Thursday, October 22, 2009

Minor update, that could put a smile on your face. :)

Straight from the mouth of Mark Steven Pierce himself, from the facebook group:

Hey, Been busy but trying to get the Zsculpt guys to get the level editor wrapped. Will get back with news as this develops.

That's what I like to hear! Now that I have more time after finishing the Myth II project I've been working on.

Keep your eyes on this space, as I will keep you updated on all Dark Castle related news

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Snow Leopard - Confirmed!

Tested by Dark Castle Forum moderator La Porta, Return to Dark Castle seems to run perfectly fine under the mac operating system, Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.

You can stop crossing your fingers. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Return to Dark Castle producer talks DRM

Responding to a comment on the Dark Castle Facebook group, Return to Dark Castle producer Bill LaCoste talks DRM:

Bill LaCoste (Austin, TX) wrote
at 7:36am

While I can't talk openly, or specifically, about how the API was designed and implemented, I can say that users who are seeing the activation every time they start should contact so that we can assist them. That certainly is not the expected functionality.

I play DC myself, so for my own selfish reasons the activation would not have been designed or implemented in that way. =)

Interesting, I see them getting quite a few E-Mails, and soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter quote

I noticed a new post on the SuperHappyFunFun Twitter account:

Yes I am playing that game but don't say the name in a public place

Does this mean it's Dark Castle related? Probably not... But it could be, keep your hopes up, and wait till GDC.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

iPhone Dark Castle to debut at GDC?

A tiwtter message on SHFF's Twitter account suggests an iPhone game is almost finished, and perhaps will debut at Game Developer's Conference, perhaps we will get some new info on the iPhone version of Dark Castle then, who knows.

Update: I checked the GDC website and it looks like it will be taking place from March 23rd to March 27th, Sweet!


Update 2: I realized I juped the gun, as it's not a Dark Castle Twitter account, rather a SHFF twitter account, meaning it could just as easily be another iPhone game. Sorry to burst your bubbles!

Jaw dropping Dark Castle 3D concept art

Wow, I didn't expect this, and certainly not so soon. Mark Steven Pierce has updated the Facebook group with some concept art for the previously mentioned Dark Castle 3D.

Here are some small versions, for the full versions, I will host them down below.

Duncan Picture

Black Knight


Well, this is most impressive, I must say. :)

Mark Steven Pierce talks about gaming in the 80s, and gaming now

He makes some good points too.

Play almost anything from the 80's and it is a challenge. There was a macho competition between player and the game.

When I played the original games (in RTDC) for the first time in a decade or so I couldn't believe how hard I had tuned the original game. As Chris states this has softened a bit with each game but the play mechanic is still very demmanding.

Today's casual market is way simpler.

After many discussions we agreed to keep the original format (which the Zack's) mastered in the new levels.

After playing for a while I remembered how the game rides the edge of being just hard enough to make you want to come back until you clear a room.

All the same I do think there should be some softening here and there but the core shouldl be kept faithful to the original because a.) that is what the game is about and b.) no other game out there today is similar.

Sounds about right to me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some words on the Level Editor

NOTE: This is a screenshot of the level editor from 2002, not the current one.

I know you are not used to so much news, and news on the level editor no less, anyways, straight from MSP:

Level Editor is in high demand. We are going to see what we can do to post this. Any thoughts on having a central depository for user generated levels would be welcome. Ideally these levels could also be played on the iPhone as well.

Sounds good to me, now, about

Regarding DC3's DRM

I know many have complained about the harsh DRM (Copy Protection) that Return to Dark Castle uses, and it seems that now SuperHappyFunFun may have heard you too. MSP has said that they are looking into the DRM, saying it "Should only need to connect to the internet once a month." Players know that it tries to connect every time the program launches, which is extremely harsh. So, this isn't a confirmation, but it could be leading to some good news.

Finally changing the blog poll

Looks like most people think Return to Dark Castle was worth the hype, and wait. Props to Z Scuplt, and Zack Black!

Be sure to vote in the new poll!

SuperHappyFunFun starts twitter account

SuperHappyFunFun has now opened a Twitter account, which should help the community stay in contact with what SHFF is doing, provided they keep it updated.


How coincidental, I was just talking about this earlier today...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mark Steven Pierce talks again

Another quote from the Dark Castle Facebook group:

Thanks for the interest.

We are just know starting to begin to advertise more. I have begun with ads on Facebook and look to expand with other service.

SHFF is mostly a developer and we have lots of projects that help keep the lights on and have limited resources for big ad campaigns.

We were hoping to get the Zsculpt guys to get the PC version along with the level editor done but there have been some delays. The Zack's were not far off before X-mas so i am hopeful they can get back on it.

