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GAMING ADVENTURE: Waterloo grads, now at RIT, developing ‘slapstick action RPG’

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Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 6:00 am

WATERLOO — Like many longtime friendships, the one between Dan Plate and Gary Porter is filled with shared stories and inside jokes.

The 2010 Waterloo High School graduates are mining some of their school experiences for a new computer game they are developing called “Super Daryl Deluxe.”

The duo, who now attend Rochester Institute of Technology, have been working on the game for two years and recently released an online demo. They are also in the middle of a fundraising campaign, which has already netted more than $7,000 thanks to more than 50 donations.

Dan Plate, 21, the son of Kim and George Plate, is pursuing an illustration degree at RIT and does all of the game’s art and animation.

“If you’re looking at it I had to touch it,” he said.

Gary Porter, 21, son of Gary and Cynthia Porter, is currently in Boston with a college co-op experience; he is studying game design at RIT and is the game’s programmer.

Both grew up playing computer games — “Mario Brothers on the old Nintendo,” Plate joked. However, it was Porter’s idea to create “Super Daryl Deluxe.” Plate obliged, saying he’s up for trying anything once.

The duo bills Super Daryl Deluxe as “2D slapstick action RPG, or role-playing game, for a PC. Create your own combat system and save the world.”

In an email, Porter said he drew on several influences when designing Super Daryl Deluxe, with the biggest one being an action RPG titled “The World Ends With You” for Nintendo DS.

“I’m a pretty avid gamer, so I took my favorite parts from a large variety of games and threw them together in a Frankenstein-like fashion to create what I would personally love to play,” Porter wrote.

Super Daryl Deluxe has a lot to offer gamers because of its varied content involving combat, enemies, items and abilities discovered throughout the plot. The story revolves around the quest of lead character Daryl as he fights to save his fellow students against evil scientists trying to take over their high school — aptly named Water Falls School.

Plate said the two bantered back and forth about the plot line, with each making equal contributions to its development. Any local references are veiled. Plate said the demo takes place at a friend’s house in Tyre and he said they are considering including a few teachers’ names in anagrams.

The two are eyeing a January 2016 release date.

Plate said the hardest part about creating the game has been finding the time to do it as a full-time college student. Also difficult was settling on an artistic style.

“I think the style changed two or three times, but it’s been solid for awhile now,” he said.

Plate drew inspiration from the Sunday comics and said he worked with a limited color palette, which saves time. He starts with pencil drawings, scans them into the computer and does most of the rest of the work digitally, with PhotoShop. He said he had to learn new computer programs and animation.

“It looks pretty unique visually for a game,” Plate said. “I haven’t seen many games like it.”

The demo is free to download and play, with up to two hours of content for anyone to enjoy. The animations are very fluid, and the hand-drawn, artistic feel shines even during intense combat. Exploring the detailed world and its over-the-top plot in the main quest will also lead players into many side quests along the way, providing a lot of replaying opportunities.

Because it’s in the pre-beta stage of production, Super Daryl Deluxe still doesn’t have any sound or music. With the donations they have received so far, Porter and Plate expect the sound effects and soundtrack to be their next step in finishing up the development process.

The Kickstarter campaign continues through June 13; donations can be made at Plate said with the help of donations, “I can make sure that the game looks good.”

Those who donate at least $100 also get their own character created; Plate said he will draw a caricature of the donor and work with them on the character’s name. That option has been a popular one, with about 15 people making such gifts so far.

Plate said his parents have been extremely supportive and were among the game’s first donors. He’s excited about how “the project has pushed itself forward” and is hopeful the game will find a willing market once released.

“I’ve been enjoying this process so far,” he said. “I’m up for seeing wherever it takes me.”

Porter wrote that the game will be finished, no matter the amount raised.

“It’s a dream of ours to complete this project and continue making others after it, and we won’t give up so easily,” he said.

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