Few words about Santa Ragione
Santa Ragione is a micro game design studio founded in Milan in 2010 by us, Pietro Righi Riva and Nicolò Tedeschi. We started off with a board game, “Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space” (none of us knew how to code!). With time and some luck we eventually learned a bit of video game development and felt comfortable enough to release our first digital game, FOTONICA, in 2011.
Since then, we worked on various projects, including “Street Song” for Pitchfork Music Festival and “The DustJacket” for Mondadori foundation. You can see more games we worked on on our website, including the prototype of PIPNIS, which was selected for the OUYA CREATE competition!
And of course there is MirrorMoon EP, which started as a jam game at the Global Game Jam 2012. On that occasion, indie developer Paolo Tajé joined us and became part of the team. Needless to say, we were speechless when our small prototype was selected for the Experimental Gameplay Sessions during GDC 2012 and later for IndieCade, Fantastic Arcade and eventually nominated for the Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award 2013.
Our latest prototype is VideoHeroeS, a VHS rental simulator in the early ‘90s, that was available through the LA Game Space kickstarter.
Our two commercial games, FOTONICA and MirrorMoon EP have recently become available on OUYA, and that’s why we are guests on this awesome blog. <3
First time with an OUYA!
It was quite a blast when we received our OUYA. After a quick setup and downloading basically every single demo on the market, Pietro, Paolo, and I started playing random games during the development of MirrorMoon EP.
It didn’t take long to discover that the small console was well suited for local multiplayer.
We love local multiplayer. At the risk of sounding old: very few games still have local multiplayer these days! And you know what? It’s a shame. Online multiplayer is not bad, but it’s a different experience.
OUYA is also marvelously quick to launch and play. And when you just want to play and not worry about anything else (especially after the latest update!), you want to fire up a system that:
- Doesn’t take a minute to load the system menu
- Doesn’t ask you for an update every two days
- Doesn’t take an extra minute to load the game menu
- Doesn’t update achievements
- Doesn’t update the save states to the cloud
- Doesn’t launch an unskippable logos intro for one minute
- Doesn’t load the menu with the multiplayer option hidden 5 sub-menus away
- Doesn’t need you to login with local guests accounts!
I could go on, but I think that’s enough! When your game session begins, you want to be a maximum 30 seconds away from playing, and our little OUYA is quite good at that.
“We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don’t know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can’t accept it for what it is.”
If we could squeeze all of MirrorMoon EP into a couple of lines – and sound really smart – we would use this quote from Stanislaw Lem’s book Solaris(1961). Lem’s Eden (1959) and His Master’s Voice (1968) were very important in providing an inspirational background for the game’s universe.
With MirrorMoon EP we want to suggest that maybe, through the exploration of the unknown, we discover things that ultimately become our mirror. Since we cannot unveil their universal meaning, we apply a subjective one onto them, thus making them our mirrors. Everything takes place far away from our planet, because in our comfort zone it’s hard to understand who we really are.
Visually, the game improved a lot from the first GGJ prototype. Aside from the many sources of inspiration for the visuals, it was the work of our friend Gabriele Brombin that helped us shape the style of the game as you see it today.
The general emptiness and abstraction of all the visual elements in the game was fundamental to provide that sense of “unknown”. We wanted finding something in MirrorMoon EP to feel like an epiphany.
Regarding the OUYA version of MirrorMoon EP, we tried our best to retain all the cool visuals and effects of the PC version, and I think we largely succeeded! We also managed to integrate the online portion of the game with its PC counterpart. All players, regardless of the platform they are playing on, share the same universe and explore every galaxy together with everybody else. So MirrorMoon EP OUYA is every bit as good as the PC version!
FOTONICA was originally released in 2011, but for the OUYA version, we focused on something we never really tried before: local multiplayer! We mentioned how much we love local multiplayer and FOTONICA was a good opportunity for us to take advantage of how good OUYA is at it.
For the OUYA version, our main challenge was fluidity, as speed is everything in FOTONICA.
It was tricky to get the game to run with four cameras rendering on screen at the same time, but in the end we managed to get 60fps for the single player and 45 for the multiplayer — not bad at all!
We also integrated OUYA usernames to the online scoreboards and added a couple of options with respect to the PC version that make this version of FOTONICA easily the best available out there.
If there is enough interest, we might also try some new multiplayer modes in the future: no promises, but we have some cool ideas that didn’t make the cut for the release!
In regard to our experience developing for OUYA, we have to say that the whole process was completely painless and since we work in Unity3D we could also use the plugins provided by the team at OUYA.
Submitting and managing all the assets for the publishing process was super easy, plus the team at OUYA was always available to help us out.
The biggest challenge for us was to make all the games feel as good as they do on PC, despite the more modest horsepower OUYA has compared to current PCs. Effects like transparencies, for example, are heavily used in MirrorMoon EP and that can be very demanding.
Another challenging but interesting task was to work with a controller as the main input device. Since we never worked with consoles before, this was new to us and forced us to rethink the way MirrorMoon EP was played.
Controllers are the best!
- MirrorMoon EP 1.1 UPDATE! Change Log:
- Added new button to interface (what for? secret!)
- Added new extremely rare artifacts to discover (Season 39 onwards)
- Better controller support in Navigation
- CONTINUE button now shows the current season
- Fixed FOV bug when suddenly stopping travels in Navigation
- Maps now visualizes players previous travels across the galaxy
- When starting a new game, seasons completion is now visible in the advanced options
- FEATURED GAMES LIST 1 to 10:
- Mini Quests
- American Dream
- Luxuria Superbia
- No Brakes Valet
- Hard Time
- Hidden in Plain Sight
- Ittle Dew