Interview with Arora Rift’s creator

Following the recent launch of Arora Rift for Caanoo, I’ve sent him a few questions regarding his game and BennuGD in general. He’s been kind enough to answer them and send them back to me.

If you like their game, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook!

Click on Read More to find out who he is and what he’s up to!

Please introduce yourself and your game development studio.

My name is Linus Jönsson and I’m from Sweden. I am 22 years old and have been developing games since I was about 16. Back then I started off with Game Maker, which I still use sometimes today just because it’s fun. On later years I’ve been creating games under the developer name “Black Curtain Studio”. My focus lies in creating new and innovative games, but I also like to remake and mix old concepts with new ones. Mainly I’m interested in sci-fi themes and settings, but sometimes tend to use fantasy or rather medieval themes. My first big game project was “Edge of Infinity”, which is a large sci-fi MMORPG in full 3D. I started developing this back in 2005 and released a playable alpha version in late 2009 with all of the basic game elements and systems present. It was a project too big for one person, but I persisted and slowly put together a big and ambitious game. All though the game is not finished and currently put on ice, I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished with it. My second major project is also a 3d game which I’m still working on today since late 2009. It’s called “Mercy Fall” and is a survival horror RPG, set in the late 19th century in and old monastery in Wales. More information about these projects can be found on my site:

When did you first hear about BennuGD?

My first encounter with BennuGD was while googling for a scripting language that could be run straight on to a Caanoo, Android or Pandora device. I believe BennuGD was the first result that showed up. For a long time I had wanted to develop a game exclusively for handheld devices, and that’s why I decided to try out BennuGD. It really seemed to suit my needs, and even though the documentation was slim, the community was very friendly and helpful.

When did you decide to create your own games?. What was the process of creating Arora Rift?

The idea of Arora Rift first started off with me for a long time wanting to make a cool shoot em’ up game. At first I was going to make it a vertical scrolling shooter, but then found out that BennuGD had ready functions for rendering in Mode7, known from old Super Nintendo games such as Mario Kart, which gives the player a sense of 3D. I though incorporating this in a shoot em’ up was a new and exciting idea to put a new face on an old classic game concept. I also wanted to give the game an old-school arcade look and feel, like classic 90’s Sega arcade games. When I had settled for a theme and style I started out by sketching some concept art for the player ship, the “Arora”. I came up with the title for Arora Rift while drawing the player ship, so the ship wasn’t actually called the Arora from the start. When the ship design was finished, I decided it would be easier to model the ship in 3D and then render the sprites to use in the game. This way I could easily create 3D looking sprites and animations. For the next step I started coding the basic controls and camera view of the game, and then implemented my ship sprites. In the beginning it took me some experimenting with Bennu’s 8-bit color palettes to get the right color tones. During the early days of development, I realized how difficult it was working with 8-bit graphics.

Eventually, when all the basic functions were ready and put into action, like shooting, bonus pickups, explosion effects and some enemies, most of the remaining work was making more graphics like enemy ship sprites and backgrounds. At later stages when the game was almost complete, I started brainstorming some more about what elements I could add to give the gameplay more depth. Thus I came up with the combo bonus system and the special mini-bosses called “Walkers”, the four legged robots walking around in the desert and snow levels. These will give you bonus lives but are harder to kill. Most of the levels also has obstacles which you need to stay clear off and dodge.

Why did you decide to create your game with BennuGD? Why for the Caanoo? What other development platforms did you consider (if any)?

I decided to use BennuGD for Caanoo and Pandora development because it’s very portable, lightweight and easy to learn and dive into. The official DGE SDK provided by GPH for Caanoo had a lot of critical functions missing for it to be used as a proper game engine. In the end it would have taken me a lot more time to develop Arora Rift without the help of BennuGD. From start to finish it has taken me less than 3 months.

What are your studio’s plans for he future?

My plans for the future are to focus more on Android development with the Android SDK, and hopefully with BennuGD as soon as we see a port. I’m also currently working hard on finishing Mercy Fall for PC. Hopefully you’ll get to see this finished very soon. A new demo will be announced and uploaded on the website soon. If you are interested in my games, you can like and follow them on the Facebook page of Black Curtain Studio.

Thanks a lot to them for taking the time for the interview and for patiently waiting for my review to go online (that took much more time than it should’ve) and I sincerely hope you like their game as much as I did. I’m also expecting to play Mercy Fall in my computer soon!

Have fun and code a lot!

Arora Rift por Black Curtain Studio

La gente de Black Curtain Studio ha lanzado su nuevo juego comercial desarrollado con BennuGD para Caanoo llamado Arora Rift, que puedes comprar aquí.

Siendo la gente tan simpática que son, me han enviado una caopia gratuita del juego para que la pueda probar, y aquí van mis opiniones:
La primera vez que juegas, se nota claramente un estilo retro que en algunos puntos me recordó a juegos como Terminal Velocity, con un sistema de juego muy rápido y multitud de enemigos a batir.

Arora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshot

¡Sigue leyendo para saber más detalles, ver más screenshots y un vídeo del juego en acción!

