You are the longcat, and you are definitely on a rampage. You shoot fire and even lasers from your eyes at incoming enemies. As you progress, more and more familiar memes are revealed. Antoine added a directory of the characters he used in his games, and their origins (giving proper credit).
Catnarok 2: Longcat Rampage, in movie terms, would be referred to as “An irreverent good time”- congratulations on winning Flash Game Friday, Antoine!
Get to Know Antoine Litzler
Tell me about yourself- how many people are on your team? Where are you based?
My name is Antoine Litzler, but you might know me as my fancy online name “Hyakkidouran”, which is probably the only thing close to cool I will ever get. I am a froggie and am based in Frogland (some call it France).
This might be dissapointing to some people, but I am not much more than a bedroom programmer working alone. I wish I could say I have a dynamic and great team I am working with, but life has not put other crazies like me on my way yet (or a pile of gold to hire crazies), so I have to make do with my own hands.
How long have you been making games? What did you do before?
I think I started about 5 years ago with (what else?) a dress up game. But, even though my games got more complex, this always has been amateur or semi-pro (if that word even has a meaning) work, as I could not make enough money to consider quitting a regular job. Even today, I still have my day job as a computer developer/administrator for a huge cultural association.
I am probably not being original by saying that being able to live from making what I do on my own would be awesome. But I still have to thank my day job for providing me with food and licenses for Photoshop and Flash CS until now. Without this food and software, I would not be making games..
What was your inspiration for “Catnarok 2: Longcat Rampage”?
Wasn’t it obvious? Memes.
Internet memes are very diverse and range from being really funny to being pure crap. I really like the older memes in particular, like “Longcat” or “All your base are belong to us”, which spawned pretty funny and interesting content.
But now it seems that young teenagers attempt to artificially create memes for the sake of “internet fame”, which usually results in crap. The good memes were usually born from a natural selection process of something that is actually funny, and that was how it worked in the early 2000′s.
The idea of the game was to adapt the “internet legend” of Longcat, while giving the opportunity to kill some bad memes.
The first Catnarok was kind of a prototype for that idea. When I saw that the prototype did fairly well despite its simplicity, I decided it was worth it to invest the time to get closer to my original vision.
Any major challenges or hurdles during development?
Joke aside, I think the hardest was that I had to stop the project for extended periods of time as my job or other IRL things pulled my leg. Coming back to the code after 1 month of not writing anything was a nightmare.
I also was pretty scared of the potential copyright issues.
Since there are sites out there which make money from referencing memes, I figured that, if I traced/redrew over the meme pictures, I would probably be fine (and I probably am since mochi approved the game), but I admit this worried me through all the development. I was scared that all that work would go for naught if some guy came and said “sorry, this parody, that is like the over 9000 there already are, is copyright infringement because it is more visible than the others”. ?_-
I also can’t do music, meaning I have to rely on the generosity of people online for it (usually throught people on Newgrounds audio portal or classic public domain music). All this creates kind of a legal mess that I am pretty scared of and it might be the greatest obstacle there is to moving to actual commercial game development.
Fair use is a blurry line, and it seems I did not cross it on that particular project, at least to the eyes of the users…this is quite a relief.
What types of games do you like to create the most? What types of games do you like to play the most?
Being a bedroom programmer, I have to create games I can grasp entirely on my own.
This is why I create usually shoot-them-ups or puzzle games. Those are simple enough for my monkey brain.
I have little interest in studying 3D because I think it is out of my reach (for now?), plus I am actually quite the japanese anime fan, and I really love the way 2D looks and feels.
Considering this, you will not be surprised to hear that I am a great fan of Japanese 2D fighters like Guilty Gear, Blazblue or Arcana Heart. In general, I can enjoy anything with good 2D graphics, unless the gameplay really sucks.
I am also quite the fan of Starcraft and Deus Ex. And I also have some very obscure games that I have been loving since 20 years and still play sometimes, like “Ristar” or “Zoom!” .
How long is your game creation cycle? What is your process?
I am that kind of person who usually has 20 funny and unrealistic ideas per minute, so the main part of the process is to filter those ideas by wondering “what can I, with my skill and time currently at hand, actually do?”. Once I can envision an idea that is simple enough to code, but still feels like it will be fun despite my limited ressources, I start working on it.
After that, it usually becomes pretty chaotic, since I am forced to code and draw when I can, with sometimes huge periods during which I can’t do anything on the game. Talking about a “process” would be complimenting this mess really.
Are there any game developers that you admire or consider “rock stars”?
Daisuke Ishiwatari, who is litterally a developer AND a rock star.
I am also quite a fan of the early work of Peter Molyneux on the PC, before he started doing this Fable-RPG thing. Even though I don’t play his games as regularily as the ones I quoted earlier, all of them are really good, intriguing games that qualify as “unique experiences”.
I also admire all indie developers. Period. I realized how much it takes balls to do games, and everyone taking this risk without stable financing deserves respect.
What is it about making a new game that you enjoy most?
Hard to tell. What is certain is that the moment your prototype runs well enough, allowing you to play the game from start to finish, do feel really special. The polishing and balancing that comes after that is actually way more tedious (but unfortunately necessary).
Do you have any hot projects you’re working on right now?
Do I! I virtually have a pile of projects waiting that I can’t wait to recede.
I think that the hottest news is that I have been working on creating a completely original license, based on my love for anime. I took a few clues from Mochi’s very own Mr. Shen, and thought it would be a great idea to have a cross-media character that I could use for games, comics, or virtually anything I want.
This character is “Serina, the star guardian”, a character heavily influenced by the magical girl genre, but with a bunch of personnal twists that hopefully will make her unique. Besides expressing my anime love, I am also creating this character for the sake of all the kids in my family, which makes this project even more stimulating and interesting.
Overall, I have great hopes for the future, and maybe this feature of Catnarok 2 will contribute to that extra boost I need to start my own thing into full steam. And if it’s not… well, I am ready to keep doing my dirty things in my bedroom at night. :)
Thanks Antoine, and congratulations again on winning Flash Game Friday!