Recently we brought Magic Potion Explorer to Steam. An adorable fusion between a Clicker and a JRPG.
We sat down with ARTIFACTS and had a little chat to them about Magic Potion Explorer.
Hi, thank you for doing this interview with us. Do you think you could introduce yourself?
I’m Hikari Itsuki, a developer of an individual game developing circle called ARTIFACTS. I’ve lived in the Shiga prefecture since I born.
Originally, ARTIFACTS was not a game development studio at all, but a manga/novel circle, which I started more than 10 years ago. At that time, I just posted them on my website or created Doujinshi and such, I didn’t even imagine I’d create a game.
Also, I’ve never had a chance or any experience in developing games in the circle nor in a job. My main job has nothing to do with it; like working in a home appliance factory or a post office, those types of jobs with lots of “physical labor” rather than “mental labor”. Well, I know I’m not the best person to do physical labor though 🙂 The only reason why I chose those jobs was because the location was close to my home and I can get enough money for a living. Overall, I don’t have any bad experiences with them. It was alright.
So, why does such a “physical labor” person start developing a game? Why did ARTIFACTS become a game development circle? There are two reasons for that.
First, I had encountered a genre called “Visual Novels”. Especially “Higurashi no naku koroni” which I found was the best. As I said, I’ve been working on manga or novels and used to create stories. I liked the game itself as well. Also I know how to work on Doujins. So it’s totally possible for me to try one as well!
Then, I tried the tool called NScripter which was used for Higurashi, and ported my past short novels into a game and published them. That was my first visual novel “-Mistake Lv99- (JP title: Chika 99 kai no ronde)“. I published this as a free game. After that, I worked on two other free games but still didn’t have much intention to mainly take part in the game development.
Second, I joined as a debugger for the veteran game circle “inutoneko”. This experience had given me an idea of how to create shareware games. I’m still working as a debugger for them by the way.
So finally I started designing shareware games and that’s how ARTIFACTS transitioned into a game development circle. The first game was “Magic Portion Stories (MPStories)” which was already released on PLAYISM (Japan), also it was the prequel of “Magic Portion Explorer (MPExplorer)”.
Magic Potion Explorer has been a great game for me to play while working. It’s interesting, it’s easy to understand and is great to just pause and carry on with something else. What gave you the idea to create something like this?
Most of the users seem to experience a similar satisfaction as “Cookie Clicker”, and I indeed aimed to have that feeling with MPExplorer. I just love those clicking games. I always found it interesting to see how addictive those games are even though not all of them have great graphics, music or a well-made system. “Clicking games” are really a remarkable genre.
So, I got inspired to create a game which is “simple but gives you great satisfaction just by playing it”. I was planning only to create visual novels at first, but since I’m getting used to the game creation tool called “Wolf RPG Editor”, I wondered if it’s possible for me to create such clicker games.
Also, I wanted to create an English version of my game.
MPStories had a huge amount of text due to its genre “visual novel”, so I just had to give up with that one because of the translation and porting. But well, it seems I couldn’t give it up after all 🙂 I thought about it from a different perspective; how about a game without lots of text, making it into English shouldn’t be so difficult, right?
That idea was the last push for me to start creating the non-visual novel game. MPExplorer had only 1/18 the amount of text compared to MPStories, which is a possible amount to ask for translation.
I find the music fantastic in Magic Potion Explorer, could you tell me a little about who made it. What was the inspiration behind the music?
I didn’t compose the music… they are done by the sound composer group called “background“. Their website “SLOS” distributes their sounds for free! Its history is pretty long so some old famous free game has their music also taken from SLOS.
Their sounds list is astoundingly huge for the genre. Not only are the number of songs amazing, but especially the “power” of each song to emotionally move us is strong. Every song has a distinctive melody and the transition between each note is very technical. I believe such music has the power to move us.
Being satisfied is the main motive of the game, then what’s gonna happen if I use such moving songs as BGM?
That’s what I was thinking while implementing the BGM into the game.
What kind of difficulties did you face in developing Magic Potion Explorer?
When I was debugging, I had a hard time trying to fix the garbled text or start-up failure on foreign PC settings. Originally, this game didn’t have separate builds for languages but had a button for “change language”. Unfortunately it was found that the Wolf RPG Editor at that time didn’t support the Japanese font on foreign PCs.
I asked SmokingWOLF, the creator of Wolf RPG Editor for advice, and surprisingly enough he created a beta version of a new editor which supports aforesaid problems. That’s how I solved the problem by creating different builds for JP and EN. I still remember the confusion of those days, but it was only solved due to SmokingWOLF’s continuous support. I want to thank him once more since without him, I might not have a chance to have this interview 🙂
Is there an experience that really stood out to you when you made Magic Potion Explorer?
Well, the most memorable event happened after the release. I heard news that a Doujin game shop called “3-get” in Akihabara selling selling drinks featuring some Doujin games. So I just randomly tweeted “This might suit well for my game having lots of potions…”, then the twitter account for 3-get found my tweet and contacted me saying that they were willing to have a MPExplorer drink!
The project went on without any problems, and we finally released a drink called “Elixir” featuring the MP series in January! A blue drink inside an Erlenmeyer flask represents Pastel’s potion. It’s so lovely of them to have a flask for it!
So this was my first time collaborating with other companies regarding my product. Of course I cannot forget this!
Magic Potion Explorer is now heading to Steam. Are you excited about this?
It’s actually more scary rather than exciting lol
I already said that MPExplorer is meant to have an EN version, but when it comes to fruition, it doesn’t feel real… “W-What’s gonna happen next?” This is my honest feeling right now. I’m already satisfied to see my product being published on the world’s largest DL game platform.
Thanks to PLAYISM, finally my game is going abroad. I just hope people like my game and are satisfied with it!
Do you have a message for the people playing Magic Potion Explorer?
Even if you’ve already played the game, the Steam version has the same game content but it’s got exclusive things like trading cards, profile backgrounds and emoticons which can be a good motivation to play the game again. I’m satisfied with their outcome, so please take a look at them.
For the new users; this is a game you don’t need any extra work to start or keep playing. The tutorial is so simple that it’s done in a second!
Don’t think hard about it, but just power up Pastel with her potions and observe her adventure (or suffering) in the dungeon. Once you get used to the system, you’ll be able to plan for the achievements. I hope you enjoy the game!