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Xeno Crisis is
a new top-down
arena shooter for up to 2 players that is best described as Smash TV meets
Aliens! Run and gun your way through thousands of enemies spread over 6 areas
as you attempt to discover the cause of the alien menace.
Xeno Crisis is a new top-down arena shooter for up to 2 players that is best described as Smash TV meets Aliens! Run and gun your way through thousands of enemies spread over 6 areas as you attempt to discover the cause of the alien menace.
1,289 backers pledged £72,569 to help bring this project to life.

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Photos

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Progress Update (December 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
31 likes

Here’s a quick mini update on progress - with the holiday break it’s been a quieter month than usual but we’re back in the office and full steam ahead with Xeno Crisis!

Development 

Things are going very well with the modern platform versions (Switch, PS4, XBox One, Steam), which have been through more refinements and have now started to enter certification. Matt’s condition has improved greatly and he’s been able to accelerate his development of the Mega Drive version - there’s still some catching up to do but he’s really happy with progress.

We don’t like leaving any major bugs around for too long, and we finally managed to track down a nasty crash bug that was happening when loading the final levels of the game on the Mega Drive (space on the stack wasn’t being properly cleared and it was gradually running out!). Development setups for retro platforms can be very limiting, sometimes with little to no feedback, error reporting and logging.  If there is enough demand we hope to do an article on our development process after release; showing some of the setups and workarounds and how we can get things like basic debugging working on emulators and on the actual Mega Drive / Dreamcast.

Certification has meant that we’ll have to jump on a few other bits like trailer production and store launch assets, which have to be submitted well ahead of time, so Mike’s getting on with that side of things. We’ve also bought an OSSC so that we can start to capture gameplay footage directly from the Mega Drive, Dreamcast and Neo Geo systems, so we’ll be able to show some of that in the coming weeks.

Neo Geo 

The physical side of the Neo Geo version is moving along nicely, with two of the four PCB prototypes ordered, and the other two designs nearly ready for prototype. We’ve also commissioned the 3D designs of the various molds. We’re half-way through January now which means there’s just two weeks left to order a Collector’s Edition of Xeno Crisis for the Neo Geo, which you can do so here:

https://shop.bitmapbureau.com 

Oh yes, Kotaku were kind enough to include us in their list of British games to look out for in 2019:

http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2019/01/11/games-of-2019-british-games 

Xeno Crisis is very much a European effort though, with Henk in Holland, Savaged Regime in Sweden, Catherine in Slovakia, and Matt / Mike in the UK!

Well that’s about it for this mini update - thanks for reading and please get in touch if you have any questions! 

Progress Update (November 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
35 likes
Hello again to everyone - hope you’re all well and looking forward to Christmas! We’ve had another busy month both in terms of the game’s development and also the physical production side of things too. We’re a little late delivering November’s update as we were keen to get something very important in place first - our newly opened online store, which you can browse here:

https://shop.bitmapbureau.com

Much like our BackerKit page, you can still pre-order Xeno Crisis for your platform of choice as well as the soundtrack on vinyl or CD, but the big additions are the Neo Geo AES, MVS and CD versions which are now available for pre-order in Standard or Collector’s Editions! We’ve finally been able to take some improved photos of all of our products too - here’s the Neo Geo AES box for example:

Returning to the physical side of things, we’ve also received the Collector’s Edition Silver labels for the Mega Drive version, which you can see here (photo doesn’t do it justice!):

 ...and we also had the modern Genesis inlay and labels reprinted to accentuate the candy stripe pattern:

You might also be interested to know that we received our delivery of the vinyl soundtrack, and it looks and sounds fantastic:

Talking of deliveries we were excited to receive our physical edition of Tanglewood recently from fellow Mega Drive developer Matt Phillips! It’s a wonderfully crafted game that looks and feels right at home on the Mega Drive, and you really should check it out if you fancy some puzzle / platform action!

We haven’t spoken about the Dreamcast version for a while now, but we’re making steady progress with it testing it periodically alongside the Mega Drive core code base. Tom Charnock of the Dreamcast Junkyard was kind enough to personally deliver a Dreamcast Twin Stick (HKT-7500) to us, which we’re looking forward to getting up and running with Xeno Crisis - we’re aware that there’s very few games that make use of the Twin Stick, and I’m sure anyone who owns one would love to see more games support it - Xeno Crisis should be a perfect fit for it!

Following last month’s announcement that we’ve teamed up with Strictly Limited Games to release physical editions of the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 versions, we’ll soon be giving backers of those variants the option to upgrade their digital version to a physical version ahead of their general release, so please look out for more details from us shortly!

Finally, since it’s Christmas, and since it’s been about a year from when we launched the Xeno Crisis Kickstarter, we thought it would be a good time to show some new gameplay footage, complete with music, sound effects, speech - the lot! Matt’s still playing catch-up with the Mega Drive version so it makes sense to show some footage from the modern versions, which are now complete. So here’s Mike doing a *very* quick run-through of the first area with the female marine, attempting to keep the video under Twitter’s 2 minute 20 second restraint - we hope you enjoy it!

