You can read about the Jumpman Forever Preview in this update post! EVERYONE who contributes gets to play the preview - I send you a link when you contribute!
Ready for some real retro action? We’re not talking a game that just happens to use the trend of “chunky pixels” to take a modern game style into the past, we’re talking about a true retro experience from a game that hasn’t seen a true sequel since the 80’s - Jumpman for the C64 / Atari / Apple ][ era.
Let me give you a quick rundown on the specs for Jumpman Forever:
- Ouya (First, as part of the Free The Games Fund)
- Mac OS X
- iOS (iPhone & iPad)
- Android (phone & tablet devices)
- with new platforms possible in the future (we're using a cross-platform engine)
- 30 levels (just like the original) at Ouya launch time
- 45 - 60 levels available during PC / Mac / iOS / Android launch
- Jumpman Forever level editor
- Integrated cloud based level sharing community
- Updates every 4 - 6 months for the first two years
- Entirely new levels!
- Complete replication of original Jumpman & Jumpman, Jr gameplay & controls
- Updated retro-modern graphics
- Complete old-school charm!
- Two playable characters - Jumpman, and the new character, Red!
- Old enemies return
- New enemies added
- Entirely new levels!
Five Gameplay Modes:
- Easy - Slower, less enemies on some levels
- Normal - Regular speed, regular number of enemies
- Expert - Faster, normal number of enemies
- Advanced - Same speed as Expert, but additional enemies on every level
- Speedrun - Fastest speed, Jumpman also gets to jump higher and farther
Ouya version ships late February, all other platforms 6 months after that!
Experimental Features - not guaranteed to ship:
- Multiplayer (Jumpman & Red)
Since we're just about to hit the goal line, it's time to unveil the stretch goals!
- $25,000 - All 30 ORIGINAL Jumpman Levels! This is harder than you might expect: the diminsions for all the characters have changed, along with the aspect ratio of the playfield.
- $31,000 - FULL SOUND TRACK! Right now, Jumpman Forever uses the same design as the original Jumpman - music is only used between levels. With this, we'll be able to produce a FULL Jumpman Forever soundtrack (purists for the game can turn it off, though :-)
- $33,000 - 33% MORE LEVELS! An extra 30 levels at Ouya release time (making the total when it reached PC / Mac / iOS / Android a whopping 90 levels, and 120 levels in total when you add in the original 30 Jumpman levels!)
- $35,000 - A THIRD CHARACTER! This is one of those things I've debated back and forth - Jumpman and Red both have abilities unique to themselves, so adding more characters means working out the ability of each character. And, I finally have ideas on that... :-)
- $37,000 - SELECTABLE RETRO SKINS! Why should only the C64 version of Jumpman get a graphical update? There were more versions, each slightly different (and less colorful) - the new selectable skins lets you play at Apple ][ or Atari version Jumpmen, along with some other cool options. Same goes for Red, who would get some fun "outfits" :-)
- $40,000 - A FOURTH CHARACTER! Similar to the idea of the $35,000 stretch goal, this character also comes with abilities unique to it.
- $50,000 - FOUR PLAYER MULTIPLAYER CO-OP! Prepare for insanity. Seriously. Each character has it's own abilities, so Jumpman, Red, ( X ), and ( Y ) (They don't have names yet) each have to tackle specific parts of the level together. OR...
- $55,000 - UP TO FOUR PLAYER MULTIPLAYER -VS- MODE! Yeah, why work together, when you can work on blowing each other up? That's right - you get to bomb each other (and the level) to see who ends up surviving!
- $65,535 - Three year release cycle. Right now, we're planning for a full two years of new level releases and updates, adding new content every 4 months or so (usually 15 - 30 levels per update.) With this, we move the release cycle out another year. Some quick "off the cuff" math would put the number of official levels at around 400 levels by the end of year 3. That's pretty mind blowing, to me :-)
- $120,000 - IT'S ALL FREE! At this point, we would have reached the expected profit for the first three years of sales of Jumpman Forever across all platforms. So, in the HIGHLY unlikely event we were to reach this point, it's no longer going to be sold, we'll simply give it away on all the platforms it ships on! That includes the first three YEARS worth of planned Jumpman Forever level packs! (We do reserve the right to make DLC or IAP level packs and expansions after the third year.)
How far along are we? Well, we started shipping the pre-Beta Jumpman Forever Preview to backers and press to show it off - yeah, we're far enough along we could show off eight levels and give the players something to whet their appetites :-)
What does Jumpman Forever look like? Here's a quick Work In Progress video from the December 9, 2013 (expect bugs, inconsistencies, and oddities: for instance, part of the sound effects and all the music are from the original game, not the new stuff)
Or, if you'd like to see some of the other videos and level screenshots:
- "The Grinder I" and "The Long Fall" levels
- "Out Of Retirement" Level
- "Rocket, Rocket!" Level
- "The Grinder I", "Duality I", "Duality III", "Mine all mine" Level (and video)
Now that we've gotten the essentials out of the way, let's dig into the specifics. There's a lot here, so, here's a quick Table of Contents for the rest of it:
- Our Goal
- What Is Jumpman?
- The History of Jumpman
- Limitations Of Our License For Jumpman
- Rambling in the middle...
- Press Coverage
- Kick It Forward
We're bringing back Jumpman into a totally new set of truly old-school style video-game. Now, if you're familiar with classic video games, there's a good chance you've played Jumpman on a Commodore 64, Atari 400/800, IBM PC (including the Jumpman Lives! remake), Apple ][, or maybe one of the modern re-releases on the C64 TV setup or in the Wii's Virtual Library if you were in the UK.
What Is Jumpman?
Not a classic gamer, and wonder what all the fuss is about? Let me give you a couple of quotes from Compute! magazine from back in 1983 when Jumpman was originally released:
"Creating a good first impression isn't the easiest thing in the world, especially if the audience is made up of experts. An even more difficult task is to sustain or improve upon that good impression over a period of time. Jumpman succeeds in both cases.
"In the face of cynical comments like "It's probably just like the rest of the climbing-motif games," Jumpman easily conquers that skepticism and establishes itself as a software classic. No true arcade-game fan who takes joystick in hand and begins to manipulate Jumpman around the screen will be able to walk away without adding this product to his Atari, Commodore 64, or Apple collection." -- Compute! Magazine, Issue 41
At first glance, Jumpman wasn't that much different than a number of platform games from the era. That is, until you scratched the surface a bit, and dug into the game play. In an era where most games had 4 or 5 levels that repeated over and over (for instance, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong, Jr), Jumpman had a whopping 30 levels, and Jumpman, Jr added another 12 to the mix.
But, the number of levels wasn't what made Jumpman special - it just enhanced it. The core of Jumpman was a combination of a solid control system (which I'm going to be posting about - if you play it, you'll discover you can get away with things other games don't let you do, like miss a jump, hit the girder, and climb up the girder) and puzzle based gameplay. The's been platform games that integrate puzzle solving, but never to the degree Jumpman did it: every level was a different set of challenges, ranging from just dodging the bullets, to malfunctioning robots, vampire bats, falling bombs, moving bombs, disintegrating platforms, to invisible levels who's layouts you have to discover. For those who are modern gamers, it requires the intelligent gameplay levels of Portal, while maintaining the old-school 2D twitch requirements of games like Donkey Kong.
The History Of Jumpman
Simply put, it's an amazing game. And, anytime there's a game that stands out, there's always a cult following somewhere, and Jumpman still has that following. Impressive, since the original game was released in 1983!
I'll give a little history of what's happened since 1983, since it's somewhat important to the story, though I'll make it brief:
In 1991, Apogee Software released Jumpman Lives!, a complete remake of Jumpman from the Commodore 64. Unfortunately, they didn't have the rights to the game, and got a cease and desist on it. But, it re-invigorated existing fans, and introduced a new generation of players to Jumpman.
In 1999 - 2000 range, something really weird happened: A number of people got ahold of Randy Glover, and got permission to do sequels to Jumpman. I was one of those people. Most of the agreements were to do freeware versions of the game, though, I managed to talk Randy into letting me do a commercial sequel to the game.
So, a few new Jumpman games came out: Jumpman Zero, Classic Jumpman, Jumpman: Under Construction, and one more who's name I've forgotten and can't find anymore.
Randy began work on his own sequel, Jumpman 2 (which, I feel very fortunate: I'm one of the only people who had their hands on a playable tech demo of Jumpman 2 - Randy had given me a built to check out and see where he was headed with his new concept, a 3D game that played on multiple 2D playfields. Interesting stuff!)
Limitations Of Our License
Now, there were limitations on the deal: We only got to produce one Jumpman game. If we wanted to talk about doing another, it would probably be as a collaboration with Randy, or we would be paying him royalties on the next game. Additionally, the deal excluded the major console platforms of the day - Playstation, Nintendo 64, etc. (However, we're extending that as a "spirit of the agreement" to include the modern major consoles, like XBox 360, XBox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4). If the game was so wildly successful that the investment necessary to port to one of the major console platforms was a good idea, hey, he'd like in on the act. And, personally, I thought that was a pretty good idea!
In 2010, I returned to game development with the release of The Horror Game, a table top RPG, and released The Plastic Army Game in 2012. In 2013, I released my first new video game in a decade, RetroBreaker for iOS, Android, and Mac OS X.
Now, it's been over 13 years since I got the rights to do a Jumpman game. I keep getting emails asking when I was going to do Jumpman: 2049. Oh, I'm not getting daily emails or anything, just one every couple of months.
I keep thinking of resurrecting Jumpman: 2049, but I keep hesitating. I don't want to do the game the way I was originally thinking. Originally, it was just going to be a simple matter of re-creating all the old levels, then throwing some new levels in, and calling it done.
If the game still has a fan-base after around 30 years, why not do something more fitting?
The concept of Jumpman Forever has come together with pretty ambitious idea: create the game with the idea of creating and keeping an active fan base. What does that entail?
- A LOT of new levels. The plan right now is for 30 levels with the Ouya platform launch (February), with up to another 30 added with the cross-platform launch (August - September range)
- Update the graphics slightly. Keep all the old school, 2D platformer charm, but make it just modern enough to look decent on a 40" TV.\
- Replicate the gameplay as close as possible, utilizing some of the "loose control, tight gameplay" concepts Jumpman used.
- Create new levels that replicate the gameplay concept - puzzle solving on the fly while dealing with enemies that always keep you moving.
- Create a level editor to allow users to create their own levels (that's one thing that the Jumpman Lives! - it included a level editor where you could make your own simple levels. There's still places to download levels for Jumpman Lives! online!)
- Create a single unified, cross-platform community to share those levels from within the game. We'll be extending another project I work on - cloudPages - to handle this job.
- Use a cross-platform engine to make releasing Jumpman Forever on future platforms easier
- Use a replaceable graphics setup, so in the future we can support those fancy new 3.9D displays (or whatever groovy display tech comes out in 10 years) with shaper versions of the characters
- Create and stick to an infrequent release schedule, producing content updates every 4 - 6 months for the first two years of the product, and every year after that.
- Explore the "wild" ideas that I've had for Jumpman Forever, that may or may not make it into the final versions, particularly the idea of a two-player co-op mode that would allow for some really wild gameplay puzzles!
Part of this is already done - we've already got the cross-platform engine (which is why we'll be supporting Ouya, Android, iOS, Mac OS X, and Android), graphics are replaceable, we've got a graphical style that very much evokes the original Jumpman style (while remaining a little more high-rez than what the original allowed), and we've already partially replicated the in-game "feel" of the original.
We've also extended the game slightly, with a second character, Red. Unlike Jumpman, Red isn't a bomb technician - she's got the jump boots (a prototype set), but she can't defuse the bombs. This lets us tell throw a really wild set of puzzles in there that keep the feel, but allow for more unique levels to be added (and, if we manage to pull of the multi-player setup we'd like, one player would be Jumpman, and the other would be Red, each playing of that character's strengths.)
Since we've only got one shot at doing a Jumpman game (unless Randy happens to give us rights to do another one some day, though I haven't talked to Randy in years!) We want to take this one shot, and do it right: we want to create a game that has a following for years to come!
Take a look at what we're giving away as rewards - we've got a little of everything! Jump in, and join us on this great adventure in game development!
As I see articles mentioning the Jumpman Forever Kickstarter campaign happen, I'll be posting links to them here for folks to take a look at, and as a sort of thank you to those that have taken a moment to show a little support for an indie project!
- iFanzine: http://ifanzine.com/jumpman-forever-funding-now-kickstarter/ (and Hands-on preview: http://ifanzine.com/jumpman-forever-hands-preview/ )
- Wichita Business Journal: http://m.bizjournals.com/wichita/blog/techflash/2013/11/wichita-game-developer-to-resurrect.html?ana=twt&page=all&r=full
- MWAP: http://mwap.me.uk/game-industry-news/jumpman-is-finally-getting-a-worthy-sequel.html
- Pocket Gamer: http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/Android/Jumpman+Forever/news.asp?c=55574
- RazorianFly: http://www.razorianfly.com/2013/11/26/atari-classic-jumpman-to-get-modern-sequel-in-jumpman-forever-press-release/
- Gamer'sHell: http://www.gamershell.com/news_158889.html
- Press Start: http://www.press-startnews.com/?p=7687&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=30-years-later-jumpman-returns-via-kickstarter-campaign
- IndieRetroNews: http://www.indieretronews.com/2013/11/jumpman-forever-very-classic-platformer.html
- Hardcore Gamer: http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2013/12/17/kickstarter-hands-on-jumpan-forever/66346/
- Unleash The Fanboy: http://www.unleashthefanboy.com/video-games/jumpman-forever-kickstarter/84217
- The Monster Guys: http://dcmcgannon.com/jumpman-forever-developer-reveals-community-plan-for-classic-c64-atari-era-game-sequel/
- Retro Gaming Society: http://retrogamersociety.com/jumpman-is-back-for-an-official-sequel-jumpman-forever/
- Indie W.I.P.: http://indiewips.blogspot.com/2013/12/showcasing-jumpman-forever-by-midnight.html
- WiiPlayBox: http://www.wiiplayxbox.co.uk/want-preview-jumpman-forever/
- Plus10 Damage: http://plus10damage.com/blog/2013/12/10/1xdkkt9ebonycauqlzjxkybzdmobb4
- Masonic Gamer: http://masonicgamer.com/jumpman-bouncing-back-to-life/
- Blues News: http://www.bluesnews.com/s/147387/jumpman-forever-announced
- Everyday Gamers: http://everydaygamers.com/2013/12/12/kickstarter-watch-list-jumpman-forever/
- 8-Bit Central: http://www.8-bitcentral.com/blog/2013/jumpman.html
Podcasts & Videos:
- Atari Antic: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/webpage/2013/12/15
- OMG! Hour Podcast: http://omgnexus.com/2013/12/omg-hour-episode-81/
- Nerd Genious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCtYeIx07Zw&feature=c4-overview&list=UUHvxxZWkLz89eoCHRgGPSBw
- X S Gaming Podcast: http://xsgamingpodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-12-17T18_16_13-08_00
(Whew. That's a lot of linkage - if I missed your coverage of Jumpman Forever during the Kickstarter, please drop me a line so I can update the list!)
Kicking It Forward
We're also a member of Kicking It Forward - for a but more information on it, visit their page. It's a pretty cool idea!
Risks and challenges
One of our biggest challenges: controls on iOS and Android. The touch screen controls are a fairly hard setup for precision gaming. We'll be supporting external controllers as they come out (part of our hardware expenses for Jumpman Forever) but the game still has to be perfect when it comes to controls, otherwise the player is going to be frustrated quickly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)