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Huzzah! The Steam page for Death Ray Manta is now live. You can’t actually buy anything yet (because sssh, don’t tell anyone but it’s not quite finished) and we’ve still got the release date under our hats but it’s definitely, definitely happening this month.

Here’s the official trailer.

IF YOU LIKE IT SO MUCH PUT A FISH IN IT.

To be honest, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. Deadlines are like that.

In the meantime, please don’t ask us for keys yet. The game’s not finished and there’s nothing there that isn’t solely for testers at the moment. I’m not far from being able to flick the switch to letting other people have a go but right now? It’s just not done! It’s very nearly done but there’s still a few rough edges that are just not on, frankly.

One of the great things about working with Steam is that I’m able to work on this pretty much up until launch (minus a reasonable time so I don’t break the thing and have no time left to fix it) so it’s meant that I can spend a bit more time fiddling with a few things than I’d be able to elsewhere. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that things get a bit broken inbetween and obviously, I don’t want to share broken stuff. Not intentionally, anyway.

If this was going out in any sort of normal fashion then there’d be a bit more breathing room to help get the word out and all that but hey, normal is for babies. Anyway, ThePlanTM looks like it’s going full steam ahead (no pun intended) and I’m quite excited to see what happens with that, never mind finally say what ThePlanTM actually ruddy well is. I’m terrible with secrets.

We’ll update everyone on here when we’re ready for other people to take the new game for a spin though. It won’t be long now, promise.

Quick FAQ

What’s the difference between the old Death Ray Manta I found lying around and Death Ray Manta SE?

*Built from scratch to run at 60FPS
*Twin stick shooter
*All new graphics and effects
*Lots, lots, lots more particles
*Rejigged stages
*New sound effects

So, erm, plenty! I hope.

I got Death Ray Manta from Groupees or Bundle In A Box, will I get a key for Death Ray Manta SE?

Yes! Just not straight away as I’m going to be working on this right up until release. As soon as I’m done and launched, I’ll get right on chasing the right people up to sort this out.

Is this the game with the electropop tunes in then?

Sorry, nope. That’s the next one. Sorry to get your hopes up. Due to the simple fact MY FACE HURTS, that’s been pushed into 2016 so I can work on it at a reasonable pace and make sure it’s not toss. I really want it to not be toss.

Is there any chance of a (insert platform of choice) version?

Probably, yeah. Not for launch though. I’ll see what I can do, where I’m up to and all that once I’ve got this one wrapped and working as is.

In the meantime, have some lovely screenshots and a couple of recent Vines from the past few days.

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So. We’re a few short weeks away from Death Ray Manta SE dropping and I dunno, I think it’s looking pretty OK all told.

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Or at least, I hope it’s looking pretty OK because if it doesn’t, that sort of ruins one of my plans for what Death Ray Manta SE is. What I’d like to see come from this release is folks being able to walk away with some understanding that making something that looks nice (like this hopefully looks nice) isn’t as out of reach or as in need of a super hyper art budget or mad art skills as they’d expect. If I can do it, there’s hope for pretty much anyone because I’m a bit rubbish.

As some folks will already be aware, one of the things I’ve tried to do in the past is make sure that for every game I put out, I give something back, put something out there and Death Ray Manta SE will be no different in that regard. The existing art assets will be free for anybody to use in any project as they see fit and the same for the sound effects. There’s a bit more than that I’m hoping to be doing but we’ll see how things pan out over the course of the next few weeks and just how workable things are with ThePlanTM. Let’s just say that I’m hoping that this time round, it really is the most customisable Death Ray Manta but best laid plans etc… Fingers crossed, mind. Regardless, you’ll have to get your own music though as we don’t own any of the music that appears in the game so it’s not ours to offer up for grabs. The rest though? Fine. Enjoy yourself.

Unlike previous releases though, I’m not going to be asking to be asked if you want to sell a thing that uses any of the assets. Just go right ahead, no credit required and we’re all good. It’d be nice if you told me, mind. Just so I can see stuff in action for myself, yeah? Beyond that, if it helps, off you go.

Anyway, no firm release date yet but before the end of September is where we’re currently targeting providing nothing goes wrong. Aaand price? It’ll be very affordable, promise. Very. To me, Death Ray Manta in this incarnation is kinda an old game. Yeah, this version has been rebuilt from scratch, tweaked and got new art etc… but despite the move to twin stick, it’s still pretty much the same, good old Death Ray Manta as a game you either liked or didn’t like from the off. Just twin-stick-y now because everyone kept asking to play it as a twin stick game and here you go and all that.

Right then. Let’s sign off with some of the latest screenshots. They’re pretty close to how the final version will look at this point, there’s only one thing (I think, subs please check) left to be added and tested on the enemy front so what you’re seeing here is fairly what you’ll get.

