So recently I took a look at a Kickstarter that intrigued me by the name of Doko Roko. Since then the campaign has been funded so I decided to reach out to the creator to get his thoughts on the game. I’m happy to say he agreed and the following is our conversation.
-Congratulations on reaching your goal and early no less. Did you expect to do so well or did you have any concerns?
I honestly was a little worried leading up to the launch! I had gained a pretty sizable Twitter and Tumblr following during my year of development, but I had no idea how well the idea of a Kickstarter was going to be received by people or if any press were going to cover it. Folks are launching Kickstarters so often these days it feels like a miracle that my pixel art game was able to even be seen at all! It feels really great knowing people see real potential in this weird vision.
-Where did the name Doko Roko come from?
The name Doko Roko partially comes from my recent obsession with words accumulating different connotations and meanings over time. Language is an interesting evolving thing that we tend to take for granted. Dictionaries do their best to standardize the meanings of different words, but their true definitions exist only in the minds of the people who use them. We think we know what we’re communicating with each other when we use language. Dictionaries are an attempt to seal this agreement. Legal terminology is an attempt to make ideas as concrete and as free of ambiguity as possible. Its significance is unique to the world that it exists in.
-Do you already have a good amount of the game done or do you expect it will take some time?
I have a lot of the game’s systems in place already e.g. movement, melee and ranged combat, dialogue, environment generation, particle effects . A lot of what i’m going to be doing these next 2 years of development is generating assets as well as improving on these systems I’ve already created. I want to make a game that is dense with content and nuanced enough to be something you can play for awhile and become immersed in.
-Are you really designing every part of the game yourself?
I’ve designed everything solo so far! My friend Boxescloser did the music for the trailer and my friends Mike Regan and Will Nunes helped me with some of the concept art, but otherwise all the in-game stuff has been me. I plan on contracting some help though as the project moves further along.
-How would you explain combat; the trailer makes it appear as though you just slash in the direction you click on the screen but is there more to it than that?
For right now that’s the basis of the melee combat. Some swords will have unique effects and you’ll be able to reflect projectiles as well as parry sword strikes that way as well. Casting strange magicks works similarly, though the effects of these can sometimes be less predictable. I’d like to get a little more nuanced with how the swordplay works, but I’d also like to keep it simple enough so that the player can begin to reflexively execute these actions and movements over time and use these skills in far more technical scenarios.
-How long does it take to design the pixilated background?
I’ve gotten a lot faster at designing the areas over time. From the initial concept to the finished assets I’d say it takes me about 5 days or so to complete a new area. A lot of the art production now is going to be iterating on concepts I’ve already designed and fleshing out how the architecture and interior layout is going to look when it’s procedurally generated. It’s fun for me to consider how these creatures living in the tower would actually think about constructing their hovels and shrines and what material possessions they would keep around them. How culture in a particular part of the tower might affect its aesthetic is also extremely interesting.
-You mentioned adding environmental effects and changes to the characters appearance. Could you elaborate on what that will entail?
I’d like to experiment with a slow progression in the world that occurs from playthrough to playthrough. What changes occur in architecture, in the items people use, and the appearance of characters over time. If the player is confined to the space of a tower then I’d like for them to then be able to explore the natural changes that occur in it over time. I think the roguelike as a genre is a neat medium to explore that concept, given how many times you might have to start from the very beginning.
-What would you say motivated/inspiration you to make this game or what other games would you say resemble Doko Roko?
This is a tough question because I feel like it’s inspired and motivated by so many different things! I think one of the biggest inspirations for this project has been the Kowloon Walled city that existed outside of Hong Kong until 1994.
I like the idea of an ungoverned society that has built atop itself so haphazardly. I like how everyone that lived there had to co-exist with one another in absolutely dismal conditions. It’s really amazing to me that people lived and operated this way for so long that it began to seem absolutely normal. I like the interaction between systems that are dependent on one another. This is a fairly abstract concept and I honestly don’t know how well I’m going to be able to communicate it, but I like how things like the weather can influence peoples moods- different moods can affect the ideas you have -ideas that a person has can have a tangible effect on the world. I’d like to explore the interplay between these systems. In the real world no system or set of processes is insular.
I like Impressionism, this comes out a lot in the art style I think. How can you influence someones feelings with a color palette.
I like free form jazz. The chemistry in a group of jazz musicians and the way they interact and play off of each other is interesting. Improvising a series of technical maneuvers in a platformer is similar in my mind to a jazz musician improvising a solo amidst controlled chaos. I like how games like Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus tell their story through how the world is designed rather than through overt exposition. But I also enjoy games like Super Meat Boy, Nuclear Throne, Megaman X, Downwell and Crossy Road where technical skill and adapting quickly to new situations is the only way to learn and survive.
-You mentioned that there will be a very minimal story revolving around a civilization that expands upwards but what would you say the main concept/plot is?
-It is clear we get to use some big swords but what kind of magic can we expect to have?
A lot of the magicks are projectile based. This can end up manifesting in different forms be they arcane, incendiary, lyyte- based, or occult. The effects of the artifacts you will receive can sometimes be unpredictable and not entirely to your benefit.
-How did you choose your characters and setting?
I took bath salts one day and stared into a magic eye book for 11 hours. No just kidding. I don’t really know. This is a tough question. Come back to me.
-Any plans for future projects at this time?
Yeah! My next game is going to be called Circle of Blood… But I gotta make Doko Roko first!