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Episode 20: Demons of Asteborg


Scrobins

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A Homebrew Draws Near!

A blog series by @Scrobins

Episode 20: Demons of Asteborg

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Introduction:

Alongside the homebrew games we’ve discovered and loved the past several years, gaming on modern platforms has enjoyed its own retro renaissance, producing games offering offer an old-school “8-bit aesthetic” that players have eaten up. These games don’t technically adhere to the limits of the beloved consoles of old, but channel our nostalgia to catch our eyes. If only a few homebrews would turn the tables, taking on the seemingly impossible task of making what looks like a modern “retro-inspired” game that actually works on the old hardware. A “modern-inspired” retro game. Oh wait, Neofid Studios did just that.

For this entry, I’m covering Demons of Asteborg, a platformer in the spirit of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, with other elements inspired by Castlevania, Mickey Mania, Space Harrier, and Panzer Dragoon, and developed by Neofid Studios for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. As of the time of this writing, Kickstarter backers have received their games, and the game can be purchased on Steam here; and for fans of physical releases: the rom, cart-only, regular edition CIB, and Collector’s Edition CIB can be purchased from Neofid Studios’ store here.

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CIB with original box art design (box art is reversible, featuring this design and Martins’)

 

Development Team:

Neofid Studios:

Christophe Reboul: producer

Simon Reboul: developer, level & enemy design

Christopher Rolin: art direction, level design

Commissioned Artists:

Quenvy Malavé: principal 2D animator

Diego Almeida: second 2D animator

Veli’: third 2D animator

Dillon Willette: character/enemy 2D designer

Sasa Jovanovic: 2D environments and artworks designer

Rasamimanana Cyril: 3D objects animator

Willian Gonzalez: character design and graphical assets

Luis Zuno: prototype graphical assets

Jacob Altmaan: first musician

Roland Seph: second musician

Malthilde l’Elfe des bois: box artist

Luis Martins: box/label artist

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CIB with Martins’ box art design

Game Evolution:

Demons of Asteborg launched on Kickstarter on September 25, 2019. Backer tiers included the game’s rom, a cart-only option, and CIB options, with stickers, mugs, your name in the credits or on a tomb found in the game also included in the mix of options, not to mention arcade cabinets of various sizes. By the time the campaign ended, 663 supporters pledged nearly 45,000 toward the game. The final total even blew through one of its stretch goals, unlocking a hardcore mode.

On December 24, 2021, the Demons of Asteborg Twitter account announced and opened pre-orders for a limited Collector’s Edition of the game. This special run of 300 games included a special magnetic box; cartridge with new art, a new game mode, and a hidden level; plus a special manual, more stickers, postcards, map of Asteborg, a magnet, and a USB key with more game info.

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The Collector’s Edition, but ya gotta act now!

 

Gameplay Overview:

Demons of Asteborg describes itself as an action-platformer game with Metroidvania elements. You play as Gareth, the child of a legendary witch who helped lock away the demons after a brutal war between humans and demons proved coexistence in Asteborg was no longer possible. You have trained hard under the tutelage of Bohort, chief of the royal guard and your foster father. With your training complete, and your ascension to the ranks of the royal guard in your own right, you venture out into the kingdom of Asteborg to defeat Zadimus, the returned leader of the demon army.

Gameplay consists of exploring Asteborg and defeating the demons and monsters that cross your path. In terms of basic controls, you attack with the A button (and pressing it multiple times executes a combo attack), while the B button allows you to jump (with higher jumps possible by holding the button down), and the C button unleashes a special ability acquired within each level, while pushing left/right on the d-pad moves you accordingly, and pressing down allows you to crouch. More complex actions are available as well, including rolling, wall jumps, combo attacks, and downward slashes. Magic is also a part of your skillset, with spells at your disposal that enable you to throw magic daggers, bounce back enemies and their projectiles, walk on air, and shoot flames! Don’t get too accustomed to some of these spells however, as you’ll drop each when starting the next level to make room for the next as your journey necessitates. But wait, there's more: visit the shops and peruse its wares for other attacks and abilities.

 

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Screenshot from Demons of Asteborg

Writer’s Review:

For a game striving to push so hard against the Sega Genesis’ boundaries, Demons of Asteborg feels remarkably smooth and comfortable, leaving you to wonder why there weren’t more games like this during the console’s original lifespan. Asteborg isn’t a modern game crammed into a retro console like some square peg into a round hole, shearing off pieces as it’s forced in. No. This game was built for the 16-bit world but with modern ideas to give it a distinctive color and feel that sets it apart from its older brethren.

Gameplay looks and feels like an upgraded Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, but with more elaborate controls to add flavor to your movement and attacks (and feel significantly fairer to play). A nice touch is the fact that your abilities are not all available to you from the beginning: some abilities must be earned, while others are purchased, demanding your mastery of the fundamentals before opening up access to more advanced play. This is no easy task either, with level layouts that add some critical thinking and fast reaction timing to your platforming.

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If the enemies and hazards don’t stop you, the stunning graphics might. Lush, gorgeous backgrounds and parallax scrolling create an atmosphere so breathtaking you may actually stop slashing your way through the kingdom just to admire the view. Each character and enemy sprite, especially the avatars used in dialogue boxes, are meticulously detailed as they breathe life into environments that could serve as much as a pixel-based painting as a village or mine shaft.

Meanwhile the music adds an epic adventure soundtrack that truly feels like the high fantasy cousin to Comix Zone, providing a driving momentum when you need to more forward, or mounting tension that makes a boss fight feel more daunting. Across the many homebrews I’ve played, I’ve noticed the extra effort many games’ music make to be more than something that accompanies gameplay, striving distinguish itself that much more from the licensed-era forebears ground out by companies trying to capitalize on a console’s present popularity. Here now is a soundtrack seeking to be a cut above what came before, and absolutely succeeding.

