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Episode 1: Diamond Thieves


Scrobins

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The Mega Cat Chronicles

A blog series by @Scrobins

Episode 1: Diamond Thieves

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Introduction:

In the beginning, homebrew was the hobby of mad scientists experimenting with their own limited resources. There were no supply chains. Donor carts were the norm. But the community’s potential increased dramatically with the arrival of publishers offering molds for new cartridges, technical expertise to polish a game’s code, and a range of services including the printing of quality labels, boxes, and manuals, and distribution through their online storefronts. Homebrewers were no longer constrained by their own means, but could tap into the resources of others such as RetroUSB. InfiniteNESLives, Broke Studio, the 6502 Collective, and Mega Cat Studios.

Sibling to the defunct 8 Bit Evolution, Mega Cat Studios has grown to become one of the biggest platforms for homebrew, as well as games for modern consoles. In addition to its own passion projects, the Mega Cat portfolio includes a number of commissioned projects as well as the initial or follow-up releases of other devs’ games at a greater scale. It is in that spirit that Mega Cat has cultivated new collaborations to expand its presence and broaden homebrew’s reach with partnerships such as 8 Bit Legit with Retrotainment Games, and a brand-new opportunity with Video Game Sage!

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It IS the game

That’s right, VGS is teaming up with Mega Cat Studios to release homebrew games and promote their developers. Mega Cat combines its thick rolodex of developers and its publishing & distribution muscle with the talents of VGS’ staff, including my writing, and @CasualCart & @BortLicensePlate’s artistic prowess, and our collective promotional reach to help bring new physical releases to gamers that might not otherwise see the light of day.

And to think it all began with a miscommunication.

On September 22, 2021, nemezes tweeted about a limited release (just 5 CIBs) for a new game from Mangangá Team: Ladrões de Diamantes, or Diamond Thieves. I messaged him about getting a copy for myself, unfortunately international shipping costs made worldwide distribution prohibitively expensive. Nemezes hoped to find someone who could distribute his game beyond his country. That search was apparently fruitful, because on October 27, 2021, no less than James “Mega Cat” Deighan emailed me, saying amaweks (another prominent member of Mangangá) mentioned I was interested in buying a small run of Diamond Thieves. I was confused at first, I just wanted a copy for myself. It’s worth noting here that James and I were hardly strangers at this point; we have met in person and emailed back and forth over a number of projects. So I think it’s safe to say we were already good friends. And like our many other emails, this email wasn’t just a quick transactional back and forth, but a full-on conversation, catching up with each other on top of talking about the game itself. Eventually the conversation pivoted to an interesting idea: what if VGS partnered with Mega Cat to release Diamond Thieves and other games in our own joint series?

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Retro Homies

A flurry of emails, forum threads, and video calls followed, as the excitement of what we could do to play with this opportunity was fleshed out. We would have a lot of leeway to put our mark on these releases, and both we and Mega Cat could draw on our respective staffs’ talents and communities to encourage brewers to release games they might like to publish but for whatever reason never took that step toward Kickstarter or any of the other publishers.

This collaboration has been such a blast! James enjoyed CasualCart & BortLicensePlate’s new art so much, he asked them to put together a storyboard for the release trailer. And Diamond Thieves, with its premise of aliens and robots fighting over gems, you can imagine how much we sank our teeth into making fun art and text for the box. We are excited to launch this series, and are proud for Diamond Thieves to be the first game to herald what more there is to come.

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BortLicensePlate’s Box Design with CasualCart’s Cover Art

To help shed light on the games getting a physical release through our collaboration, I’m also launching a spin-off to my homebrew blog A Homebrew Draws Near! To highlight the publisher who makes it possible, I’m calling this series The Mega Cat Chronicles. So let’s get started: for this entry, I’m covering Diamond Thieves, a platforming adventure for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, developed by Mangangá Team. As of the time of this writing, CIBs of the game are available through Mega Cat Studios here.

 

Development Team:

nemezes (Laudelino): programming

amaweks (Paulo A. M. Villalva): background art & logo

Casemiro Azevedo: music

Filipe Brizolara: cutscenes

Saruzilla: original cover art

Fernando Dias: original manual/poster art

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Original CIB Design by Saruzilla

 

Game Evolution:

Diamond Thieves first popped up on our radar with an October 31, 2020 tweet, in which nemezes teased the beginnings of an “alien game.” Its title was announced in another tweet on November 8, 2020. More news entered our orbit over the course of the following year, sharing gameplay mechanics and occasionally crowdsourcing input on sprite design, such as how best to distinguish the various keys needed to complete each stage.

