Developer Interview with Dave from Spooky Doorway

We did an interview with Dave, one of the creators of the two spooky The Darkside Detective games; about the games, game development and games in general. Here's what he said:

1. Please tell us a bit about you:

I’m Dave, the writer of The Darkside Detective games and our in-development title, Eldritch Housel. I also did a bunch of narrative work on The Necromancer’s Tale and Tavern Keeper, both in development with other studios.

2. What were you favorite game or games when growing up?

Dungeon Keeper (which clearly influenced the title of Tavern Keeper); Space Quest V: The Spinal Mutation.

3. When did you start making games?

2009, maybe? I don’t recall, I was in the middle of my MSc and an old college friend was setting up a studio and needed a writer.

4. What made you start developing games?

Hubris and/or ignorance.

5. You have made the Darkside Detective Games, as mentioned earlier. Why did you decide to make them, what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

It was all a bit of random luck, really. It was a game jam project that took off. We tired out a few different story approaches (one long story instead of many small ones, all short stories but all part of a larger storyline, etc) but the monster-of-the-week approach seemed to fit. From there, I just listed out some ideas. We’ve been working off that list, and adding to it, since.

The Darkside Detective 1

6. What are your characters based on in the TDD games? For example real life experiences and people, movies, games etc.

People I met, mostly. We travelled a lot while making the first game (cheaper than staying in Ireland…) so there was a wide range of people met in that time. One person can become three or four characters in the game. You just adjust their personality dials differently. I try to meet new people all the time, I find them fascinating.

7. How would you describe the style of the two games?

Surrealist nonsense (with notions of grandeur).

The Darkside Detective 2

8. Did you experience any challenges in the development of them?

Oh yes, lots. Mainly with the first one. We had no money and the game nearly died many many times. But one of us alway kept the others motivated and it moved forwards. The second one had some money from the first game and a kickstarter to fund it, so we were on it (mostly) full time but that had its own challenges.

9. What are you most proud of about your games/what do you like most about the games?

That people like them and find them fun. For silly games, they also have big feelings and big messages, which is good. There’s a nice community around it, which reflects well on the game, I think.

10. Is there anything you think could have been better?

The writing, the design, the puzzles, the stories, the gameplay, the jokes, the… you get the idea…

11. Have you and your way of working (developing games) changed/evolved over time?

Yes, we went from having no money to having some money. And we have families now. That changes everything.

12. And finally. It looks like your next game will be Eldritch House, unless there is another secret project. :) Can you tell us a bit about it and when will it be released?

I’m not allowed to discuss release dates yet, but I can say it’s a supernatural mystery, gothic horror investigation thing. It’s first person and way more serious than Darkside. It’s set in 1897 in Ireland. A lady goes missing in a hotel and somebody calls you in. When you get there you find there is a big rich person séance happening and lots of weird stuff. Everyone is a bit sinister and you have to navigate that while also trying to find the woman. It’s part Agatha Christie story, part ghost story.

A big thank you to Dave, for taking the time to answer these questions. It was interesting to know more about him and his games.

Looking forward to future games Dave has been involved in!