Frequently Asked Questions:
Before we get into the FAQs, here are all the current Patreon patrons for CVRPG:
- April F.
- Petrov Neutrino
- Steven Davies
- Wyrmkeep Entertainment
Table of Contents
- About the Comic
- CVRPG and Other Continuities
- Comic Creation
- Characters and Cameos
- About Myself
- Supporting CVRPG
About the Comic
What is CVRPG?
CVRPG stands for "Castlevania: The Role Playing Game", although it's commonly just referenced as Castlevania RPG. It's a web-comic that parodies role-playing, fantasy, and sci-fi tropes through the lens of the Castlevania series (while also touching on The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana, to name a few additional games). It uses a mix of pixel-based sprite-artwork, vector-sprites, and hand drawn artwork to best represent the video game genre it lovingly mocks.
Where did the idea for CVRPG come from?
A long while back there was a forum-based RPG that I played in (yes, I am that big a nerd). It was (un-creatively) called "Castlevania RPG". The game (after several attempts at restarting) died with the heroes never actually managing to get to Dracula.
However, even though the RPG ended, the idea for a comic based on the adventures of the main characters (Darkmoon, Katrina, and Alec) was planted. The comic basically picks up at the point where the RPG ended, with the heroes more-or-less on their way to fight Dracula (with the "Year One" arc being a creative retelling of the RPG with some liberties taken).
Where did you come up with the ideas for the comic?
In the beginning I tried to work in a lot of gaming humor, poking fun at the various games (and RPG cliches in general). As time went on, however, many ideas and situations simply grew out of the characters. Many authors write about this as the characters and the story writing themselves (with the authors sucked along for the ride). I don't know that I'd qualify it in quite those terms, since (especially for the punchlines), I ended up really writing much of the dialog, but there were times where the story surprised even me and it did feel like the comic had taken on a life of its own.
Was the story for CVRPG planned?
Yes and no. See, ever since I first started writing CVRPG, I'd kept a little set of notes about where I'd think the story would go. Each of the big story-arcs (or, as I normally refered to them, "games") had a small blurb in my notes. The heroes, in my head, had a clear goal to accomplish (thus reaching the end of the game), and my job at that point was the get them to that goal.
However, I didn't have each and every comic plotted out ahead of time. More often than not, I didn't even know what I would be writing for the comic until about 15 minutes before I started working on that evening's comic... and often times I hadn't worked out the punchline for the comic until I was actually writing the punchline.
This was both a good and a bad thing -- while it kept the comic fresh and interesting (with times where it felt like we might not know just where the comic was going), it also meant that there were days (or weeks) where I just hit a wall creatively and couldn't come up with anything to write (the chapter dedicated to the Other Heroes in the first game is an example of this -- it's so short because I couldn't come up with any ideas).
Is there a definite end for CVRPG?
Yes, and it ended. You can read the whole archive now, in its entirety. This is it, there will be no more CVRPG after this.
CVRPG and Other Continuities
What is DSWC and why is it linked into the CVRPG menu?
DSWC is the other web-comic I ran. It's a silly little thing that I started before CVRPG. DSWC stands for "Darkmoon's Silly Web Comic" (where the Darkmoon is my online name I normally use and not the Darkmoon in CVRPG because reasons). It's a comic that parodies the Castlevania series (more so than CVRPG does) as well as just about any other game series I can think to parody. It is very much a gaming humor comic.
Are CVRPG and DSWC related?
They do share the same continuity, yes. However, the continuity they share is convoluted. Firstly, DSWC has many jokes with-in it that reference the fact that DSWC is a web-comic (this sort of self-referential story-telling is called "breaking the fourth wall", or, more commonly, "laziness"). The characters, however, have a set world they live in, even if the rules are a little flexible.
CVRPG, however, very rarely breaks the fourth wall. The characters don't normally know they are in a web-comic, and, as such, treat the world they live in as the only reality... unless, of course, the characters are participating in a Supplemental comic. Then, continuity doesn't really matter.