 

Interviews:

The development team for Demons of Asteborg includes a 3-person core team, consisting of Christophe Reboul, Simon Reboul, and Christopher Rolin, who commissioned additional art and music from an incredibly talented roster as well as the use of existing assets to create protoypes. Though I was not able to connect with everyone involved in this massive project, you can read on below to get acquainted with the many creators I was able to interview. I may have the opportunity to update this post if I receive responses from anyone after I post this.

 

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Christophe Reboul

Neofid Technology

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and producer? What is your origin story and the story behind Neofid Technology and Neofid Studios?

I had an early passion for video games. I remember exactly what new arcade game I saw and where I saw it. I was captivated by the screens, watching the demos for hours. I read in the magazines of the time the program lines in basic, which I knew the rudiments of even before I touched my first keyboard, that of a ZX 80 when I was 12 years old. I knew by heart all the characteristics of the microcomputers that came out at that time, even the most exotic ones, with few exceptions. I wanted to be a computer scientist to develop games, which I had never done professionally. For many years now, I have been reinvesting a significant part of my turnover in the creation of video games. With DOA, it's a childhood dream that finally came true.

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Quite literally with these arcade cabinet Kickstarter tiers!

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

I stopped playing video games around the age of 30. At the beginning I had in mind to make an RPG because I keep very good memories of my Zelda games on my SNES, I had made myself a mock-up in JavaScript in 2013. But we also had the arcade game Ghosts 'n Goblins at home which Simon, my son, played a lot. It is finally this last game that was a starting point for DOA. Today, I still pay attention to the games that are released on the retro gaming scene, on the original consoles. I am amazed by the quality of recent or upcoming productions such as Xeno Crisis, Paprium, ZPF... and DOA of course!

 

-In addition to your producing homebrew games, you founded Neofid Technology, which has been celebrated for its web applications and work in customer loyalty software. Do you find your professional work informs your approach to homebrewing, or vice versa?

Loyalty is a very different activity from video games. Nevertheless, my double experience as a developer and as a company manager allows me to follow the work of the team while managing the project and its financing with a minimum of realism and efficiency.

 

-You state in your bio on Kickstarter that one of your favorite games was Ghosts ‘n Goblins, which was a strong influence on the design of Demons of Asteborg. What about that game series resonates so strongly with you?

My ex-wife-to-be was supposed to give me an engagement ring. She finally preferred to give me a gift, certainly less romantic, but which really corresponded to me: an arcade game. It was Ghosts 'n Goblins. I really like Arthur, the first video game character to end up in his underwear when he touches an enemy. I appreciate the variety of levels, the difficulty of the game and its musical atmosphere.

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Screenshot from Ghost ‘n Goblins

 

-What was the working dynamic like across the development team and in your collaboration with various artists and developers? How did you first connect with everyone?

Two months after the success of our Kickstarter I organized a weekend with Stéphane Dallongeville, the creator of the SGDK, and Fabien Weiss, the designer of our PCB. Afterwards, Simon and Christopher chose the artists and other speakers. On my side, I took in charge the research of the suppliers of the components necessary to the realization of the cartridges. While continuing my work as a consultant to finance the game.

 

-With Demons of Asteborg, you’re working on a game for decades-old hardware. How does producing a game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive compare to your work developing applications on more modern platforms?

Providing a game on cartridges is a very different job from what I was doing before. It was a real challenge.

 

-What is the story behind Demons of Asteborg’s evolution?

In 2013 I had a project to develop a pixel art RPG playable in a browser, linked to my loyalty software. The consumer had to be able to play in his city and find the partner merchants. The software was based on OpenStreetMap data. During development we decided to reorient ourselves towards a 3D game which finally became an autonomous project. This resulted in the Caramax'Venture prototype, whose Kickstarter reached €138. We still decided to persevere, and Simon thought it would make sense to develop on the Sega Genesis, as there was an audience, and the platform fit well with our retro-gamer sensibilities.

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in developing Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

The development took a year longer than expected. We didn't anticipate the amount of work needed to produce the game that really corresponded to our ambitions. Moreover, the financial aspect is determining to develop the game serenely, even beyond the planned deadlines. The money from the Kickstarter and the numerous pre-orders that followed helped us a lot. But it was essential for us to have additional funding. I invite future applicants not to neglect this aspect.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

Simon and Christopher have set the bar very high. They have created a real story around the game, the levels are numerous and varied, the graphics are well done, the code exploits the possibilities of the console, and our composers have done a great job. And the best part is that the result works on a console with an 8Mhz processor and 64 Ko RAM. I am very proud of the work done by the team.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

The dream would be that the activity continues and becomes permanent. The developers are already working on a new project that will be presented on Kickstarter, probably in a few months.

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

I had the chance to try Paprium, and I can't wait to play ZPF.

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Screenshot from Paprium by Watermelon Games

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Thank you for your interest in Neofid and for contributing to the success of DOA. The feedback from the fans is also very important to us and motivates us to continue. I can't wait to see them again on our next project.

 

 

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Simon Reboul

@infitek

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer? What is the origin story of Infitek?

I was lucky enough to have a father who introduced me to video game creation at a very young age! At that time I was using Game Maker, I quickly got hooked, now I mostly use other tools. For me, it was mostly a hobby, but with my colleagues, we wanted to see what we could create concretely.

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

Of course I was very much influenced by the classic video games of my childhood, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Castlevania SotN, Donkey Kong Country but also Demon's Crest and Ghosts 'n Goblins! Today I know a little bit more about the indie scene and I'm a big fan of Edmund MacMillen's work (Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy) I'm also watching Team Cherry who is currently working on the sequel of Hollow Knight!

 

-How would you describe your design aesthetic, and what to you are the hallmarks of a Simon Reboul game?

