Teagan is the Rainbow Empress of Splintercat Studio. She’s a writer, and artist. She doesn’t do programming.
Teagan is Kieran’s daughter. Their brains think alike to a strange degree. Except for the art/programming thing.
Kieran is the Chief Wizard of Splintercat Studio. He’s a professor, and programming geek. He doesn’t do art. Like, sucks at it.
Kieran is Teagan’s D:aD. Their brains think alike to a strange degree. Except for the art/programming thing.
Why Cryptid Kitchen exists
We wanted to make a game together, featuring Teagan’s art. We like to hang out, and this gives us another reason to.
We started off making a 2D cooking-and-collecting-ingredients game for mobile, with pixelly art. On the tech side, we were using Phaser and TypeScript. It was OK, but not as satisfying as it might be. It would have been just another cooking game.
We switched to 3D, with Unity. Neither of us is a 3D modeling expert, though. We decided to make most of the game 3D, but have Teagan’s characters in 2D. That’s unusual, but it’s worked well for us.
Teagan’s stories added another dimension to the game. She’s a writer, as well as an artist. The stories show Matcha (the protagonist) helping Black Dog, Cactus Cat, and her other pals, with life issues.
Then we added another twist.
Teagan and Kieran are alike in good ways, and some not so good. We both have issues with anxiety, and depression. Making this game, for example, made both T and K anxious about different things, at different times. We have each other to help, though.
Kieran has been reading about mental health (and learning, and other brain stuff) for decades. (He’s really old.) About 2010, he started reading about positive psychology.
Much clinical psychology is about helping people with issues like anxiety, so they can function as most people do. Positive psychology is different. It’s about helping people live more fully, whether they have head meat disorders or not. Helping them flourish.
Flourishing isn’t easily defined. Think of it as the pursuit of happiness, or living a satisfying life. Even if we can’t define it exactly, there are things we can be pretty sure are part of flourishing. Relationships, for example.
Learning a little about how brains work can help people with their issues. Learning about flourishing takes it a step beyond. It could help you go from having not-miserable days, to having good ones, most of the time.
It's about the science...
People have been writing about flourishing for thousands of years. What should we include? Aristotle’s work? Confucius? Stuff from religious books?
For us, the science-based approach of positive psychology makes sense, particularly the work of Martin Seligman and colleagues. The scientific method is a better way to understand things than revelation, authority, or introspection.
... our own lives...
We learn about flourishing and brain research because it’s useful. For example, we know that anxious brains overreact to setbacks. Even after decades of fixing software bugs, one part of Kieran’s head meat still freaks out when something breaks.
“That’s it, I can never fix this, I’m a loser.”
Until another chunk o’ head meat says,
“Relax, my dude! You’ve done this hundreds of times.”
“Oh, yeah. Maybe it’s not so bad.”
Sometimes Cryptid Kitchen (CryptKitch or CK to the cool kids) talks about our lives, especially things that have worked for us.
... and your life
You can make notes about each knowledge nugget in the game.
This is CK’s community center. Share your stories, art, whatever you like. Someone say something that helped you? Tell everyone about it.
Your stuff could get into the game. For example, you could draw a new cryptid. If we like it, we’ll add it to Matcha’s island. Maybe as a character living in the village.