Interview with Antonio from Maniac Boy Studio
[If you would like to read the translated version in German, just click here]
Recently I was looking for new releases that will be released in 2022 for the Super Nintendo (hopefully!!). Thereby Maniac Boy Studio with the game Skeler Boy caught my eye positively, as the maker managed to capture quite a lot of atmosphere in his creation and also revealed the possibility that there could be a SNES release. This is still in the stars, depending on the development of the Kickstarter campaign, but I wanted to do an interview anyway. And there we are…
Who are you, what do you do apart from creating Skeler Boy?
My name is Antonio Rodriguez, developer of Skeler Boy. This was my first project, currently I am preparing the second campaign: Skeler Boy for Game Boy, NES and ZX Spectrum.
I studied graphic design and photography, but I loved the idea of being able to create video games, I’ve been a fan of retro consoles since I was little. So I started studying programming… I still have a lot to learn, but little by little 🙂
Have you worked on other game projects before?
No, this is my first game, currently I’m only working on creating Skeler Boy for NES, Game Boy and ZX Spectrum. I don’t dedicate myself to anything else… it’s already too much work.
What was your motivation and inspiration for Skeler Boy?
My inspiration was the horror movies of the 70s and 80s, like The Shining, Inside the Labyrinth, The Exorcist etc. …
What are your favorite horror games and movies?
Without a doubt, I would choose the Silent Hill saga of games, and psychological horror movies.
Do you know the Maniac Cop movies? The Maniac Boy Studio’s name reminded me of them.
Haha I know them, it’s from the year I was born, 1988… I was inspired by that kind of movies, movies that are a bit strange to tell the truth.
The PC version was already released last year, did it meet your expectations in terms of sales?
I couldn’t tell you, a few days after launching the game… and I put it for free on itch.io. I understood that nobody knew it and I preferred that everyone could play it and see my project.
How did you create the PC version of Skeler Boy? Did you use one of the versions of RPG Maker?
Skeler Boy is made with the RPG Maker MV, 100%.
I used photoshop a lot, for almost everything, sprites, backgrounds, 3D. I really know that there are many better tools for sprites, but I like photoshop, and I get everything I want with it.
Can you tell how long it took to create just the PC version of Skeler Boy?
It took about 8 months, approximately… but I had to do absolutely everything, just one person. From music to sprites, script…
Is Maniac Boy Studio working on other projects at the moment? Or are there other projects planned?
Yes! My next kickstarter campaign! With this I hope to get much more support, and to be able to take it to other platforms. This is part of creating it for Game Boy, Nintendo NES and ZX Spectrum!
Have you started development for the SNES/NES/GB/ZX Spectrum ports yet? If so, can you tell what the hardest part of developing games for each of these systems is?
The most difficult part is undoubtedly the pixel limitation of these consoles… Creating the maps is a real headache… You have to repeat trees, houses, anything to fill the screen with drawings without exceeding the limits.
After I’ve realized that Maniac Boy Studios is from Spain I actually wasn’t surprised at all. Over the last years quite a lot of amazing horror stuff came from Spain, like the movies by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza. Is it just some coincidences that I’ve stumbled upon or do Spaniards deliver a lot of solid horror media? Or at least have some type of affection for the horror genre?
Haha, In Spain we really like horror in video games, and mixed with pixel art a spectacular atmosphere is achieved. And I think this will continue for a long time.
Will the game ports resemble the exact same story as the PC version or will they be different or show different perspectives?
The story is the same, Skeler Boy only has one story… but told differently for their respective consoles. Maybe new characters, some turn of events, but the beginning and end will be the same.
What are the biggest obstacles in developing ports? Are you using GB Studio for the GB version?
Have you ever worked with Greenboy Games? Greenboy Games is also from Spain and produces some amazing results. I also interviewed Dana from Greenboy Games.
I know Dana, she is a great person apart from being a great developer. Her success is due to the great quality of her games, it is logical that she has more and more followers.
The Game Boy (and ZXS) and NES version of Skeler Boy looks totally different than the PC version. Will the Gameboy version be more of an action platformer and the NES version more of a point-and-click adventure? If so, what will the SNES version be like?
Exactly, for the Game Boy it will be a platform rpg game. The Nintendo NES version will be inspired by Maniac Mansion and will be a point and click adventure… just like the zx spetrum.
For the Super Nintendo I have nothing in mind. And it is possible that it will not incorporate it in the second campaign. You have to ask for a lot of financing. And it would be more difficult to realize it.
Need help creating any of the ports?
Yes, I would need a lot of help. I alone could not fulfill all the games.
Why did you choose these specific consoles to port the game to? Especially ZX Spectrum seems quite strange.
ZX Spectrum is easy to achieve, and it seemed like a good idea to me, it is very archaic and its images produce a lot of nostalgia for many Spectrum fans.
Is the ZX Spectrum well known in Spain?
Well, no, here in Spain there is not much talk about Spectrum, this project is more focused on the United States. I think that there are many fans there who could be interested in this version of Skeler Boy.
When will your new kickstarter campaign start? And what will be the ultimate goal for the SNES launch?
The campaign starts on February 12. For the snes, we would need to reach a very high goal, around 80,000 Euros. That way I’d make sure I could keep my promise.
Although it is a 2D pixel art game, Skeler Boy manages to deliver a very haunting atmosphere, especially due to the sounds. Do you create all these sounds on your own or do you have contacts with professional audio playback creators?
Unfortunately, I only know how to modify and customize sounds, I have a good ear to know what is good… but I don’t know how to create them. I have very good contacts, who are the ones who help me create the sound I need.
Can you show a comparison of a certain PC/GB/NES/ZXS/SNES character sprite?
The sprites are completely different for each platform. The one for pc has 48 frames, the one for Game Boy only 3.
VHS tapes appear in Skeler Boy. Why do you think they are often used in horror movies and games?
I think because they are retro, the tapes always give that atmosphere of mystery, the static sound of a tube TV. The no TV signal… everything helps to create fear.
Can you put me on the SNES version of Skeler Boy 😛 ?
Haha count on it, if we reach the stretch goal and create Skeler Boy for Super Nintendo, you will be a character in the game 🙂
What makes Skeler Boy stand out compared to other horror adventure games? What’s so special about it and why should everyone play Skeler Boy?
Skeler boy is horror like many other games. But it has a very emotional part. Megan, her story, her voice and how dramatic it is…
I think that being scary in a game is simple… but moving the player… and making his hair stand on end is really complicated. In this case I think that people who play Skeler Boy, at certain times, get emotional. And that for me, is the best thing about having created this game.
Can you say something about the 3D effect of the PC version? Will other ports have it too?
Nintendo Switch and PS4 would have it too, if we reach the stretch goal… But for the retro versions, it is impossible to get the 3D anaglyph. For the PC version I made a few 3D scenes, it was very laborious. But my intention is to make it completely in 3D, with time 🙂
Thank you very much for this piece of interview friend.
Thanks to Antonio from Maniac Boy Studio
Dear Antonio, thanks a lot for the interview. I am excited to see your results on all versions of the game. I honestly hope a SNES version will be achieved, the world of SNES doesn’t have enough horror! And homebrew creations are rather rare aswell.
But one way or the other, I am sure we will hear more about Maniac Boy Studio and I can’t wait to check out your upcoming creations.
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