When I create a game, I try to re-transcribe the emotions I felt when I was a kid discovering a new object in Zelda Link's Awakening or a new area in Ghosts 'n Goblins, after a hard battle against a boss. This feeling of discovery, of exploration, is what I want to bring in each of my games, I think that the player must be constantly surprised by the environment and the mechanics of the game, that he wants to explore these virtual worlds from top to bottom.

 

-What tools do you use to code and create?

For the code part, everything is done in C with the SGDK (Sega Genesis Development Kit, created by Stéphane Dallongeville) on Visual Studio Code. We use Aseprite to edit our graphic assets, on the level design side we use Tiled to create each room of the game, then we assemble them with a software that Christopher created in C# with Unity, "DoAMap".

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Stéphane Dallongeville, creator of SGDK

 

-You mention in your bio on Kickstarter that you practiced designing your own games since you were little. What did those games look like?

The oldest ones are obscure platformers without scrolling with Dragon Ball Z characters, or very very amateurish copies of the first Smash Bros. I think I started to get it right in 2015, when I reproduced a draft of the Zelda GB engine, more recently I really enjoyed reproducing the Golden Sun game engine!

 

-In addition to your work developing a homebrew game, you are a developer for Neofid Technology, which has been celebrated for its web applications and work in customer loyalty software. Do you find your professional work informs your approach to homebrewing, or vice versa?

The team cohesion that exists at Neofid Technology has really made Demons of Asteborg possible, it is not in any company that you can propose to your boss to start creating Mega Drive games! Moreover we are all passionate about video games here so it's a pleasure to work together.

 

-What was the working dynamic like across the development team and in your collaboration with various artists and developers? How did you first connect with everyone?

Christopher and I were really the core of the team, after a few months, Fabien a longtime friend joined us to work on the bosses and finally Stéphane Dallongeville came to give us a hand on the really technical side of the Mega Drive! Concerning our artists, we were looking for them on Fiverr with Christopher, we did a lot of tests before finding the people we wanted to work with. But we are very happy to have met them and we will certainly work with some of them in the future!

 

-With Demons of Asteborg, you’re working on a game for decades-old hardware. How does producing a game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive compare to your work on more modern platforms?

When you work on a hardware from that time, technical limitations are no longer a detail but a set of creative constraints that force us to think about the game differently, today when we use Unity for example, everything is taken for granted, the main character can have 64 colors that won't be a problem, on Mega Drive, every color counts, but that's not all! Tilecount, memory resources, all these elements sometimes force us to lower our ambitions. Fortunately there are many tricks and optimizations possible, but we have to keep these technical constraints in mind all the time.

 

-What is the story behind Demons of Asteborg’s evolution? What inspired this game into existence? What is the significance of the name Asteborg?

At the beginning we wanted to make a difficult platform game like Ghosts 'n Goblins, little by little we added some Castlevania but we wanted to keep it edgy. I think after that we really found our own way.

I'm going to disappoint you, but "Asteborg" comes from a randomly generated word, we were looking for ideas for the name of our universe and we found something very close to Asteborg, we just changed some letters and that's it!

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on the game? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

As the creation of the game progressed, we realized that the 4MB of the cartridge was not going to be enough.

Our password system was also becoming a bit obsolete due to the amount of data we had to save, so we had to implement saves but also a Bank Switch system in order to run a 15MB cartridge on our good old Mega Drive.

As far as lessons I've learned:

-Never give a specific release date without being fully aware of the workload involved.

-Always have someone else test the game, literally everyone plays differently.

 

-There has been a lot of support and enthusiasm for Demons of Asteborg in the leadup to and since its Kickstarter campaign, thanks to the team’s promotional work. How does it feel to see so many people excited to play your game?

It's an amazing feeling but it's also a huge stress vector ahah, a lot of people are excited to play the game and we don't want to disappoint them!

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

Overall we are proud to have succeeded in designing a real Mega Drive game! We are also very proud of our artists who did an excellent job.

Personally I'm glad we managed to create all these unique levels and powers that allow you to progress in them!

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

We are currently working on two projects, one of which is indeed our dream project! We will communicate about it when the majority of the orders for Demons of Asteborg have been fulfilled.

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

I finally discovered the Homebrew scene quite late but I'm keeping a close eye on Good Boy Galaxy which will be released on GBA, On the Mega Drive side, I'm looking forward to Irena, ZPF and the Cursed Knight!

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Screenshot from The Cursed Knight

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Thank you very much for this interview! Stay tuned for more news from the Asteborg Universe!

 

 

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Christopher Rolin

@KzoroxR

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a programmer and art director? What is the origin story of Kzorox?

When I was about 7 years old, I dreamed of becoming a "video game designer". I was fascinated by every game I played, and I spent more time contemplating them or trying to do impossible things than actually playing them!

My parents had a computer, given to them by a friend. I spent a lot of time on it, even though it annoyed my parents a lot and they would have preferred that I play outside. One of the first things I researched was "How to create Microsoft Windows", I was extremely curious.

This growing curiosity pushed me to create many small projects throughout my life. First with RPG Maker, then Game Maker and then with Unity. Eventually I decided to study computer development after high school, and I was hired as a part-time employee at Neofid. That's where my life really started.

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

Of course, I'm very influenced by vintage games, not only by their graphic style but also by their gameplay. It goes from the Amiga to the PlayStation, and of course our good old Mega Drive and Super Nintendo. The technical prowess of these games will always impress me.

But being quite young, my main influences are quite recent. My very first console was the Sega Saturn on which I made my first steps on Tomb Raider. Then I got a Nintendo DS and that's when I really started to explore video games. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Dragon Quest, Super Mario 64... A whole bunch of games that rocked my childhood and that influence me a lot in my projects.

