Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. This is a view behind the scenes of our game development and marketing!

Nathan

Monday, April 25, 2022

Announcing Game Type DX

Parkour!
I'm thrilled to announce the remastered and enhanced version of our face-paced, high-score shooter Game Type coming soon to PS4/Switch/Xbox One, later this year.

You may be saying "wow, Game Type is a terrible name", and I agree! We actually named the game that, because it was the same name Microsoft used to access ALL GAMES FOR SALE on the Xbox 360, way back in December 2011. 

Can you imagine making a video game console, and leaving the majority of games to be stuck behind the simple name "Game Type"?
And the picture of the tile was a woman, doing a high-kick, in a green hoodie. That's super weird! 

360 History

Yes, that's a real screen capture from the Xbox 360 dashboard! There were a few categories like "New Releases", but if you wanted to find XBLIG or even XBLA games, you had to click there first! 

To help combat this, and get some attention to the problem, we quickly make a very fun little shooter and called it "Game Type". 

And now all these years later, to complete our DX pack of Shoot 1UP DX, Explosionade DX, and Weapon of Choice DX, we've added lots of new content to create Game Type DX!

Have a look at the announcement trailer which tells the history, but also shows a bit of the new content.


Microsoft Changes

Game Type, the game, received wide gaming press coverage, bringing large amounts of media attention to the problem.

Microsoft shortly revised the menu system, removing the poorly named menu tile, making it easier to find XBLIG and XBLA games again.


From internal sources, MBG has been told that their Game Type protest game really did help push Microsoft to change their console for the betterment of Indie Games.

 


Deluxe Treatment

With new enemies, new game modes, leaderboards, and achievements, Game Type DX is the complete package, and a fascinating time capsule of gaming history.

 

Key Features for Game Type DX in 4K

  • Loop-tastic speed insanity! Every time you beat a level, the game speed increases!

  • Time Pulse gameplay -- Slow down time and turn enemy bullets into score drops!

  • 2-Player local co-op for extra firepower, and extra Parkour!

  • 3 Game modes: "Standard", "Parkour Remix", and "Surprise!"

  • Surprise Game mode features new level layouts every time you play.

  • Online Leaderboard! Show up often. Show Off your play skills!

  • The new DX version of the game has lots of powerups and even POWER DOWNS!

  • DX version also features loads of corny video game jokes to discover in the fake dashboard section.

  • PARKOUR!!!

Alright friends, we'll be announcing a release date soon, and a pre-order option. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 14, 2022

3, 2, 1, Contract!

 Yes, I meant to write "contract", instead of "contact" :D

The past few months have had me spending time on two new secret projects! They are quality, original, action Mommy's Best Games productions and I'm super excited to share them! Sadly, I've decided to not share them prematurely. They must remain in secret for the time being. Which means, for November, December, as I worked on them, I couldn't find a way to do a blog post, without sharing information about those games. 

 Girls Make Games

But in the meantime, I've taken on another contract game design job. I've worked with Girls Make Games for several years now. They are a good company which helps get teenage girls into game development. The girl teams create an idea, and as a bonus, GMG contracts out the final development to finish their concept and release it! It's a pretty neat thing to be a part of. 

Previously I've finished several games with Girls Make Games. Most recently we released "Find Me" onto Steam and consoles. It was great to see that project come to life on my own PS4! And it's gotten some great reviews as well. 

Here is the PS4 store link.

Steam Link : https://store.steampowered.com/app/1263060/Find_Me/

 


 

I ended up doing a lot of the programming, gameplay design, and level design for the game.

I'm happy to say Indie Gamer Chick reviewed it and loved it! 

 

https://indiegamerchick.com/2022/01/02/find-me-ps4-pc-review/

Find Me has remarkably tight and responsive controls and some of the most intuitive jumping physics I’ve seen. That double jump? Perfect. One of the best I’ve ever seen, indie or otherwise. I’ve played games by seasoned pros who couldn’t get the movement, speed, and precision as fine-tuned as Find Me has. Sublime effort, everyone. The best thing I can say about Find Me is the controller will vanish in your hands. It’s a total non-issue, as it should be.

