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 Site
- About the Comic
- CVRPG and Other Continuities
- Comic Creation
- Characters and Cameos
- About Myself
- Supporting CVRPG
About the Site
You Redesigned Again
Really, that's more a statement than a question, but yes. I redesigned again. Honestly, I could just leave this question up and it would almost always be applicable since I tend to redesign the site once a year. I get tired of the exact look and layout (every time) and realize there are bits I could improve. So I do.
Plus, with CVRPG running on the Clickthulu system, every once in a while I have to do a website update to take into account new features and changes to the system. It's inevitable.
Do I have to register to leave comments on the comic?
You do now. Before, comments were allowed for anyone -- everyone was effectively a "guest" on the comment system. This was nice in some ways because it allowed anyone to walk in and leave a comment. The downside was it allowed anyone to walk in and leave a comment... including spammers.
Now the comment system requires a username, password, and two steps of verification. It's not a big deal for most people, I would assume, although I do realize it ruins the free-wheeling nature of the old comment system. Still, better this than tons of spam.
I never noticed there was comment spam. Are you sure?
You never noticed because I was thorough about clearing it out when I could. It was a big pain to maintain.
What about my old comments?
They still exist, are still stored on the old comics. They aren't associated to your new account, so your avatar won't show up next to them, but nothing has been lost. It's a solid compromise between history and security.
I posted a comment on [blah blah] comic. Why is it missing?
I only delete comments for three reasons:
1) Inappropriate content. And by this, I don't mean foul language or adult concepts. I'm totally cool with those. No, by "inappropriate" I mean spam. Occasionally a spam bot makes it through and can post a comment, and if I feel a comment was spammish in nature, I'll delete it.
2) Totally off topic to the comic. I am happy to have discourse on whatever you want in the comments so long as it somehow relates to the comic. Please don't post a comment on a comic if it is, in no way, related to CVRPG. This, like the above reason, feels like spam.
3) Comments on typos or related errors with the comic. I appreciate those comments (although emailing me or posting about it on the CVRPG forum would be better). If you comment on a typo, just know that as soon as I see the comment I'll fix the typo and then delete your comment (normally), since there's no reason to have your comment there for a corrected error.
Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason why your comment should no longer exist.
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 do 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 end up really writing much of the dialog, but there are times where the story surprises even me and it does feel like the comic has taken on a life of its own.
Is the story for CVRPG planned?
Yes and no. See, ever since I first started writing CVRPG, I've kept a little set of notes about where I think the story should go. Each of the big story-arcs (or, as I normally refer to them, "games") has a small blurb in my notes. The heroes, in my head, have a clear goal to accomplish (thus reaching the end of the game), and my job at that point is the get them to that goal.
However, I don't have each and every comic plotted out ahead of time. More often than not, I don't even know what I will be writing for the comic until about 15 minutes before I start working on that evening's comic... and often times I haven't worked out the punchline for the comic until I'm actually writing the punchline.
This is both a good and a bad thing -- while it keeps the comic fresh and interesting (with times where it feels like we might not know just where the comic is going), it also means that there are days (or weeks) where I just hit a wall creatively and can'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. I have plotted out in short form each of the games for the comic, and I have developed what I feel is the best course for the comic to follow. Each of the major arcs will touch upon some ideas I felt would be good for the characters. Many ideas I started early in the series will tie up down the line, and the last game will tie up the last loose ends that I still have left dangling (some of which you guys probably will never have expected).
The comic will, one day, end. Of course, that end is probably going to be around comic #4000 or so (give or take a couple of hundred comics), and, considering the snail's pace that web-comics move at, we're talking something that's at least another 5-7 years off, if I don't come up with more ideas that put that ending off even further.
Can you tell me what's going to happen with (specific moment in the comic)?
While I have that ability, yes, sadly I won't divulge any of the information about the comic before I'm ready, in comic, to do so. You'll just have to keep reading to find out.
CVRPG and Other Continuities
What is DSWC and why is it linked into the CVRPG menu?
DSWC is the other web-comic I run (or ran, if for some reason it's on hiatus at the time you're reading this). 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.
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.
Even now, the two comics continue onwards (or did, anyway, if I'm lucky and you're reading this far in the future), running parallel to each other for many, many more comics. I apparently don't know how to end a project even when I say I will.
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 do 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 starts with me either (a) drawing some random items I need for CVRPG (since CVRPG has gone over to hand-drawn vector sprites) or (b) trolling various sprite and sprite-map archives I've found around the web (many of which can be found in my links section) for materials to use in DSWC. I have built up a rather extensive collection of materials for use in the comic from these sprite resource sites.
Once I'm ready to comic, I'll start either Illustrator or Photoshop and open one of the number of templates I have 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 find that the whole comic creation process is 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 will layer down first the backgrounds, then the sprites. Usually, spells effects and other such specialty items go on next. Text and then speech bubbles go onto the top-most layers.
I'll apply the speech bubbles shadows and the text glows as I go along, and by the end of it I have a nice, un-flattened comic that I will save, in case of required editing later (like typos), on my HDD. Then I'll flatten it, save the final version, write the commentary, and upload it for posting.
The whole process for a single comic will normally take 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 draws the art that sometimes appears in the comics?
Well, I draw 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 sister, Amber Williams. 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
I have a character. Can it be in your comic?
Nope, sorry. I don't use other people's personal characters in my comics. For one, people tend to do a lot of character development and they put a lot of thought into their characters. CVRPG has it's own course to follow, and I'd never be able to take into account all the stuff that some people want their characters to do if I were to use them.
Besides which, I also just don't want to get into the sticky bits of copyright and legality, in the long run, by using other people's characters, whether or not they are donated for use in the comic.
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 this comic because I have these stories to tell, and I want to tell them. It's why I try not to spend too much time on the project. 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.
How can you not have any drawing skill, and yet your sister can?
She practices, I don't. I spend most of my time working on websites and other such graphic work (which is, admittedly, artistic in its own right), while she spends most of her day drawing (when not napping, eating, napping some more, or looking at porn online, all of this in between bouts of napping). She just devotes more of her life to refining that skill, and it shows in just how talented she is.
The fact that she and I aren't really related (us being best friends who adopted each other into our families) helps as well.
Jeez, you're wordy.
Well, yes, I will admit that I am. I have a bad tendency to just blabber on (in text or in person) until anyone I'm talking to gets bored and either walks away or commits ritual suicide just to avoid continuing the conversation.
Of course, if you're just now noticing how wordy I am, you're really gonna notice it in the archives. Some of the early comics are really "talky".
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.