Today I follow very closely the work of Hello Games which is a studio that I find very inspiring, and more recently the game Goodboy Galaxy which seems very promising. Besides, and like many, I'm waiting for the next games of bigger studios like Bethesda, or Rare.

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Screenshot from Goodboy Galaxy by Rik and gecko

 

-Do you feel your work has a signature aesthetic that is uniquely you? How would you describe the feel of something you create?

I think that when we create a game, we have a very clear idea of what the game should look like, and we don't hesitate to look for a style several times to make it work for us.

What we can see in Demons of Asteborg and what we had in mind, it is what we wanted to achieve and what we are, and we hope that it appeals to the largest audience.

 

-What tools do you use to code and create?

For Mega Drive games, we use the C language and the SGDK library (Sega Genesis Development Kit). Personally, I use Visual Studio code as IDE because I find it very flexible and pleasant to use. For the level design we used Tiled which is very useful to design maps in pixel art! Of course, we have our own little tools, like DOAMap, which I designed with Unity and which allowed us to translate a Tiled map into Mega Drive code more easily.

 

-In your opinion, what makes good pixel art and game animation stand out?

A colorful pixel art, well contrasted, and understandable at first glance is, for me, what makes good pixel art. Sometimes, a few pixels are enough to recognize an object, and this is the great strength of pixel art in my opinion.

As far as animations are concerned, fluidity, transitions and feedback are very important to stand out from the rest.

 

-You also worked on level design. What are the necessary ingredients to a well-constructed game level?

The hardest thing in level design is to keep a certain coherence between the gameplay and the decorations. Simon spent a lot more time than me creating the platforms and the path to follow, while I spent more time decorating it.

For me, a good level design is when the player is pushed to explore an environment that is not too redundant in its graphics, without getting lost, and in which he takes pleasure.

 

-The pixel art you’ve shared on Twitter includes work for the Sega Genesis as well as art for more modern platforms. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

When we develop on an old console, we have no choice but to do retro pixel art, because the console forces us to. However, when we develop for modern platforms, all these obligations go away, and we can really let our creativity speak. I think I prefer doing games with Unity, even if developing games on old consoles is a lot of fun!

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Screenshot of pixel art by Christopher Rolin for Caramax Venture

 

-Tell me about your creative process while working on Demons of Asteborg?

The creative process of Demons of Asteborg is above all based on inspiration. We choose an atmosphere, we imagine a setting and a story, then we look for references to imitate what we imagine. It takes a lot of time to find the right atmosphere, the right mood that we want the player to feel.

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in developing Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

The surprises were mainly the limitations of the Mega Drive. When you start developing a game on an old console, you don't know all the tricks to achieve your goals. At the beginning of the development, we were seriously thinking about fitting Demons of Asteborg into a 4MB cartridge. We quickly realized that our ambitions were going to explode the meter to fit into a 16MB cartridge. Fortunately, Stéphane Dallongeville, the creator of the SGDK, was there to help us and advise us throughout the development. My advice would be: surround yourself with the right people!

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the effects in Demons of Asteborg. It was a real challenge for all of them and I'm glad we managed to achieve them all.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon, Sega Genesis or otherwise? Any dream projects?

I can't talk too much about it, but we have already started the development sequence for our next game. It's very likely that our old console hasn't run out of steam yet!

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

As said above Goodboy Galaxy on Gameboy Advance seems promising. I'm following very closely ZPF and Irena lately.

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

I enjoyed answering the questions, they are all relevant!

Well, I thank our many players for having appreciated our work, it warms our hearts, and for those who have not yet played: do not hesitate to try the adventure!

 

 

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Diego Almeida

@di3goalmeida

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and artist? What is your origin story?

Well, I aways loved drawing and art stuff since childhood, my father used to play guitar and my mom likes dramaturgy and cinema a lot. So, they always supported me to become an artist. So later in university, a friend of mine said “Dude, you should work with digital art, you’ll be good on it!” After that, luckily I got an internship in a local game studio from Recife/Brazil and worked there for nine years! Where I could learn a lot about game development. And then try different styles/media, like 3d art, 2d animations, etc. Right now I’m working as pixel artist freelancer for indie companies.

 

 -Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

I like Mike Azevedo, Caroline Gariba, Alexandre Leoni and a lot of great illustrators around. For animation, I love those movies from Studio Ghibli. And in pixel art, I’ve been following Rafael Françoi on twitter, he is great.

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Pixel art by Rafael Françoi

 

-Do you feel that your art has any qualities that are uniquely you? How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Um, I’m not sure. Maybe something related to body proportions or symmetry. I’m a little bit worried about it sometimes hahaha. But something that I’m always looking for, is try to understand what my client wants and find the best way to represent it. And I’m not afraid to redo or modify something, I’m always open for suggestions.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

Adobe Photoshop for sketching/final art and Aseprite for pixel art and animations. But I also like to create animations in Unity or Adobe Animate as well.

 

-In your opinion, what makes good pixel and game art stand out?

A great comprehension of color theory, perspective, and the best use of the animations principles.

 

-The art you’ve shared on Twitter includes work for several games on more modern platforms such as the recently funded Spell Blaster. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

Yeah, I don’t have a preference for any platform but right now I’m working with some friends on something to mobile. And we’re really excited to see the first impressions. As I said before, I like to use Unity to implement the animations it gives me more possibilities to test and fix the animations into the game project.

 

-Tell me about the development of the art you created for the game, what is your composition process?

To be honest, I didn’t create too much art in Demons of Asteborg, most part of the commissions were only for animations. So I used to receive a character design already done, with one or two poses, and then create it’s animations like, idle, attack, damage.. etc.  So for the animations, I like to search for references first. And then I try to “divide” the character in layers to animate it’s parts separated. Finally, I check if everything is working well and finish it.