On September 22, 2021, an initial CIB run of 5 copies of Diamond Thieves was announced. Given the shipping/export costs associated with mailing out of Brazil, the reach of these carts was understandably limited. Enter the Mega Cat, with an assist from VGS.

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Early Development Screenshot from Diamond Thieves

 

Gameplay Overview:

Diamond Thieves is a platformer with a pinch of puzzle work. You play as an alien adventurer, locked in the eternal struggle against robots in a race to scoop up the diamonds scattered throughout the universe. You must make your way through each stage, collecting diamonds, finding the keys needed to unlock your path forward, and defeat the robots who would enslave you. Climb ladders and boxes, jump on springs, push buttons, do whatever it takes to reach the checkpoints that mark your progress. Every step counts but watch out for the creatures and pitfalls of each level because these worlds won’t give up their gems too easily. At least there are hearts to replenish your health, and coins galore (10 of which will grant you an extra life)! You aren’t completely defenseless; armed with your laser pistol, you have a fighting chance in such hostile territory, but be careful not to waste your shots or you might be caught in a sticky situation while waiting for it to recharge.

The game’s controls are intuitive. Left and right on the d-pad moves you accordingly, while up and down will help you climb any ladders. The C button allows you to jump and jump off ladders while the B button shoots the laser pistol, but only when the laser bar in the HUD is full. Start pauses your game. And of course you can reconfigure the controls to your liking in the title screen menu.

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Screenshot from Diamond Thieves

Writer’s Review:

Diamond Thieves is a hefty scoop of colorful cuteness that easily could have been the genesis of a 90s Saturday morning cartoon. This is a game well-suited for players of all ages, serving as the kind of simple platformer one can turn to as a relaxing escape. Reminiscent of family-friendly forays like Kid Chameleon and Toe Jam & Earl 2, Diamond Thieves is a light, fun adventure that knows some homebrew fans want to pass their nostalgia on to younger generations and will need games with low barriers to entry to appeal to them. Adding to its low-pressure ambiance, Diamond Thieves offers a password system so you can pick up & play, then drop it down & return at your convenience. But don’t interpret this to mean that the game is easy. The limits of your laser attack make you especially vulnerable if you aren’t judicious with its use. And more than once I fell into the trap of assuming that because each key has a distinct color and number that is consistent across each stage that means they are to be obtained in that order every time, forcing me to backtrack to obtain a key I thought I was supposed to leave for later.

As I’ve mentioned, the graphics are cute and colorful, despite the landscape’s tricky terrain. There’s something amusing to how the platforms hovering above water wiggle to warn you they’re about to plummet. The backgrounds add an other-worldly layer to the landscape, and its parallax scrolling adds the sense of depth only found while galivanting in deep space. Meanwhile Diamond Thieves’ music taps into the sounds players love that only the Sega Genesis provides. Those deep bass riffs we’ve come to expect from this 16-bit console, paired with the music’s higher pitched twangs and sound effects perfectly articulate the soundtrack defined by the keywords “cute”, “spacey”, and “fun.”

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Interviews:

So who are the devs behind Mangangá Team, entrusting VGS and Mega Cat with their work? I interviewed several members to learn more about their backgrounds and of course their passions, which have given rise to this fun game.

 

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Nemezes/Laudelino

@laudelino7

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

What inspired me is the opportunity to use software that facilitates to coding, especially for the Mega Drive. Also, that I had a Mega Drive in my childhood. The origin of nemezes is simple, it is an anagram of Menezes, my surname. A friend once called me this way and I liked the idea.

 

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

My influences in game developing are all the games that I played. I mainly focus on simple mechanics, puzzles and what’s fun to play.

 

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

The design aesthetic of simple games, but with a lot of workarounds to deal with the Mega Drive limitations.

 

-What tools do you use to code and create?

I once used BasiEgaXorz (also known as BEX) and SecondBASIC, but now I am using SGDK to code games for the Mega Drive.

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SecondBASIC, the gift from Adam that keeps on giving

 

-How did your relationship with the other members of Mangangá Team come about?

All the relationship came about through the Internet on social networks. First I met Paulo ‘amaweks’, then Luiz Felipe, as he is amaweks’ brother. Casemiro I met through an intermediate on Twitter.

 

-What was the working dynamic like in the development of Diamond Thieves?

