Sep 212010
 

As we near the end of Cthulhu Saves the World’s development, I figured it would be a good idea to make it easy for people to find out when it comes out so I present to you, the Zeboyd Games mailing list! Just email me at rdespair@gmail.com with the Subject: “Zeboyd Games mailing list” and your email address (if it’s different than the one you sent me an email from) and I’ll be sure to send you a message when Cthulhu Saves the World is out on the Live Dashboard, ready to purchase. Plus at no extra charge, you’ll receive additional messages whenever we send out an official press release (generally for new game announcements, game releases, and game trailers).

Of course, we’ll still put up big announcements here at zeboyd.com, but this way, you can find out ASAP even if you only check the site every few days.

And if you’re on twitter, feel free to add me (Username: werezompire) and Bill (bill_at_zeboyd). I try to always twitter whenever the website is updated, plus you’ll get random thoughts from us and the occasional development tidbit.

 Posted by at 9:11 pm

Cthulhu Saves the World music report

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Sep 042010
 

We’re almost done with the soundtrack to Cthulhu Saves the World. We just have 2 more songs to go, plus a little polishing here and there and it’s done. From the look of things, there will be 21 songs in the finished game, totaling over 1 hour of music. Contrast that with Breath of Death VII: The Beginning where we only had 11 songs for around 25 mins and you can see that’s a huge difference. Not only is there a ton more music this time around, but I think the overall quality is noticeably higher as well.

We’re going to release the entire soundtrack around the time that Cthulhu Saves the World comes out (hopefully in just a few more weeks, guys!), but in the meantime, here are a few more songs from the game for your listening pleasure.

World Map Theme
Volcano Theme
Big City Theme

Oh and the actual soundtrack release will have more interesting names. How’s ‘Across the Crescent Moon, the Weeping Monster Sighs Once More (Victory Theme)’ sound? Pretentious enough? 🙂

 Posted by at 8:05 pm
Sep 032010
 

Radiangames makes great shooters and their latest game on Xbox Live Indie Games is no different. Radiangames Inferno is a dual stick shmup, but unlike most games in the genre that just stick you in an arena and ask you to survive for as long as possible, Radiangames Inferno has levels to explore and upgrades to be purchased and equipped. Taking a cue from the old arcade classic Gauntlet, there are keys to be found, doors to be unlocked, monster generators to be destroyed, and fake walls to be discovered. Solid level design and a good variety of new enemy types (including 2 bosses) help to keep things interesting.

The game took me about 90-120 minutes to complete its 30 levels. 3 difficulty levels, a New Game+ mode where you start out overpowered, and up to 4 player co-op all combine to give the game a decent amount of replayability.

At a mere 80 MS points, Radiangames Inferno is easily a must-buy.

 Posted by at 5:10 pm
Sep 022010
 

The good people at Carpe Fulgur sent me a review copy of the PC indie RPG, Recettear, and I must say that I’m in love. 1 part Action/RPG dungeon-crawler, 1 part shop-sim, all parts adorable. Expect a full review sometime next week.

 Posted by at 6:44 am
Aug 302010
 

So we probably won’t do this, but I thought we’d get some more outside opinions, out of curiousity and to help us make a decision – should we license out the Breath of Death VII code for other developers to make their own RPGs?

Pros:
Helps developers who want to make RPGs but aren’t the best programmers.
We could see some cool games from other developers out of this.
Alternate source of income for us to help pay the bills between game releases.
XBLIG might become THE place for RPGs on home consoles.

Cons:
We could have an RPGMaker effect where lots of crummy RPGs get released.
RPGs on XBLIG might all start to feel the same if they’re based on the same engine.
Extra work – I’d have to go through and add documentation to explain how the engine works.
Some people might waste their money, not realizing how hard an RPG is to make, even with an engine in-place (there are no user friendly editors with our system- it’s all code editing).

