The Quest for the Treasure of the Toltec

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Finally, a game with Popeye the Sailor is being brought to life again! Spike kindly took the time to answer the questions for this month's interview.


Q: What type of game is “The Quest for the Treasure of the Toltec”? What does the player have to do?

A: Remember those old school beat 'em ups? Like Streets of Rage or Final Fight? It's a game in this style. Basically, you rn through the stages and beat up baddies.


Q: Your levels have a distinctive cartoony feel. How do you manage to achieve it?

A:My love for the toon look is rather well known. It's an amazing art style. The thing with it is, it is more work than one might expect. For one, the textures need to fit the style. In this game, I used a lot of textures bought from Dexsoft. And then I edited and adapted them for my needs. Also the lighting is an important aspect of the style. Depending on the shaders I use, I do hard or soft shadows with outlines on the textures as well as on the models. In this game, I used soft shadows without outlines. The look gets even more cartoony because I do some quirky stuff with the levels. Windows that are 100% misaligned, some walls not 100% straight and so forth. I tend to say that more than the half of good graphics come from design.


Q: How does the combat system work?

A: The combat system is rather simple. With vec_dist, we check how close the player is to the enemy. If the enemy and the player are close to each other, the enemy walks over to the player and tries to hit him. We use c_trace for gravity and c_move for, well, movement :)


Q: How do you detect the closest enemy to Pepe during the combat in order to display its health bar at the top of the screen?

Actually, AFAIK its just a var that spits out certain numbers that are checked by the enemy HUD.


Q: How many different enemies will we encounter while we are playing the game and what will they be?

A: We have almost twenty different enemies. Most of them are simple street thugs. Others are jealous sailors - you know how they are. We have some police officers, heavy armored guards, even ghosts. Each enemy has 4 different skins as well. I wanted to make sure to include different hair types, skin colors and colorful outfits.


Q: What was the biggest problem you’ve encountered while you were developing the game?

A: That my design principles were outdated. I design games like I did years ago, and this comes back and haunts me now. I still haven't learned to do levels without using level geometry, based on models and terrain alone. I still use c-script, which is a no-go actually but I fear I'm too stupid for lite-c. I also have some design errors that result from me playing too many retro games. Stuff that hopefully got errored out by my friend and co-developer. I need to modernize my working style. And I had no cake during development, can you believe it?


Q: Did you find a publisher already?

A: We are in talks, but you know how publishers work. Some talking here and there. See, we had a publisher for Ambages if you remember. The game is done since May. I don't know why the publisher isn't releasing it. Sure, releasing a game in summer is a bad idea but we already are in September. So, while I'm positive about publishers, I'm not sure how this turns out. But I'm optimistic.


Q: Please give us a few tips for the beginners.

A: I found your last tutorial, create a game from scratch, very good. You covered ALOT of the basics from early game design. I can only tell everyone to read this tutorial. Its really good. Starting small and stuff. Also, here are a few things in my mind I want to say to not only beginners, but to the community as well.


Design is, as mentioned above, half the graphics. The other half is made up off good artists and only a little engine. You can have all the tech in the world. If your designs or your designers aren't up to the task, your game wont be pretty. I like to mention the Metroid Prime Trilogy here, because that backs me up perfectly. Technically, those games are almost 10 years old. But look at them. Same goes for World of Warcraft. Technically, the game is ancient. But its pretty, thanks to the design. Everything has to fit together. Suit the game. You don't have to do all shaders to get a pretty looking game. You just need good artists.


In the end, I couldn't have done it without one certain person. I'm not sure if he wants to be mentioned, so I keep it at that, but he is an artist and he is one of the best I know, if not the best in the entire indie business. Thank you man for erroring out my mistakes, for keeping in touch with me and all your hard work in this project. You are da man!

Also, thanx to George from AUM who always has a good code in there somewhere.


Thank you a lot, Spike!