DSWC and CVRPG have crossed-over a few times. The most prominent (SPOILERS) was an extended cameo between the two series where Darkmoon and Richter actually meet and the events between the two comics wrap around each other. Additionally, Richter has appeared semi-regularly -- sometimes with Cornell -- in CVRPG. Any time these character appear in CVRPG, it can be assumed they are the same versions of the characters as from DSWC.
Beyond that, many of the background characters (like Frankie and Mummy, Shaft, and Olrox) have similar personalities in both comics. They never actually acknowledge that they are behaving in the same ways, or that they know they exist in both comics, but it can still be considered a shared-bit of reality.
Did DSWC end? Why?
To answer the first question, yes, DSWC ended. And then it didn't. And then it did.
DSWC started life as a random gaming comic with a Castlevania bent. Over time it evolved into a story about Richter Belmont (with some other gaming references to help break things up a bit). In essence, when it became about Richter, it's original life-span became finite.
See, it was around about DSWC Comic 50 when a thought occurred to me: if Richter reclaims his title of "hero" then the comic shouldn't continue. That thought became, over time, the natural ending for the first run of the comic. It ended the comic the only way I think it needed to end.
Of course, despite my repeated attempts to kill it off, DSWC always returns. After the first run of 500 comics ended, I had the thought of "what would it be like to see these stories again, but this time from the perspective of the villains". With some twists based upon later plot developments in DSWC, this thought evolved into the parallel story, DSWC: Villains.
I did finally bring DSWC (and Villains) to a proper end when I had that series crossover with thee CVRPG for the Holidays arc, and then had all of them flee their world when I blew up that universe. I felt the need to end the comic and I did it in the most spectacular fashion I could.
What is the Inverted Dungeon and (again) why is it linked into the CVRPG menu?
The Inverted Dungeon (ICVD) was the first Castlevania project I worked on (and, from-time to time, I still work on it). It started life as a parody website and has, since then, evolved into a site dedicated to Castlevania discussion, critique, and humor. In my head, both CVRPG and DSWC are considered to be ICVD projects. Some elements of shared continuity exist between all the sites (such as Hanz Belmont being a character here and a bio over on ICVD), and all of them are meant to show a certain amount of love for the game series as a whole.
If you're looking for information on the Castlevania series, ICVD is a good start.
I've come here from DMFA. Are CVRPG and DMFA related?
First, for those that don't know, DMFA is my sister's comic.
To answer the question, at the time of writing this, yes CVRPG and DMFA do share a tiny bit of continuity. Before now, I did make a couple of comics for DMFA starring the CVRPG characters, but those were filler comics and aren't in either comic's official continuity. My sister has referenced CVRPG once or twice (a scene where one of her characters is asleep at their computer, with a poster of the CVRPG characters in the background, as an example), but these don't count, since it's references to CVRPG as an entertainment media, and not to the characters actually existing in the world.
It wasn't until a more recent little joke in her comic, one that featured two characters that looked remarkably like Darkmoon and Sprockets, that the setup for a real crossover came to be. You can see that comic over on her site, #1812: Rubbing Elbows.
Needless to say, there's a return nod to that comic (and then some) in CVRPG's own archive.
How did you make your comic?
The short answer is that, as a sprite artist, I have gotten quite good at abusing the copy and paste functions on my computer. Of course, that answer glosses over any of the (meager amounts of) work I do.
My comic day normally started with me either (a) drawing some random items I need for CVRPG (since CVRPG had gone over to hand-drawn vector sprites) or (b) trolling various sprite and sprite-map archives I'd found around the web (many of which can be found in my links section) for materials to use. I have built up a rather extensive collection of materials for use in the comic from these sprite resource sites.
