What is The dream Compass?
“The Dream Compass is a mash up of a CCG with platforming elements in-between to give the game a sense of action. We call it a Collectible Card Quest Game (CCQG). The two components of the game, however, compliment and even drive each other rather than just being smashed together.
Other key components of the game are it’s story and art style, which will instantly remind players of watching a Studio Ghibli film.
Beautiful landscapes keep gamers engaged as they explore the many worlds contained within The Dream Compass and free those trapped within.”
The first thing that struck me about this game is that the protagonist, Shayla, is a young girl, not the traditional video game hero. Is there anyone in particular you have modeled her after?
Without getting into too much depth, The main character is modelled after my
daughter when she was about 10 years old. I specifically wanted the protagonist
to be a young girl because my daughter exhibited a strong interest in playing
video games and I wanted to encourage her, and other young girls to play because
many people I know, including myself, who are now in the tech field, started
with a love of video games.
The storyline is very in depth. How did it develop over time?
Well, I used to work in the Casino Industry. Honestly, after seeing enough of
it, I just didn’t want to make my living like that anymore because I personally
feel like it’s destructive. So, I thought back to what I got into gaming for in
the first place; to tell cool stories through them. So, I took my experiences
and turned them into something that people can hopefully relate to and
What were the difficulties you had to overcome when implementing your story in game form?
As of yet, people haven’t seen the full extent of EXACTLY what we’re doing.
That’ll change by the time we attend PAX this year. All I can say is that we
really want the player to feel like they are playing an animation. It’s so
paramount to the experience we’re trying to create. To actually do this
the way we wanted, the code had to be completely custom written. So, that in of itself was
the biggest challenge. In addition, just finding a suitable animation tool and
runtime to go with it.
You are styling your characters after Studio Ghibli. For those who aren’t familiar with Hayao Miyazaki’s work, what does that refer to?
Well, Hayo Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are not strangers to anyone who loves
anime. At one point, I was pursuing a career in animation. I liked the
simplicity of the characters and how, for some reason, they worked well with the
amazingly beautiful backgrounds. We want to achieve a similar thing with this
In the beginning of the story, Shayla seems to think that grownups have all the fun. She’s obviously mistaken. If you could go back and tell your younger self something what would it be?
It’s a hard question, so it’s hard to say. My experiences shaped who I am
today. I always dreamt of telling stories. I guess the biggest thing would be to
tell myself, “it’s not going to be as easy as you think”. Lol, and it hasn’t
What is one early memory of a game that made you go “Wow, that’s something I’d like to do”?
Without a doubt, Legend of Zelda. Not only was the game fun, but the creator was teaching you life lessons throughout the game and that’s exactly what we want to do with The Dream Compass.
How long have you been developing games?
I’ve been developing games 2013
Did you go to school for what you’re doing and/or how did you learn to do what you do?
Almost everything I know, I taught myself. I went to college a couple years for graphic design. That’s about it. I really don’t see a need for people to spend thousands of dollars for someone to just tell you things you can read yourself in a textbook. The hardest things, honestly, are practice, application, and experience. No one can teach you that.
This game explores what you’ve titled a new genre “The Collectible Card Quest.” Can you explain that a bit?
The game is kind of like a mix between Mario and Hearthstone. So it’s an adventure, like Mario. But the player ‘collects cards’ along the way, and has to manage those resources just as in HearthStone. We haven’t just mashed them together, though. The card game, I
would say, is the component that drives everything. However, what you do on the
platforms also, can greatly affect what happens on “puzzles” (and vice versa).
How would you describe the break down of the game between storytelling, card collecting, and puzzle solving? Is it a struggle to keep it all in balance?
Honestly, they are all intertwined. What we’re hoping that
other’s will sense is that things are balanced and nothing feels like a chore.
How long have you been working on this project?
Since May 2016
What are you building it with and why?
We’re using Unity. I like Unity because it has many amazing features that allow you to not have to code certain aspects from scratch. Also, we feel most comfortable using C#.
Congratulations on winning Best Art at SEIGECon 2017. How would you describe the look of your game to someone who hasn’t seen it and what have you based it on?
Thanks! We take a lot of pride in the art of game. I want it clean, crisp, and the most beautiful backgrounds you’ve ever seen. Studio Ghibli is where my admiration lies so we try to shoot for their standards.
I have to ask a silly question, Did the cottage bow stay pink or has it been changed to blue? Who gets the final say in decisions like that?
LOL! So my wife basically handles all of our social media. I was showing her Gwendolyn’s cottage and she told me the bow should be blue. I said, no I think pink is good. She was very adamant about it being blue. I thought it would be too cliché. So she thought it would be a good idea to see what the world thinks. I ultimately changed it to blue.
You had your first playtest back in November 2017. What did you learn from it? Are there any upcoming opportunities for curious gamers to enter The Dream Compass?
Test the game outside the editor, and play it on the actual setup you intend to have at the playtest! We’ll have a more polished (and developed) game for PAX East. However, we will be
trying to do official beta testing somewhere around mid to late April.
Can you update us with an expected release date?
It’s our hope to release somewhere between late 2018 and earlier 2019.
What, if anything, would you say needs more work?
We want to make sure the game isn’t too hard to grasp. So we’re trying to figure out the best way to instruct the user on gameplay without losing their interest.
What platforms are you releasing your game on and why?
PC (Steam), and hopefully Nintendo Switch. PC because it is just a natural
choice for indies. The Switch because our game, I believe, seems like something
that Nintendo fans will gravitate towards.
What is the target audience for your game?
Well, we’d like to think that anyone could play it and be entertained. That
said, we feel as though women, both young and adult will have the most fun
playing it. However, with the art and story being what they are, we feel as
though all fans of anime will want to give it a try.
What would be a single piece of important advice for other indie developers?
Test, test, and test again, and make sure you test outside the editor! Aside from the dev/practical stuff, though; don’t give up. It’s gonna be really hard. You need to understand that and stay motivated.
Is there anything I missed that you’d like to bring up?
Nope, these were really good questions. But I’ll go ahead and plug our instagram account. PLEASE FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @TheDreamCompass ! Thanks so much!