If we did decide to do this, the code license would probably cost a few hundred dollars ($300 sounds about right to me), but again, nothing is set in stone and there’s a very good chance we won’t do this at all.

 Posted by at 3:53 pm

Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess out on XBLIG

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Aug 272010
 

It would be easy to miss since it was only on the New Releases for a day or two due to a sudden rush of new games, but Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess just came out on XBox Live Indie Games for 240 MS points ($2 cheaper than the PSP version). It’s simple (not much more complicated than jumping up and not missing platforms), but it’s fun and has rather nice production for an indie game.

You can download it here.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Jul 292010
 

I didn’t have high sales expectations for PlayDead’s first XBLA title, Limbo. Between the higher price tag ($15), black and white graphics, and short running time (most reviews have pegged it at around 3-6 hours), it had “artsy sales flop” written all over it. And yet, 8 days after release, the game has over 200,000 different entries on its leaderboard. If say, 75% of those entries purchased the game (with the other 25% being alternate gamertags) and Microsoft took a third of the revenue, the developers of Limbo are looking at around $1.5 million dollars. Now admittedly, Limbo had a bigger development team than most indie games and it’s been in development for a while, but even still, $1.5 million would be fantastic lifetime revenue for most indie titles, to say nothing about a mere 8 days of sales.

The question then becomes why? Why has this game sold so extraordinarily well? I haven’t actually played the full version (they were out of review codes when I asked and our money’s too tight for me to purchase new games these days, although I hope royalties from Cthulhu will rectify that) so I can’t analyze the entire game, but just from the demo and the Internet, I’ve come up with a few possible explanations.

1 – Summer of XBox Live promotion. Any game that’s featured in Microsoft’s yearly Summer of Arcade promotion gets a huge boost in visibility. Yet this alone can not explain Limbo’s huge success – for comparison, last year’s Splosion Man (another high quality Summer of Arcade game) had 70,000 leaderboard entries after a week – a solid showing, but nowhere near as good as Limbo (and Limbo is $5 more expensive!).

2 – Media Coverage. Coverage by the media is huge for boosting sales, as my own experience has born out (Breath of Death’s sales usually spike whenever a website covers it). Limbo currently has 48 reviews on Gamerankings with an average of over 90%. Both the coverage and the high scores certainly can’t hurt.

3 – Accessibility. Limbo’s controls are very simple – move, jump, and interact. Although I’m sure the puzzles get more difficult as the game goes on, at least in the demo, there was nothing particularly mindbending (pull an object, push an object, jump). Certainly this isn’t Braid with its numerous complicated time manipulation mechanics.

Not only are the controls simple, but the game wastes no time in letting the player play it. No lengthy cutscenes, no big tutorial, just press Start and begin playing.

4 – Cliffhanger demo. The demo for Limbo isn’t long – it took me about 10-12 minutes amd that’s with getting a couple of hidden achievements –  but it ends with a bang and that counts for a lot. I daresay a lot of people who were on the edge ended up buying it just to see what happens next.

5 – Ignored niche. Horror games have become a scarce commodity of late. Resident Evil has abandoned its horror focus in favor of action, Alone in the Dark & Silent Hill haven’t had a great game in years (although Shattered Memories was a step in the right direction), Fatal Frame is Japanese only these days, and we haven’t seen anything new from the Siren team (my personal favorite horror series). Sure, we’ve gotten a couple of new series like Dead Space & Alan Wake, but for the most part, I daresay there is more demand for horror games than there is supply.

Limbo fills in this much desired void in the current gaming market, but not only that, it has some noticeable advantages over the limited competition. One, it’s rated T so children and teenagers who are in search of scares but have parents that frown upon M rated games can purchase it (as well as adults who chose not to play M games for whatever reasons). Two, it’s a 2D platformer so players who lack the skill or inclination to play 3D shooters (i.e. the standard format of horror games these days) can play it with ease.

Any other reasons I’m missing?

 Posted by at 2:01 pm