The Man In The Cape Interview – Zelda Dungeons Morphed To SmashTV

Unfortunately I couldn’t score an interview with The Man in the Cape, but I got the next best thing: the man who created The Man in the Cape, Anthony Nichols. We had an interesting chat about game development, his inspiration, and even some advice for you.

Anthony was a pleasure to speak with. I could have talked to him for hours about how he taught himself C++ while making his first solo game or even about his creative genius. The story is my favorite part of The Man in the Cape, so picking the brain of the man who thought it up sounds like a party to me.

The creator of this cool little game has been a gamer since he was a kid, like all of us I’m sure, and has been doing something involved with game development since 16 years old. He put 14 years of experience into his first game, and if you ask me, he did a great job.

When I asked about his inspiration for the game, he told me he wanted to “make something simple that he could accomplish.” Wise choice Anthony. I’ve got a bit of experience in the “ambitious project” area, and it just never seems to go anywhere. The interesting part is that he tackled his first game and C++ all in one fell swoop. Following his passion and making a great game gave him the patience to finally learn the language, which he has wanted to do for some time.

What started out as an open-world, Legend of Zelda hybrid eventually morphed into more of a Robotech, Smash TV concept that you see today. From the start, Anthony wanted the main character to navigate through a madman’s dungeon, but the “why and how” was a bit of a mystery. “I wonder if any property owners ever get pissed off that these super heroes are always using their roof to look over the city, or jump into the action?” Well, Mr. Granderson is exactly what happens. He is the “paranoid, ardent private property rights business owner that gets driven mad”

It always interests me to hear about what developers people look up to. Anthony told me that he has “respect for a number of indie devs, but the one that inspired me the most on the absolute genius of simplicity is VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh. It’s such a simple style and a simple concept, but it’s fantastic.” I can’t agree more. There is something great about creating something simple with incredible quality.

Around this time in the conversation I realized that I had forgotten the most important question that I had planned for the interview. I just had to know, what is Anthony Nichol’s favorite beer. Well folks, the answer is “Coffee… and lots of it.” Can’t argue with that. Coffee is imperative when you’ve got your head down, pounding out code, and working your butt off. Running a one man show can’t be easy, and Anthony seems to do it pretty well. “Focus and priority are everything. If you can keep your brain straight and focused, you’re doing good.”

An interesting part of development for any game is the bugs. When I asked Anthony about some of the hurdles he faced while making The Man in the Cape, he said “Getting the collision system to exactly where I wanted it was very hard for me. The worst is when your code starts too big, lots of classes and stuff, and a bug pops up that you can not track down. I had a problem where an enemy would spawn once every 20 something room sand be invincible… That one popped up and dogged me for months. It was so random.”

Before we closed the interview, I found out that Anthony has a new game he is working on to grace your desktop, so make sure to keep an eye out for any of his new work. I sure as hell will. The next game will probably be a platformer, using a pixel art style, and set on a distant planet.

Like I said before, it was a blast talking with Anthony. Finding out what’s behind the creativity of game developers is always fun. Before I let you go, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom from Anthony. “Let your passion drive you… Don’t let your perceived ‘inabilities’ keep you from finishing… Wing it. You can mop up later.” Oh, and “drink a lot of coffee.”

Written by Jeremiah “CaptainKraft” Goerdt