 

-How did you first connect with Neofid Studios?

They just sent me an invite through http://Fiverr.com and at first I said I couldn’t because I was busy with other project. But some weeks later I got back to their messages and ask: “Do you guys still need some animations?” Hahaha! And it was great, they’re awesome clients.

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Demons of Asteborg?

Well, it was easygoing. They’re very organized and used to send me the characters including their possible animations. So all I needed to do was create its animations and check if they worked well. Sometimes I had to modify some shapes and colors but nothing too hard and I was totally free to give suggestions as well.

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

I had some challenges for sure. Creating animations for big characters like bosses and enemies are difficult for me. Also, those characters had crazy animations that surprised me sometimes. I think one lesson I would like to share is “Find a client that believes in your potential and respects your job”. Neofid team is amazing, totally different from other clients around.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

I’m proud to be part of such a nice project like Demons of Asteborg, I always wanted to work on a Metroidvania. Just played this kind of game a lot when I was younger, so it gives me a nostalgic vibe. And the guys from Neofid are very professional, it was a great experience.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

Yeah, for sure. Spell Blaster is getting awesome as well, and I’ve been working on a personal project with some friends, at the same time, we’ll start the user tests as soon as possible. I’m really excited!

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Screenshot from Spell Blaster by Jump Game Studio

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

Yeah, I can’t wait to check the full version of a game called “Bloodless” from Point N’ Sheep. They’re an indie company from Brazil, and I had the opportunity to create some cool ideas together in a game jam. They’re awesome.

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Thank you also, Sean! I’m so grateful to know that there are people who admire my work. It’s really cool. Thanks a lot guys, be well and safe.

 

 

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Dillon Willette

@grisknuckle

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and artist? What is your origin story? What is the significance of the name Grisknuckle?

I've always been interested in art - my mom has piles of drawings going all the way back to when I was three, four years old. Initially, I got into pixel art when I was 11 or 12 after I discovered a forum called Pixeltendo. Eventually, I drifted away from it for a bit, but I started back up more than a decade later when I realized the community had grown so massively.

I've never been one for conventional work, so freelancing just kind of clicked with me. I don't know if I could ever go back - I really enjoy what I do.

As for the name, it's unfortunately not too creative, haha. When I was first setting up my account on Fiverr (a freelance service), the username I typically use was taken, so I had to come up with something else. I tend to be really picky about this sort of thing, so it took me a while to figure out. I was watching an interview with George R. R. Martin and when he was asked about how he comes up with names for the characters in his stories, this is what he had to say:

"I do know what's been useless to me is the online fantasy name generators. I've tried those a few times, and they say, "Just hit this button and we'll generate 50 fantasy names," and they all turn out to be ‘Grisknuckle’."

I thought it was funny, so I went with it, and that's what I've gone by ever since. I've considered rebranding a few times, but at this point, I think it's grown on me.

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

Oh man, this one's tough. I follow so many great artists. Deceiver (@dmitrydeceiver) has been a big one for me, even though I don't spend a ton of time trying to emulate his art. It's so unconventional, but it works, you know? Another one is Arcade Hero (@arcadehero), who actually has a game coming out soon called Bob & Bernard Against The Nazis. Something about their work is so clean - I really hope I can achieve that level of polish one day. Another few I really look up to are Thomas Feichtmeir (@cyangmou), Anokolisa (@Anokolisa) and NOP (@NOP_Pixels). Please check out their work!

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Pixel art by Dmitry Deceiver

 

-Do you feel that your art has any qualities that are uniquely you? How would you describe your aesthetic?

This is actually something I've been working on for a while, but I don't think I'm there quite yet - I'm definitely something of a generalist. Maybe that's what's uniquely me? Haha. I feel like I'm proficient in a variety of different styles, but there isn't one in specific that I stick to for everything. If anything, I strive to make whatever I'm working on look as accurate to the style I'm going for as possible. I'm a serious perfectionist - sometimes to a fault.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

A keyboard and mouse! Occasionally for larger pieces, I'll sketch something out with a tablet beforehand, but for the most part, I just stick to the basics.

 

-In your opinion, what makes good pixel and game art stand out?

Honestly, I think consistency is key. It doesn't matter if your game is super detailed with high-quality effects and lighting, 8-bit, 1-bit, or anything in-between. As long as the art is consistent and clean, you're going to end up with a game that looks really nice.

 

-The art you’ve shared on Twitter includes work geared toward more modern platforms as well as older consoles. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

I don't think I have much of a preference, really. There's definitely a comfortable, nostalgic feeling that comes with working on projects that are trying to replicate that old-school style and I'll always love that. At the same time though, there's something really exciting about working on a project without any limitations at all, especially in a space as unexplored as modern pixel games currently are. Despite being a callback to the classics of the past, it's really starting to feel like a whole new frontier and something about that gets me really inspired.

As far as my process goes, it's very different when working within strict limitations. The whole approach is different, because a lot of the techniques I've developed over the years aren't necessarily applicable under certain sets of rules, especially in regard to things like size and color count.

I've always found working with limitations to be a compelling challenge - kind of like trying to solve a puzzle. At times it can be difficult, but when you finally figure it out, it feels so rewarding.

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Robot by Grisknuckle

 

-Tell me about the development of the art you created for the game, what is your composition process?

I worked on a little bit of everything, from the main character to the final boss, as well as tiles, objects, backgrounds, and everything in-between. That being said, my primary focus was enemy design. For most of them, I'd be provided with a brief description of the enemy and where it can be found in the game, and I'd just go from there.

For some pieces (especially environments and bosses) I'd start with a larger sketch and build off of that until I had something that worked for both myself and the studio, and then I'd hand-pixel the finer details until it was done. For smaller enemies, characters, and objects, I'd hand-pixel from the start and then tweak it until I felt it was good enough to present.