Once I was ready to comic, I'd start either Illustrator or Photoshop and open one of the number of templates I had for the comics. Of note, I hate Paint (in fact I can't even use Paint at this point, since it doesn't have any of the tools or utilities I've grown accustomed to using), and I found that the whole comic creation process was much easier in the Adobe programs (even the Photoshop-like utilities, such as the GIMP, aren't as useful to me).
With my program(s) open, I would layer down first the backgrounds, then the sprites. Usually, spells effects and other such specialty items went on next. Text and then speech bubbles went onto the top-most layers.
I'd apply the speech bubbles shadows and the text glows as I went along, and by the end of it I'd have a nice, un-flattened comic that I would save, in case of required editing later (like typos), on my HDD. Then I'd flatten it, save the final version, write the commentary, and upload it for posting.
The whole process for a single comic took me about 30 to 60 minutes, quite speedy in comparison to people that draw each of their comics fresh every session, but I'd be willing to bet it's an on-par time for practiced spriters.
Of course, if we factor the amount of time I can spend working on art for the comic, that time estimate goes way, way up.
30 to 60 minutes? You must be joking, right?
Nope, that's all it takes to actually assemble a comic. I know that admitting that takes all the mystique away from what I do (what little there can be when discussing a pixel- or vector-sprite comic), but I gotta be honest with my laziness.
Over the course of the many, many years I've been doing the comic, I've structured it in such a way to make it as fast and painless as I can. It's part of the reason why I do a sprite comic instead of drawing... that, and that fact that I can't draw like a proper artist.
I hate you.
I normally get this reaction from other artists, ones with talent that can draw and decide to do real art for their comics. Of course, I point out the fact that they have talent and I don't, what with them being able to draw with all the skills of a classically-trained artist while I have to muck about getting some kind of results as I can, but then they point out that I have seven and a half hours of my day free from comic creation in which they are still drawing, coloring, and editing their comic... and I have to concede that, yes, most of the time they are justified in hating me.
Who drew the art that sometimes appears in the comics?
Well, I drew all the vector artwork that has appeared since the start of CVRPG 2499. That's all my artwork (as good and/or as bad as it may be). Some of my art also appeared in earlier comics as well (such as the Manga Mode scene in Game II versus the Elder God). However, the artwork was primarily supplied by my sibling, Ambaaargh. Additionally, Sindra (who helped create the Sindra character for the comic, and also wrote parts of the Tales of the Fallen arc) did draw a couple of panels in the first game of the series, and Seth Triggs has done artwork for the comic (drawing the Golem arc in Game II and and one of the stories in Bunny Tales).
Characters and Cameos
Can I use your sprites/characters in my comic?
The CVRPG Sprite Archive is up and available for all to use. Any of the non-CVRPG characters are open for use (and abuse) in just about any way you can see fit. Since I don't own those characters, I can't really lay claim to the artwork of them.
That said, the main characters as well as some side characters (see below) are not available for major use in another project. What qualifies as major use? Anything more than a comic or two long cameo (or brief appearance in another media). I'd prefer not to have my characters used in extended sequences (or even in the entirety of a new comic or other story), since they are, ya know, my characters.
With all that in mind, these caveats do not apply to gift art for CVRPG. If you want to make a guest comic, wallpaper, CVRPG video game, you are welcome to do so, so long as it's a gift for the site, and not made for you to profit.
I'm unclear... What characters are off limits for major use?
Alec, Angel, Bunny, Claypool, Cynthia, Damaris, Dan, Darkmoon, Golem, Justine, Jorge, Katrina, Melinda (Sorceress), Mab, Mabby, Mike, Princess (Isabella), Raye, Sprockets, and Thereshiri. You are however, allowed to edit them for use as other characters. The artwork isn't something I'm concerned with. Just make sure not to call these new edits by the names of the old characters (recoloring Alec red and black and yet still calling him "Alec" is a no-no).
While I would lay claim to Alexander Belmont, Cassandra Belmont, Evie Belmont, and Jennifer Morris -- since they are original characters for the series -- they are based on specific characters from the Castlevania series by Konami (the Belmont and Morris clans, specifically) and thus are out of my copyright. That's the trouble with doing a parody website -- copyright is a bit fluid around actual properties.