El juego está creado con BennuGD en modo 7 y mezcla sprites 2D y 3D para crear los diversos ambientes en los que pelearás (un mundo volcánico, la jungla, una ciudad, el espacio exterior…).
Las líneas enemigas no te darán un momento de cuartel y en ocasiones te sorprenderás volando tu nave por toda la pantalla para capturar tantos powerups como te sea posible para destruir más y mejor a esas naves alienígenas (¡y necesitarás los powerups, creeme!). Es justo en esos momentos donde se agradece que los desarrolladores hayan incluido un disparo secundario ENORME que te ayudará a barrer a los enemigos de la pantalla y darte el tiempo justo para respirar, pero no más 🙂
Y, por supuesto, hay multitud de jefes de fase esperándote; todo acompañado de una banda sonora trepidante.
Echa un ojo al siguiente vídeo del gameplay, creado por Black Courtain Studio.

Mi opinión personal del juego es que es realmente divertido de jugar y sólo he encontrado un aspecto del juego que me parece que necesita una mejora clara: de vez en cuando el escenario de la fase se “reinicia”. Los enemigos y los objetos del fondo desaparecen sin ningún motivo aparente para aparecer momentos después en lugares distintos a los que estaban, de forma que el juego pierde continuidad.
Por lo demás, es un buen juego para jugar unas partidas; los gráficos están genial y la nvae hace una pirueta muy vistosa al acabar cada fase 🙂

Tomando todo en cuenta, si quieres descargarte este juego a tu Caanoo y de paso ayudar a este estudio de desarrollo de videojuegos, puedes comprar el juego en la web de Black Courtain Studio tras registrarte por 4$.

Aquí van algunos screenshots más.

Arora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshot

¡Espero que lo disfruteis!

Black Curtain Studio’s Arora Rift

The guys at Black Curtain Studio have released their new Arora Rift arcade commercial game for the Caanoo console made with BennuGD. which you can buy here.

Being the kind guy they are, they’ve sent me a free copy of their game so that I can review it. The first time you play the game, you can feel its clear retro style that at times reminded me of games like Terminal Velocity, with a fast paced action system and lots of enemies.

Arora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshot

Read on for more details, more screenshots and a video of the gameplay!

The game itself has been created with BennuGD in Mode 7 and mixes 2D and 3D graphics to create all the different environments where you’ll fight (a volcanic world, the jungle, a city, outer space…).
The enemy lines won’t give you a moment of rest, and at all times you’ll find yourself flying through your screen to try to catch as many powerups as possible while trying to fry those friggin’ alien ships (you’ll need powerups, believe me!). It’s in those moments when you’ll thank that the developer included a HUGE secondary shot that’ll help you clear the screen of enemies and give you just enough time to take a break, but not more 🙂
And of course there’s also a plethora of bosses for your killing delight, all accompanied by a great soundtrack.
Have a look at the gameplay in the video below, recorded by Black Courtain Studio.

As for my opinion of the game, I believe it’s a quite cool one even if it’s not the best game ever created with BennuGD, it’s really fun to play and I just found one aspect that I think should be improved: every now and then each level the scenario is cleared of enemies and land obstacles for no obvious reason and inmediately recreated with a different pattern, making the game lose a bit of continuity.
For the rest, it’s a neat piece of software, the graphics are nice and the ship performs a very neat maneuver when you complete each stage 🙂

Taking everything into account, I’d recommend you give this game a try on your Caanoo, it’s $4 and you can get it from Black Curtain’s website after registration.

I leave you with some more in-game screenshots.

Arora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshotArora Rift screenshot

Hope you like it!
Happy playing!

¡Pon un banner de BennuGD en tu web!

El usuario Zip ha creado un par de banners muy buenos que puedes poner en tu web para difundir BennuGD.
You can download them from here:

BennuGD banner with a reflection effect, by Zip

¡Muchas gracias, Zip!

Put a BennuGD banner on your website!

Forum user Zip has created a couple of cool banners that you can put in your website to help spread the word about BennuGD.
You can download them from here:

BennuGD banner with a reflection effect, by Zip

Thanks a lot, Zip!

Bindings de la librería de física Chipmunk para BennuGD

Chipmunk logo in graphics

Logos Chipmunk tomadas de su página en Google Code

El miembro del foro Prg ha anunciado uno de los más increibles y esperados módulos no-oficiales a BennuGD: un módulo de físicas en 2D basado en la librería Chipmunk.
“¿Qué es una librería de físicas?” te estarás preguntando. Pues bien, es una librería que, dándole las propiedades físicas de los cuerpos en pantalla (su tamaño, masa, coeficiente de fricción y momento de inercia), automagicalmente hará cálculos realistas de su movimiento y los actualizará en pantalla.

Aquí teneis el video introductorio que se puede encontrar en su página web:

La propia librería es muy fácil de usar, y el fichero descargable contiene 7 ejemplos que muestran cómo de sencillo puede ser crear un juego muy realista. ¿Habías pensado en crear un juego como Angry Birds, World of Goo o Xmoto in BennuGD? Esto es lo que necesitas.

Como siempre, puedes obtener la librería de aquí o, si usas un derivado de Debian como Ubuntu, desde el PPA no oficial de BennuGD.

¡Graciass, Prg!