Ideally we could get a Mac/PC with level editor DVD out there by the fall.

The iPhone version woudl ideally be at the same time and then we could justify a bigger push.

I am just happy to have got the rights back to a game I am proud to have made and to have folks like Zsculpt who have done the most faithful version one could hope for and folks like you ant the others here who appreciate it as well.


I believe he's talking Fall for a boxed release, hopefully the Level Editor will be out before then. Still, it gives us hoping for a boxed release something to look forward to. Here's hoping it has less strict copy protection!

MSP reveals some info on Facebook page

Here are some quotes of MSP on the Dark Castle Facebook page linked earlier:

Thinking about controls for DC on the iPhone. The game is an action puzzle solver but with two handfuls of controls how do we make the jump and keep the soul?

Nice bump in people today! I am digging up the original art I did in the 80's to make the game. Trying to hunt down Jonathan Gay (programmer) as well.

The level editor does need to be finished. We got to a beta state but never got to finalize with ZScculpt. The team at SHFF who is likely to do the iPhone version is a seperate resource.

We have a bunch of stories developed for a 3D version. Right now the iPhone intrigues me most. Thinking about an auto run that you tap the destination. Finger strokes for the rock direction.

It's interesting to hear his stance on the iPhone version, along with the level editor. The fact that he brought up future Dark Castle games gives me hope for the future. :)

My advice is to join up, perhaps we will find out more in the coming days!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mark Steven Pierce invites you to join the Dark Castle facebook group!

Mark invited you to join the Facebook group "Fans of Dark Castle".

Mark says, "Mark here,

I designed and animated Dark Castle (DC) in the late 1980's. SHFF released Return to Dark Castle in 2008 which includes DC, Beyond DC and 30 new levels by ZSculpt. We would love to hear from folks who have had fun playing these games.

To see more details and confirm this group invitation, follow the link below:

Facebook helps you find and keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues. You can share unlimited photos, plan events and join discussion groups. It's free and everyone can join.

To register, go to:

If you're receiving this email and are already a member of Facebook, please make sure this email address is associated with your Facebook account.

Fans of Dark Castle

Monday, February 9, 2009

MSP (Accidentally?) confirms PC/iPhone port of DC3

Fear not other platform DC fans, it seems that Mark Steven Pierce confirmed a PC and iPhone port of Return to Dark Castle, so no more worries.

iPhone though? How will that work?


Backup in case the comment is pulled:

PC World names the original Dark Castle one of the best mac games ever

Well, I'm glad to see that people still remember Dark Castle as well as we do.

PC World named the original Dark Castle one of the beat mac games of all time.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I know you are all curious on what happened to the weekly updates....

Well, I've been really busy in my personal life, but hopefully I will have time to start them up again soon.

Be sure to watch here, or the forums for an announcement.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Weekly Update

Apologies for not doing this sooner, I've been busier then busy. Plus, the holidays.

I am still debating weather to make this a bi-monthly update, or not, let me know what you think, or want, via the forum or comments down below. This week I will interview John-Robert La Porta, who is one of the forum moderators, and the author of the Mini vMac guide.

Jon God: Hi La Porta, welcome to the Weekly Update.

La Porta: Hi Jon, how are you?

Jon God: A bit worn out, but ready to serve the ever-watching readers.

La Porta: Hah, fair enough man, it's a good thing you are doing here for the forums.

Jon God: Speaking of the forums, I would like to thank you now for all the work you've done as a moderator.

La Porta: Well thank you, I wish I could be there more often to help out. My trek through med school has made it difficult to keep up. But I have been honored to do it. It's great to be part of something so crucial to the continuation of my favorite game as a kid

Jon God: What was your reaction to being selected as a moderator for the Dark Castle Forum?

La Porta: I really was happy about it. The whole community is terrific. I remember that you wanted some extra staff because of the anticipated flood of forum users from the release of DC3. In a good way, it came. Now we have a ton of people...and more keep coming.

Jon God: Yup, and between the whole Dark Castle Forum staff, we've been pretty good about stopping spam, and keeping things organized. Before we move on, you got anything to say about the rest of the staff?

La Porta: Sure. I think that the people I know best are you, Izdale, Gruz, and in a way, Richard. Izdale and Gruz have been great, I can talk to them about almost anything. Richard and I usually elbow each other with words now and then, all in fun. It is great to toss around conflicting ideas and views with him. All in all, I can't think of anyone who isn't a team player. It really has been going great.

Jon God: So, Return to Dark Castle finally did come out, what is your opinion on it?

