Since someone asked... Jumpman Forever OUYA Beta is almost ready to roll!
Since someone asked me today: yes, we're still on for a February release of the Ouya beta of Jumpman Forever. I was hoping for late January, early February, so the team is running a bit behind schedule.
So, where are we?
All the levels for the first Ouya beta are done! We actually backed off on the original plan for 15 levels per "station" - instead, it's 7. Ends up, sticking with 7 - 10 levels works better than 15 - 20 like we were thinking. If the stations get too long, it's extremely hard to finish a station. The original Jumpman had 8 levels for the Beginner, 10 for Intermediate, and 12 for Expert. We're going with 7 - 10, to make it possible to get through all the levels for people who aren't flat out experts at Jumpman ;-)
The first pack of levels also acts as a "difficulty test" - are we making the first pack of levels too hard? Too easy? Just right? That gives us direction for future stations.
For people who figure that we're just re-using all the levels from the demo, well, we're not. :-) The first couple of levels for Jumpman are from the demo, but, the rest of them have been kicked out for now, to be re-used throughout future stations. So, you don't have to worry about wiping out on "Rocket, Rocket!" for a while :-) I think only 3 of the demo levels are in Jupiter Station Alpha, the first Jumpman level set.
Red's levels are flat out amazing. Honestly, from a gameplay standpoint, I'm enjoying playing her levels more than the Jumpman levels. Part of it ended up being a lot of gameplay changes to the character - we went back and rethought her abilities and the interactions she has the environment, and tweaked them over and over. Then, I resurrected an idea I had early on, which was a new form of Alienator Smart Bullet (or Smart Darts - depends on which copy you read from the original game marketing stuff) These also interact with the environment.
Suddenly, we had all sort of new types of levels we could create, with whole new ways of driving the player nuts. I think the levels are absolutely awesome - there's a whole lot more feel of "danger" to the levels as they fall apart around you, not just because of the actions you took, but because of the actions the bullets are taken. They still follow the same rules (move slow until lining up with the player, then shoot out at high speed)
Jumpman's levels have stuff that harasses you, and you deal with it while figuring out the puzzle. Often times you can just side-step the smart bullets while figuring it all out. Red's levels, on the other hand, don't allow you to just side-step the bullets - you have to be concerned where they are going to end up. Simply put, you've got to take the entire level and every enemy into account all at once. Jumpman levels are a game of Checkers where you ponder your moves, and Red's levels are a game of Chess run on a short timer.
Some people will disagree with me - and, Red's levels are optional (so are Jumpman's - to progress to the next set of stations, you'll have to beat either Red or Jumpman's levels, and it unlocks the next two stations. The first stations, BTW, are Jupiter Station Alpha and Saturn Station Alpha - Jupiter & Saturn stations were where the first games took place.) So, if you don't like the pacing or utter destructive setup of Red's levels, it's OK, you won't be forced to play them all :-)
What happens if the levels are too hard? Well, it means our next set of stations will be much easier. We're not going to completely re-do the existing stations, but, we are going to
So, right now, we're cleaning up interface issues, and finalizing for the first beta release. There's one thing missing: music. While Jumpman Forever is only going to have musical snippets between levels (or, that's the plan), we still don't have what we're looking for. In fact, until today, I haven't had the inspiration I was looking for - something that fit with the genre and the era the game is set in (IE, the 1980's, game design wise) Now that we FINALLY have that, we'll have music before the first full release.
We've also got at least one extra freebee we'll be giving away - a Jumpman Forever set of fonts. Part of the stuff that's in there for level titles is done via bitmaps. However, as we add more text, I really wanted to have a font to do it with, so, we've generated a nice retro-style true-type font that we'll be giving away for anyone who wants it :-) (NOTE: in the screenshots, we're not using the new font, nor are those the final interface shots - the score for Ouya screenshots, for instance, isn't very readable.)
We've already listened to a lot of ya'lls feedback from the demo - and thank you so much for that feedback! The changes and tweaks that happened because of that are important, but, not all suggestions could be implemented for various reasons (including suggestions that contradicted the project goals, contradicted suggestions from others, or, sometimes even contradicted suggestions already given by the same person.) For a product like this, we know we can't make everyone happy - so, if you find something to be disappointing because we didn't do it the way you wanted it, hey, we're worry. Game developers always face the "but, I wanted it to be my way!" problem, and this project is no exception! :-)
After we submit to the Ouya store for the beta, we'll be sure to send out an update saying it's live!