Well thanks for reading, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s update - we’ll make sure next month’s isn’t quite so late!

Progress Update (October 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
39 likes
Well another exciting month has flown by, so we have lots more to update you all on.
Physical Items

Like last month, many of the physical items we commissioned have continued to arrive. First the big one; the PCBs!! They’ve all landed safe and sound, and some initial random testing suggests they should all be good to go. We’ll now press on with our parallel flashing set-up ready for the game and also start the laborious job of putting all the PCBs in cartridges and labelling them. 

Earlier than we expected we received 5 test pressings of the OST vinyl and it sounds great - just ask Toby the studio pug! The full vinyl production run has now been approved for manufacturing.

We also received some more labels for the various Mega Drive region variations, some sticker sheets for Kickstarter Edition backers and...

Mega Drive boxes, boxes, boxes!

We finally received our first batch of Mega Drive box covers and they look great! There are actually 18 variations in total, and we took the time to prepare a few of them for you all to take a look at. We’ve also been looking into reversible covers and can now confirm that Kickstarter Edition backers will receive an inlay featuring both Gonzalo and Derrick’s artwork. We’ve also had a few requests for the Japanese artwork on our PAL / NA compatible cartridge which we’re pleased to say is now available as an option on our BackerKit page:

https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com

More boxes!

*not the final cover designs
*not the final cover designs

We’re really excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Strictly Limited Games (https://www.strictlylimitedgames.com) and that Xeno Crisis will be coming to the Nintendo Switch and Sony PS4 as limited edition physical releases! We’re still finalising the details, but we will keep you posted of when they become available for pre-order.

Neo Geo Pre-Order

Talking of pre-orders, don’t worry Neo Geo fans - we have not forgotten about you, and will be opening up pre-orders for the AES, MVS and CD versions in the next couple of weeks. If you want to be notified as soon as pre-orders are open then please be sure to fill out our survey here:

https://goo.gl/forms/r5hCZ3wiLNjjO9j03

Development

Due to popular demand and some initial feedback from testing we decided to add a melee attack for both marines. So we managed to convince Henk Nieborg to take a break from his next project (which looks amazing!) and create us some awesome melee animations. It’s a great addition and really comes in useful when you’re running low on ammo or just want to finish an enemy in style! In some cases it’s actually more advantageous to use the melee attack, but we’ll let you find those out…

Alongside the melee attack a number of last minute tweaks and refinements have been added, steadily increasing the quality of Xeno Crisis. The modern console build is now feature complete and going through the initial rounds of localisation and general QA testing, and is looking great. With the majority of physical items for the release sorted over the last couple of months and Matt’s health steadily improving, his development time is ramping up heavily on the Mega Drive build as he plays catch up with the modern console version.

As always thank you for all the great comments and feedback, please keep them coming!

Progress Update (September 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
37 likes

We are a bit belated this month after a few crazy weeks on all fronts - thank you to everyone who filled out the Neo Geo survey - we’ll be back with more details in due course.

Let’s get physical

These last few weeks we’ve been finalising lots of designs and commissioning more of the physical parts of the releases and pledge items, including but not limited to stickers, dog-tags, postcards, cartridge labels, vinyl/CD OST, Mega Drive/Genesis covers.

We’re still planning to press on with this the next couple of weeks so we can have nearly everything ready. It’s definitely been a good thing to do sooner rather than later after various delays and issues we’ve faced with suppliers. We’ll show you more bits next month as items continue to arrive.

Talking of which, hot of the press as we prepared this update we just received a picture from our PCB manufacturer. The PCBs are now heading into the pick and place assembly process. Check out those hard gold connectors, always striving for the best quality!

Music Complete

Savaged Regime has finished all the tracks for Xeno Crisis! The soundtrack is amazing and we still can’t believe what Savaged Regime has achieved out of the Yamaha 2612. The techniques and tricks he’s used are mind blowing, including things like emulating the principles of how reverb works by hand. All that’s left now for the audio is a few sound effect refinements and additions as we home in on our finalised asset sets. No update is complete without some great music so here is the first area track in its entirety for you to enjoy:

With the tracks complete we quickly had them mastered and sent off to manufacture the 12” vinyl, as the lead times are so long. We ordered a few extra so there is still time to add-on the vinyl (or CD) OST to your order at: https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com

Development

Mike has spent the past few weeks working on the final game balancing; adjusting lots of the enemy logic to present different challenges to the player later in the game. He also took a demo showcasing the first two areas of the game to the Southampton Games Festival, which is right on our doorstep! This was particularly useful as it revealed a few minor things that we’ve been able to tweak, such as exit indicator arrows and a few pointers for new players. 

We were also lucky enough to have Xeno Crisis featured in the Retro HK section at Hong Kong Games Week!

As the PC and modern console version rapidly approaches completion we’ve been looking at ways to free up Matt to focus solely on the retro console builds and reign back in the development schedules from time that was lost. So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with DO Games.

DO Games was founded by some amazing industry veterans who we worked with for a number years at a previous indie games studio called “IOMO”. Xeno Crisis will be in safe hands as they handle all the porting and certification for the Switch/PS4/XB1 releases.

Matt’s been making a steady recovery and a recent appointment with a neurologist has left him much more positive. Whilst he’s still pacing himself by jumping on lots of the physical production work, this month he’s still found time to integrate Dreamcast building into the main Mega Drive Xeno Crisis codebase. He swears he would have gone mad if it wasn’t for the Broadband Adaptor (HIT-0401) to help debug but fortunately progress has been really good and swift!

Thank you for all the continued comments and support for Xeno Crisis, we really appreciate all the feedback!

Progress Update (August 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
31 likes

This is a big update with lots of bits to get through, we hope you enjoy the ride!

First off is a big thank you from Matt for all the kind comments of support from backers, as he recovers from his accident. Sadly he had a relapse in August after pushing himself a bit too hard to catch up, but he’s on the road to recovery and we’ve been subcontracting a few of his tasks to help reduce the pressure.

However we have some unfortunate news, things are running behind schedule and we’re not going to make our target release of October for the Mega Drive version. Matt’s been beating himself up a bit, as we’ve all been working so hard to hit our target. But the reality is software development projects are very hard to land on time and we’ve been packing lots more content into Xeno Crisis than we initially planned.

That said we’re still cracking on as ever, and we will be continuing our monthly updates as always, making sure you’re informed on the project and can see the progress towards its release.

PCBs ordered

We’ve now pulled the trigger on ordering the Mega Drive PCBs! Manufacture and assembly of the PCBs is expected to take around 8-10 weeks. We’ll then be able to package the PCBs into the cartridges so they are ready for flashing the completed game ROM.

If you still haven’t pre-ordered a copy of Xeno Crisis for Mega Drive then now is the time to guarantee your copy arrives on release and before we’re out of stock of the extra PCBs we’ve ordered.

https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Artwork complete

Henk has now finished the last couple of bosses, so we’re pleased to say all the art assets are now complete! There might be a few tweaks in the final stages of development but we now know the ROM space left to pack with music/sfx and other good stuff! A big thanks to Henk (and Catherine) Xeno Crisis looks stunning and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you!

Audio

We’re excited to announce we’ve signed a licensing deal with the progressive metal band Skyharbor to bring their amazing Trayus track to Xeno Crisis. Savaged Regime’s cover of Trayus on the Mega Drive’s YM2612 was the original inspiration behind the music for Xeno Crisis:

Savaged Regime has now reworked a new version of Trayus which is more suited to feature in the game. This track will also feature on the OST vinyl and CD if you’ve not yet added them to your order. We’ve also got a preview of yet another new track as well as the Trayus track:

Next month

Mike will be looking to finalise the PC / modern console version of Xeno Crisis ready for some solid beta testing. Savaged Regime is currently finalising the last few tracks and will then be refining the sound effects in the game.

Matt as he paces himself between some Mega Drive UI coding will be ordering the various printed / manufactured parts of the pledges, including covers, labels, manuals, postcards, OST vinyl / CD etc. The aim being to be minimise any delays later on and enabling us to pre-package and assemble all the cartridges and boxes. We will then be ready to ship as soon as the final game ROM is ready.

New platforms!

We are really pleased to announce Xeno Crisis will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We had a number of backer requests and enquiries for Xeno Crisis on more consoles for those that don’t have easy access to a Mega Drive or Dreamcast. Pre-orders are not currently available for PS4 and XB1 but we will update you when they are.

Mega Shock

What about retro platforms we hear you cry? What was under that Xeno Crisis t-shirt in May’s update? Well we’re super excited to say we’ll be bringing Xeno Crisis to:

The Neo Geo is no easy undertaking, but after having our arm twisted by HPMAN ;-) and after an initial test porting of Xeno Crisis (largely to check procedural level generation) back in May we’re happy the Neo Geo is within reach. The Neo Geo homebrew scene just like the Mega Drive scene has been amazing! As well as HPMAN a big thanks goes out to Jeff Kurtz, Razoola, Mike Wolak, Frazer Rhodes and Neil @8Bitplus. It wouldn’t have been possible to consider the Neo Geo without your help.

Of course we’re not doing any further work on developing the Neo Geo version until we’ve finished with the Mega Drive and Dreamcast release. However we’ve got a survey for those that wish to express their interest in the Neo Geo version and to make sure they don’t miss out when we open pre-orders in the future - it will be a very limited edition release!

https://goo.gl/forms/r5hCZ3wiLNjjO9j03

Return Magazine

For German readers the release of Return Magazine’s 34th edition this month brings an article featuring the making of Xeno Crisis. Make sure to get your copy here:

https://www.return-magazin.de/ausgaben/return-ausgabe-34/

As always thank you for all the great comments and feedback, please keep them coming!