First I made the basic dynamics of the game. Then I asked Casemiro to compose the songs, which he did very well. Amaweks appeared in the last minute to make all the background art, the logo of the game and the cover art. Everything just fit well together.

 

-How did you first connect with Mega Cat Studios?

I do not remember well how this happened, but I think that amaweks had the first contact, then I get in touch with Mega Cat Studios. It was when we were making Devwill Too game for Mega Drive, around 2019.

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Screenshot from Devwill Too for the Sega Genesis

 

-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?

I can recommend that if you are an independent game developer, you should focus on simplicity for your games, so it’s something you can finish, as it really is difficult to make a game, because it has a lot of things to be made: code, music, all the art, etc. Keep it simple, but fun, and finish the game, so everyone can play it.

 

-There has been a lot of support and enthusiasm for Diamond Thieves in the leadup to its release, in collaboration with Mega Cat Studios and VGS. How does it feel to see Diamond Thieves serve as the launch title for this new collaboration so people can play your game?

That is awesome, we hope that the game gets a good reception from the community.

 

-What aspects of Diamond Thieves are you most proud of?

The puzzle mechanics: find the right order of keys to open doors, the box mechanic to activate buttons that open doors, the runaway stages, the design of bosses; all aspects of the game.

 

-With the rest of Mangangá Team, you have also developed games such as Devwill and Capoeira Boy, as well as other games you’ve worked on independently. Do you have a favorite game that you’ve programmed?

All the games are my favorite, because in each game we try to improve our skills in general, make a new coding challenge, a new graphic feature and other good effects.

 

-Are there any other games of yours you would like to see released through this Mega Cat/VGS partnership?

Arapuca would a good game to be released through this partnership. It is a puzzle game, like Sokoban, but with Mode 7 rotation on the Mega Drive.

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Screenshots from the upcoming Arapuca (Trap) for the Sega Genesis

 

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

We are finishing the Devwill Too prologue.

 

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

Yes, I am looking forward to seeing the final version of Phantom Gear.

 

-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?

Thanks for the interest. I appreciate the attention and I hope people keep giving good feedback on our games. Thank you all!

 

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Paulo Villalva

@amaweks

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

Long story, but I think that everything I’ve learned as an artist in my entire life lead me do develop games. First, I was a kid in the 80’s and 90’s, playing games from Atari 2600 to N64. Drawing since childhood, I’ve done a lot of things in about 20 years like learning playing musical instruments, recording songs, doing comic books, studying visual arts, narrative, pixel art, and many more (see some of my productions on my personal blog www.diarioartografico.blogspot.com). As a teacher in schools I’ve helped my student classes to make a total of 11 PC retro games, that can be downloaded for free here https://gameartesescola.blogspot.com/.  I finished my first solo game project in 2014, and since then I have done a lot of other games on my own (www.amaweks.com), and games as a member of Mangangá Team (www.mangangateam.com). I’ve worked on several NES projects for Mega Cat Studios as a freelance pixel artist too.

 

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

As a game maker, Locomalito is one great influence.  For narrative, Alan Moore, and old silent movie film makers, like Chaplin or Fritz Lang. For pixel art, strangely, I’ve come to admire and follow some artists only recently. Old 8-bit and 16-bit games’ pixel art are surely my main influence. But I love to look close to the work of Arne https://twitter.com/AndroidArts, and FrankenGFX https://twitter.com/FrankenGraphics, and Surt https://twitter.com/not_surt .

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Durandal by Arne

 

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

I think that my pixel art is very retro inspired, and does not look like modern pixel art. But I love to find the limits of pixel art restriction on old systems. Right now I’m testing my limits as an artist doing 1-bit (1 color + transparency) sprites. Making a good and well animated (with few frames) 1-bit sprite is such a challenge, and it all depends a lot on the character design. As a character design I think I’m always around with a mix of “cute” but “creepy” little monsters. Almost all of the main characters of my games are like this, they are cute and have a kind look, but at the same time are a little creepy and strange.  And as a game maker I’m trying to make games that looks like 80’s and 90’s games, but with a twist on the narrative content: adding ethnic, cultural, or philosophic elements that makes them a bit more “adult” than the games from my childhood.

 

-Have you noticed any changes in your style or game development preferences over the years?

I really do not know, I still try a mix of things, it all depends on the game concept. I may try to make a game a colorful as possible, or I can try to make the graphics look more minimalist. The target system can influence that decision. I think I’m becoming more experienced and better at choosing the art style for each project.

 

-What tools do you use to create your art?

