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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Serious Sam Double D XXL

We're taking Serious Sam Double D from Steam to Xbox Live Arcade this Fall! I'm excited develop for XBLA thanks to support from Devolver Digital, but the cool part is we're not just doing a straight port--there's a lot more going on.

 
To help illustrate the expanded content and features, and make it easier to keep track of, this new version is called Serious Sam Double D XXL.

One of the new enemies in XXL, the "Torcher Kitty". His belly is filled with love. And lighter fluid.
Here's a cheat sheet to all the cool new stuff.

  • Two-Player Local Cooperative Play - Huff will be the second playable character! Not sure who Huff is?? Check this out.
  • Gunstacker Upgrades - Shotguns that fire a horde of bees, Prism Lasers, the return of Serious Sam’s trademark Cannon and more!
  • New Campaign and Challenge Missions - Take to the air in your very own missile-loaded Pterosaur or roll through your foes on a dynamite-powered unicycle!
  • New and Upgraded Enemy Classes - To balance out all this new firepower we're adding new enemies such as the Torcher Kitty (see below) and the Explosion Eater! 
  • Reworked Level Design and Flow- And to better frame the new enemies, and Gunstacker additions, there's lots of tweaks to each level and to the flow of the game itself (such as an improved checkpoint system).
  • Voice Acting  - Serious Sam's original actor voices Sam, and we have the absolutely bonkers Huff guy, Netricsa to balance out the 'boys', and General Maxilla to add a dash of evil.
  • 800 MS Points, Fall 2012
So yeah, the important points are ... XXL has two-player local coop, there's new levels, and we're going from 8 guns to 40! And not like "40 combinations" this is actually 40 different types of guns. Some are more tame, like a Machine Pistol that allows you to glide, but most are full blown new weapons, like the Shotgun with bees (trust me-it's cool), and the Van de Graaff Chainsaw.
We've tried to make sure all the new guns influence and enhance how you think about combining your guns.

Check out some screens (Click to make them "XXL!" :)
That's Huff jumping, firing the new laser rifle. Sam is about to be mauled by Armored Gnaar.

Sam riding the "Lunicycle", his dynamite-powered unicycle.


Sam is fighting a Torcher Kitty (above left) while shooting the new Cannon in a stack.


Huff is firing the Prism Laser and Electrostatic Orb in the upper right in Pompeii, while Sam fires in the lower left.
I'll be detailing lots of the new game here in future posts as well.
Press kit for SSDD XXL

Monday, May 14, 2012

2D Number Justice

8 Bit Horse, the premiere site on the web for all things 2D action gaming, has hit some big numbers recently! Looking at our Google numbers we realized we're closing in on 200k hits since we started just a few years ago!
Tease: Plus there's cool desktop art on the site now (see end of article)

It's great to see this sort of interest in a niche area, and with a unusual article structure. At this point anyone that's visited the site knows 8BH articles are filled with precise and extensive gameplay breakdowns games of now and yesteryear.

8 Bit Horse covers games that are 2D in art and gameplay, and focus on action.
The site is not a daily blog in which topical news pops up then quickly melts from the front page. Instead, each article is an often long investigation of the gameplay in a particular title. Games are organized into lists such as Upcoming, Current, and Heritage. Links for all games are maintained on the front page, making it simple to browse through the lists.
 

In looking at the hits on the site we gathered together bunch of fun stats:

Over 180,000 hits
Over 100 articles
- 21 heritage games featured
- Over 80 current and upcoming games featured
- Over 100 additional games covered in 2D CRED sections (featuring developers' other works), including these notable titles:
- Maestro! Jump in Music, Bitejacker: Secret Base Horror Series 01, Legend of Princess, Noitu Love & The Army of Grinning Darns, Aquaria, Eternal Daughter, Soul, the Johnny Platform series, JoyJoy, Challenge from Kiyoshi, Digidrive, the PixelJunk series, Mirror's Edge 2D, NyxQuest, A Game with a Kitty, Tuper Tario Tros., rComplex, Super Tank Run, the Soulcaster series, Ninja Senki, The Adventures of Shuggy, Insectoid


Most popular article: Demon's Crest - 2/5/2010
- Over 10,000 words
- Nearly 200 images
Biggest article: Wario Land 3 - 3/3/2011
- 14,000 words
- Over 250 images
First article: Jackal - 10/17/2009
- 4,000 words
- 24 images
Most popular feature:
Super Mario Bros. 101: Lessons in 2D Game Design

2D RADAR
- A list of 2D games in development, each with a quick description.
- Currently 68 games on the list 
- 26 updates since it originally went live on 10/27/2010 (near 1 year anniversary)
- Total games listed from the start: 125!
- Original post had 23 games including these notable titles: - Acceleration of SUGURI, Astroman, Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury, Bastion, Capsized, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, La-Mulana*, Monster Tale, NightSky, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, Rayman Origins, Retro City Rampage*, Spelunky*.
* Denotes title is still on the list.

The 8BH YouTubeChannel has over 10,000 video views.
- 16 investigative, 2D game developer interviews, including Michel Gagné (Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet), and Team Meat (Super Meat Boy), and Jamie Cheng (Shank)!
- 5 "Oddities in 2D" episodes

And here's some great art for your desktop!  All your favorite characters in their native resolutions, partying down around a remixed Mario level.

Click for original size! SD size on the 8BH site as well.
From AJ and myself, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Swordfight is Good Art

Swordfight is a new physical game using modified Atari 2600 controllers created by Kurt Bieg and Ramsey Nasser. Each player straps on an adapted Atari controller over their crotch. The goal of the game is to push the other player's button (the button beeps through an custom, internal circuit board). Player's end up moving around, laughing, embarrassed, trying to push their pelvises toward each other and push the button on the other player's controller, but also dodging the other player's stick. I've not played it personally, but after watching some video, the game looks pretty absurd.


At first, after learning about the game on Indie Games blog, I thought it was simply a joke and moved on. But the idea of the game kept me thinking.


A View of Art

One concept of art for me is an expression created by someone else that brings new perspective to my life and things around me. A lot of times intent and context are a big part of things, and art created can also be very personal. Munch's "The Scream" doesn't do a lot for me until I consider it from a point of angst and despair and then I can start to make sense of it. When I look at Rodin's "The Cathedral", I admire how delicate the hands look, yet it's made of metal. It looks like it could be lover's hands coming together or hands of people in a church being to say a prayer together.



What I Like About Swordfight

I see Swordfight as rearranging and changing game industry and societal conventions. The controller with the stick and the button now conceptually replaces the gender of the person playing. Each player is now the same gender. Each player has both a stick and a button (like a phallus and a clitoris). Classic console and arcade games are traditionally played by males. Here, both players are changed into a new, combined conceptual gender.

The players are then guided by the game rules to get close and to touch buttons, but they shouldn't get too close, as that will allow the other person to win. Most people would find it rightly awkward to get so close and poke their friend's crotch (unless of course this friend is your girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse!) But here, the game encourages close contact and the game rules present an equally embarrassing situation for both players. Players now interact in a new, physical way. It is not a hug, a pat, or a tickle (and no, not even sex), but is guided by the game.

The experience here is only possible because of a game. Photos or videos don't do it justice. No amount of reading about it (don't quit reading! :) or watching conveys the full experience, it must be played. Interaction being the defining distinction of games.


The 30+ year old Atari 2600 controller is now sexy, brought into present day and at the center of the game. You're goal is to press the button on the other player's controller. In most games, pressing the button on your own controller is part of the basic gameplay.

Kinect and the Wii may get you up and moving, but here you are physically grabbing each other. Swordfight uses game hardware, but goes even beyond current-gen consoles in terms of promoting physical movement, by repurposing decades old technology. For a group as traditionally un-sexy as gamers (as opposed to say dancers), it's pretty wild to design a game around waving their crotches at each other.

The development duo responsible for the game were interviewed on the indie games blog a few days ago. They point out a lot of the key elements of the game's concept. "It's a very intimate place to have a game, between two people's hips, but the controller acts as a buffer, and the novelty of it allows players to engage with each other in a way that would normally be off limits."

Deep Thrills

While the basic concept of moving around, trying to thrust your hips at your friend is definitely absurd and crazy, I think there's a lot of inventiveness and depth to the concept of Swordfight, beyond mere entertainment or cheap thrills. I think Swordfight is good art.