Ultratron comes to XBox 360

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by princec, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. JoshuaSmyth

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I get a 360 (which might be a while away) I'll pick up a copy :)
     
  2. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Spent 5 minutes navigating Community Games, can't find it... May be it's not yet out in Europe? I have US Xbox Live account though.
     
  3. Oddbob

    Oddbob New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oooh, what's this?.

    ;)

    EDIT: Tolik, does this link work for you? It should be fine with a US account (might have to log in)
     
    #23 Oddbob, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  4. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yay! Fame at last etc.

    Cas :)
     
  5. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've accidentally spent 600 points trying to download many community games from the web - some of the games have "PAID" version above "FREE" on xbox.com and one click purchase makes me sad.
     
  6. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    I ended up downloading Ultratron but it crashes on startup. I guess developer ported all the Java glitches as well? So far this is the second game that I saw crashing on Community games. No way to play for me then, quits with error 4.
     
  7. PaulCunningham

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi there tolik - this is the first report we've heard of a code 4 crash (which could basically be anything).

    Do you see any splash screens at all - there should be a standard Community Games one followed by Puppy Games and then Pumpkin Games. Once through those the title screen should display immediately. Pressing 'A' then loads the main menu and then a demo of the game should play in the background.

    Can you give me some details on your system setup? Locale, language, display settings, number of controllers (do you have a guitar / chatpad), etc.

    Would you be able to re download and see if the problem is still there?

    I'd be interested to know the other game that crashed so I can see if I can recreate on my system.
     
  8. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bah, and I thought all consoles were supposed to be the same!

    Cas :)
     
  9. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's Russian locale. As soon as I turn back English it works.

    I had some time to write analysis we'd do on a weekly basis during Alpha stages for our titles. Consider this as NYE present :D

    No native widescreen mode = lazy and irresponsible. When you'll work on the next game, you should take into account difference in viewports and possibly consider rebalancing things, such as bullets flying out of the screen etc. It's also good to support explicit SDTV. An availability of that that "Y SCREEN SIZE" button is amusing, but is unpractical.
    Some of the thin font choices (e.g. "EXIT TO DASHBOARD" on main screen) and the whole bottom panel with things like MOVE SELECTION/SCREEN SIZE/BACK) was so bad for my eyes, that I had to get glasses that I rarely do on 40" TV. Furthermore, these fonts don't just have worst aliasing+smoothing problems I've seen, but they mismatch game style with pixel-perfect styled fonts.
    Not using decent Xbox (A)(B) etc graphics buttons = lazy.
    HOW TO PLAY is totally unreadable with greyish text.
    SWAP STICKS should be in options, not available inside the game. A typical player who played XBLA 360' shooters would be searching for a bomb button and instead would encounter the following situation: "WHAT? THERE'S NO BOMB BUTTON? INSTEAD SOME BUTTON FSCKED UP MY CONTROLS!"

    RANKING texts such as "MOVE SELECTION" and "CHANGE VALUE" along with a tooltip "SETS WHICH PAGE OF SCORES TO SHOW." are confusing. For offline ranking I'd propagate leaderboard with some decent results to beat - e.g. level 10, level 20, level x, game champion, online champion.

    SINGLE PLAYER - BADGES AWARDED greyish texts are confusing. Do you mean they are like checkboxes that will unlock when you'll actually do some of this stuff? How about any badge that will unlock and pop up in TRIAL and you will explain there are more, but you have to unlock the game?

    SINGLE PLAYER - I didn't get that weird control for changing players where I see gamertag with > arrow. This doesn't exist on Xbox in other 180 XBLA games. Current controller could play with the signed in profile and this is default behavior, guest choices are confusing. Showing REP/G/ZONE with unofficial icons is confusing as well and shouldn't be ever done in-game.

    SCREEN SIZE change controls are confusing along with all other menus that have "SAVE CHANGES" menu option. Any menu with scrollers should be saved when you press "A" while "B" cancels changes.

    Default bloom options are weak and unimpressive. Furthermore they are buried deep within preferences so most players will never experience wow factor they could produce.

    No vibration on smartbomb activation.

    No tutorial. I'd pop-up a menu the first time you get a power-up explaining that you could shoot and cycle power-ups between "these things" along explanations of each of them.

    There's no wow factor in first 4 game levels. No buy. Trial should impress player, don't think of showing "first X levels" like you do now.

    Level 5 = game over bitch level. It'll make most of the players quit and never return. I was searching for a bomb button here forgetting Ultratron doesn't have one. Avoid that in trial or make it easier.

    I'd add some stats screen after game over as otherwise it's far too boring.



    Overall:

    Pro:
    Cute $5 360' shooter.

    Con:
    Unattractive trial - little wow factor, no power-up explanations, little incentive to replay, harsh level 5, abrupt boss battle ending.
    Weird UI - fonts and colors, bad usability choices.
    No widescreen. This made my "no buy choice".
    Some weird default game choices (no bloom/screen size).

