CR: Castle Crashers is very visually busy. How much testing did you do to figure out if people were going to be able to figure out what the hell was going on at any given time? I'm thinking of, say, the arena where you fight the first boss that has the big smashy thing, and all those people stand up in front of you sometimes.
DP: The people that stand up are actually reacting to when you get hit. When you get smashed into the ground they'll cheer. It's kind of a punishment for getting smashed into the ground.
They're supposed to jump up and block stuff for a second. But you're already on the ground. In multiplayer it can be a little more annoying if you're not the one that got hit into the ground and also can't see. That's part of working together. He jumps up in the air -- you gotta get out of the way.
TF: Alien Hominid has issues with too much visual foreground stuff. Castle Crashers, we're more sensitive to it. But then we still hear some people complain about visual chaos. Where there'll be a pillar in the foreground in the desert, or too much magic on the screen.
I don't care about the too much magic on the screen. Just me, personally, I want to see see a screen full of explosions or whatever. It all just kind of works itself out.
DP: So do I, and if think if people have a problem with all the magic blocking what they're seeing, then they shouldn't all be using their magic at the same time. Really, if all four players are using any effect whatsoever all the time --
TF: If they're all doing it, all they're doing is getting killed anyway.
DP: Yeah, and everything is getting destroyed. All the smoke clears, and you're alive.
TF: Just jump a lot.
DP: It is tough, though, and I know that some people have a problem with it. Personally, I don't ever lose my guy --
BS: I do.
DP: ...So it's hard for me to be aware of that at all times. But I'd rather see a cool explosion than a really tiny one, personally.
And you can't really do it -- one thing I wanted to look into was additive effects, 'cause then you still see stuff that's behind, and it would be glowy. But apparently our engine didn't support additive, so I just had to roll with it.
BS: You mean transparent stuff.
DP: Yeah, it blends the color in with it, and you're still able to see what's behind there. It would still be brilliant looking. Because if I did alpha, it would just be a darker and not bright effect. I didn't want alpha stuff. I still feel like it works okay.
When you have three guys, it's still not so bad, but once you have four, it reaches this point that's like, "Okay, that's a lot."
TF: I love it. I love seeing that.
BS: You're just making little drawings all day long. "Oh look, I'm Dan! I'm drawing -- now I'm drawing some poop!"
DP: It's true, Tom's process is busier than mine because he'll lay down all the foundation, and then he has to tweak that foundation.
BS: So uh, why you got so many pooping animals, Dan? 'Cause I really like the pooping animals.
DP: I think it's funny, and Tom thinks it's funny, and I think some of it's --
TF: Dan came to visit the office so we could have a good jam session. And it was one of those late night type, "You know, let's make all the animals crap" things.
DP: Slap happy. We work cruelly late hours, so when we get slap happy, we make funny stuff.
TF: Sometimes, it's like, "Let's just destroy this and make a mess of it." It's funny, though. (laughter)
DP: It's the essence of, when you were younger and you had slumber parties and everything was funny at a certain point in the night, because you were all tired. And everyone's like "Hur-hur-hur hah!" Somebody made a fart noise, and no one could help but laugh. I think it's the essence of that in the game. And I think it still reads well because people laugh when they see it. So, it's like they get to join in on that.
TF: It's like we stop the camera, and it'll be all dramatic, and then an owl's gonna crap.
DP: (laughs) We're gonna force people to watch this.
BS: We've got all these people talking about advancing the art of games and making everything more serious, so that people take it seriously as mainstream. You're just makin' poopin' animals.
DP: I don't think it should be taken that seriously. It's just for fun. I didn't want people to take our game seriously.
You know, like that they're thinking that there's some kind of statement that we're making in any form whatsoever. People will do that. I think that the more we show people that, we're just having fun and want them to have fun.
BS: I think there should be games that are serious and games that are made to be played and have a good time with.
DP: Yeah, just like movies. You got your comedies and your dramas.
BS: I want to see the video game equivalent of a romantic comedy.
DP: You've Got Mail, but translated into a videogame.
BS: You've Got Mail, oh man. You've Got Melee!