Okay, I'm starting this thread to talk about the game I and a friend have been working on for a little while now. The game is actually starting to come together now, so I finally feel that I can talk about it freely. I am doing the art, and the music, and much of the design, and the UI design, and the animation, and some of the voices, and most of the legwork; my friend Alexander is doing the programming and the rest of the design. So it's a legitimate two-man project (except for when I find random women to sing on some the songs I wrote or do some voices for in-game characters). It is entitled: 'An Awesome Game Where You Shoot Stuff and it Blows Up and Then You Win the Game - The Game!' because I couldn't think of a more descriptive name than that. The game is created in Microsoft's XNA programming environment. I guess programming environment is the best term to use. We used XNA for two reasons. First of all, so many developers were bashing XNA that we used it to make the point that you COULD use XNA to make a legitimately good game in the style of old school titles that were actually good, and secondly, we used it to save a bit of money in publishing the game on a console since we felt we have a better chance of getting on XBLA using Microsoft's proprietary software. We can't openly discuss our talks with Microsoft in public due to NDA stuff, but basically, we seem to have made the right choice in that. The game we created is a hybrid of a ton of different genres, and a pseudo sequel/followup to a Flash game we created 4 or 5 years ago. It basically combines the stop and go/run and gun combination shooting action of something like Contra, with the exploration and "get weapons and power ups to get to new places" of Metroid, with the level design of something like Flashback or Another/Out of This World with some more stuff. It's not ultra story - heavy; we wanted to focus on gameplay, although there is quite a bit of dialogue in the game itself and there is an overarching story. It may seem rather stupid/silly at first, and it is, but the randomness and surreal nature of the game all ties together at the end. It is almost entirely all hand drawn high resolution 2D art (which doesn't help with the game's size or loading times, blah). Now I'll talk about the gameplay mechanics and level design in a little more detail. I threw together a stupid trailer video that showcases mostly the first area the other day, but in designing the game, I purposefully made each "area" distinct and different so as to (hopefully) make sure the game doesn't feel too repetitive. Below is a small summary of a lot of the areas that you will see in-game: LLORT Llort is a partial spoof of the infamous ultra bad film, Troll 2. This is the first area that you can go to, and as you enter the area, you are immediately greeted with a kid who says his family were kidnapped by trolls. Being a hero, you decide to help him out and the adventure begins. The level takes you across land, fighting giant mosquitos, trolls, and wooden troll mechs, underground where slimy bugs live, even further underground through lava filled caverns, and through the treetops. The level culminates in a boss fight with the Troll Queen who throws electrified popcorn at you and her giant troll servant. DUSK OF THE NOT LIVING Every game recently seems to have some type of zombie level, and this game is no exception. 'Dusk' is a level that is based on random horror films, and is unique in that, just like Romero's Night of the Living Dead, the entire level is done in black and white. Well, except for your character and the blood. I'm going to leave this level as a surprise for the most part, but expect a lot of horror spoofs in here that branch beyond just plain zombies. KONICHIWA Konichiwa is Japan...through the eyes of an otaku at least. This level is basically every anime/Japan loving stereotype rolled into one place. The art style is half me figuring out how to do Sumi-e on the fly and completely and shamlessly ripping off Okami's art style. I'm trying to give the whole level a soft painted feel in general. HUB WORLD The hub world in the game is made to look like you're standing on a sheet of paper, and the game later expands this hub world into a full level where random objects that sit on the paper serve as your platforms and the enemies are drawings on this paper. Some people may recognize the dude in the background on this paper - the backgrounds will play an integral role in the progression of this level. There are more distinctive areas, but I don't want to completely blow my load in this preview post. I'll also take the time to discuss a few gameplay elements. As I stated earlier, it is like Metroid in that new weapons and abilities are gradually found through the game, and these allow you to progress into areas that you could not initially go to. And, some weapons/abilities are better on some enemies than others. You start off with a machine pistol and a jump; the first ability you get is the 'Kusanagi Punch' pictured in the video that allows you to punch and break some objects and also insta kill some enemies that take forever to kill with your gun. Eventually you get an upgradeable beam weapon, dash attack, double jump, and a lot of other stuff. Hopefully people playing it feel more and more powerful as they play because I think it's fun to feel like you're getting stronger and stronger in games. You also get a 'helper' that is similar to the familiars in the Castleroids or the little helper things in Wonder Boy in Monster World. The diamonds that fall out of enemies serve to power up this helper - he gradually "evolves" to get more and more powerful as the game goes on. There are more details and things you can do, and an entirely different game mode, but I'll hold those back for now. Right now we have a lot of placeholder animations and such - what you see now won't be the final version - I'm personally reanimating or adding things to backgrounds constantly, and Alexander is tightening up the programming continuously because we're both anal retentive. I will be releasing a demo pretty pretty soon, with the full game to follow relatively soon after that. It won't be free because we put too much work in it, but I won't charge that much for it - just enough to cover our time and expenses in making it since I had to ditch one of my jobs to find time to make the game, and Alex has done the same. And I'll also try to come up with excuses/fun ways to give it out for free at times. It will be out for the PC and probably the X-Box 360, and right now, it runs pretty good on both. I'll be releasing videos that highlight the various areas in detail as well soon - I'll update you guys as I make those. So that's what we've been working on and you can comment on what we have or ask questions here. Thanks for reading all of that. Stupid trailer #1 that shows the game in action.