    With very few decent shooters out on XBLA I see your main competitor as Biology Battle - which is chaotic and far too unpredictable comparing to PSN Blast Factor that it looks to be cloning.

    I see this release as a solid first release. This is how our first XBLA games looked like on Original Xbox (e.g. Bejeweled port that probably few of you have seen :D ). If you'll take into account things I've described above in your next title, you'll have a title with a solid appeal to existing XBLA players.
     
  10. PaulCunningham

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi thanks for the honest feedback.

    Ah, unsupported region.

    The port is pretty much a direct conversion of the PC original hence the viewport size. We could have tried to make a native widescreen version but then you'd effectively have 2 games and you'd need t balance them both separately.

    The screen size option has caused a debate on the creators web site. Given the small viewport of Ultratron we felt that would be the best way to accomodate large / small displays and overscan / no overscan - we default to obey the title safe area.

    We changed the text in the game from the original font as it was quite stylized and chunky but some people found it difficult to read on a TV. And while I agree the font chosen now doesn't look as effective it does make it easier to read. I have a 14 inch portable I used for testing and found I could read it all no problem and nobody raised any concerns in play testing / peer review.

    I've changed the swap sticks function to the X button - I don't think it's practical to move that function to a global options screen as it can be configured per profile. We also allow guest profiles for when you have a few mates round and this method seemed more practical that navigating options screens when a 'leftie' grabs the controls.

    Just beat your own / your mates scores on the leaderboard.

    As mentioned guest profiles are for when you have some mates round and they want a quick blast - I tried playing Mutant Storm multiplayer and it required me to set up another Xbox profile to do this -I didn;t bother and played something else instead.

    'A' action the current menu item - so if you hit 'A' on Save it'll save your changes - 'B' backs / cancels out of all menus.

    Vibration is limited to player injuries / death by design.

    Yup, no tutorial as there wasn;t one in the original - does it really need one? - move, shoot, kill bad guys.

    Difficult to know what to do with the trial as MS can change there trial mode criteria at any time - something to look at for future releases though.
     
  11. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Widescreen. A lot of games nowadays use widescreen as default and letterbox while in SDTV. I agree that it'd be two different games, but it's worth it, it's a week of work to balance when you know all the enemies and levels. Just increase spawn coordinates proportionally and slightly adjust horizontal speeds. We did some of this stuff (though much more advanced) in Heavy Weapon. It's indeed a different game from PC.

    You have to set up several profiles to play anything on Xbox. If you quit some game due to that, you aren't Xbox adept :)
    Your guest profile implementation is an unpleasant hack that for sure confuses more people, as all other games don't have such feature (explicit selection).
    More about guest profiles - there should be a native call to open a sign-in menu with guest profiles enabled. I don't remember details, but Mutant Storm is a launch title thus it works different from modern titles. Mutant Storm obeys initial (old) feature set that (I suppose) didn't have native guests or that was overlooked when it was ported from original Xbox. You should look into at least 3 random XBLA games from different developers to figure out if something became obsolete and there's a better way to do that. This might be limited to XBLA titles though and I'm not sure it's available for non-LIVE or non-co-op... Can't remember that, was at least a year ago.

    Swap sticks (X) will make it even worse as it's easier to accidentally tap than RB/LB. If you want to leave that in-game versus options, better pause and pop-up a confirmation box.

    "'A' action the current menu item" - I still disagree, check 10 other XBLA titles to see how menus behave. You've got a UI port from mouse where you have to click something to change value first and then click somewhere else to exit to save or cancel. You can't CLICK and EXIT menu with a single mouse click, however it works exactly like this with a controller.

    Vibration is an essential experience and should be planned better, mapped to various events (e.g. mass enemy spawn = subtle vibration) and sounds.

    Tutorial - I've explained that game lacks power-up explanations. This is essential if you want players to actually play and understand what's exciting in such a short trial. It's not a PC "60 minute trial", the rules here are different. Just level limiting is the worst you could do, unless each level is (at least) visually different from others.
     
  12. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    I sort of agree about the demo timeout experience but I disagree about the "tutorial". There's so few powerups in the game it only takes a couple of goes to figure it all out and discovering what they are is kinda fun.

    The sweet spot for demo timeout in Ultratron is 15 minutes, which outsells the best next configuration by 2:1. Unlimited level play outsells most of the other configurations by 50% as well.

    As for widescreen: the game is a square arena - just get over it. You don't go building bigger tennis courts if you happen to find a slightly larger patch of lawn. You'll see how this pans out in the next 3 titles to come to XBox from us.

    Cas :)
     
  13. PaulCunningham

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe I'm not Xbox adept but it just seemed to be an unnecessary hurdle in the way of me playing the game - nobody seemed confused by the profiles during playtest or review.

    How will you accidentally hit 'X' while playing a twin stick shooter? I'll give you a million pounds if you do :)

    You've totally lost me here - every single XBLA or retail game I've played on the Xbox uses 'A' to select / confirm and 'B' to cancel / close.

    I decided that I'd use vibration to indicate player damage and that's it. Pad rumbles, you got hit - no ambiguity.