La Porta: That is a huge question. I don't think one person's interpretation of it can be the same as anyone else's. I have been happy with in the most part. Me, I'm a stickler for consistency and originality, and I have to say that the game is pretty true to the originals. One thing I haven't been happy with is that there are so many secrets and so much to do that sometimes it becomes too much to handle. I realize that the game was designed to be either quick and dirty, or played to beat 100%, but I liked how the originals had a clear-cut path and objectives more.

Jon God: So, more or less pleased. Anything you would have done differently, besides what you just listed?

La Porta: Well, I think anyone would agree having the level editor released concurrently with the game would have been a major plus. We would have had content coming out of our ears by now. Otherwise, I think that the original "Heroes of Merit" music from the betas was better and more suited to the game. I also would have liked to see some of the sound effects more like the original (I liked the use of the "chain pull" sound for opening doors in the originals). Short of that, I can't criticize the game seeing as what the Zacks had to go through!

Jon God: Heh, I brought up some of the same things to Zack Black. Now, speaking of the Level Editor, do you have any plans for Level sets?

La Porta: Well, there are two specific level types that I have planned. One will be an "Incredible Machine" type of thing, where Bryant has to turn of conveyor belts, fire arrows, etc, to activate parts of the level, just like in TIM. The other is an idea that I had that I call "probability." In the Boston Science Museum, they have a set up with falling balls to test the bell curve hypothesis (where most balls will fall in the middle, and less outlying that point). I want to have two rock henchmen at the top of a vertical scrolling level, and have the walls set up in a pattern so the rock henchmen throw the rocks in towards the middle, and the balls funnel down vertically placed walls in a random pattern to potentially hit Bryant on his way up. I think it will be pretty neat.

Jon God: After hearing some of the fan ideas for Level sets, I am pretty excited for the editor, how long do you imagine people will continue creating content for DC3?

La Porta: Well, I can base what I know on other games. The Marathon series lives on in it's Aleph One incarnation. My brother has been working on level sets for it since the late 90's, and he still works on them. He is far from the only one. Every once and a while, I get into it as well. I think that as long as the game has a popular following, we can continue to expect seeing content for years to come.

Jon God: A bit of a drastic change of subjects, you wrote the Mini vMac guide, which can be found on the Dark Castle Forum, what was your incentive for that?

La Porta: I think what started it was the fact that we as a community didn't have a unified guide for how to get Mini vMac and DC up and running. I figured that since I had been using Mini vMac for years before the forum started, and had spoken with it's developer Paul Pratt, that I would be in a pretty good position to write it. It was more difficult than I thought. The first version was decent, but I thought it was too cluttered. That is why I made version 2.0. I am always looking for feedback on it as well, but I am pretty satisfied with it. Many people have been able to use it to get DC/BDC up and running, and I don't think that I could ask for a better result than that.

Jon God: I know it's taught me a thing or two. :) How did you first get to know Paul Pratt?

La Porta: My involvement with Mini vMac started before there even was Mini vMac. I started using the original vMac way back when that was all that was around. It was far less refined than it is now: DC wouldn't even work correctly - if you pressed the movement keys in any direction, they would stay "stuck" going that way until you hit a wall!. Once vMac stopped being developed, I discovered that Paul was creating his own version which was much smaller in size. I was pretty excited about it, and he seemed pretty open to feedback. Also, I have real Mac Plusses at my disposal, so I could test if problems were present on the actual hardware, or were genuine bugs of his program. So, I reported more to him, and requested features, etc. He also made suggestions to the guide as well.

Jon God: Is he a Dark Castle fan as well?

La Porta: You know, I never actually asked him specifically. I think we should get him to join the forum though!

Jon God: Was it surprising to find this community initially?

La Porta: Well, honestly, I can't remember how I found it. I probably was looking randomly for Dark Castle-related stuff (as it was always on and off my mind). When I got there, I think there were about 5 of you guys on there regularly. It was wonderful: such excitement - in those days, we didn't even know the game would ever be done for sure! It was much more focused on DC/BDC. I had always assumed that there weren't that many fans, but apparently there were.

Jon God: Any closing comments for our readers?

La Porta: Sure. I think that it is wonderful that you are doing these interviews, and I think that we will continue to have an active forum, especially when the editor comes out. Otherwise, just a thank you to all the members of the forum, helping us grow from the less than 10 real members when I joined, to over 100 now. Thank you!

Jon God: Thank you for your time, and Goodnight!

La Porta: You are welcome!


Each week, I hope to have a puzzle for you to solve, which will somehow relate to Dark Castle. This week's puzzle is in the form of a description without the word it belongs to, relating to castles.

Description: I am an arrow for a crossbow. What am I called?

Answer for last week's puzzle: Pillory


Feel free to send in feedback, what you did/didn't like, what you'd like to see, ect, as I would love to hear it.