Bringing our 90’s Cyberpunk FPS to OUYA
Tasty Poison Games (TPG) is a studio based out of Cape Town South Africa. We got our start almost 4 years ago with our first iOS project Dragooo. Since then, we have had a lot of success creating games for clients and fueling our own in-house developments, Pocket RPG, Dig! and now, Neon Shadow. We’ve since brought all of these titles over to OUYA, and we use Unity Technologies for all our development.
Neon Shadow was first conceived through the Kill Screen CREATE game jam event for OUYA. Soon after we received our Kickstarter Developer kit, James Howard, (one of our TPG programmers), thought the game jam was a good proving ground for the new console. This was when James and TPG artist Filip Orekhov spent their off time making the FPS and entered Neon Shadow into the competition.
Check out the CREATE game jam video submission:
Everyone at TPG had fun playing the game, and when James and Filip received the bad news that they in fact did not win the competition, we put it to a TPG vote, and we all decided that this would be our next in-house project. The only restrictions we put in place were to improve our own in-house workflows, and that it would be no more than a 4-month project. The whole team got involved from there.
The good news was that the game was already up and running, the bad news was that a lot of this needed to be scrapped. The game was up and running on OUYA with splitscreen but would also need to be multiplayer over LAN and Internet, which would take up the bulk of development time.
Added to this, the game had to be available on Google Play and iOS, so it needed to be flexible. For value, we thought up a campaign mode and created some level-building tools. To speed things up on the art side, we kept to simple tile-able textures with props and lighting to make the space station seem dynamic.
The “final” product:
What went right?
- Regular meetings, which kept everyone on the same page.
- Tools for level building and keeping everything on one plane to speed up the design process. (Like in Doom – the original inspiration.)
- Purchasing the music from Abducted by Sharks so we did not have to have a back and forth with a musician to get the right feel.
- Keeping the story simple. The hero is on a space station that is overrun with crazy robots ruled by an egocentric AI. (This also allowed for the quick gameplay we required and didn’t burden the player with too much of a plot.)
- Very simple enemy models (robots) made things a lot easier. With less complex animations, we could get away with a lot more dodgy movement and AI that would have been evident with organic enemies.
- Awesome marketing from OUYA when the game was completed / nearing completion.
- A fantastic forum community that pushed us on and gave us great motivation.
What went wrong?
- With our inexperience with FPS games we put emphasis in the wrong art areas, which then had to be redone and wasted a lot of our time.
- We really should have put less emphasis on concept sketches and more into written design and planning.
- Feature creep. This seems to be rampant throughout the industry.
- Developing on a new and unfamiliar system. Which introduced a bunch of performance and graphical problems we weren’t expecting.
We had an awesome time with Neon Shadow. We are chuffed that people have also been playing the heck out of it, and the response has been so amazing.
The OUYA team has also been a joy to work with, and I have no regrets staying up late chatting with Bob (Bawb), Alex, Jared and the others that have helped so much.
We are busy with updates and will deliver more content to all the Neon fans as soon as we can. (Bug fixes first.)
See you on the Ne Corp Deathmatch Station!
Steve (Big Green Gun…) McIvor
Tasty Poison Games