I was given a lot of freedom with many of the designs and I'm honestly really grateful for that. I'd like to think that a lot of my own creature design influences show through in how some of the bosses look, and I'm very satisfied with the outcome.

 

-How did you first connect with Neofid Studios?

Initially, we connected through a freelance website called Fiverr - I was commissioned to draw the portraits (the only service I offered at the time) of the main character, which I did. The studio (thankfully) liked my artwork and we continued from there!

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Demons of Asteborg?

It was actually a lot more laid-back than I expected. They'd send me a document with everything they were looking for, and as long as I didn't have any follow-up questions, I'd go to work! If I'm being honest, the whole process really confirmed to me that I was making the right decision in regard to my current line of work. Taking into account the aforementioned freedom I was given, how much of my own creativity I was allowed to pour into the final work, and the relaxed and flexible atmosphere of working with Neofid Studios, I knew I was where I wanted to be.

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

Demons of Asteborg is actually the first large-scale game I've worked on. The sheer amount of work was definitely something that took me by surprise, as I was only really used to small-scale projects and individual commission work before that point.

If I had any advice to give to someone looking to work on a big game it would probably be: clear your schedule ahead of time. Trying to balance working on such a large project along with other commissions, a second job, or even just regular life stuff is not always as easy as it seems. That being said, it's absolutely worth it, as long as it's something you think you can manage. I wouldn't trade the time I spent working on Demons of Asteborg for anything - it was a truly fulfilling experience.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

I'm really proud of some of the bosses, especially the Kraken, Big Bone, and the final boss, Kzorox. They're so big compared to everything else I did for the game, and seeing them in motion in the actual game was pretty mind-blowing for me. I also have a bit of a soft spot for the first boss in the game, the Executioner, as he was actually one of the first things I did for the game after Gareth's initial design.

In general, though, I'm proud of the game as a whole. Being involved in such a cool project really was a dream come true for me.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

I'm not currently working on anything major at the moment, though I have been emailing back and forth with Neofid Studios regarding a potential future project, so with luck, an opportunity may present itself there!

As for my dream project, it's not really anything special. I think I'd just like to make my own game at some point, which may be easier said than done because I have no idea how to code, haha. I think it'd be interesting to take a step back from the artistic end of things and see what the other side of the fence looks like.

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

I've actually been out of the loop for a bit here - Demons of Asteborg was the homebrew game I was most anticipating (for obvious reasons) until it was recently released. Now that it has, I'm finally starting to look around and see what's out there (and what's on the way).

A few games I'm really looking forward to are Witchbrook, Haunted Chocolatier, and Eiyuden Chronicle. The first two are due to my love of Stardew Valley, and the third because it's a spiritual successor to my favorite game series of all time: Suikoden.

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Haunted Chocolatier by ConcernedApe

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Your appreciation is mutual! This interview is the first one I've ever done and I think I'll always look back on it as a really significant milestone for me.

As for the readers and fans, I'm just really grateful to all of you. I'm still pretty new to doing this professionally and I definitely don't have the biggest following, so it really means the world to me when someone takes the time to check me out.

 

 

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Quenvy Malavé

@qamaart

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and artist? What is your origin story?

Hi, my name is Quenvy Malavé (@qamaart); I'm a Professional Pixel Artist from Venezuela. I work as a freelancer making illustrations and animations for different clients, from indie studios to musicians. I create from tilesets and assets to character design and backgrounds, but my best skill, I will say, is Character Animation.

Well, those first inspirations came on my first ages watching anime series, like Dragon Ball, Rurouni Kenshin, Saint Seiya, NGE, Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing, Trigun, Yu Yu Hakusho, and many more. From there, I started illustrating by myself, trying to replicate those styles -like probably many artists did when they were kids. Then, when I got my first console, the PS ONE, video games started being part of my life, playing games like Mega Man Legends, Crash Bandicoot first Trilogy, CTR, Final Fantasy VII-VIII-IX, MGS 1, Tomba 2, and many others. I spent time seeing their artistic style, dreaming of being part of projects like those.

However, here in my country are no studies/careers focused on the game industry, so I studied Graphic Design, which was the closest career to my dream. But I was not completely happy with my selection, even when I was working as a graphic designer, but I continued because, you know, we have to pay the bills and bring the food to the table, haha. But in 2016, I discovered my passion. I found my love for Pixel Art when I heard about Owlboy and its gorgeous art. So I started searching more about it and how to try it on my old computer - I probably still have that first-pixel illustration on Instagram.

But I didn't start working as Pixel Artist until 2019 when I got my first commission from the team of Sons of Valhalla. After that, I have been working so hard -like a maniac, haha, to live making what I love: pixel art for video games.

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

As I mentioned, many anime series and movies, and video games influenced me, even now. But when it is about Pixel Art, games like Owlboy, Hyper Light Drifter, Enter the Gungeon, FEZ, Blasphemous, Katana Zero, Moon Lighter, Wargroover, Pathway, and Children of Morta inspire me a lot, even those old games like The King of Fighters 2003, Metal Slug, Street Fighter III, and Guilty Gear XX which styles stay fresh even these days.

Artists like Paul Robertson (@probzz), Yur Gus (@yg_fool), Simon S. Andersen (@snakepixel), Gyhyom (@gyhyom), and a special one is Mark Ferrari (@Mawkyman), from I recommend watching his GDC talk on YouTube. Those are my first inspiration for pixel art.

 

-Do you feel that your art has any qualities that are uniquely you? How would you describe your aesthetic?

I'm always looking to make characters dynamic and exciting to watch, make them look cool even in those little details. I'm always looking to get fluency and solid and visual-communicative poses when it is about animation. It's what I keep as a priority. Bring creative solutions for any movement it's important too, to avoid creating something simplistic, without personality. Oh, and using violet-purple-based palette colors is part of my aesthetic too and is part of my signature already, haha.

