December 12th, 2012 | By Tom Christiansen
Luna is an upcoming fantasy platformer by Dan Gill, owner of Gillis LLC. Dan has been working on Luna for quite some time, developing the game as well as providing the artwork the game needs. He has hand drawn all of Luna’s assets, and in doing so, has given Luna a very distinct, aesthetically pleasing style.
Luna centers around two main characters, Lithien and Dez. The pair are flawed characters that make quite the odd couple, but Dan assures us that by the end, the two of them will have redeemed themselves as heroes, after going through a bit of a metamorphosis.
Because he is working on Luna as a solo developer, Dan plans to break the full game into three chapters, releasing a chapter at a time. Chapter one is nearing completion, and as Dan gets ready to launch a Kickstarter campaign, to acquire funding to proceed with the development of the final 2/3 of the game, I invited him to tell us a bit more about Luna and what players can expect.
IGM -Where are you at with the development of Luna?
Dan - I am close to having Luna episode 1 completed. I am starting to work with Dan Reynolds (The Secret of Monkey Island 2, Marvel Superhero Squad) on sound. Right now the audio is really bad and I only want the best for Luna. This is one of the main reasons I am launching a Kickstarter Campaign on January 1st.
IGM – When you say Luna is “Hand Drawn” what do you mean by that?
Dan - Most, if not all, 2D games use repeating tiled images called tilesets. This allows you to create enormous maps that are memory friendly to represent your game world by recycling images. I had always loved the idea of a 2D side-scroller that didn’t use tilesets but instead used completely hand-drawn backgrounds that were big enough to scroll around in. I like the idea of irregular lines and fluid slopes.
I don’t think I could have made this game 3 years ago, but with the advent of HTML 5 Canvas, WebGL, and faster computing, the rules of design are changing. The game is still a gamble but it works really well on my 3 year old test PC.
IGM – So Luna is being developed for PCs?
Dan -I hope to support PC, MAC, and possibly the iPhone and Android markets…I have already added touch controls in anticipation of this.
IGM – Who did you draw your influences and inspiration from?
Dan - There are a lot of people who I admire and draw inspiration from: Joe Madureira, Bobby Chiu, Phil Morales, to name a few but namely Hironobu Sakaguchi (The creator of Final Fantasy) When I look at his early life story I see a person who I can empathize with. He dropped out of school to pursue his dreams. I remember reading that they decided on the name “Final Fantasy” because it was literally their last chance to do it right or go bankrupt. I think Hironobu inspires me because of his persistence. I tried many times to create Luna with other people coding and me doing the art but due to unfortunate circumstances they would always fall off the project. In 2008 I started to become a really good programmer in my professional life and I started massaging the idea of reviving the Luna project as a hobby. That is how I ended up doing the coding and art myself and here we are today.
IGM – So what got you into art and what influenced your style?
Dan - As a kid I was always drawing complex underground tunnels full of booby-traps. Perhaps Luna is the finality of that obsession for me, considering it all takes place underground. My mom and dad really supported my desire to draw, when I was going up. The funny thing is my mom found out that she was an artist by drawing with me as a kid to spend time with me. She went on to be an Art Teacher because of my obsession.
IGM – I noticed you don’t have a website. How can people find out more about Luna?
Dan -Yeah, that is another goal of the Kickstarter campaign running January 1st. I want to hire a professional web developer to create Gillisgames.com for me. Until then people can follow me on Twitter (@GillisLLC), or check me out on Youtube (GillisGames)
Keep your eyes on Dan’s Twitter account for the latest news on Luna and its upcoming Kickstarter campaign, and expect to see more on Luna, here on IGM, in the coming weeks. Also, check out Dan’s deviantART gallery for more of his artwork.