Kickin’ it with Causal Games Studio – Insanity’s Blade
Time for a retrotastic game to take the spotlight here on Kickin’ It With! Today we are talking with Christopher Obritsch over at Causal Bit Games about his latest project.
4cr: Hello! Thanks for taking the time to be here on Kickin’ it with. What can you tell us about yourself and Causal Bit Games?
We’re a small start up company based in Canada– just a couple of guys who have a big passion for making video games, myself (Christopher Obritsch) and Daven Bigelow. I have worked on a few gaming projects for clients now (recently coded a game that was nominated for Best Interactive Video UK Music Video Awards 2013) and Daven has done several personal projects and won a few competitions! When I was first learning to code in Construct, I was building a game for my daughter and Daven was right there helping me whenever I got stuck! We ended working on little things together and finally decided to give it a real go!
4cr: Causal Bit Games now has a Kickstarter for Insanity’s Blade, a campaign that started slow but is now back on track to being funded. What do we need to know about Insanity’s Blade?
Insanity’s Blade is something I’ve been working on for the past 20 years in some way, shape or form. I had drawings of a character I had done in Highschool and a story completely unrelated about a possessed axe. On a visit to where I lived as a teenager, I found a box containing the sketches and the story and decided to combine the two. In my spare time over a couple of years I ended up re-writing the story as a sort of tragedy, shaping the old character I had drawn into the stories protagonist. The Axe became a sword and then the story turned into a comic book. Then I became a Graphic Designer and the idea was shelved because I never had time to work on it. I still drew the character on occasion because I couldn’t let go of the story. Back at the start of this year, I was joking around with Daven about doing a game based on my old story. We thought it would be a cool idea but never really took it seriously. Then one night I was just sitting there enjoying insomnia when I started thinking what the character would look like as an old NES sprite, I started animating it, and that quickly turned into “crap I just built a whole working level” – the level took a few days, but what we were only jokingly considering as a project ended up being our very first project. One of those rare happy accidents!
4cr: How far along is the game right now?
We’re around 70% complete as far as the Windows/Mac/Linux version goes. I’ve built 14 of the 18 stages as of now. Half of those are missing enemy’s or bosses or both. But I just completely rebuilt the second stage over the weekend to have a new game play element added in – Corpse Surfing! That will appear in another stage or two as well. So we may be 70% along but we keep finding new ways to improve the game play, and at this point we plan to give stages 3 and 5 another overhaul. I’m the only one doing graphics and I’m quite fast at it. I also do the maps and sound fx, and code probably about 60-70% of the game. Daven just re-wrote the camera code in a few hours last night and it’s greatly increased the playability of the game! As soon as our Kickstarter campaign comes to an end, we can direct our full focus on developing the game, and it will be done in no time! We have the release date set for April but at this rate we should be done in February, giving us the rest of the time to polish the game.
4cr: Is a console release (Wii U, PS4, XBO) in the cards for Insanity’s Blade? How about a release on the 3DS or the Vita?
Yes! We would love to get this game onto consoles. Wii U is our primary target to start but we will be targeting the other systems directly afterwards. For that, we have set a small stretch goal at $8,000 (only $2,000 over our main goal) to be able to do a Wii U port.
We will be re-coding the game in Unity for portability. Presently I do not think 3DS is supported, but if it ever is – that’s another system we’d be all for. The controls are already designed to use a console controller. I can whip through it on a keyboard but it’s much more playable with a controller!
4cr: Do you have a demo available for Insanity’s Blade?
Yes we do and we’re about to release an updated one in the next few days with the new camera implemented. For now you can grab the demo by going here.
4cr: How long is Insanity’s Blade going to be?
Originally it would have been about 8 hours of platforming and cut scenes but the original levels were so big the game would quickly get repetitive, and I didn’t want that. Therefore, they’ve all been downsized to be around 2-5 minutes long. There are 18 stages in total, so it’s still fairly long for a platformer. The final boss fight is an entire stage which may take over 4 minutes to complete. With cut scenes, Insanity’s Blade will take over 2 hours or longer (depending on amount of dying) to complete.
4cr: Once again, thank you for joining us. Do you want to add something more before we end this?
I just wanted to thank everyone who has supported us so far and everyone who will be supporting us in the future! Without you, this project wouldn’t be happening at the speed that it is!! Although it is a lot of work (even for something with 8-bit graphics) it’s still a lot of fun! And we want to share that fun with you! Thanks so much for your time!