 

-What about animation resonates so strongly with you as opposed to more static pixel art?

Animating a character could tell you even more about it without using too many words, and that is magical. You can know its personality by watching how it is walking, jumping, casting a spell, or even just drinking water.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

My primary tool for character design and animation is Aseprite. It's the one that I use every day. Then, other tools are like Pyxel Edit when it is about making tilesets, and recently, I'm adding Pixaki and its flexibility of making pixel art anywhere.

 

-In your opinion, what makes good game art and animation stand out?

I think that is making all with passion and hard work. Do not choose a game art style just because it is "easy to do" or it is the trend now. Choose it because you know you will be passionate about making those arts, so much that you will push more of you to get better and bring authentic pieces. Look at examples like D-Pad Studio with Owlboy, Studio MDHR with Cuphead, and even Arc System Works with Guilty Gear and Dragon Ball Fighter Z, to mention a few.

 

-The art you've shared on Twitter and your YouTube channel includes work for several games on more modern platforms such as Sons of Valhalla. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

I think that all processes should be adaptive when it is about limitations, especially for Pixel Art. Thanks to the advanced tools and platforms that we have now, I like working on those that don't have limitations; that way, you can create new ways of making things and push even further the possibilities of the Pixel Art. But when you work for platforms like the Sega Mega Drive Genesis, you have to be creative to get excellent results despite the console restrictions, and that gives you an evolution in your skills.

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Screenshot from Sons of Valhalla by Pixel Chest

 

-Tell me about the development of the art you created for the game; what is your composition process?

It all depends on whether the piece is for my portfolio or a client. When it's for me and my portfolio or content, I always search for inspiration on creative platforms like Pinterest or ArtStation, or sometimes I'm just washing dishes, and an idea comes to me hehe, then I go to find a couple of references and start sketching directly on Aseprite or Pixaki. When I finish, I usually mimic -for real, how this character will perform any action; even if they are weird creatures, you will see me trying to imitate it XD.

When it's for clients, the process is the same. Still, before starting, I ask many questions about style and specific details for the requests. Sometimes I do not design, just animate characters that they already have, so I jump to the mimic process after answering questions.

 

-How did you first connect with Neofid Studios?

They commissioned me for some basic animations for the first version of Gareth, which you can see on their Kickstarter campaign. Then, after switching to the new DoA's aesthetic, they contacted me again to redo the animations and make some enemies and bosses work too.

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Demons of Asteborg?

Same as the one explained before: They sent me some characters designed by Dillon Willette (@Grisknuckle), the animations they wanted, and some specs about them, and done, I started working on the animation ideas.

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

Wow! Too much responsibility here, haha. I'm still learning, discovering new things every day, but what I learned working on DoA was to be fully adaptive, not only for the limitations of the platforms but also to adapt my process for making animations of a piece from other artists. As an animator, you will not always design for too, so you must be prepared for that.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

Making the animations of the main character Gareth is definitely a conquest for me, but those that I made for their enemy bosses of the game are the ones that I must be proud of because they were my first big-character animations, and in Pixel Art, that is challenging.

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

I will fall into the cliche that making my own game is my dream project, haha. I'm learning to code to bring some ideas that I have. I hope to work on them soon. There are other couples of projects with some studios that are in the oven, still in process. I hope that you hear about them near in the future.

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

Sons of Valhalla is the one that I'm excited to see released. To play what the team has been creating these years, which looks fun and fabulous, and see those characters I designed and animated on the action. I also want to play Demons of Asteborg, of course, but I need to find some time for it; I spend most of my time working, hehe.

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

I will quote a phrase from Mark Ferrari (@Mawkyman) that I have in my desktop background, which is: "Enjoy the freedom of doing 8-bit art in an age it doesn't need 8-bit art... just want it."

Oh! and go a-pixel-a day (a way to say that don't be so hard with yourself, each small work made each day it's a step to your goals ;)).

 

 

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Rasamimanana Cyril

@Cyrasa3D

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and artist? What is your origin story?

I just liked drawing during lessons, from middle school to high school, because lessons were boring, my scores were fair, but I regret having this attitude. 

I studied computer science with a 3D branch at an IT, learning how to not like coding and once I was able to do some 3D, was kinda unsatisfied with the work asked. Following with a professional license in architecture, alternating work at a company, which was a great experience.

So I ended up working as a cashier and tried to pass an exam for ENJMIN university for video games, while honing my skills during my free time, I failed the first entry…

But during the first year, I was able to do an internship at Neofid Studios, beginning with the famous tunnel level, and they allowed me to help create more content for Demons of Asteborg. So I proceeded with boulders in the sewer, some spikes, and after that Boss sprites….

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

Dead Cells is definitively the one who permitted me to think it was possible to create pixel art with 3D models. 

But generally I don’t have any influences, but I admit there are peoples who puts stars in my eyes such as @SparrowLucero, @FelixColgrave and @Jnoel150 for the 2D art, and @sakuramochiJP for the outstanding technicity put in the characters.

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Screenshot from Dead Cells by Motion Twin

 

-Do you feel that your art has any qualities that are uniquely you? How would you describe your aesthetic?

No, I’m still too fresh to even pretend my aesthetic is unique. For now I prefer to create content that is faithful to the source material and style, and useable for video games.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

Blender, Substance Painter, Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop and Aseprite.

 

-In your opinion, what makes good pixel and game art stand out?

Sharpness and a colorful palette.

 

-Additionally, your specialty is 3D modeling. What inspired you to work in 3D design?

Video Games mostly enticed me to do 3D modeling. When I first learned, it was so fun to create something ugly and uncanny and see it working. It’s as if I was doing Lego in childhood but without the physical pain. Now it is mental.