Until the next update then.

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OK, as New DRM is taking a bit longer than I anticipated thanks to that old devil called life, next month we’re going to drop a remastered and rebuilt version of the original DRM out into the world. Obviously, because this is me, it’s going to be something a little different and hopefully folks will appreciate what I/we’re doing with it.

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So,I guess first up is we’ve released another track from the soundtrack for folks to listen to. It’s called The Vacuum and it’s definitely, definitely not about hoovering the stairs, promise.

Mike, one half of the lovely pair of folks creating the soundtrack for the new Death Ray Manta has jotted some words down on how it’s being put together. You can read Mike’s words here.

I’ve heard the full thing now and man, it’s so good. I can’t wait to get it out there.

In development land, I’ve been putting a lot of focus into finding an art style that both looks like it’s definitely one of my games and runs perfectly happily on the Vita at 60FPS. This has been, well, interesting. Normally, I’m very sloppy with my effects relying on a lot of blending, excessive amounts of particles and images that scale up to fill most of the screen and well, that’s not really a viable approach for the Vita and 60 frames per second. At least, not how I normally approach it.

I’m not a natural game artist at the best of times so it’s been a lot of slow trial and error to find the right mix of visually interesting and undemanding and one that I’ll have little trouble in expanding on for the PC/bigger console versions.

Admittedly, it’d be easier if I wanted to go down a more Geometry Wars/Vector-y route (or could afford to pay someone else to do the art, natch) but I’m really trying to avoid Geometry Wars comparisons wherever possible. Whilst New-DRM *is* a twin stick shooter unlike the original instalment, it’s aiming towards a different sort of groove than Geometry Wars plays with so I’d sooner avoid most visual similarities as much as possible to make it as clear as can be that DRM is not Geometry Wars, do not play it like Geometry Wars (And I’ll admit I was concerned GW3 would cover similar bases but luckily, it’s way more its own thing so we’re cool. We Are Doomed, however, is much closer to home and probably the DRM 2 I’d write were I not writing this one instead)

Anyway, such is life that I’m fairly sure that no matter what I do I’ll get stuck with “umm Geometry Wars, guysssss” because of videogames but hey, I can try, right?

Screenshots and video in the next update, definitely. I think it looks pretty good so far, especially after months of it looking pretty gosh darn terrible but I’d like to get a few more things in there before showing new pictures off. I’m especially happy with the new look fishy chum, mind. I’ve tried a few designs for DRM himself out, from pixel to vector and more but I find myself drawn back to one in particular so I guess he’s staying.

He’s very shiny, anyway.

Oh, yeah. I finished the opening credits too. I’ll still need to change a few lines around here and there but the timing is bang on and it looks rather pretty indeed.

(No need to turn the sound up on these, I haven’t put the new tunes in yet)

So yeah, that’s where we’re up to so more soon. Oh and we have a Twitter account now. Please feel free to say hi to @videogamefuture for low volume, occasional updates on DRM’s progress. It’ll be much quieter than my usual haunt, so if you just want game stuff without the crap jokes and moaning, there you go.

This is proper kid at Christmas stuff for me. The all new spangly Death Ray Manta not only has cover art by Ste Pickford but a full soundtrack provided by Jenny And The Giants in full on synthpop-o-geddon style.

I’ve mentioned over and over again how the original Death Ray Manta was messing around with the idea of a videogame as pop single, short, to the point, full of colour and glee all in a full on eighties legwarmer style and this time round I wanted to take this as far as I could. I’m not interested in making the videogame as pop video or the videogame as mixtape or EP, that’s a thing that other indies are doing great work with. For me, it’s about capturing that brief feeling that a really, really good pop single brings.

First time round I was kinda spoiled to have both Barry Island and Gavin Harrison offer instrumental tracks for the game. I absolutely loved how both artists brought different moods to the game, the brooding eighties sci-fi/action movie-o-geddon of Gavin’s title tune and the unadulterated Fame-legwarmer-fest of the ingame music. Just wonderful, y’know?

So when asked would I be interested in a full synthpop soundtrack to accompany the game from Jenny And The Giants, well, I couldn’t say no really, could I? With each and every rough I got sent over, I found myself grinning more. It’s fantastic stuff and I’m proud and honoured to be able to write a videogame around it. Albeit an arena shooter where you’re a fish with lasers shooting things rather than some sort of dancing in a steelworks extravaganza but maybe that can be the next game?

And it’s so good and so perfect that I’m just sort of hoping that the game does it justice too. Fingers crossed, eh? And yeah, you can totally blame Keith Stuart for some of this because he’s so right there.

The soundtrack will be able to buy alongside the game with all proceeds going towards Jenny And The Giants because that’s how we roll round here.