Less-Than-Frequently Asked Questions:
This, here, is a collection of random questions I've received over time, but aren't really "big" enough questions to rate going in the main FAQ. Basically, you read these if you're really into CVRPG minutia, or if you just have nothing better to do.
About the Comics
Because when I started the comic, not a lot of other people had Castlevania comics. Plus, I really like the series. I'm a big fan of vampires and werewolves and all the other monsters that go bump in the night (when they stumble into the nightstand). Castlevania has the monsters, the fun Gothic setting, some awesome music. I wanted to honor the series.
You know, by making a comic that kind of shits all over it. It's that kind of love.
Don't you think using the Castlevania series, instead of say Mega Man or Final Fantasy, limits the fan-base for the series?
Maybe. Certainly people that haven't ever heard of Castlevania won't know what the comic is about just from the title... but then, really, the comic is more than just a little Castlevania rehash. It has all kinds of pop-culture references. It has it's own story-style, and it's own long-running mythos.
Honestly, I think making the comic sprite-based probably chases off more people than the Castlevania aspect, but I'm okay with that. The medium for the comic, sprites (vector or pixel, regardless), actually accents the story. It's supposed to be a kind of video game RPG, and while that could be fully hand-drawn, the sprites bring about the style better.
How Old is the Comic?
Well, it started back in August of 2003. So, however long it's been since then.
2003? But the Dates on Your Archive Pages Show 2005. What Gives?
Noticed that, eh? Well, really, don't pay attention to those dates. CVRPG has switched comic archive engines a couple of times, and I've done additional rejiggering on the comic order over time (like putting the Intro arc in before all the earlier comics). Over time the early comic dates just got all shades of thrown off.
Anything since 2009 should be more-or-less correct, but the earlier comics just won't have proper dates on them. Every comic has to have a date to work in this engine (since it tracks via a calendar of sorts), but all the early dates are lies. The comic started in August 2003, no matter what the archive may say otherwise.
How big is CVRPG's archive?
This is actually a more "frequent" question than I'd expect (and I could, almost, put it on the main FAQs page), but the answer seems so simple to figure out. Just go and look in the archive and count them up...
But, if you're feeling lazy, CVRPG has roughly 7,000 comics. That counts all the main comics, all the supplementals, every side arc, and all of DSWC: Heroes and DSWC: Villains. It does not count the classic comics that I've redone, nor does it include the guest comics. That number will, of course, go up as the comic marches onwards.
Why do some of your comics have "Oooga Booga" in the credits area?
I have a few blank templates I've put together (in Photoshop) for my comics. Oooga Booga is what's written in all those templates. It's a reminder to fill in the space, but... if I forget, or just have nothing to say, I can leave the Oooga Booga. It's meaningless filler.
I noticed that, with the start of Castlevania RPG Gaiden, you changed the fonts on your comics. Why?
I used to use Black Chancery. It's a cool looking font, but the problem is that since the time I started using it, it's become a common font. Everyone uses it, in advertising, posters, signs. Bleh. I changed the font to be different and to be a little recognizable again.
Why does CVRPG have so many logos?
At the start, CVRPG didn't really have a logo. It was just Dracula's sprite standing next to some lettering. It wasn't spiffy, and I really wanted "spiffy". So, after a few comics, I set about making a new logo for the series, which is why you see it shift a few times in the teens.
After a few designs, I settled on using the Japanese Circle of the Moon logo. It's a nice logo, and I rather appreciated the aesthetics of it. Unfortunately, it was in Japanese, so it's not a great logo, long term, for an English-based comic. The solution was to Americanize the Japanese version, which I did.
Then I made it blue. Then I decided that I wanted each major chapter of the story to have its own logo (as if they were each their own games in a game series). And then, from there, with all the various side arcs and filler bits, a lot of logos ended up being created.
Why is the layout of CVRPG's comics so free form? Wouldn't a static layout be easier to work with?
Yes and no. Sure, I could setup a template wherein I just copy backgrounds and they're automatically set to a specific size. That would be really easy to do now, as I'm used to Photoshop enough that I could easily setup that kind of template.
That said, it really wouldn't be a speed boost for me, as I'm so used to the way I do it (just blocking out frames on the fly and setting them up as I go) that making a template to do part of this for me would actually only get in the way.
Additionally, I get bored with static layouts. I tend to think they don't look good, and I certainly don't think they look very engaging. It's hard to make a set layout (like 4 frames, 6 frames, 9 frames) look good and never once resist the urge to change them up.