For pixel art, old Paint Shop Pro 9, and WinXP software that is almost a simplified version of Photoshop. For music, any tracker that supports the system I’m working on, but mostly Deflemask and vortex tracker II.  For anything else, good old PC notepad, and a lot of real pen and paper.

 

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

I really do not know, for me all kinds of art can stand out, depending on the whole game. Some games will need a style of art, others will shine with another style. As a general rule, the art must be synthetic, it must reduce and represent things of the real world (or from our dreams) in an aesthetic way. A game, and pixel art too, must be understood as an aesthetic language, with its own rules, like any other language.

 

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

In fact I did not do much on Diamond Thieves. Mostly sprites and tilesets. Laudelino/nemezes took from a free repository, and was made by Surt. I’ve done the background artwork, helped with some ideas for the game and level design. I created the title screen too. And that’s most of it for this one.

 

-How did you first connect with Mega Cat Studios?

My first contact with Mega Cat Studios was when I asked them to publish our first Sega Genesis game, Devwill Too. Then we established a very good relationship, and I started to work freelance pixel art jobs for them. I like their projects, and I’m very proud of the work I’ve done for Mega Cat Studios’ projects, mostly NES games. I think all good relationships need mostly confidence, and I really have that about them and it looks like they think the same.

 

-How did your relationship with the other members of Mangangá Team come about?

Laudelino came to me on a forum, asking for partnership. I was doing my own PC games, learning, so it looked like a good opportunity for us to learn together. We really have grown together as a team, we know each other’s limitations and make realistic projects scopes, that we can start and finish before getting bored or quit the project. Lots of good projects just do not get finished because of a too ambitious scope, and we want to avoid this. So while we do bigger projects, we like to have some time on small ones to keep things going.

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Diamond Thieves?

Diamond Thieves was one of those small projects made between pauses on the big projects. So we work very freely on it, with not much of a general scope. The engine was made as an experiment for the new engine for Mega Devwill (some of the mechanics are the same: the player jumps, shoots a small projectile, has to wait a time to shoot again, and have to find keys to open doors). Since this project was mostly Laudelino’s creation, I worked in my spare time when needed help.

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Screenshot from the upcoming Mega Devwill for the Sega Genesis

 

-Ever since my first episode, M-Tee planted this idea in my mind that a game’s protagonist serves as the player's point of immersion in the game, informing how we understand the game's world. I also believe that the protagonist’s design serves as a reflection of its designer. What was the intention behind the design of the alien protagonist, and do you see aspects of yourself in him?

Well, the character design and sprites are not mine, all I can say is that “charisma” for a character can be reached in many different ways. I like “silent” characters, like “mimics” who express themselves with minimalist talk and expression. Like 16-bit Sonic and Mario, most of the charisma comes from the fact that they do not talk. They are just there; other characters talk or interact with them. But, they react. They say that the more minimalist the “avatar”, the more easily a person can identify with them and play in their skin. I think that applies here and in our other games.

 

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

I think that we learned how to do proper parallax scrolling with Diamond Thieves. That a small game can work and be shared with the public too. And that making small projects while doing bigger and longer ones helps us to “stay alive”, to have a bit of that sense of accomplishment to keep motivated.

 

-What aspects of Diamond Thieves are you most proud of?

I liked my title screen. The backgrounds are made dark to make the foreground and level design pop, and I think that works, and it has parallax 😉

 

-With the rest of Mangangá Team, you have also developed games such as Devwill and Capoeira Boy, as well as other games you’ve worked on independently. Do you have a favorite game that you’ve created art for?

It’s hard to tell. I love all my games and games I’ve done with Mangangá Team as they are my children. I think that I’m very proud of the sprites and character design I did for Arapuca, a small puzzle game for Sega Genesis that was Laudelino’s idea. And I’m really proud of myself for the stage graphics of Devwill Too Prologue, our new game in the series. I did a lot of parallaxes, and my palette usage is very mature there, very colorful. I’ve animated a spinning tower that was really hard work, but it looks great.

 

-Are there any other games of yours you would like to see released through this Mega Cat/VGS partnership?

Of course, I think Arapuca is a good small puzzle game that deserves a small cartridge run. Devwill Too Prologue, the new chapter on the series, will look great on the shelves alongside the original, that’s for sure. And, when we finish it, Mega Devwill, which is a remake of the first Devwill game, that I made for PC back in 2017.

