|It's out now! Go buy it!|
KTX is a subsidiary of European company SyA, which is basically an agency working on graphical products for more than 30 years, based in Spain since 2005 and represented in UK and Germany. At the end of 2009 there was a meeting with respect to a German software project when it was decided to create a department for software development at SyA.
|The inner sanctum of the KTX dev studio|
K stands for Konrad Zuse, as a tribute to the computer pioneer who built the world's first computer controlled by a program, TX stands for Technologies. So it means Konrad Technologies.
|The other Dr. |
Leona's Tricky Adventures is a huge puzzle-adventure. It embeds a classic puzzle game in a beautiful world filled with charming pixely creatures.
Leona is also an homage to classic home computer games of the '90s. The puzzles themselves are of course heavily influenced by the classic Amiga/ST/C64 puzzle game Gem'X. We even worked together with Chris Huelsbeck, the original composer of the Gem'X soundtrack. The overworld/ adventure mode is inspired by many games of the time, but the Amiga versions of Mr. Nutz and Soublazer come to mind first.
|The inspiration for Leona's puzzle mechanics|
Rob: Well, there are games which have great graphics or great soundtracks or great gameplay. But to us the really special games are those where all of that is of very high quality but none of it stands out because everything fits perfectly together. To us, Leona's Tricky Adventures is one of those games.
Tom: Yes, have a look at a fresh review at Dreamcast Today who recently became fans of Leona‘s Tricky Adventures and wrote: "this is a must have for all collectors and time will tell*". It is exactly like that.
|It does all come together rather nicely|
Rob: They jumped out of my monitor when I was playing Comix Zone. I don't know if they enjoyed it. They are comic authors. You never know what they are thinking - it's called text bubbles for a reason.
Tom: Well, comic fans know that I am Benno Samuel and Mike is my brother. It is similar to Rob and his brother Martin, both are programmers, but what do they really do?
|Game development isn't all bits and code.|
We had a lot of previous experience working on Dreamcast, such as Hucast's Redux: Dark Matters for example, which to us got a surprising amount of support, so we gave it another try. Why the heck not?
DCJY: Leona's had a rocky road on her way to Dreamcast, with the failed Kickstarter in 2013. How did the team react to the news? Where do you think the campaign went wrong? I always thought it was criminally overlooked, and hard to fathom considering the recent lack of good indie puzzlers on the platform, and kind of bizarre considering the support Dreamcast Kickstarters have received in more recent years. Was it bad timing, missing out on the recent "Dreamcast Renaissance"™ by launching too soon?
Rob: I'm only speculating here but I think the genre was the problem. Shooters seem to get more support on Dreamcast in general. Considering the quality and complexity of Leona I think that's a little unfair. Glad there are now at least more who feel that way.
Tom: From my point of view I can tell that we had some outstanding experiences. For example, we shipped via our UK-representative over 400 press releases to selected UK and USA recipients and had not a single mention. Moreover, have a look at the shmup-title Redux: Dark Matters, which was also a Kickstarter project, also programmed by KTX and, finally, compare what people paid for it during the Kickstarter campaign and afterwards. We were disappointed, of course.
|See, says so right on the titlescreen |
(I must admit, I didn't realise the connection before now)
The Dreamcast version was indeed very unlikely to happen at that point. But it's hard for us to let people down so KTX kept going. That was of course not much of a business decision and we therefore couldn't always give Leona's Dreamcast version the priority it deserved. Recently though there's been a CD delivery. Have you felt it?
|Ready to ship|
As an outsider, it seems like development switched to focus on a Steam release first, with the funds collected from online PC sales funneled back into finishing the Dreamcast physical release. Was this the plan?
Tom: No, that was not the plan - the plan was exactly what is written on the Kickstarter pages.
Rob: Leona's Tricky Adventures is an eight hour game, which is quite a challenge to test thoroughly for a small team and is a huge risk when doing a physical release. It was nice to ensure the quality of the pressed disk by releasing it first digitally.
DCJY: Was the Steam release of Leona well received?
Reviews of Leona on Steam were very positive, we would like to see more of them though.
|Indeed, where are my boxes?|
How should we know?
DCJY: Hmmm... mysterious.
How easy was it to develop on the Dreamcast? Were there any major technical issues or bugs that were hard to overcome? Was there anything planned that was left out either due to technical limitations or time constraints?
Rob: Dreamcast development is always a mixed bag. Development tools are not up to par with modern consoles which can lead to some frustrations but we didn't have any major technical difficulties. We didn't have to cut anything - Leona was designed with Dreamcast in mind.
|Make that SH-4 sing.|
Some of our early Kickstarter supporters helped out testing, which was great and you'll find their names in the credits of the game as well as in the booklet.
|Your correspondent had the opportunity to beta test the release candidate as well...|
but he was a lazy git and never got around to it.
Rob: Both games take inspiration from Gem'X, but Leona has about three times the levels so it's three times as good. Seriously though, Fruit'Y - as far as I've played it - seems to stay very close to Gem'X while Leona expands on it in many ways, with fine-tuned puzzle mechanics and adding the overworld element... - but in the end I'm not the right person to compare the quality. I'm in one of those teams. What do you think?
Tom: I guess nobody is able to compare seriously the two games.
|Round 1! Fight!|
Rob: I was heavily into gaming starting with the Apple II so I was obviously very aware of the Dreamcast when it came out but I didn't get it at the start to save some bucks. Anyway, Jet Set Radio, Grandia 2 and Soul Reaver were some of the games I really liked, but there are a lot of games still on my todo list. I'm not looking forward to new games anymore in general. Nowadays I enjoy those games the most which do something new and surprise me in some way. It is hard to guess those games beforehand.
|Professor K approved!|
Rob: We have plans for a Leona sequel. That doesn't necessarily mean we will do a Leona sequel, in the end that's also about the numbers, but we would like to.
Tom: After all, Leona is out now and we will see how that turns out, at the moment the break-even-point is in the stars. On the other hand, the Mayflower sailed the moon and see what happened!
DCJY: Finally, Tom makes me ask this of everyone, do you know the identity of the actor who played 'The Barber' in the infamous UK/European Dreamcast advertising campaign?
Rob: Of course I do. Do you think I got my good looks by accident?
|Hey Charnock! I think I found a lead!|
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