What they heck are the achievements I see in the main archive?
They're just fun, dumb little things I added to give the whole comic some extra flavor. Key (and/or funny) moments in the series get achievements as if they were accomplishments in an actual video game (or at least an emulated version on one of the modern consoles or Steam). They don't mean anything, they're just meant to be fun.
Why aren't there achievements in the other archives (like DSWC)?
Because I felt only the main archive really needed them from me. That's not to say the other stories couldn't get achievements (or that more achievements couldn't be added to the main archive). The ones that are up now are the ones I felt should be in the archives. Anything else could be added at the suggestion of Patreon pledgers. Even in the bonus archives. I'm just not going to add them on my own -- I put in enough of them to make me happy.
Why do some characters have biographies and others do not?
That's because I have a lot of characters, and I had to put a limit on the amount of time I was going to spend making bios (and, in the case of newer characters, creating retro-sprites for them, too). To that end, I decided on a set of rules for characters for them to qualify for a bio:
- They must have a name. "Zombie" or "Werewolf" are not proper names. Arguably neither is "The Necromancer", but that "the" at least makes it sound official.
- They must have actual lines. Real dialogue and not just growls or other noises. This is arguable in the case of both Bunny and Bucky, to be sure, since they just make noises, but they've actually helped drive the plot forward (and not just been a plot device for one of the other characters -- sorry, Darkie).
- They must appear in at least 10 comics (which eliminates some of the named characters, like Krang, that failed to hit that quota).
- They must have original artwork. I've let this slide a couple of times, in the case of Lucca and Crono, but they were early additions to the archive (and the bios section). Since then I've tightened the requirements, so many other characters (like the old Village Elders) were not included.
Have you ever considered making a CVRPG game?
I actually have. I've tinkered with a couple of different ideas, and once in a while I go back to them, refine the ideas, and see if I can find anyone interested in helping me out with it (I'm not a high-end programmer so I'd have to have someone else help me out with the back end while I worked on art and other "creative" aspects).
For the record, the CVRPG arc "Castlevania RPG Gaiden" was planned to be a game. A friend (and fan of the site) developed a little demo of Darkmoon fighting Dracula (that, sadly, has been lost to the ether during a computer reformat), and it spawned that idea. It was always supposed to be both a game and a story arc, that way people that couldn't play through the game would get a version of the story.
The game, though, would have had a slightly different story, just so that you could view both versions and still be entertained. The battle with Dracula was supposed to be different as well, and there's a lot of Easter Eggs hidden in it (not that the game will ever get made).
I also have a board game I've been off-and-on developing for a while now. The board was ready at one point, but then it was lost in the same reformat. Ugh. I know the rules for the game, so if I ever remake the board, I may release it.
Why don't you archive your news postings?
What news postings? At the time of this writing, the "CVRPG News" section on the front page has been removed and is, instead, a Twitter block. I continually forgot to update the news block, but I would always remember to make a post about something important on Twitter, so eventually I just gave up and went with what works.
As far as making an archive of the old news posts... no? Nothing I wrote was worthwhile, in my opinion. I'm not a blogger (really, I can never think of anything at all good to blog about), so most of what I posted for this site was quick little bullet points of what's coming up, stuff that would be outdated a couple of weeks after I posted it. It's not anything I'd really want to read even six months afterwards, so I can't see anyone else ever wanting to go back and read it.
That said, technically every news post is "archived", they just aren't available for anyone to see. The way this site's engine works, everything I do is archived. If there was a need to bring out the old news archive I probably could do it, but no one has ever asked for it (which sort of proves my point about no one caring).
What is CVRPG's "timeline"?
For a while I thought about having Angel do a small guidebook series to answer this question, but I never could get it funny enough.
Basically, the earliest comics in the series are the "Tales of the Fallen" archive. Angel and Sindra's adventures take place roughly around the early days of man, and then bounce around through to the Middle Ages (it's all kinda muddled and vague).
Next is the "Out of the Darkness" arc. Darkmoon is the oldest of the characters (well, Angel may be older, but it's hard to judge that with a character that moves around in time), and his back-story takes place before the rest of the mortals. "Bunny Tales" is effectively its sequel, and presumably takes place before the rest of the comics as well.
Alec's back-story, "Journey of the Holy", and Katrina's back-story, "Spell Failure", are next, and they both run concurrently. Really, they both also dead end right into the first (chronological) game in the series, "Year One".