So, I could take your Dracula sprites and use them in my comic?
That is exactly my intent behind posting these sprites online. You can use any of the characters not listed above at your leisure. Just remember, these "open" characters are the properties of various video game companies. Your work needs to follow the proper parody rules, or you will be violating their copyrights.
I see the archive has pixel sprites but none of your newer, vector artwork. Are you going to post that art for use as well?
At this time, no. Those sheets are for my use only, developed specifically for CVRPG. I don't have any plans to release the vector sprite sheets to the public as I want to keep the distinct look of CVRPG proprietary to the comic.
Is this your job?
Nope, this is my hobby. I make comics because I have stories to tell and I want to tell them. It's why I try not to spend too much time on t my projects. I don't want it to start feeling like a job, cause then I'd start to dread working on it, and then the comic would probably stop being fun/funny.
Why do you take donations if you're not looking to make this a career?
I look at it as a tip jar. If you like what you read, feel free to give a little. You don't have to, and I'll continue to write this beast until the series reaches it's natural, planned ending, whether I get money for it or not.
Getting donations is just a way for people to express how much they like the comic (sometimes it's easier to shoot someone a little cash than it is to write some fan-mail).
Do you advertise?
Nope. I belong to a couple of web-comic tracking sites (like the Web-comic List), but I don't actively go out and advertise. Word-of-mouth seems to carry the comic just fine, for the most part, and that works great for me. I may not reach as wide a circle as I could otherwise, but at least this way I know the people that come here generally like the comic and didn't just accidentally click here while searching for someone else's site (or porn).
Do you take advertisements? I have this ad I'd love to pay you to host...
Please, no. That would, again, make this feel like a job, since then I'm actively getting paid to do the work (I update, people hit, people see the ads, I get paid, round-and-round). I don't want this to be work. I want it to be fun.
With that, I also hate the way advertisements look. They clutter up a website, make the layout look less elegant. Then you get people that turn the ads off using browsers like Firefox. I have no issue with this. I do it myself (no worse than just turning off Flash, or deactivating all pictures on a page, just a little more targeted). But if I hate the way they look, and I'm not gonna bother looking at even my own ads, why should I force them on anyone else?
And, of course, there's the simple fact that this comic is a parody. I skate by, telling my story, on the fact that right now I can't be shut down by the video game companies (any attempt to is illegal under the copyright rules). However, if I started trying to make money off this site, I could be treading outside the bounds of copyright (maybe not, sure, but I don't want to have to pay a lawyer to find out). It's easier to just not bother.
Damn... that's a lot of reasons. In short, if you're trying to get me to join your circle of advertising outlets, please, just don't ask.
Does not wanting this to be a job mean you won't ever sell merchandise?
Actually, I do have a small little store set up. There are a few random items in there -- you know, like my RPG Book, There's a Game in this Book and various card games I've made. You should check it out.
Can I link to your comic?
Sure. Why would I say no?
Will you link to my website/web-comic?
Maybe. Send me the link and I'll check it out.
Can I send you a comic I made for CVRPG?
Absolutely. Guest art is always nice, and will go into the Guest Comic archive. I don't wait on posting those things, so as soon as you send it to me (and I say I like it), it'll be put up on the site. The only times I ever turn comics down for posting on the site is when the artwork is too hard to read (the number of people that put dark, dark red text on black astounds me, really).
I see an error on your site(s). Can I report it?
Absolutely. I'm an idiot some days, and I apparently can't catch every typo or non-working link, no matter how hard I try. If you see something I did wrong, send it along and I'll see what I can do to fix it.
My question wasn't covered.
If you have a question that I wasn't able to answer already, or randomly stumble upon while discussing something else above, you are more than welcome to send me your questions (or comments). Also, you can feel free to send me lots of praise any time you like. Praise is nice.