Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Friday, July 10, 2020

New Un-Open Project

TL;DR
New MBG game in the works!

With Pig Eat Ball I tried a very open development process. I showed the game from an early state, but the game art and design changed a lot along the way.

A very early, public view of Pig Eat Ball from 2013
Now granted the Pig Eat Ball started as a 'game jam' project, and I really enjoyed making it, but I think some of the early impressions stuck with people.

That meant for the average person scrolling through social media and looking at new games, my "new big game" didn't look great.
Oh no! I don't want that to happen!

Because the action-puzzle gameplay was so unusual to design and figure out, I spent a long time getting that just right. But I did wait till near the end of the project to improve the art and visuals.
Which is kind of bad as they are VIDEO games.

Now that looks pretty cool! Two screenshots from the end of the project.
The good news is, the game finished with great reviews. Super! But honestly we did not get a lot of press coverage. While it is always tough to get attention from press (or streamers), I think the game could have turned more heads, if I had worked harder on the art/visuals from the start. I still would have had problems, because the design itself was changing a lot, but simply put: visuals get people's attention.

That brings me to our NEW SECRET PROJECT! Yes, I am working on a new MBG title! And yes, it's a 2D, shooting, action game! And the real MBG part: it will have a crazy new gameplay mechanic to compliment all the shooting!

I love making shooting games. Contra, R-Type, Gradius, Metal Warriors... I love playing those games and others! I know how to make cool, shooting games, but I always like to innovate--to add something to genre.

My plan is to keep the project a secret until it plays AND looks great. Then I'll do an announcement and try to get some attention for it.
It already looks super cool, but I don't want to take any chances this time.
Thanks for your patience and support for when I finally get to show you this new crazy project!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Level Design for Gestalt: Steam and Cinder

I hope everyone is able to stay safe and healthy and had some time to play some fun games!

 
I've been playing Castlevania: Rondo of Blood on my PS4. I never got to play this when it was first released, and I'm enjoying it immensely. The branching level design of Weapon of Choice was inspired by this game--but only from me reading about it! It's great to play the game first hand and uncover all sorts of secrets and hidden paths organically (rather than the way a lot of games do it like 'collect 10 stars  and unlock an extra level').

 
Rondo of Blood is *quite* difficult,  and I've already run in to some bosses I have no idea how to beat, but so far, I've made it to 'Stage 5' without resorting to any walkthroughs, so I'm feeling pretty good.

In development news, after having shipped Pig Eat Ball to all major consoles, I am secretly working on a new Mommy's Best Games action project. But that is super secret and far off!
I can't wait to reveal it, but I have to. See Pig Eat Ball, while I love it to pieces, didn't make a ton of money. Maybe it still will over time! But in the meantime, I need to keep making extra money.




And to that end, I've been fortunate enough to land a contract job with Metamorphosis Games, the team behind the beautiful new pixel art Metroidvania called "Gestalt: Steam and Cinder".
Take a look and consider adding it to your Wishlist!
Steam Page: Gestalt: Steam and Cinder

Gestalt is a Metroidvania game with a 'steam punk' aesthetic and absolutely rockin' art, as you can see. It's got an interesting story and the main character Aletheia has troubled past that slowly revealed over time that upends the entire story and characters within. There's some very inspired areas to visit all strung together by excellent, tight gameplay.



I've been tasked to help design and arrange the overall world structure, but also design and build individual rooms and levels. The team has been carefully dissecting games including Castlevania Symphony of the Night, Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, and Mega Man X series, to name a few, and are meticulously creating new levels and designs to make an all-new Metroidvania for you!

Winding corridors, tricky jumps, loads of secrets tucked here and there, and loads of wild enemies all amazingly detailed in their animations await you. The boss art is incredible, just check out the "MEGA M.E.S.S" boss up above.

For the forseeable future, I'm lending my design skills to the team to help them make an amazing new adventure. It's really fun to work on a project in which I'm not in charge of the art, and I can focus more on just pure level design! I like doing everything on a game of my own, but it's also neat to work on a slightly larger team.

Stay safe and happy gaming!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Mommy's Best Year in Review: 2019

Hey all, welcome to 2020! 
2019 was a monumental year for Mommy's Best Games.
We finally,
Finally,
FINALLY
released Pig Eat Ball!

Completely! It was finally released to all major consoles: PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
(Yes, it's true that it was released in 2018 to Steam, but the nice news is, the super-duper balanced polished version is out everywhere now!)

Thank you again to all who supported us through the development of the game. I've been working on it since 2013. I've always been very excited to create a true "arcade adventure" game, one in which it felt like you were playing in an extended arcade universe--and I think I've hit the mark with Pig Eat Ball.

The reviews have been great too!
We've got an average 80+ on Metacritic across all platforms, which has me beaming.


Alright I did get ahead of myself though--Pig Eat Ball hit consoles on October 18th, but let's take a look some other months.

January 


We had a big month to start off last, year--we released the 'Speedrunners' update to Pig Eat Ball. This had lots of tiny fixes to improve the flow of the game for experienced players, but also added some nice polish in general.

The work that went into this paved the way for great ports to console, later in October.

February

Testing, testing, 1, 2, ...3 consoles??
February was all about more testing and fixing console specific bugs for Pig Eat Ball.
For instance, we had a nasty hitch for a while, on Xbox One when you registered Achievements. It would slow down the game when it popped certain Achievements. Finally got it fixed!

March

Continued testing for all consoles, plus all the "fun" of submitting announcement trailers and store information to all 3 consoles for release later on. It takes a lot of work to get a game ready just for the digital storefront!


April


Excerpt from my work log during a random day in April:
"Nintendo complained about the controller descriptions, and some of the localization was broken because umlauts and other special characters were broken by importing with Unity."
Porting continues through April! Had to keep those umlauts from getting me down :)
 

Also big for April - we officially announced Pig Eat Ball would be released to Switch!


May


I developed and shipped two games in May!
Yeah, hard to believe, but in the background, I took a contract job to develop two educational games for Legends of Learning.
One game taught and reviewed probability for 7th graders (I named the game "Probably Fun" :), and the second game reviewed Scientific Notation for 8th graders (this game was called "Gobble").

Contract work like that helped even out the money before shipping a bigger title later in the year.

June


I did lots of art and code for the next BIG MBG game! Pretty much for the whole month.
Might not use any of this art, but it helped pave the way for the future of the next game.

July


 Worked on launch trailers for Pig Eat Ball. Very close to approved for all consoles.

August


PS4 Europe finally approves the game this month.  Pig Eat Ball is now certified for launch on all consoles. It is sitting in the hopper.

September


I secretly start a new contract on TWO more games! Yikes!
These are mobile games for the company Girls Make Games. Except.. I'm not a girl? Turns out they had some prototypes designed by girls in their summer camps and wanted to polish them up for launch. Here I come!

I helped design and program "Yume" and "Good Dogs Bring Joy" for Android mobile.
Google even featured the games on their store and we had some cool blog posts!


It took 6 weeks but we developed and shipped these games in late October.
(Yes as PEB shipped!)

October


Hold on to your hats, and try not to barf in them--Pig Eat Ball launched this month!

November


I start level design contract work on a secret game for another developer!
It's a paid gig, and not full-time, so I am happy with it as I can work on my own MBG games too.

December

I begin in earnest on a NEW game for Mommy's Best!
This feeds off the research I did in June.
I also continue level design for the other game.

2020

What's up for 2020?
I have an exciting, MOMMY'S BEST ACTION announcement hopefully coming this year!
All fans of run 'n' guns are going to be really excited to see it.
Talk to you soon!
-Nathan

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pig Eat Ball Splats onto Consoles!


Pig Eat Ball is out NOW on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, and is getting glowing reviews!

Playstation Universe gave it a 9/10 saying:
All of this combines into something supremely unique in modern videogames – a classic feeling effort hat contains a completely new and unique mechanic.

and Nintendo World Report gives it a 8.5/10 saying:
Pig Eat Ball is a frantic and insane ride of a video game that blazes forth with the spirit of the likes of Pac-Man and Katamari Damacy.

Thank you for supporting me and enjoying my games over the years.
I know this isn't a run'n'gun shooter like I normally make, but I do promise you'll enjoy this one if you're on the fence. Give it a chance--you won't be disappointed.
Available now on
Nintendo Switch: eshop link
Playstation 4: store link
Xbox One: store link
Also on for your PC on Steam!



And if the barf and grossness is putting you off, please consider that there are many, many options to configure the game (you've played my past games right? I like to make sure you can configure things to your liking!)
Here is a video comparison of "turning off the barf".



The most important part is that the gross barf sound volume can be lowered complete to 0. And the majority of gross visual effects can be removed as well (though a few bosses are still kinda nasty).

I hope that gives extra confidence the game is worth your time. With 200+ action puzzle levels, the story mode is lots of fun to play, constantly changing to tickle your thinking cap. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Console Release October 18th

Let it be known that on October 18th of 2019,
Pig Eat Ball will finally release to all consoles!
* Nintendo Switch 
(Nintendo eShop link)
* Xbox One 
(Microsoft store link)
* Playstation 4 
(Playstation store link)

Woohoo!

The Metacritic rating for the Steam version is 83!
And guess what? 
https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/pig-eat-ball-switch/
You can PRE-ORDER the game right now on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch!
Yes, please do pre-order as it helps me look better to the big, fancy console companies and publishers in the future! This means more wacky games from me if we do well here!

If you have already backed the game on the Fig crowd-funding we did, I thank you endlessly!
Your physical and digital rewards are scheduled to show up for you around the week of October 18th!

Who could have imagined I'd get to release a game on a Nintendo system?
Pretty wild!

https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/pig-eat-ball-switch/
See on October 18th!