 

-The art you’ve shared on Twitter includes work geared toward more modern platforms as well as older consoles. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

No clearly, if it is possible for me to use 3D to get a good result I don’t care about the support, as long as the style suits my tastes.

And yes, my process depends on the result I must produce.

When you produce 3D models in order to render sprite, you almost work first with the materials and then adapt the model shapes to get a satisfying result, the sprite size influence the 3D, being less organic and simpler as the resolution is smaller, and harder to rely on 3D software.

 

-Tell me about the development of the art you created for the game, what is your composition process?

First, modeling, the easy part.

I create first a light source, and then a material in which a certain range of color is shown depending on the intensity of the light on the surface area of the 3D object. A constant gradient is necessary to render clean image in low resolution, while keeping as less color as possible to edit on Aseprite and applying indexed color.

You play a lot with the light source and the gradient color to get the best result


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At the end, I edit it on Aseprite to refine it, and respect some rules to feel more pixel-art.

 

-How did you first connect with Neofid Studios?

Aurelia Sanchez, a person I can’t ever thank enough for getting me an internship among them. 

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Demons of Asteborg?

It was mostly to produce a sprite and then refine it until we come to an agreement. Pretty simple and cool process. 

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

The Tunnel Level was the trickiest part, it was mainly material and textures work, a thing I wasn’t good at all. To make abstract and procedural patterns both good and visible, with palette limitation and symmetry was the hardest challenge. 

 

-Was integrating your 3D objects into the game alongside other artists’ 2D art a challenge or did everything seem to fall neatly into place?

It was mostly a challenge, I mean the bosses hands were painful to model, animate and render and yet my most prized results. But you can easily guess they are 3D.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

Progression: the pace is good, each level must have a good balance between fight and platform, and the boss fights are a good way to conclude the level. 

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

Working on a successful game, from start to end. 

 

-Are there any homebrew games in development that you are excited to play?

No.

 

-I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and share your experiences. Is there anything else you would like to tell readers and fans?

Most of the time I felt like I wasn’t qualified or worthy for the tasks I accepted, but fuck I craved so much to work in this domain I couldn’t bring myself to give up.

 

 

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Veli’

@VeliTheTunes

-Before we dive into Demons of Asteborg, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to become a homebrewer and artist? What is your origin story?

I always wanted to make games as a kid. Or at least work in the game sphere. So I went and studied IT, then was invited to work in a small startup as a game designer. Then when we had to decide our next project’s visual style. We a solution that would allow us to run it on any phone, so decision was made to make it in pixel art style. So I went on and researched it, started studying and trying drawing. Half a year later I left that studio but kept studying and drawing. A few years later here I am 🙂

 

-Who are your influences? And whose work are you watching closely now?

My main inspiration is Tsutomu Nihei, author of manga series such as BLAME, Biomega, Knights of Sidonia. And right now I'm closely following this guy https://twitter.com/Latimeriaa. I'm not sure what his name is, but he does amazing figures and models.

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Tsutomu Nihei

 

-Do you feel that your art has any qualities that are uniquely you? How would you describe your aesthetic?

I guess? Since I'm quite bad at drawing I'm trying to overcompensate it with technique and polish. I think? Not sure, it’s hard to talk about my own style.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

Photoshop. Used to be a big GIMP fan, but the moment I had to deal with animation I cursed that software and never came back 😄

 

-In your opinion, what makes good pixel and game art stand out?

Good art direction. If you know why you are using pixel art, how to use it properly, your game will look great. Doesn’t matter if it’s a very primitive or technical kind of pixel art.

 

-The art you’ve shared on Twitter includes spites and animation for more modern platforms. Do you have a preference creating for a particular platform? Does your process differ when working within a different set of limitations?

I like modern platforms, because I can make up my own palette and choose colors that help me get the feel of the image that I'm going for. But that’s when I'm working on my personal art/project. When working for hire, I have no real preference I think? Well maybe NES is my least favorite due to its palette. I'm really bad at using it hehe. Other than that, can’t think of anything. And no, process is pretty much the same, doesn’t matter what I'm doing, I'm always working with some kind of restrictions.

 

-Tell me about the development of the assets you created for Demons of Asteborg, what is your composition process?

Honestly, there is nothing interesting about that process 🙂 I was just given very specific instructions of how animations had to look, sometimes with videos or gifs as references. And then I just drew it haha, what else can I say 🙂

 

-How did you first connect with Neofid Studios?

They found me on twitter, were really nice to me, offered a job, I agreed. That’s the story 🙂

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Demons of Asteborg?

I'm not quite sure what this question means:) Was it nice working with Neofid Studios? Sure. One of the best experiences I had as an artist for hire. It was very easy to communicate with them, they explained what they wanted from me very well. I had a great time with them, I hope they did too with me 🙂

 

-What new challenges or surprises surfaced in working on Demons of Asteborg? What lessons did you learn that you would like to share with the people who aspire to follow in your footsteps?

I haven't working in this visual style before, so getting used to it was a bit of a challenge. I wasn’t sure if I would pick it up at first, but after a few animations, I got used to it and it was smooth sailing after that.

 

-What aspects of Demons of Asteborg are you most proud of?

That it came out haha:) Guys are beasts, did a great job with this game and survived till release. That’s quite a feat, I'm telling you. I've seen too many projects die in development hell before

 

-Are there any other projects you have lined up on the horizon? Any dream projects?

Nothing I can talk about sadly!

 

Conclusion:

Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the series that provides deep dives into the latest and greatest homebrew games coming across the finish line. What are your thoughts on Demons of Asteborg and its talented development team? What homebrews are you eagerly looking forward to? Perhaps you’ll see it here soon when…A Homebrew Draws Near! Command?

 

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