October Update: Podcasts, Planners, and Prognosticating
October: The most tonally appropriate month for any Igavania. Are any of you prepping Bloodstained Halloween costumes? Tag them #igavania on Tumblr (post them on the Bloodstained forums, while you're at it) and I'll grab some cool ones for our November update.
As for our October update, we've got a podcast with Ben Judd, a design update from IGA and a new (old) team member, and a shoutout to another crowdfunding campaign trying to keep classic gameplay around and vital. So without further ado:
If you haven't filled out your survey yet, consider this your monthly reminder: Fill out your survey! You can always go back to your survey link to change your answers later. (If you never got your survey, or don't think you did, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
But what happens, you ask, if you or someone you know hasn't even backed yet? Our slacker backer campaign is now available at this easy-to-remember, easy-to-share link: Igavania.com/back. Use it just like you would the Kickstarter page!
Good news for the long-named among us: We've just gotten word from Inti Creates that you'll now have 26 characters all to yourself on the credits screen. We've also had a few questions about the Credits Clan, so I bugged my coworker Steve, Fangamer's official Customer Servant, and he offered some clarification.
If you’ve backed at a $100+ tier, you’ll be eligible to put your name in the credits. Choosing a Credits Clan is an optional part of that reward that will only affect which header your name is listed under during the credits. For example, if you pick Clan Katana, you'll be listed under the “Clan Katana” header, along with everyone else who picked Clan Katana. If you don’t select a Credits Clan, your name will be listed under a general header with everybody else who didn't.
Each of our YouTuber Partner Clans and the two Community Clans will also have a secret in-game cheat code that you can use to re-skin a specific starting item in the game. Each of these codes will be given to their respective community leader, who will be able to reveal them to their audiences however they’d like. These codes will not be restricted to any particular version of the game—anyone who finds a code can use it. (Collect all 18!)
XombieMike of the Bloodstained Forums has taken up the podcasting mantle, and for episode two of the Bloodstained Community Broadcast he brought Ben Judd on to talk about production, crowdfunding, the future of gaming in Japan... all his favorite topics. A nice summary from forum member Goobsausage: "I also find it highly appropriate that the reality bombs are being dropped on the Halloween episode."
That's just good luck, of course—having worked with him for a while, now, I can assure you that Ben would just as happily drop reality bombs on a Valentine's Day podcast. Or an Arbor Day podcast, or a Boxing Day podcast, or a—
I'd be perfectly happy continuing to name holidays, but you'd probably rather read IGA's latest update. Don't worry; I'm not offended.
Good evening, Army of the Night! It's time for another production update. The good news is that I’ve “run into” another longtime colleague—one of the most talented Igavania planners out there. With his help we're locking down a lot of key pieces of the design.
We haven't had a lot of new assets to show so far, but the good news is that next month we hope to be able to show you a few of the shaders we're trying out, so that you can tell us how we're doing. There are a lot of moving pieces, but we're hoping to get them locked down soon so we can move on to other pieces of the game. Using special shaders means we'll need to build out backgrounds first before we can move on to characters and enemies. So we've been generating a lot of background art. (It's still in the early concept phase, so we aren't ready to show it in detail yet.)
You may wonder why we've taken this approach rather than building out the game stage by stage. Because shaders will affect the tone of the entire stage, we think it's better to see the look of the entire screen before moving forward. That means rather than characters or enemies, backgrounds serve the best purpose here.
So now that we’ve generated a lot of background concept art, the artists are carefully examining it to decide on the appropriate visual design. After all, this is an Igavania game—atmosphere is key, and the background and foreground have to work together. After the backgrounds are polished, we throw enemies on top to see how gameplay and atmosphere will interact. Since all of this is so important, we want to make sure backers have the chance to be heard when we choose our shaders. As always, thank you for your patience.
With that, it's time I get back to finishing the story! The deadline I set for myself is right around the corner, so I'd best get back to work. I don't have all the character stories locked down yet, but the ones I do have are really cool. Really! I can't wait to tell you more in our next updates.
But before I go, I wanted to allow our super-talented new planner to introduce himself. You can decide for yourself whether we have the right man for the job or not!
Hello everyone! My name is Shutaro Iida. I’m a longtime 2D Igavania planner you may also know as "Curry the Kid"! Getting the chance to work with IGA again on another Igavania game is incredibly exciting! In previous games I did a lot of the programming, but I also put together an enemy character here and there in my spare time.
I'm going to make sure the team works to maintain that classic Igavania feel while still introducing enough new bosses, secrets, and scenes to keep all of you guessing. I'm really excited to be here, and thanks again for making Bloodstained happen!
[Fangamer Note: We're told Iida-san is at least partially responsible for the "Delicious Curry" attack, in particular.]
IGA has been keeping an eye on crowdfunded games ever since you guys gave him such a pleasant introduction to it. Recently he checked out the prototype for Indivisible, the 2D RPG from Lab Zero. Here's his report:
Since I played the English version and basically don’t read English well, I was kind of flying blind. So my gameplay was certainly not impressive, but please be flexible about my linguistic shortcomings!
Right from the title screen you jump straight into the game. I really like seamless title screen transitions, and Indivisible does this well. While playing the game it was clear that this team really knows action: The controls are very responsive, and even the jump timing feels totally natural. It’s hard to put into words, but there's something great about the feel of tight, intuitive jump timing. As a creator, you can tell right away that they get it.
Now let’s talk about the art style. I'll admit that, at first glance, you could find it looks dated… but then the animation kicks in, and everything moves so smoothly that the art is suddenly alive and none of that matters. There are lots of ways to make art do what you want, from shaders to animation to simply working at a higher resolution… but in this case they just nailed the animation. The effects are great as well, so the game just looks cool.
It’s a really polished prototype, and I hope people take a serious look at it. A lot of action games have been adding in RPG elements recently, for a variety of reasons, but it’s nice to find a game that has polish on the action side as well as the RPG side. I enjoyed it—and it’s a free prototype, so I hope more people give it a chance. The prototype is available for Windows, Mac and Linux right now, and console owners... maybe wait just a little bit longer, OK?
You can back Indivisible here. And here, for good measure, is 20 seconds of IGA testing those jump mechanics: