On The Level Game Studios Blog

Boo Bunny Plague Going To Steam And What We’re Doing About That - August 8, 2014


In late June we were notified that Boo Bunny Plague got the Greenlight on Steam! Needless to say, the team felt one part excitement, one part relief, and two parts ‘damn, let’s get this thing ready to go!’  For those who don’t know, going from Greenlight approval to release on Steam is a somewhat organized process for new Steam devs with checklists of things to accomplish before submitting the game and storefront for final approval, and forums and blogs for help and FAQ’s.  Rikki and team have us nearly there with just under a month to release, including the game cards and achievements Steam users are accustomed to.  We are preparing a brand new trailer and screen shots which will be shown on the new Boo Bunny Plague store page, and Bunny has been working hard to get a 31 song soundtrack together complete with full liner notes on each song as only Bunny can write them.  On top of that, we have partnered with DC comics on an 8 page companion comic book written and drawn by some very talented and well-known artists (details to come).  ALL of this will be available with the deluxe version of the game on Steam!

A Game Studio’s Growing Pains – by Jamie Daruwala - June 23, 2014

Our postmortem on ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’ was well documented by the On The Level Game Studios team on a Gamasutra website blog and on our website in the News section. The ideas kept coming and we tried to implement many things we thought would make the game better, and we listened to outside input. We made additions and changes which ultimately caused us to rush parts of the game in order to finish on time. Technically, we were not experienced enough to do some of the things we tried to do, and that was plainly seen in our reviews. Lesson learned. But, we should not discount what the team got right.  Most reviews praised the company for creativity and effort on a first indie game. As we moved into the next phase with the second game, ‘Boo Bunny Plague’, we tried to simplify some of the gameplay and focus on our perceived strengths: concept creativity, art style, and in-house music.

When we were at a PAX conference, many people including the folks from the Nintendo booth were impressed with the early alpha demo of ‘Boo Bunny Plague’ that Rikki, Lead Artist and Director, had been working on. What was a side project for Rikki turned into the main focus for our second release. The first game was completed by the team in just under two years.  We are trying to get Boo Bunny Plague done with the full team in a year and three months, and our experience, plus process improvements and tough decisions to cut where needed, will hopefully take the company to another level.  Most game devs will tell you that this does not come without pain.  Trying to do things faster, while maintaining or improving quality, is a tough balancing act.

OTLGS: A Little History – by Jamie Daruwala - June 12, 2014

On The Level Game Studios (abbreviated OTLGS) started in May of 2011, and it was the dream of the ownership to create something different with their first game.  While golfing on the US coast, owner and founder Jeff Reimert asked the obvious question, “What would happen if Vikings jumped out of the water and attacked us?”  Thus was born ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’. I joined the company in April of 2013 as Director of Sales and Marketing when the ‘The Curse of Nordic Cove’ was coming out, and I was impressed with the creativity of the core team. Rikki Knight, a tattoo artist with a deep passion for gaming and comics, was (and still is) the day-to-day director at the studio.  Bunny D.A.S.T was an audio pro with over 20 years of sound and recording experience.  I quickly realized that this was a team made up of programmers, artists, QA, and audio that ownership had given the opportunity to cut its teeth and improve its abilities in gaming.  Only programmer Jeff Frank came from a large established studio, Lucas Arts.  Since day one, owners Jeff and Carolyn have been committed to giving each team member the opportunity to succeed in the video game business.

Blog: Art vs Reality – by Rikki Knight - April 4, 2014

I have to say, regardless of what I’ve seen people saying on the free speech box here [Tumblr], the latest American Horror Story series is the best thus far in my mind. The characters are fleshed out really well, any character that was not necessary was quickly killed off, yet the writers managed to suddenly make them slightly necessary at their end within just one or two episodes. The Axeman was my favorite, I dunno why..he was just well written, well cast, and well acted.

I’ve read a few rants on the series, mostly complaints about Papa Legba snorting cocaine(Historically no, he smoked a pipe), wearing a stove top(he wore a broad rimmed straw hat I believe, it’s been awhile), and generally being the devil with a pimp cane(historically depicted as an older man with crutches or a walking stick and has no relation to Hell other than he can open you a portal there, he’s kind of like the gatekeeper to all afterlife dimensions.). Reading these insane show hating rants reminded me of things…

All my life as an artist I’ve had a very bad habit of scrapping work or ideas because of “it’s not accurate” or “no one will believe it” or “that couldn’t happen”.

I obviously still struggle with it to this day since in Boo Bunny Plague I made damn sure to make Thor a ginger(historically not blonde) and an asshole(historically not the greatest of heroes). Yet other aspects in the game based on history’s myths I threw straight out the fucking window to support the story.

Never let reality dictate what you create… period. It will kill your art.

Also, where are all the boards with the Norsemen bitching about Thor being a blond sex god? Or are the voodoo priests/priestesses the only ones that get upset over depictions of their deities incorrectly in media? Either way, let’s face facts… I don’t foresee Papa Legba or Thor showing up anytime soon to say who’s right or wrong.

But seriously, it will kill your art, and sometimes it will make them kill your art. Do anything!