Rayne the Rogue Part 1 told the story of Rayne and her adventures and pilfering treasures from a dragon. After barely escaping the dragons' lairs Rayne goes in search of her next big adventure. In part 2, Rayne eventually comes across a rumor of a magic lamp hidden within a dark castle. Unbeknownst to her, the lamp is guarded by vicious creatures that will hunt down any interlopers. The player must help Rayne navigate the castle and avoid the beasts to find the lamp. If she is defeated by a guard she can use the gold collected to increase her stats.
Neo Retro has been creating games for two years now and consists of three members Shdwwzrd, Vampirics, and Kuronowachan. They are a distributed team across the US and Canada and use Discord (a free voice and chat app for video game communities) to help keep lines of communication open between members. Michael (Shdwwzrd), founder of Neo Retro has been programming for 20 years and lives in Alabama with his wife. He's been making games since his high school years and got his start programming games on Atari 8-bit computers.
Vampirics lives in Canada and has been a professional graphic designer for almost 10 years and recently joined Neo Retro, focusing mainly on design, concept, and art. "I was watching the team closely and thought I’d be a nice addition so I offered my help on a game, and we are now working actively on more games," says Vampirics. Kuronowachan has also been working with Shdwwzrd on projects since the early 2000's.
Back in 2017, Michael was shopping on Amazon in search of other micro-consoles with more power than the Arduboy when he came across the Tiny Arcade. Now, two years later they are releasing their 6th game that has been developed for the Tiny Arcade and Pocket Arcade. They love developing games for the Pocket Arcade mostly for its portability and color OLED, but also because there are not as many space constraints in comparison to other consoles.
The team says game development starts with an idea, and you never know where you are going to find inspiration. Once you have an idea then it's all about getting started with graph paper and a pencil, sketching-out areas and jotting-down ideas along the way. Graphic design usually comes in right after the initial idea, mocking up a couple of screens with ideas to figure out the best gameplay. After that, it’s bouncing ideas off one another and tweaking details. Then all of a sudden you have a game.
Neo Retro uses many tools to create their games, but primarily Arduino IDE for Pocket Arcade development. For Tile Map creation they use Tiled by Thorbjørn Lindeijer. They have also written their own image and tilemap conversion tools. As far as graphic design goes Vampirics uses Photoshop CC but says even software like GIMP or Paint can be used. When it comes to the music and sound of a game it's a crucial aspect of the experience, finding the right sounds to go with the different aspects of the game is a very difficult and an arduous process. The team listens to hundreds of sounds just to find the exact ones that they want to use.
Michael says "my inspiration to makes games is to entertain others. Hearing from someone that they enjoyed playing a game that we have created is such a great feeling." His favorite part about game development is seeing his vision get to a playable state. His least favorite, getting the AI to work properly is always a huge annoyance.
So what makes a game fun? The team says they enjoy randomness with an engaging story. It needs to make you proud of something and give you some kind of cool reward for something you did. The most valuable pieces of advice for others considering designing games - never give up, find a team that has similar tastes that you get along with well, and stay open-minded because sometimes the best ideas come from things you don't expect. And as always, don't forget to have fun!
Expect to see more from the Neo Retro team in the near future. They are currently working on Omega Horizon 2 and a side scrolling shoot em' up game called Love Rush 2. After that, we'll just have to see where their inspiration takes them. If you love Neo Retro consider supporting them on Patreon, a service where you can pledge to send a regular payment to creators, so they can support themselves and keep making new stuff! Download Rayne the Rogue Part 2 a Pac Man inspired game here or check out their other games available for both the Tiny Arcade and Pocket Arcade here!
Want to learn how to get started developing your own games? Check out our full tutorial here!
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