Battle Princess Madelyn: Remembering Ghouls & Ghosts
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Battle Princess Madelyn: Remembering Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
21 March, 2017
Interview
A small team of 3 developers talked about the way they are reimagining the classic Ghouls ‘n Ghosts formula for the current generation in Battle Princess Madelyn. The game is currently on Kickstarter, so any help is welcomed. 

Introduction

Causal Bit Games is three people, and operated game studio based out of Canada. Lina and I being based in Nova Scotia while Daven is in Ontario. I am the base story, in-game art, creative design and direction. Daven is the code brain. Lina is the money controller – because creative people should never have their hands directly on money!

Battle Princess Madelyn

My daughter Maddi wanted to be in the original Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. I explained to her that it was someone else’s game but we can make one that looks like it. She said only boys can be knights, I said what color do you want the armor? And that’s how it started. I chipped away at a prototype over that next year with her drawing enemies for the game. Announced the game on her 5th birthday back in 2015. And in our spare time we began working on the real game.

Features

At the heart of the gameplay lies something which very closely resembles the original Ghouls ‘N Ghosts gameplay. But we’ve heavily progressed that and unlocked it from its 16-bit form. More control over the player, a badass ghost partner, removal of the life system which in turn gets rid of check points, magical powers that completely alter the way the game is played. Roughly 8 hours of game play. Possibility of different game play modes. Heavily story driven. A dual sound track… Huge explorable levels… the list goes on!

Art Style

I’ve been doing sprite work on and off for 30 years – since my original c64 when I was 11 years old. GnG was something I’ve always tried to emulate art wise. In fact, at the age of 12 I was coding a GnG fan game on my c64 called Elvis Lives! Arthur battled onslaughts of undead rock stars and groupies. So, the art style started way back then. It was only the past few years with Insanity’s Blade that I started perfecting that style to match the late 80’s Capcom look – art and animation both! As far as the correct look, everything is done at a 1:1 scale in a sprite/tile editor. Everything in-game is based off of Maddi’s size and how big or small it should be compared to her. To make it all look right in the game, it’s just needs the camera to be at the right screen size and all of the art has to be set to the same pixel size.

Animation

I have training in classic animation for cartooning and video games. So, everything I’ve done is from my mind aside of the animations for Maddi. It’s literally drawn pixel by pixel and cut and paste into the next frame and adjusted. No special tools or anything, just a sprite/tile editor. I’m very old school. Though I do mimic the animation from Arthur in GnG, I’ve added a lot of frames to smooth out the animations.

Engine

We are using Unity for this game. We’ve had no technical issues so far, which is why we moved from Construct 2 (which we built Insanity’s Blade in) to Unity. Since we have control over the code we have far greater freedom than we did with C2 – plus we can export to just about anything!

We’re building the game on Windows 10 based PCs but we will be aiming for Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U. Vita isn’t off the table yet either. Don’t forget to support our game on Kickstarter.

Christopher ObritschCausal Bit Games

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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