Captain’s Log, 0201207.80 Candy!

I’m drawing a picture of Candy today. Hopefully it shall be epic.

It’s meant to replace the current promo image, which is too dark, doesn’t have the character centered, and is a fruit of that period where I thought painting over 3D was the solution to all my problems. (And in fairness, it is sometimes a good technique).

Candy Raid! My first collaborative effort. I did the art, Kayne Ruse did the coding. As of last month, Candy Raid has made more money than my children’s books, making me equally successful as a game developer and a purveyor of pedagogical print. We got a marketing scholarship in a contest, so the game is being re-launched in about a week.

Let’s talk about Candy Raid, then, shall we?

It began when I decided to make a daily stream where I worked on my dream game, which at the time I would have defined as Breath of the Gameboy. After a couple of months of building an engine in XNA/Monogame, I was like, “Look, we’re nowhere near where we need to be to make our game, but the engine can be used to make a game already.”

And so I made Witch Way as a Halloween stunt, over the course of that October. It’s a shooter. I hate shooters because all I’ve made by myself are shooters. Never again!

Later, I decided to enter Ludum Dare as an artist on a team. It was an interesting experience. It clarified my current love-hate relationship with teamwork (I don’t like sharing power; my current ambitions are sharply limited unless I recruit teammates and share power). Candy Raid: The Factory is a puzzle game. I hate puzzle games. The original concept was Megaman from a Zelda perspective, but we didn’t have time to add combat, and so the Ludum Dare entry became a puzzle game, and after that the programmer was fixed on the idea that this was a famly-friendly non-violent setting. With bombs. And monsters. Where the hero is a thief.

At the same time this was going on, I was undergoing a major depressive episode. See, when I was a kid, I was (in my opinion mis-) diagnosed with depression. When I was making the art for Candy Raid, I had just moved to a new state, and my new state had a much worse doctor-to-patient ratio for mental health, such that I could not get an appointment. So I ran out of meds. So I quit my meds cold turkey, and underwent the most hellish month of my life.

After the game was done, I came out of withdrawal and discover, hey! No mental health symptoms!

Candy Raid remains a perverse sort of milestone in my life. I hated making it. I’m not a huge fan of it. But some people like it. And I’m proud of the art. And I have nothing bad to say about my team. And completing it during the worst period in my life is an accomplishment I’ll always be proud of.

I don’t talk about it a lot because it’s not fair to the team for me to mangle the advertising for the game with my mixed feelings.

Let’s see how that picture is coming along…

This is a Captain’s Log, so I’m supposed to talk about what my plans are for this week. Getting this picture finished in time for the Candy Raid relaunch is the first priority. Then, we’ll try and do 4-8 pages a day of Awesome Moments starting tomorrow.

I want to make vidya.

I want to make my RPG engine for my little Piqha. Right now I’m looking down the barrel of 3-6 months of never working on that, and it makes me sad.

I’m going to be looking for a way to justify making my Piqha RPG all week unless a whim consumes me otherwise.

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