Watch out, Angry Birds. Cool-B the Cat has arrived. As pencil-sketched Cool-B the cat leaps over butterflies in search of Floyd, his close friend who has died, a combination of Scottish fiddle music and retro video game sounds play in the background.
Fuquay-Varina resident David Klingler, 20, developed every piece of the newly-released video game; from each piece of the code, to each handwritten drawing and graphic, to each musical note, many of them played by Klingler himself, an award-winning Scottish fiddler.
To honor real-life cats Cool-B and Floyd, Klingler also plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to animal charities.
Q: How did you learn to program?
For the most part, I’m self-taught. I learned one of the programming languages I know, Visual Basic, through an online class I took in high school. When I finished that class, I got the highest grade anyone had ever gotten at my school and the highest within my group for the state.
Q: Was that one of the reasons you decided to pursue independent video game development?
For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with the game industry. There were times when I didn’t think I would pursue it; I considered becoming a quantum physicist.
But I started learning to program when I was 12 or 13. I was pretty good at teaching myself. When I took programming in high school, it did give me confidence that I was pretty good.
Q: There were a lot of pieces you had to put together to make this game happen. Did you have a background in art, and how did you create the images?
When I was much younger, I drew a lot. My dad is a graphic artist.
First of all, when you say something is hand-drawn, it can mean different things. I drew Cool-B himself with a pencil on paper. But a lot of the background images and graphics were hand-drawn with a stylus on the computer.
I used multiple applications; some were better for drawing, and others were better for filtering.
Q: What about the music?
I used Scottish fiddle music, but I also wrote other music on a tracker. A lot of times on other games, you just hear one type of music. I wanted a lot of different types.
Q: How did you become a Scottish fiddler? Do you still play?
I’ve been playing violin since 2000. I have played fiddle music since 2005. I started out playing a variety of fiddle music, old time music from our country, Irish, Scottish. But then I attended the Jink & Diddle Scottish Fiddling School, and I was in love.
I did start with classical music; it’s important to have the technique. But when I was randomly introduced to fiddle tunes, they felt so natural to me. I thought I could be more creative with them.
I have won awards at the regional and national level in Scottish fiddling. My biggest influence has been Dr. John Turner. He is from Scotland and lives in Virginia. I listen to his recordings, correspond by email and talk on the phone frequently.
Q: What do you have planned for the future?
I do have other things in development; some are not games. Cool-B in Search of Floyd is still taking up a lot of time; I am still creating updates. When I have more things created, I will post them on my website.