I'm pretty thrilled with that review of the gameplay controls! I feel proud about that. 

 


My current contract project is for "What They Don't Sea". It's a new Girls Make Games fully funded project. I'm heading up programming and design again for that. I can't reveal the new look of the game, but it's shaping up great. The game is about a young girl that is exploring the ocean and looking for renewable resources.

But rest assured I am also still working on completely insane Mommy's Best Games original games! I plan to reveal some news bits of them in the next few months.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Weapon of Choice DX Out Now!


I'm proud to say that the remastered "Weapon of Choice DX" is out now on all consoles!

Here are all the store links:

Xbox One and Series X (Worldwide)
Nintendo Switch (North America)
Nintendo Switch (Europe)
Playstation 4 and 5 (North America)
Playstation 4 and 5 (Europe)

Way back in 2008, I released Weapon of Choice, my first indie games as "Mommy's Best Games". That was after working in AAA games for 10 years!

A lot has changed, and Weapon of Choice is so old (how old is it??) it was first released in 4:3 aspect ratio, with many gamers playing it on a CRT TV!

The new DX remaster has lots of improvements over the original, and surprising one to need was "16:9 widescreens support"! I didn't just slap some bars on it though, the actual level design and layout was changed to properly support a widescreen play area. In addition the game now blasts along at 60 fps!



There's lots of new changes from the old Xbox 360 release as well, including hidden MBG pies to discover, 7 total difficulty settings, and of course Trophies/Achievements to unlock! 

So grab it this weekend on your favorite console for only $5.99, and let's blast some hideous aliens!

Thanks for all the years of support and happy shooting!


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Weapon of Choice DX Is Gunning Soon to Consoles!

Way back in 2008, we released our very first indie game Weapon of Choice on Xbox 360 to great acclaim. And I'm excited to announce it's now being remastered as "Weapon of Choice DX"!


The game will release on September 2nd on Nintendo Switch, both PS4 and PS5, and both on the Xbox One and the Xbox One Series X. I've been working on this one for the past few months with my game dev friends at Super Soul, to port it to all the consoles. 

If you've missed my other DX releases, check out my blog posts on the development of Shoot 1UP DX and Explosionade DX


 

Innovations of Choice

As a reminder of what makes the game so special, Weapon of Choice DX is a riff on the "run and gun" sub-genre similar to games like Contra and Mega Man. There are many innovations in the design including "death-brushing" which causes all time to slow down if you are about to be killed, thus giving you a chance to escape your brush with death. 

Another big change is the ability to find new players. You start with 3 "lives" like a traditional shooting game, but here all 3 lives are unique characters. And if you die, you can actually rescue the downed person, and get them out of the level (thus getting your "life" back). Each of these characters has their own special "weapon of choice" for players the learn how to use. Players can also find entirely new characters that have fallen in battle. If you rescue this new character, they permanently stay in your group, ready to fight and add to your total life count.

The level design is also unique. While the game is short to beat, there are many branching paths and 4 possible endings. This encourages replaying the game multiple times, and with different characters.

Deluxe Treatment

Remastering Weapon of Choice DX focused on several technical issues. The game has high-res textures, and large expansive levels. It was difficult and took substantial optimizations from the Super Soul team, to get the game running at 60 frames a second on all consoles. The hand-held mode for the Nintendo Switch is sadly slower and less powerful than most of the other consoles and layouts, so it took extra work to get the game up to par there. 

The hand-drawn was also all up-rezzed to 4K and looks extra nice on a big TV. Full button remapping was added, per console layout, as well.

