I spoke with Fran of Baroque Decay on the development of The Count Lucanor…
1) When and why did you guys start making games?
In my case, this is an easy question, I grew up with video games, and also I’m kind of an artist. I like to make comics, music, films… so the next step was to make games. Five years ago, digging in Google Play store I found an interesting game made by Maxime Caignart. I had an idea about a Pixelated Resident Evil, so I sent him a mail and until now we are working together 😉
2) What inspired your game’s story and colorful characters?
The original idea was from a tiny tale book I found on a second hand shop in my town, called “Juan el cabrero.” The beginning of the plot was there, a small boy who finds a castle and a elf. Besides that, our references are always from other video games like Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Bioshock, Elder Scroll, Dark Souls… and mostly from Japanese Anime, from Dragon Ball or One piece to Tokyo Ghoul.
3) What is the most important game mechanic in The Count Lucanor and how are you getting it right?
The “plant candles” mechanic. I think I was playing Minecraft and I saw that place candles to make your own lighting was really fun. So we implemented this on the game. But when we did our first tests with friends we saw that no one plant candles, ever. So we had to make a lot of adjustments to show the player why plant candles are a good way to play the game, also we add several puzzles where plant candles are the smarter solution. Finally today, we can say most of the people plant them. Which is a relief, because it was a small crisis on the development process. (n_n)
4) What are some unique game dev problems you have encountered for making this specific game and how have you overcome them?
The Count Lucanor is a game with several choices, also with several paths you can choose at the same time, and several puzzles you can solve in different ways. That was a pain, in several ways. Trying to get the same narrative evolution of the story with different players doing different choices was really hard, also the scripting, sometimes we realize that if we do this then we can’t do that. We overcame this, with time, work and tests. At the end, it was one of the things that people liked more.
5) The artwork of The Count Lucanor is beautiful. What is your workflow like in producing these characters and scenery? Do you have any tips in creating game art?
The game is in a low pixel style. So before we made any character faces for the dialogues the low pixel characters and environment had to work for it-self. So the first step is to design the 8bit style, then the character faces and finally the cut-scenes. I did a lot of tests and finally the mix between 8 and 16 bits styles is not the rule, but is really nice and easy for me. The gameplay at 8 bits, let me make a lot of material easily, then I use the portraits at 16bits to show details.
6) What is the biggest lesson you learned while developing The Count Lucanor?
To make a game is hard, much harder that you think at first. It takes a long time to finish everything and even the smallest details will take you a lot of time. We spent a year and a half to finish Lucanor, and it was fast, because before that we worked two years on another game, so we had experience.