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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[PS4] SCORE RUSH EXTENDED 撃点 - 4-Player Shmup - LAUNCHED MAY 31, 2016!
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Xonatron
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2015, 07:30:37 AM »

Zizka,

#1 in Japan:

Score Rush (X360) was the #1 selling game out of all Xbox LIVE Indie Games in Japan. This applies to the ratings too. The ratings also competed with the top AAA and XBLA rated games on Xbox 360, which you can imagine is easier to accomplish.

Consider "#1 in Japan" is some form of success; It means something -- however little or however great -- and I wish to use it in my marketing because I believe it fits. Let me explain:

In our business plan, before we started Xona Games, we predicted our best sales would be from Japan. We were surprised that each of our games sold and were rated #1 in Japan, but we were not surprised that it was our best country. We did not cater to the country's demographic, we simply built games we loved and after stepping back and looking at them we figured they would do best there.

Point is, "#1 in Japan" does help communicate a few things about the game, perhaps the quality, intensity, the arcade-style, or the skill-based nature of the game. Maybe all of this and more.

So, I would like to use it in my marketing, with the known fact that marketing is never thorough. Explaining too many details eventually fails to deliver the interest, defeating the purpose.

DevLog Views:

I agree there is not much value in the dev log stats -- at least not in me sharing my own.

You quoted me a couple times in context that suggests my posts were only just about views -- they were not -- although I admit my last post was about views as it related to marketing. Whatever the case, if it comes off poorly then it looks bad. So I appreciate the heads up.

I will stop the view talk completely.

(EDIT: I will go back and remove the view talk. If you remove the views from your quotes, then it will be gone completely.)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 03:44:48 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2015, 03:47:45 PM »

Quote
Consider "#1 in Japan" is some form of success; It means something -- however little or however great -- and I wish to use it in my marketing because I believe it fits.

Oh but that's fine. I just wanted to understand what you meant by #1 in Japan, I was just curious what you meant. It is indeed a success, congratulations.

Quote
So, I would like to use it in my marketing, with the known fact that marketing is never thorough. Explaining too many details eventually fails to deliver the interest, defeating the purpose.

Makes sense, I don't know much about marketing so I wouldn't know.

Just to clarify:

I've been there with the views and looking back, it was pretty silly/stupid of me to focus on that. TIG is first and foremost, in my opinion, about discussing and improving our respective projects thanks to feedback from others. The way I see it, TIG isn't a marketing tool (it might be, I just never saw it that way). So whether the game was first in Japan (although important marketing wise) isn't something which I would consider relevant game wise, just like the views. I think people will make up their own mind about the quality of the game as you release builds, demos, videos and so on as opposed to previous sales or fame. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion and it's not something I'm imposing. Whatever you do with your thread is your own business.

The competition for views is, in my opinion, beside the point of the purpose of the forum. I'd go for a more collaborative stance than a "I'm already more popular than a lot of you guys projects" which isn't that enticing (I mean, you can think it but I personally wouldn't say it). I think people will be a lot more interested if you substantially write about the game and leave the "fluff" for the promotion of the game. It'll give them some things to talk about (game design, art, suggestions, etc...) as opposed to being told about something they might not necessarily care about.   

Don't take anything written here for granted and remain critical of what I've said.

I won't comment any further about this and will stick to game comments in the future.

All the best in your project.


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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2015, 04:47:21 PM »

Zizka,

It is all good. Even though I have been here for years, it is much different to actually participate and learn the ropes. So I appreciate your help, even if it is how to do a proper DevLog.

I have always looked up to the TIGSource forums and the majority of the projects on here, including the unfinished and unsuccessful. There is true talent here. I have never thought that my work was better than anyone else's -- and definitely not the majority -- in fact, it is quite the opposite. I am humbled by the talent here. So if my view analysis could be misread in such a way, I am most glad you brought it to my attention.

All of that said, I believe popular projects here are a sign of success -- on some level. Some games just have that x-factor. I know that mine do not. I wish they did! Even though TIGSource is not a place to market your game (for final sales) it is a place to test your work. If, for instance, I cannot capture the attention of anyone here, it could be a sign that my marketing materials are lacking. Maybe my screenshots suck. Maybe my box art. Maybe my trailer. Maybe my game sucks. Or maybe not! Maybe nobody here cares about bullet hell shmups!

Anyways, thanks a lot.

I appreciate all of your further comments, no matter what they may be about!

EDIT: Bolded the parts I wish to emphasize.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 12:00:19 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2015, 06:15:17 PM »

Added fire spots tonight:


Fire spots on the ground.


Fire spots on the destoryed boss, which is falling to the ground.


Fire spots on the destroyed boss on the ground,
which matches the gray-scale background art style upon crashing.


Fire spots on a damanged, but living, boss.
Notice the ground is colored in Boss Rush mode.


Fire spots everywhere!

In a sense, the fire spots were already there, from our Duality ZF game, as this uses the same engine. The fire spots never fit our previous Xbox 360 release that had more neon graphics and explosions. Some super fans may notice that the new Score Rush Extended for PS4 has moved away from that, and actually better shows that there is (and always was!) a ground that you are scrolling over. With those changes, more realistically colored (less neon) explosions were added, and now fire spots!

BONUS:

This is my first public showcasing of the enemies and bosses in the game, as well as the fact that there's a new Boss Rush mode.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 06:29:06 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2015, 10:48:49 PM »

I can't place what, but there's some kind of distinct charm to this game that draws me to the visual. Reminds me a lot of some of the older Xbox Live Arcade games for some reason, so I guess it might be nostalgia? Anyway, I love the visual chaos, and think it suits the action of this game very well. Best of luck with development!
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2015, 06:03:46 AM »

FK in the Coffee,

Thank you!

Now I am curious if you saw some of our older games. Were you involved with Xbox LIVE Indie Games (XBLIG) or Dream Build Play competitions? It may have been Duality ZF, the spiritual sequel to Score Rush. Duality ZF was a game destined for XBLA and placed in a few DBP contests. Sadly, it did not see a release. I hope to continue it someday. I will see if Score Rush Extended works out first.
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2015, 08:05:55 AM »

More "fan art", this time NSFW:


Trailer Park Boys meme "fan art" of Score Rush Extended.

P.S. We live in the same province where Trailer Park Boys is made. If you don't know of the show, you won't really find this funny.
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2015, 05:20:34 PM »

More fan art:



I think I have a true fan on my hands here, as I see hints of our other games used such as Duality ZF.

I wonder though, if we did box art like this, more professionally, would it be better? Or is it better to have box art for a shmup that has little to no action, such as designs of fighters and whatnot?

Any thoughts?
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« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2015, 09:48:33 PM »

Feeling pretty happy. Smiley Just fixed some (albeit minor, but it would have bugged me until the end of time) slowdown issues I had on the PS4, from carelessly (to some degree) using particles on a most-powerful PC that I develop on.

Now Score Rush Extended looks visually identical to what it was before, yet runs at full framerate, 60 fps, through the entire game... except in the small small tiny case where there are 4 players, fully powered-up, who haven't died, with full option tails, collecting a massive group of even more power-ups before the final boss, as well as being in a new mode -- called DUAL PLAY -- which each player controls two fighters at once for eight fighters on screen at once. A little something from our Duality ZF days. And even then the slowdown is slight and completely acceptable and not worth toning any other part of the game down.

Anyways.

It's good.

#60fps
« Last Edit: October 26, 2015, 10:04:10 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2015, 01:56:22 AM »

eyeliner,

Thanks for your feedback.

It is interesting, as the original Score Rush (Xbox 360) box art used in-game art with the title screen as the logo:


The original Score Rush (Xbox 360) box art.

To compare it to gameplay, watch the trailer here:


(original Xbox 360 version)

However, I found this box art to be a bit weak, to use your wording.

Do you like it better?
Indeed I do. Explains the game perfectly, has the 4 players, etc.
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2015, 08:04:22 AM »

eyeliner, thank you for your feedback. I'm going to explore this more.

I opened a "shmup box art" thread in the Creative > Art section to do so:

Box art for 2D shmup: Abstract or in-game visuals?
http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=51150
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 02:09:41 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2015, 09:04:41 PM »

Score Rush Extended development is coming to an end. I should have started this DevLog years ago to step everyone through the process of making this game.

There's only a few more things to do before passing this through certification for PS4 release. If anyone is interested in this type of thing, I'll answer what I can (but I have to be careful what I say).

Design decisions and coding are basically done.

The rest of the work is assurance that stuff works, more than anything.

Soon I can hopefully celebrate a release. Beer!

I'm curious, I want to start involving myself in marketing the game. Should I continue to post that here, or should I start another "devlog" thread in the marketing zone???
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« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2015, 01:40:19 PM »

I reduced the (compressed version of the) game from 60 MB to 30 MB in size!

In preparation for final release build, I have begun to purge all unused content out of my game. What I originally thought would be the biggest (unused enemy sprites) was completely overshadowed by what was the actual biggest (distortion textures in pixel shaders). It turns out all our experimentation with pixel shaders created an enormous amount of textures for testing.

The PS4 version will be bigger. I am still learning about the Mono/MonoGame/PS4 compression of audio, and as of right now it appears to compress only at half the rate as my PC version (which uses xWMA 60 settings).
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 07:05:37 PM by Xonatron » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2015, 10:09:23 AM »

Not sure how much this matters, but decided to set up Score Rush Extended on IndieDB:
http://www.indiedb.com/games/score-rush-extended



Any tips and helpful thoughts are welcome!
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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2015, 08:07:14 AM »

This is not an update.

In another forum, the art design of the game was criticized, so I decided to compare where the game is now to what it was a year ago.

I wanted to share the evolution and get insights on everyone's opinion. Was it better back then?

I posted menu pics too, to give it context.

Older Score Rush [Extended] Screenshots (July 2014):


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.


Older Score Rush [Extended] screenshot.

NOTE: Above are older screenshots, posted for comparison.

I feel the game 1 year ago was more visually confusing.

To fix this, we took the color out of the background, to give a clear distinction between foreground and background, and allowing the neon colored game to stand out without having to have a black star field in the background.

The old design feels more cartoony and fake. The new design feels more serious and 'real'. I like the new design better.

Which design do you like best? Old or new?
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« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2015, 02:41:24 PM »

Nothing to show, but a near-release candidate build of Score Rush Extended has been shipped off to Sony for evaluation.

Looking for input on release dates. If I could choose anytime to release from herein, when should I?
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« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2015, 02:20:02 AM »

Before Christmas, would me my guess.
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« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2015, 03:47:22 AM »

Looking good!

I'm impressed by your success in Japan and am curious:
Did you use any particular technique to market your game in Japan (like writing posts in Japanese or other)?
And is your game localized?
S.
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« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2015, 11:45:28 AM »

eyeliner, could you elaborate on why you think a release before Christmas is best? I was shooting for this before, but now I am bouncing the idea off of the chance I could get lost in the holiday season sales of AAA titles.
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« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2015, 01:38:25 PM »

suny,

Thanks for your kind words!

For our success in Japan, we did nothing in particular -- other than make games that we have always wanted to make.

We predicted our games would do well in Japan after taking a step back and looking at them. This prediction was mentioned in the original Xona Games business plan. It was cool it played out; It was positive feedback on our intuitions.

We have this intense-retro arcade-style which has become the hallmark of Xona Games. We believed this style was one of the directions that 2D games were heading in before 3D games took over. Unfortunately, the 2D coin-op arcade intensity never hit the home market. By the time the home consoles were powerful enough to do so, they could also do 3D and never looked back.

Games like Geometry Wars popularized this intense retro style, but we started on it almost 10 years before. This game eventually became the Decimation X series, which also went on to become #1 in Japan on each of its Xbox 360 releases. Game reviewers do not know this history. They tend to only see the tip of the iceberg -- released games -- as if they are the only games that exist. From that perspective it incorrectly appears that we started late in the game. The reality is that we started before we saw anyone else do it. This is not a point about credit, but rather a point about a vision we followed.

One reason I have always respected the work here at TIGSource is all the innovation I see here.

I think our true value is not in retro or intensity but in our gameplay. It may be what lands us well in the Japanese marketplace. The idea is for the game to never be in the way of the gamer. When they fail, they should sense they will immediately do better if they try again. This is key. And it continues to grow as you get better, all the way to world-class game skill. Then at this level, the game should not "break" and play on forever or become boring.

Many retro-based quick-reflex arcade games do not match our opinions on how gameplay should work. I have debated with friends about this, and they claim what I call a flaw the developer calls design. Things like (lots of) momentum could be by design, or by mistake. To each their own. It is why I make games, to do what I want to do. I prefer a design that does not close the gap between amateur and expert players, as expert players will notice when their skills are hidden away with floaty non-empowering controls.

I have unlimited examples of this, but a game I played last night blocks what only an expert player would or could ever do. With our philosophy, we would never do this. We wish to reward expert play, not impede it. It is hard to understand without an example, but will leave it at that.

Of course, you have to be good at games to recognize flaws that only the best will see. Praise from the best gamers is what matters to us most. This is opposite of casual and "free" to play games which cater to average gamers, which includes everyone with a phone now.

Many shmup developers are not great shmup players, and flaws can manifest from this. In my nitpicking eyes, I see it all the time. Maybe it is our skill at games that lends us to the Japanese audience? It could very well be a part of it. I hope this does not read off the wrong way, as bragging is not my point here. The fact is we have played and beat tons of shmups, good and bad. We love Raiden and Thunder Force series especially. I love them. We have won shmup tournaments, such as first place at the PAX East Geometry Wars 2 contest and first at a Raiden Fighters Jet tournament where 4 of the top 7 players on the worldwide leaderboards were present (I was #5). That said, a lot of players on the Shmups Forum are much better than I am. So take from this what you will.

Maybe it's just the passion for the genre?

I really do not know.

I also became good at these games by playing my own games (too much!). And that skill translates outward. Where I had not played Geometry Wars 2 for about a year before the tournament, I had played a shmup I was developing almost every day for 2 years before.

Our key game mechanic of all, if you can call it one, is to empower the player. Give them everything they need to be amazing, while still making the game both challenging and have the ability to be dominated. We coined the term for that: dominatibility: the ability to be dominated. Our games are hard and have dominatibility. I like the idea of having both. Making a game just hard is actually not hard to do.

Oh, and our games were not localized. Some of my Japanese friends and I talked it over and they felt the games presented themselves better without localization. Interesting, isn't it? It is something I am still considering -- no localization -- in the upcoming PS4 release.

A long post. I edited and clarified some of my thoughts in it a bit. Hope it helps explain where we are coming from!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 03:42:30 PM by Xonatron » Logged

Matthew Doucette, Xona Games
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