The first game, "Castlevania RPG", then occurs, followed by "Castlevania RPG Meets the TMNT", "Castlevania RPG II", and "Castlevania RPG Gaiden". Those all really come one after another in sequence (although "TMNT" doesn't necessarily have to occur exactly in this order -- in my head that's how I figure it).
Between Gaiden and Game 3 is "Frankie and Mummy: Monstrous Detectives". This one amuses me as "Detectives" spins off from "The Random Adventures of Frankie and Mummy", a decidedly non-continuity comic series that then merges into the main-continuity through "Detectives".
"Castlevania RPG III" would be next in the series, chronologically, followed immediately by "Castlevania RPG: Rift Wars" which, really, serves as another Gaiden title. "Darkmoon's Quest" then takes place sometime after "Rift Wars". "Castlevania RPG IV" the follows from there.
CVRPG takes a time jump after that (which we'll get to in a sec), but before that we have "DSWC". Both "DSWC: Heroes" (originally titled just "DSWC") and "DSWC: Villains" (which run concurrently) take place after "CVRPG IV" but before "CVRPG 2499." Richter's original, official Castlevania games occur in the late 1790s, while CVRPG has always been (vaguely) set in the late 1600s or early 1700s.
From there, we get into the future of the CVRPG timeline. "CVRPG 2499" kicks off with an 800 year time jump, and then the next "gaiden" title in the series, "Xenophobic" follows immediately after. Any future games would take place sometime after all that.
Of course, that doesn't take into account all the non-continuity comics I've done as well, such as the "Supplementals", "Mini-Comics", and "CVRPG for the Holidays", some of which may or may not cross over into proper continuity depending on my mood, the weather, the wind, and the mating habits of European (not African) swallows. Take that as you will.
Okay then, why is CVRPG's timeline so messed up?
This all really goes back to the fact that CVRPG started off out of order (what with Game One happening before Year One, and then all the back-stories getting published later still). After a while, it just seemed like I may as well Tarantino the whole blasted thing.
But then I found the Wikipedia page on Sequels -- its fun reading if you haven't ever looked at it. Part of what the Wikipedia page lists is all the various kinds of sequels, prequels, and spin-off media. Once I read that, I had the goal of trying to fit CVRPG and/or DSWC into every one of those categories (listed at the time) just because I could:
- Sequel: CVRPG has Castlevania RPG II, Castlevania RPG III, Castlevania RPG IV (etc), plus the various Gaiden stories. DSWC (and Villans) has The Alien Wars and The Final Climax.
- Prequel: A game that takes place before the first game in a series. CVRPG has Year One (along with many character-specific back-stories). There was a thought to give DSWC a direct prequel titled "Blood Symphony" (as it would be a retelling of Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night) but that idea was eventually retired.
- Interquel: A game that takes place between two already released games in a series. For CVRPG, there's CVRPG Meets the TMNT. DSWC was supposed to get one, and then I forgot what I was gonna do and dropped it (and there's no need for it now).
- Midquel: This one is harder to pull off. A midquel has to take place in a chronological gap during a single entry in a series (like if Darkmoon went off and had an entire adventure one evening in the middle of, say, CVRPG III). The plan is in place for CVRPG to get a midquel (in a very creative fashion), so we'll see how that goes.
- Parallel: Literally an entry that runs parallel to one already released. Although there are no current plans for a parallel story for CVRPG, DSWC has Villains. In fact, Villains may be more parallel than is even necessary to fit the definition of a "parallel story", since Villains is a literal one-to-one parallel of the main comic (even if it is also a reboot).
- Distant: A continuation of a series that takes place far in the distant future (or past). With CVRPG taking a jump 800 years into the future for "CVRPG 2499" I've covered this one. Also, technically "Tales of the Fallen", "Out of the Darkness", and "Bunny Tales" are all distant prequels (which, far as the wiki page was concerned, counted). DSWC was going to get a distant prequel called "Original Heroes" and it would have followed original characters Cassie Belmont and Jenny Morris. The idea to make it a full story was scrapped, instead working these characters (and the ideas for the story) into "DSWC III: The Final Climax". Interestingly, because these Cassie and Jenny were first featured in the "Heroes of the Past" storyline in "CVRPG IV", this makes the first half of "DSWC III" a full sequel/sidequel to "CVRPG IV", perfectly illustrating just how fucked up my whole continuity really is.
