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July 09, 2008



Congrats on the launch, finally it's out!

Unfortunately, as much as I'm rooting for you guys, I'm not going to be a sale.

- Co-op: feels good and solid but has a reasonably steep learning curve, and I felt 'done' with it already in the demo, I'm not sure why. Something like, there didn't seem to be a smooth progression in gameplay. I don't think I have anyone that will stick to it beyond checking the demo.

- Singleplayer: the AI does great against regular enemies (those balls and crab-like things), but is quite terrible against stars, and doesn't seem to know how to use the power ups. In the demo level where you get the wire, the AI waited until I picked it up, then ran to me to enable it, and then stood frozen there. The wire broke before I could kill all the enemies, and the same thing happened with the next wire, so I ended up having to wait doing nothing until the level finished by itself. A major downer.

- Uberschizoid: if I was capable of playing it I would seriously love it, but it's just beyond my skills.

There were a few "aahhhh nooo come help me goodam nonono run away, noooo run to me now ahhhhh" that were quite unique and exciting, but again they didn't seem to be repeatable, not in the way Geometry Wars is consistently exciting.

Technical question of sorts: 30 fps in the menus? Was XNA causing a problem there or was it just to keep it consistent with the much higher pyrotechnics during gameplay?

Jamie Fristrom

Ouch! Let me try to talk you into giving it a second chance:
If you can't find someone to stick with you through co-op I'll play with you - drop me an e-mail (jdfristrom at gmail.com) - of course, then you'll have to buy the game. (Ka-ching.)
I know what you mean about "smooth progressions" - most Nintendo games, I think, do that, and it certainly makes games more accessible, but it's not something we're crazy about. We like a jagged progression (though always trending upwards, of course), where one level is suddenly much harder than the last and you're fighting for survival, but the next level is a cakewalk. Also, we keep introducing new elements up to about two thirds through the game, and usually we introduce the new elements with a couple easy "here's how it works" levels and then rapidly ramp up.

As for the practice bot - we could have spent more time making the AI better (and we did spend a fair amount of time on the AI) - and your razorwire experience was a sad comedy of errors that we didn't see at our kleenex tests, so sorry about that - but we felt that a better AI was actually a bad idea - for us, the fun of practice mode is working with the bot's limitations.

Uberschizoid - it's easier than it seems.
Think I'll post a tutorial.

30 fps menus: one technical problem, although it's fixed in XNA 2.0, in our version of XNA printing a string on the screen allocated memory, so menus tend to cause a lot of GC's. That was one thing - but mainly we didn't care, 30 is great for menus.

Jamie Fristrom

A bit more explanation of the jagged difficulty curve: we like the cakewalk levels because it alternates "feeling like a hero / badass" with "fighting for survival."


Thanks a lot for the answers! :)

I've kept thinking about the game, because besides Torpex being the kind of developer I want to succeed, it IS the type of game that I should enjoy a lot (I bought Geo Wars & Galaxies, SSHD, Ikaruga, think Kenta Cho is god, etc).

Regarding the difficulty curve, I understand what you mean... I guess what I end up missing is the ability to get "in the zone," those moments when ALL of me is playing and not struggling (suffering) or coasting (going through the motions).

It's interesting that what I call "single player" you call "practice". :) I don't remember what it's called in the game.

And thanks for the offer for coop - I may take it one of these days hehe.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game