RPGamer Feature - Krog - Interview
Developer: Conjured Graphics
Publisher: Conjured Graphics
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Not many dungeon crawler RPGs tend to focus on a cute critter seeking to rescue its adorkable nagging wife. When we think of that particular genre, we tend to think of deep, dark dungeons wherein we meet a Hall of Champions attempting to vanquish evil. However, upon talking to Tom Cameron and Ryan Miller of Conjured Graphics and Castle Blackgard at FanExpo 2012, I soon learned how these gentlemen wish to change the formula of dungeon crawlers to make them more accessible to young audiences. Krog is a game based on the Castle Blackgard line of toys, and RPGamer had the chance to speak with Tom and Ryan about this critter's future and their philosophies of game making.

Sam Marchello (, Operations Manager): Can you tell our readers a bit about Conjured Graphics and Castle Blackgard?
Tom: I've been making resin toys for about a year now. All of the toys that I make live inside Castle Blackgard. It's a really big place, so all kinds of stuff lives inside there. They've all got their own stories which overlap.

Ryan: Conjured Graphics is my personal business. I started it two years ago when I left the TV Animation industry and started working privately for organizations wanting to leverage video game technology. I make simulators, training programs, virtual worlds, stuff like that. A collaboration with Tom was my big break to get into actual gaming.

SM: Tell us the inspiration behind Krog? What made you decide to create an RPG based on a set of cute toys?
Tom: Krog started out as an experiment. Ryan wanted to make a simple game as a test bed for learning how to make games, and I suggested he use some of my toy characters instead of generic ones. From there, I ended up writing a full script, and the story really fleshed itself out. It was a really organic process, I don't think either of us expected for the game to even be released at the beginning.

Ryan: Yeah, Krog was supposed to be a lot simpler. Torchlight (by Runic Games, look it up) was a big inspiration for the gameplay. I played the game as the Destroyer class, spamming the Stampede ability with haste spells. I based Krog's dashing attack on this; I found it really fun to just spam a charging ability and knock over everything in my path.

SM: How long as Krog been in development? What were some challenges you faced during the project?
Ryan: Krog began development in April 2012. We always planned to launch at FanExpo in August, which set our timeline to just 4 months. Tom and I had to learn how to communicate with each other as colleagues, not just friends, which was challenging at times. Learning how to write enemy behaviours, scripted events, and script a whole game was quite challenging. I also ran into a lot of challenges developing for the Android platform. I'm still not certain if Unity3d (our game engine) or Android OS is to blame, but Krog runs like molasses on even the latest android devices. We had to scrap support for it.

SM: Why was the PC/Mac and iPad/iPhone the ideal platform for a game like Krog? Do you plan to expand it for other platforms at some point?
Ryan: As I mentioned, Android just didn't handle Krog. Mac and PC are the easiest platforms to build a game on, and I have a big interest in iOS development. Unity3d allowed me to target these platforms easily. Later this year once the rest of Krog's story has been told, I'm going to look into bringing the game to Steam and PS3.

SM: Are there any major differences between the PC/Mac and iPhone/iPad versions?
Ryan: Nope! The PC/Mac versions have the graphics quality turned up a bit (anti-aliasing, texture quality, higher resolution than most iOS devices), but the game is every bit as good on iPad/iPhone.

SM: You mentioned that a second act is in the works. What can RPGamers expect in this second act of Krog and are there any new features we should be aware of? Will any of this content be paid or free?
Tom: The first act ends off with a cliffhanger. The second act will see Krog acquiring new powers, facing new enemies, and the story really opens up at that point as well. The castle gets a lot darker after the first act. All new content will be free to those who already bought the game.

Ryan:: Krog's new powers are pretty damn cool. We'll learn a lot more about who Krog is, and introduce some new gameplay elements. All of the new content for Act II will be mixed into the "Roam" endless playmode as well. Act II, and Act III will be available free to anyone who bought Act I.

SM: As an indie developer what is both your biggest joy and greatest challenge when making an RPG? Do you have a philosophy in terms of making games?
Tom: Our philosophy has always been to make stuff that we want to see out there, but doesn't exist yet. It's also important that the process is fun. If we are getting bored, or the game seems kind of dull, we know we have to change something.

Ryan: Tom nailed it. Plenty of features were pulled from Krog during development because they didn't make the game any more fun or interesting. Any indie-dev will tell you the greatest challenge is launching a game. It's too easy to keep it to yourself to work on forever. We would rather finish an imperfect game than spend the rest of our lives trying to build a perfect one.

SM: Will we see more from Krog and Castle Blackgard in the future?
Tom & Ryan: Absolutely.

SM: Do you have any upcoming projects at the moment that you'd like to share with our audience?
Tom: Right now I'm working on the Blackgard tabletop game, in which all the Blackgard toys can be used as game pieces.

Ryan: Krog Act II and III are coming in October and November. I'm also building a series of Blackgard-themed mini-games for a december launch. Think of it as a christmas present from Tom and I.

SM: Any final words you'd like to share with our readers?
Tom: Turns out, if you want to make something, you can just make it. The information's out there now, so one person can make a line of toys, or a video game. If you want to do something just do it. Google is your best friend.

Ryan: Don't get hung up trying to build something perfect, and don't think you need to know everything before you can start something. I must sound so cheesy right now, but I believe if you want to make something, take a chance, don't be afraid to fail, and just do it!

RPGamer would like to thank Tom Cameron and Ryan Miller for taking time out of their busy schedule to provide insight into Krog. For more information on Krog or Castle Blackgard, please check out their official website. Make sure to also check out the iTunes store to pick up a copy of Krog on iOS!

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