- Sidequel: To do a sidequel, you have to have a story that could, basically, be a spin-off -- it involves a part of the world, or character, or a related theme to the main story, but is not directly related to the main story of the series. As mentioned, the first half of "DSWC III: the Final Climax" is effectively a sidequel to "CVRPG IV" as it features heroes, Cassie and Jenny, from that game on their own weird adventure. CVRPG also has "Darkmoon's Quest" a side game featuring Darkmoon with cameos from other main series characters, but it takes place in its own little slice of the world and doesn't directly influence anything going on in the main series.
- Companion Piece: CVRPG and DSWC are companion pieces that also happen to cross over. Both series explore what it is to be a hero (or villain) and what is expected of an adventurer, but they do it through vastly different stories.
- Reboot: A proper reboot changes/resets some (or all) major details of the story to suit a new direction. DSWC had a proper reboot part way into its series. CVRPG will not have a full reboot, although some might consider the 800 year story jump of "CVRPG 2499" to be a "light" reboot (sometimes called a "soft-boot").
- Stand-alone Sequel: For a sequel to be "stand-alone", it has to purposefully not follow any of the story threads from the original series, and yet still be a part of the same universe. In a way, this feels a lot like a sidequel (and most titles that would fit in one could probably fit in both). The best I've managed to do for this are "Frankie and Mummy: Monstrous Detectives" and "CVRPG for the Holidays", although my gut tells me these only technically count. Sadly, with the end of CVRPG fast approaching, I don't think I'll be able to come up with a better fit for this category.
- Remake: This is where a work is restarted from scratch, sometimes using the whole previous structure (in the case of the 1998 Psycho) and other times just thematic elements. If you're wondering if I'll remake CVRPG and/or DSWC, the answer is "hell, no." Once through the whole continuity is enough for me.
- Unofficial Sequel: Unless someone decides to write CVRPG fan-fiction, it's unlikely this will happen. I'm certainly not planning for it, nor can I, really -- if I plan one, it's no longer "unofficial".
I dunno if anyone really cares that much about my little list there, but I felt like sharing.
Is DSWC a Spin-off from CVRPG?
Nope. DSWC actually predates CVRPG, but that doesn't make CVRPG a spin-off either. Both were separate ideas and weren't intended to even exist in the same universe. In fact, until recently they didn't even exist in the same game world in my head (just the big shared Castlevania multiverse). I was purposefully vague about when CVRPG took place, which meant I never had to draw a direct connection between the two games -- just find truly random ways to crossover the two comics.
I don't remember Richter having a brother. Why did you give him one in DSWC?
Ahh, you're talking about Hanz. Hanz actually was an idea from the Inverted Dungeon (my little Castlevania site). On there I wrote fake bios for all three of the characters from the abandoned Sega 32X game, Castlevania Bloodletting. If you've ever looked at his sprites, Hanz (who never had a real name before I gave him one) looked a lot like Richter, so much so that it seemed like he was just a mildly-edited palette swap. Since they were so similar, it just seemed like they'd be brothers.
Also, in his original game Hanz was known simply as "the Rival". Theoretically Richter was supposed to be in the game as well, and Hanz would have been some other vampire hunter trying to prove himself better than Richter. And really, who're bigger rivals than brothers?
You talk a lot about the comic, but you don't share a lot of details about yourself. Why?
Oh, so you caught that fact that the Author's Bio is completely fictitious, eh?
To answer your question, I'm a private person. I don't get the whole over-sharing thing that the internet has become. I don't get Twittering about my day (daily human lives are boring), I barely use Facebook (why would I want people to be able to find me if I've lost touch with them -- maybe I lost touch with them for a reason)...
I just find it much easier to do dumb, goofy shit with the internet and then go back to my quiet little life..
I managed to figure out your birthday. Can I have your address so I can send you a present?
Unless I've known you online for a long time, the answer is "no". I don't share those kinds of details online.
Also, how did you find my birthday? Creepy stalker.
It seems like, especially in your commentaries, you have a very feminist bent. What's up with that?
I dunno if I'd say "feminist" so much as an "equalist" (although some would equate them as the same thing, I guess). I just think everyone should get treated fairly and the same. In the case of my comic, I have female characters and I try very hard to ensure they get as much screen time, and as many important plotlines, as my male characters. I don't necessarily always succeed, but making sure the comic has strong female characters is very important to me.
Well, and when I say "strong female characters" what I really mean is that the female characters are as interesting and flawed as my dudes. No one in my comic is very heroic (short of Princess, really) -- they're all collections of flaws and neuroses. As long as they all get equal screen time and each have their own strong presence in the comic, I'm happy.
