hear :).

Finally, I should mention that some people cannot start the game because they are missing DLL files. I will fix this as soon as I can in the next update, but in the meantime you can fix this problem by updating DirectX, and also installing the DLLs that you can get from this installer.

Anyway, thanks for reading, check out the game, and come back soon! There will be more blog posts and announcements about this game :D! Bye!

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!

February 4, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: DANGER! Razor Wing swoops in!

Hello! Matt Kap here again, with another dev blog about Castle In The Darkness! Today I’ll write about one of the bosses you’ll encounter- Razor Wing!

Razor Wing is a giant and hostile owl that builds its nests on the tops of giant mountains or on tall towers. With its extremely high swooping speed and wings strong enough to create gale winds, it really is a force to be reckoned with!

Razor Wing’s attack patterns are slightly more complex than General’s, but don’t fret- some of you may play through the game and never run into it.

Attack 1: Gale Wind- Razor Wing descends, and uses its powerful wings to shoot gusts of wind at the hero! It’s hard to dodge, but maybe dodging them isn’t the best tactic…

Attack 2: The Descent- Almost without warning, Razor Wing descends at such a high speed that only the most skilled players will be able to move out of the way! The tricky thing is that it may come from either direction!

Razor Wing doesn’t have a weak point like some of the other bosses, but that doesn’t mean that hitting it becomes less challenging as a result. Also, Razor Wing might have a larger role in the game than some of the other bosses, but you will see why once you play the game.

Last, but not least, here is part 2 of the LP done by the lovely Karrie Shirou! Thanks Karrie :D!

As usual, thanks for checking this out! Just to remind everyone reading, the game will be out on Steam on Thursday, Feb 5th! Please come back to this blog in the future for more updates, even AFTER release! Till next time!

February 3, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: Upgrades

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

Upgrading your hero is a very important aspect of Castle In The Darkness. By collecting upgrades and items, you will become much stronger, and able to pass obstacles and kill bosses that previously prevented you from proceeding! The first, and most common upgrade, is this:

Boss Heart: After killing boss monsters, they will drop a boss heart. Collecting this will increase your maximum HP by 1 point! This may seem insignificant, but there are a lot of boss monsters in the kingdom of Alexandria, so upgrading your HP as high as you can will enable you to sustain more damage before dying. Other upgrades are in the form of items:

As you can see, there are various types.

Weapons- Swords and other weapons you can equip to attack.
Armor- Armor you can equip to raise your defense and add special properties.
Magic- Powerful magic that you can equip to use against enemies.
Items- Items that add an upgrade once collected, or unlock a path.
Relics- Items that will give you a permanent special ability (swim, break blocks, etc)

In order to see all that Castle In The Darkness has to offer, or even to finish the game, you will need to collect some, if not all, of these upgrades. Some of them are super secret, and/or hard to attain, so meticulous adventurers will be rewarded!

Before I sign off, here is a moving screenshot that shows what the “Ares Gauntlet” relic allows you to do! You will be able to break certain blocks, so in order not to miss anything, you’ll want to find this in the first area of the game!

That’s it for today! 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 29, 2015

Castle In The Darkness: The Music!

Hey everyone! Matt Kap here! Today I will be talking about the music in Castle In The Darkness.

I’ve always had a lot of musical instruments around my house because my father was a musician. Eventually I got into playing music myself, first playing drums in a punk band, switching to guitar at one point long ago (and playing with several bands), and recently picking up the violin for fun. It’s safe to say that without having heard the soundtracks from games I played as a kid (Castlevania, Megaman, Ys, etc), I may never have gotten as much into music as I am today!

When I started working on Castle In The Darkness, I wanted all the music to be fast-paced, a bit aggressive, but still super melodic. Since I was already well-practiced in making music that included those traits, I figured it would be really fun to compose the soundtrack by myself!
The music in-game had to be 8-bit-ish chiptune styled to fit with the 8-bit limitations I had already set for this project, so I composed them using a computer. I have composed about 50 songs in total, most of which made it into the game! I am very happy with how it turned out, as they do a really good job conveying the feeling and atmosphere I had in mind! Here are a couple samples of the soundtrack and some moving screenshots:



This is the music that plays in the first area, Alexandria.
It’s fast and melodic, with a galloping drum beat. Perfect for the start of a challenging journey.



This is the music that plays in the second area, Agros Forest.
It’s a driving rock chiptune that is somewhat of a contrast to the happier sounding music from the previous area. Things are starting to get serious!

For those of you who like what you hear, the entire soundtrack will be available to purchase at some point, but I’ll give more details about that in the near future! Thanks again, and come back soon!