For gameplay content, the game does remain similar to the Steam release back in 2015. There are "Mommy's Best Games pies" hidden throughout the game. Progress is tracked and recorded and encourages the player to find all the pies for an unlockable Achievement/Trophy! The original Xbox 360 release had 3 difficulty settings, but there are now 7 difficulty settings adding plenty of challenge. 

I also took time to tweak the 'death-brushing' effect. Now the game darkens the background entirely to make it easier to see you and the dangerous threat, which is better than the earlier versions of the game.

Deluxe Challenge

The DX version has also been made a bit tougher than any other version! With the game now running well at 60 fps, some bosses were going down too easily. I personally worked on rebalancing the game (testing on console hardware), and I tweaked all boss health, and some smaller enemy fights to keep things challenging and satisfying. The player speed and movement has been increased making the feel of the game much snappier than the original release.

 Pre-Order Power

Weapon of Choice DX is currently available to pre-order on Xbox One here

The Nintendo Switch pre-order starts on July 21st. 

We tried to get as long a pre-order as possible as that seems to help sales. I think this is because the pre-order sits in a special section of the digital stores, basically sectioned off from the giant warehouse of "released games". 

We'll also the have the pre-order in both the Europe and North America Nintendo Switch store pretty early, which we've struggled to get approved as quickly before. This is our 3rd DX game, so at this point, we're finally getting pretty good at the store approval process. It is a lot of work, but clearly important. 

In the meantime, grab the pre-order please, tell your friends, and stay tuned for release on September 2nd!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Explosionade DX, Out Now, Which Explosions I Remastered and Why

Explosionade DX is out now on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation!

As with Shoot 1UP DX from a few months ago, this is a remaster of one of my older shooting games. Though we added 2 new levels to Shoot 1UP, I feel like we did even more to improve Explosionade for the 'deluxe edition'.

Discovering the Horronyms surprisingly organized culture is a subtle part of the fun.

Explosionade DX is a run 'n' gun mech game, in which you gleefully blast walls, and squish poor, little critters to gooey bits. I've always enjoyed the game, but one thing felt lacking--the difficulty was always a bit low. The final levels never really challenged you until the literal last areas. 

To address that, I managed to get the original level design program working again! I couldn't believe it, but the program Richard Rosenthal made for me, over 10 years ago, still worked, with a bit of help. The original version of the game had 40 levels. We basically scrapped about 35 of those levels, and created 55 new ones! 

All levels are hand-balanced for Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulty.

 

The most exciting part, is I got to work with my kids on it. Specifically my 10 year old son really took to making new levels. It was a great division of work. He loved making extremely hard levels. I strove to make varied levels. Often I would make new enemies and write new code, to create some original situations, such as the two "all dark" levels, or the new "barf bag" enemies. 

On the right side, is the result of the concrete-like sludge that comes from the "barf bags".

Not surprisingly my son's level designs did need some polish, but it was fun to have him block in the level, with ridiculous challenges. Then I would work with him and show him how to smooth it out just a bit, to make it more enjoyable over all, but still preserve the great challenge. 

In the "all dark" levels you'll have to "feel your way" through by destroying walls.
 

The end result now has at least 5 very tough levels (probably more depending on how you grade them) but these levels are spaced out later in the 60 total levels. I like these difficulty spikes, as you can enjoyably blast your way through several short levels in a row, but then hit a "wall" where you'll have to step back and actually think about how to proceed. These levels aren't that tough, but they offer a good bump in the challenge here and there. 

Cris-crossed by the laser-shooting Bruiser Horrornyms can make for some tricky fights.

 In addition to level design, we've added many new enemies, uprezzed the graphics to 4K, locked the framerate to 60fps, added Trophies/Achievements, and online leaderboards! 

It's only $5.99 on all systems, so if you enjoy shooting up some baddies, give it a go this weekend!

And do yourself a favor, if you've ever played through a Contra game, go ahead and pick the "Serious" difficulty for Explosionade DX. You'll have more fun.