That said, though, I do take extra care with the ladies. I pay attention to the Bechdel test and, when possible, I try to ensure the comic features strips that can pass that test (namely: two named female characters who have a conversation not about a dude). When possible I give the girls their due screen time to let them shine.
On the subject of feminism, though, I do think equality is important. I'm a white male living in a society dominated by white men. I already have a leg up on most other people so why not give other people a chance to shine? I certainly don't need the help. When I see things like GamerGate, or all the guys railing about "Men's Rights" I do get angry -- we already have all the rights, guys. No one is stomping on our abilities to be dudes. Just relax and let everyone else get where we're at. Seems simple to me.
Why do you hate 8-Bit Theater so much?
I wouldn't say I hate it (but points to you for noticing I don't care too much for it). My issue with 8-Bit is the fact that the characters are one-dimensional, never show growth, never change, and never get more interesting. Black Mage will always be evil, will always look out for himself, and has no redeeming qualities. Fighter is a moron except when it comes to the handling of swords. Red Mage is a moron who also has a character sheet. Thief... Well, at times Thief is actually useful, but that's only at times.
Part of what I liked about 8-Bit when I first started reading it was that it was fresh and interesting. The heroes were flawed, took forever to do anything, and when they did finally do their jobs, they did it poorly and still somehow managed to come out on top. That's great... for the first couple of adventures. But, eventually, you have to do more, and Clevenger never did.
So, when faced with a comic that shows no further potential, a reader can do one of two things: (a) stop reading, or (b) keep reading, dreading every minute of it. I eventually chose (a) and never really looked back. For the record, I stopped right around the time of Elfland, came back for a spell around the Submarine, felt like I hadn't missed anything and that nothing had changed, and stopped again.
Now, I know the comic has ended, and that many feel it had a glorious run. I don't argue with other people's opinions. Each person has their own tastes, and that's fine. I like XKCD, a comic I know many people hate because of the artwork. They are entitled to their opinion, just as I am entitled to mine. However, I have a web comic, and people read it, and I sometimes like to throw barbs in at 8-Bit just because I can.
That was pretty much the inspiration for the main story in the side-arc "Bunny Tales". I kinda figured I could do my quick take on FF1, all while having two heroes that were actually useful (Darkmoon, marginally less so, as is his way), one of whom is a practitioner of the dark arts but isn't evil. Amazing how that works, eh?
You just railed on about how 8-Bit has flat, one-dimensional characters, and yet... Darkmoon?!
Hey, it's a fair point, and I can't really deny the dude is a flawed character. Many have accused him of being an Anti-Stu, and, again, I can't really deny that, either.
The essence of Darkmoon is that he's basically the person I'd be if I had magic, lived in olden times, and were a vampire (or, really, any two choices from that list). When I play in a Fantasy-style RPG (sadly not as often as I used to), I play a character who is mostly out for himself with just enough conscience to be redeeming, but will run from any situation where he doesn't immediately have the upper-hand.
Sound familiar? It's Darkmoon, perfectly. Interestingly, I didn't realize this for the longest time while I was writing the series. I didn't put two-and-two together until recently, and then I was like "huh... well, that explains it."
As for him being as bad as the 8-Bit characters... I don't personally think so. He's inept, sure, and a bit of a coward... and greedy... But he has a heart, and will fight for the little guy even when the little guy can't afford help (although he certainly never passes up a reward). He does learn from his mistakes, and he works hard to be at least a little better by the end of an adventure than he was when he started. His forward progress is slow, but then, really, that's the way it is for most humans.
Fine then. What about Angel?
I'll grant you Angel. That dude has no redeeming qualities.
How do you feel about people saying "sprite comics are dead"?
Well, I'd argue about the "dead" part, as plainly CVRPG is still chugging along. Sure, a few of the big titles (like "8-Bit" and "Bob and George") are over, but there always been someone that wants to do a story but can't draw. Sprites are a good medium for that, when done properly.
Certainly I won't argue that most people don't do "good" sprite comics. Invariably, most people can't do good sprite hacks AND also write well -- most of the time it's shitty on both counts (so many bad Sonic and Mega Man comics). So certainly from that perspective I see their point.
But then, really, being able to draw doesn't mean your comic is going to be any good -- or, for that count, not being able to draw well doesn't mean your comic won't have great writing. There's an unfair stigma applied to all sprite comics, one that I'd like to see people move past. It should come down to the writing, not the style of the art (which can be used to accent the story being told).