 

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

Lots, and lots, and lots of projects. The ones I’ve already told, Devwill Too Prologue, almost finished, and Mega Dewill, that needs a year of development still.  I personally have dozens of projects, some with a lot done on pre-production and even narrative and pixel art production. But time is short, and we always have to choose priorities.  I like to say that on Mangangá Team we work like a rock band. We share everything, money, work, and projects. Some projects start as someone’s idea, then it opens for other members’ contributions.

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Screenshot from the upcoming Devwill Too Prologue for the Sega Genesis

 

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

Every new homebrew game for my childhood systems always makes me excited to play. Recently I’ve played Xeno Crisis a lot; it’s a hard game, I’m not good at it, but I love it. I love Tanzer, and I’m excited for the sequel. And every game or project that challenges the limits of any retro systems are always eye candy and I want to play them all.

 

-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?

Thanks for everyone that supports our work. As an independent and homebrew game maker, we cannot survive without a sense of community, because we are niche. But I’m glad that we have, year by year, reached more people that support our work. If you want to develop a game, for any platform, aim for a small scope first. A too big first project will easily drain your energy and make you quit. So, start small, to build your whole picture brick by brick.

 

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Casemiro Azevedo

@Kazemyers

-Before we dive into Diamond Thieves, I would love to talk about you and your background. What first inspired you to be a musician? What led you to compose music for homebrew games? What is your origin story?

Music has always been a part of my life. My father plays the acoustic guitar, and my mother is an avid music listener. So even though I started working as a lighting designer (And still do. Seems like two very different things, but I they are actually quite similar in many areas), I never stopped developing and studying my composing/producing/sound designing skills. My brother Vitório O. Az is also a composer/sound designer, we are very close, we both started roughly at the same time, and since then we always share our experiences and discoveries in the field, helping and growing together so much so that we ended up composing many soundtracks together.

When DAWs became accessible, I started producing, and never stopped since. Until one day a friend of mine invited me to compose for a game he was making, and I accepted. That was 8 years ago. Since then I got into dynamic audio, chiptune, and have worked in many game projects. 

I grew up with 16-bit consoles, so composing for homebrew retro games was something of a bucket-list item. Actually composing for a specific sound chip, and having it released in a physical cartridge is something I’m very happy I can be a part of.

 

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

My main influences for chiptune are probably Hiroyuki Iwatsuki for his amazing work on Wild Guns and Ninja Warriors Again, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuzo Koshiro among others. For general music influences I would say I’m very influenced by movie and theater music and soundtracks, I love leitmotivs and designing music and audio with strong narrative/dramaturgy. Also I love heavy sound design in music, so, Trent Reznor, Pink Floyd, Makeup and Vanity Set, Moses Sumney are all things I really like to hear and take inspiration from.

And, lastly the things I’m watching closely lately: I’ve being listening to Mr. Bill a lot, and Roosevelt. Chiptune/game-wise I cannot stress enough how incredible the works of Saria Lemes and Fernanda Dias are. They are incredible artists and worth checking out.

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Hiroyuki Iwatsuki

 

-Do you feel that your music has any qualities that are quintessentially you? How would you describe your aesthetic? Has your style changed or evolved over the years?

I think I have this “visual” and narrative focus. That’s why I produced much more soundtracks for games, films, theater etc. than original albums. I like to have design flows for audio as well, like using a concept/technique and go as far as I can with it to create an involving narrative in the track/soundtrack and to guide the production and the story it’s trying to tell.

My style developed over the years through the tools I’ve come to use.  I went through a very orchestral phase, and then very synth focus, chiptune, heavy post-processing and sound design, etc. Through these tools I’m exposed to a lot of new material, music, and then I research it and try to add to my audio tool belt.

 

-Tell me about the development of Diamond Thieves’ soundtrack, what is your composition process? Is the creative process different compared to when you might compose more traditional music?

It really depends on the project. Some chiptune projects are more loop heavy than others, which makes things a little different in the planning and production phase. Or they are much more retro feeling which also changes the way I think of themes. Others are more experimental, so I think more outside the box. Despite all that I think chiptune is not just a tool for creativeness in the scope of nostalgia or retro alone, I think it is a tool that can be ripe for experimentation and new sounds, music and artistic designing, so it all very much depends on the project.

The Diamond Thieves soundtrack is very short, so I aimed for the bouncy sounds that are possible with the Genesis FM chip, but the game is still about “thieves” so I tried to give it that little edge of danger and stealth.

 

-What tools do you use to compose, generally as well as for games?