    There's no way to know how MS will implement the trial mode at any given point in time - it started at 4 minutes, it's now 8 - tomorrow it may be unlimited or 10 plays - who knows?

    There's currently no way to get any kind of data from MS about downloads, conversion rates, play time, etc so I just went with what Cas had done for the PC / Mac where he does have the data.
     
  14. Chris Evans

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't believe I missed this thread originally. Congrats Cas!
     
  15. Adrian Cummings

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Same here, congrats!
     
  16. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll hit any other button if I'm not familiar with the genre or controls or I'm a 360' shooter fan that looks for a bomb.

    More details:
    I've started this discussion referring that control change couldn't be on a stick as it's an option. You've explained that due to Guest option it should be on a button. I agreed that it could be left on (RB) as it's not a typical 360' shooter button.
    Then I've explained that 360' adepts searching for a bomb button in level 5 will eventually push it and will lose, as (RT) is used in most of the games as a bomb, so if it doesn't work they'll try (RB).
    Now you've moved it to (X) which new 360' shooter players would try as they don't know if something else works besides sticks.

    IMO all the advantage of "people sharing the same sofa to play and swapping guest profiles" (that means they've already bought the game) outweighs new players who might get confused, f*ck up their controls and quit the game saying it broke and they got f*cked on level 5 without explanation (that adds to a pro for a pre-level intro explaining what's going to happen).

    Yes, they indeed do. But I'm referring to functioning of (A) button inside a sub-menu, e.g. OPTIONS.
    There are 3 basic approaches to UI on Xbox
    - ported titles mostly never close menu with (A) button as they have buttons for each option that were controlled by mouse, so there's a button for "BACK".
    - new titles, like SFIIT:HD actually close their menus with (A) button confirming selection. that's convenient.
    - rich UIs that do what they want, e.g. don't have an option to cancel settings (that's what top level NXE Dashboard defaults to now).
    The default Xbox UI behaviour is actually to confirm & close a menu when (A) is pressed, but that's not a requirement.

    Since text hanging in the mid-air is not very typical and it takes long time to get to the BLOOM settings due to multiple sub-levels of the menu, pressing a wrong button, e.g. (B) doesn't save options OR (A) doesn't allow to save & leave is sub-optimal.

    Currently there are a lot of samples of XBLA games that do it the right way and have approximate sale figures available through VG Chartz ;-) With the auto-download option they've f*cked up their definition of conversion ratios.
     
  17. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't have a luxury in XBLA trial to let confused players to figure out it on their own. They'll go to another game that will play better with 'em ;) Are you looking for a BETTER audience for your game that wants to figure out stuff on their own in trial disregarding all the better games?

    By tutorial I mean a single screen before the game starts showing a list of power-ups with their names and a phrase like "Shoot power-up to cycle between it's abilities"

    But that's a PC ;) On Xbox it's worth to re-structure tutorial as conversion ratios will go even higher.

    Each new planet which people will conquer will get new tennis field aspect ratio due to difference in planetary gravity and friction. How big is HDTV you've tried to play Ultratron on? Did you experience any wow factors when you've played Geometry Wars for the first time on 32"+ HDTV and saw a field distortion when the bomb is used? If not, you've missed the whole point of oldskool HDTV experience - it's not about higher resolution of 3D games, it's about crispiness that Ultratron lacks due to OpenGL bluriness and a way to fill entire screen.

    I'll see how this will pan out, you'll still be satisfied with CG results, but that's a sub-optimal player experience, kind of lower league to spam platform with quick ports with no efforts.
     
  18. princec

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmm it used to have an instructions screen (confession time - don't actually have an XBox, haven't seen it play :D)

    The quick n dirty ports is kinda the point - this is indie game development, on the cheap ;) We can't redo the backgrounds for widescreen for example without basically... redoing all the backgrounds. That's like, a fair chunk of work. It's already enough work redoing all the menus and title screens for console deployment, not to mention having to port to C# because Sun haven't bloody made a JVM for XBox yet (something I intend to remedy).

    Cas :)
     
  19. tolik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, I see no Xbox... Could you launch original Geometry Wars PC version through HDTV (component or HDMI) in 1280x720 and then launch Ultratron? Do you have 360 controller? You should spend an hour seeing and feeling the difference before releasing next title.

    For small-sized games that don't have a lot of stuff in them a difference between quick'n'dirty and a high quality port them is 1-2 weeks.

    As for 2D/vector backgrounds - there are many hacks that 99% players will never notice. Tiling, stretching, HQ2x filtering and resizing, etc. Unfortunately I can't decompile PC version to see how the resources are stored to propose anything specific.
    As for PC version, especially options, it looks marginally better than Xbox version with all the subtle transition zoom/fade effects, awesome fonts and motion design. It's slick and CG version is not.

    PS Also, I don't see a link to buy Xbox version from http://www.puppygames.net/
     
  20. PaulCunningham

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Still does. And a controls screen that shows what each button does - no need to search for 'bomb'.

    The menu structure follows 99% of XBLA games.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer