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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 (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!

Progress Update (July 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
24 likes

This is a bit of a mini-update after the belated one for June but as always we like to keep you all informed of progress.

Thank you for all the kind comments after Matt’s accident, it’s been a tough few weeks but his speech is now back and he’s gradually getting back to work. Still suffering a few occasional headaches but he’s really glad to be back.

We’re so pleased that the cover designs have been well received; they were important for us to get right. We will continue to make a few refinements in the coming weeks, but we’re already integrating some great suggestions and tweaks from the community. (The modern red North American cover did actually already have a candy stripe but it was lost when creating the GIF at a reduced 256 colour palette).

We can also confirm that the Mega Drive cover artwork will also be used for Dreamcast, OST CD/Vinyl, etc.. we will hopefully show some previews of those soon.

Cutscenes

We’re pleased to announce Catherine has finished all the cutscenes for Xeno Crisis. We originally planned 12 images from Catherine, but we now have 28. We’ve been adding as much into Xeno Crisis as we can!

Pixel artwork

Henk has been hard at work on the final boss (sorry, no spoilers!), along with a bunch of minor refinements here and there, plus extra details like some more explosion sizes. We’re expecting Henk to complete all of the remaining pixel artwork in the next couple of weeks.

Steam and Nintendo Switch

Mike has really got the PC prototype to a great point - it’s now not so much prototype but nearing a beta version. So Matt decided on his return to quickly spin up the Steam and Nintendo Switch versions of Xeno Crisis to check it’s all looking good, before jumping back on to the Mega Drive version. We’re pleased to report that they’re looking great, we’ll be updating more on this soon.

Audio

This month has seen the last of the voice acting audio completed, this time for the female marine and hostage, voiced by the amazingly talented Kristen McGuire (https://www.facebook.com/kriscomics/) who we’ve worked with on our previous titles. We’re still hopeful a reasonable amount of the voice samples will be crunched and squeezed into the Mega Drive version as we push up to the 32Mbit ROM limits.

Tanglewood

If you haven’t already heard, Tanglewood is due to be released on the 14th August 2018. Congratulations to Matt Phillips for creating another piece of Mega Drive history! Make sure to add it to your Steam Wishlist if you haven’t already: https://store.steampowered.com/app/837190/TANGLEWOOD/

Backer Details

If your address has changed or you still want to tweak your backing level, add extras, etc… then there is still a bit of time before we lockdown. You can edit your details and / or pre-order at:

https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com/

Thanks for all the continued support, comments and feedback!

Progress Update (June 2018)

Posted by Bitmap Bureau (Creator)
55 likes

Apologies for the belated update, it’s been a bit of a crazy month! Matt had an accident suffering a bad concussion, losing his speech at times but fortunately a CT scan has given the all clear - so we’re wishing him a speed recovery. Fortunately we’ve still made loads of progress with Xeno Crisis, so here are some of the latest bits for you:

Cover art

We finally have our cover art variations, courtesy of the amazing Derrick Chew (https://www.instagram.com/dcwj/) and Gonzalo Ordoñez Arias aka “Genzoman” (https://www.deviantart.com/genzoman)!

This allowed Matt to more or less finalise the cover designs (all 18 of them?!) for the various regions and styles, some of which you can see below:

General Release

Kickstarter Edition

 

This is the final piece in the puzzle which is the physical production of the game, as we can now not only go ahead and produce the cover art for the game’s box, but also the cartridge labels, vinyl / CD OSTs, manual and other items.

Enemies

Henk’s been busy (as usual!) designing and animating some fantastic new enemies which you’ll come across in the later areas:

All of the enemies and most of the bosses are now implemented in the PC rapid prototype leaving just the final boss to be designed, and the Kickstarter backer’s boss to be implemented. With all the assets starting to finalise the Mega Drive version is fleshing out really well; we’ve also written some nice tools to monitor the ROM asset distribution and sizes as we begin to close in on the 32 Megabit limit.

Cutscenes

Catherine has had a prolific few weeks, essentially finishing all of the cutscenes and she’s now working on the game’s ending sequence. Here’s one of the new cutscenes, but we won’t tell you what’s going on of course...

Audio

Savaged Regime has been working on some new tracks, with each somehow being better than the last! We didn’t think it was possible to push the Mega Drive’s YM2612 soundchip any further, but Daniel continues to push the boundaries with some amazing new techniques. He’s also made good progress with some of the game’s sound effects, which we’re hoping to be able to demonstrate soon.

Game design

Mike has also been doing a considerable amount of work on the game’s balance, and reckons it’s coming together nicely! Given that Mike has spent several hundred hours playing the game, he is concentrating on the hard difficulty to begin with, then toning down things such as number of enemies, bullets etc. for the game’s easy mode, but even then we don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park!

Anyway, that’s it for this month - we hope you found the update interesting, and as always, get in touch if you have any questions!