I used Flstudio for many years, but since 2019 I’ve been using Ableton as my main DAW. For chiptunes I use Deflemask, SNESGSS, hUGE tracker and milkytracker. Also I use FMOD for dynamic soundtrack.

 

-Your discography spans a wide array of music, including soundtracks for games, films, and theater. Does composing the soundtrack for a video game have different demands compared to composing compelling music for film or a play?

It definitely does. In terms of structure, at least. In games you don’t have a set timeline in which events are going to happen no matter what (Unless it’s a cut scene). Much of the timing is given either through dynamic audio and player input or, as is the case for less dynamic retro games, you need to convey an entire atmosphere/narrative through a well thought out loop, while in films and podcasts you can use the events of the never changing narrative timeline to your favor when composing.

 

-Tell me about the evolution of Diamond Thieves. Any interesting stories on the games’ development?

Laudelino has this very unique way of developing, where he always comes up with the games and then with it almost finished, he sends me a ROM, and goes “this is the game, this is the art design, you want to compose for it?” And then he gives me full freedom to come up with the soundtrack. I really like to work with them. So I’ve only seen the final stages of development. 

 

-How did your relationship with the other members of Mangangá Team come about?

We started to hang out on the same developers Discord server, then I started posting some chiptunes, because I was studying deflemask, and then Laudelino, Paulo and Luiz got in touch, and we started developing together.

 

-What was the working dynamic like in your development of Diamond Thieves?

We talk about how the track is going to playout, if it’s the menu soundtrack, if it is a level one, etc. On Mangangá everyone has a lot a creative freedom, so I compose something, send a file to the team, receive some feedback, correct stuff, and off to the game it goes! It’s a very horizontal approach where everyone respects each field of work while adding to the end product.

 

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

With Diamond Thieves I think the challenge was that we had some music from other projects that we would like to implement in the game, so for the rest of the soundtrack I had to follow a few guidelines to make it work as a whole, borrowing from the old soundtracks, and incorporating them in the new tracks. I think that a good lesson to learn is that the artistic process is always developed in the constraints of our tools and scope, which is actually a great thing that can be twisted into artistic creativeness. Boundaries and limited options can be a strong help when creating, so embrace those constraints and make them shine through!

 

-What aspects of Diamond Thieves are you most proud of?

I think the visuals-audio-design aspects are working together in a very nice and tidy artistic package.

 

-With the rest of Mangangá Team, you have also developed games such as Devwill and Capoeira Boy, as well as other games you’ve worked on independently. Do you have a favorite game that you’ve created music for?

I think Mangangá (The game) was a very fun one to compose for, because I got the idea of sampling a berimbau (A Capoeira Instrument) in the Genesis sound chip, chopping the percussive and tonal parts and using it as a beat element.

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A Berimbau

Arapuca I also liked very much, as I was inspired by electro swing for the Soundtrack. I guess swing music reminds me of cats?? I don’t know, maybe because of the Aristocats movie.

 

-Are there any other games of yours you would like to see released through this Mega Cat/VGS partnership?

Hopefully Mangangá team will have more games coming and we can make more of this great partnership with Mega Cat Studios!

There is also a GBC game that might be in the minds of the co-op gamedev that I’m part of, and maybe going into development soon. A partnership with Mega Cat/VGS would be awesome.

 

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

Yes, we are about to start the sequels for “Bem Feito” a game by the co-op team: OiCabie, Yukooh, Breno Dias and me. Also a little short film which I can’t talk about it yet, and hopefully more Mangangá games.

As for dream projects, I’d love to work on more Genesis and SNES games. I also have this dream to compose/sound design for a 16-bit horror game, something like Clock Tower! That would be awesome.  I would also like to tackle a very dynamic soundtrack for an investigation game. I have many dream projects that hopefully will come to reality some day!

 

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

I’m really looking forward to playing “Repugnant Bounty” for the GBC.

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Screenshot from Repugnant Bounty by Starlab

 

-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?

Thanks for playing Mangangá games, thanks for being part of this crazy homebrew community, and check out the team’s other projects!

 

Conclusion:

Thanks for tuning in to this first episode of a new series that will bring attention to some deserving homebrewers and their games, and heralding the release of a special physical run of their games thanks to the collaboration of Mega Cat Studios and Video Game Sage. Like my other blog series, I hope to  take deep dives into the stories behind the game and its creators. What are your thoughts on Diamond Thieves and the Mangangá Team? Are there any completed or in-development homebrews that you are praying get a physical release? Maybe that will be the next entry in…The Mega Cat Chronicles!

 

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