Major Nelson's podcast this week features a bunch of interesting interviews (and plenty of mindless chit chat). Of direct significance to us though is his interview of Steve Taylor (President of NinjaBee and all around nice guy).
Steve gets a chance to talk Band of Bugs, dole out level editor tips, and even mentions the uber forumites over at the NinjaBee forums (Okay, that was a shameless plug for myself and my comrades from over there, I admit it.)
For those who can't stand to listen to nearly two hours of talking (yes, it's nearly two hours long this week) the interview in question goes from about 56:03 to 1:17:16. Okay, not "about" -- precisely between those times.
Oh, and in case you are interested, he's giving away a free copy of Band of Bugs on the show. Enjoy!
[via Major Nelson]
This morning there are a few new Xbox Live Arcade related interviews on the net. The first is an [url=http://xbla-info.livejournal.com/1327.html]interview about Worms and Team 17[/url] over at XBLA Info. One of the interesting parts of this interview is that Martyn Brown mentions that they are working on other Xbox Live Arcade games, which hopefully points to a possible Lemmings release. Martyn also mentions that there will be no downloadable weapons for the game. Meanwhile on the otherside of the internet, Tales of the Rampant Coyote has an [url=http://www.rampantgames.com/blog/2007/02/console-indie-interview-with-steve.html]interview with Steve Taylor of Ninja Bee[/url]. This interview itself is insightful due to it's back history into Ninjabee and Wahoo Studios. It's long so clear out a chunk of your afternoon for this one.
As many of you know, of the developers that have released games so far on XBLA, NinjaBee has to be my favorite. The number of hours I've spent playing both Outpost Kaloki X and Cloning Clyde are countless. There has always been one issue in this love affair though; two of the twelve achievements in Outpost have been broken since launch. Well not anymore...
Next time you launch the game, it will ask you to update the title, and when you do it's now possible to get those final 40 points for the game. The fix is actually to the amount of time remaining to get the "gold" rating on certain levels, thus allowing you to get all golds in adventure mode as well as gold on the 8 port challenge. Here's the quote from the ninjabee forums:
Here are the level times we're planning on fixing:
(Adventure Story, time remaining)
level gold silver
Level 1 8,00 6,00
Level 2 9,45 8,00
Level 3 19,30 7,30
Level 4 14,50 8,30
Level 5 10,00 8,30
Level 6 12,00 8,00
Level 7 10,00 7,00
Level 8 13,00 10,00
Level 9 14,00 9,00
Level 10 17,00 14,00
Level 11 6,15 5,00
Level 12 13,00 9,30
Level 13 28,00 23,00
Level 14 2,00 1,00
Eight-Port Challenge (time elapsed)
gold: 1:00:00 (1 hour)
The Crucible (time elapsed)
So while Steve Taylor over at NinjaBee has certainly gotten some of the monkey's off his back about the achievements, something tells me they are going to be replaced quickly by ones asking about the release of Bugs of War.
So, Mr. Taylor, any news? :)
With the highly anticipated Cloning Clyde expected in just a couple days, we took the opportunity to dig around and see if we could find out what the team at NinjaBee will be working on next. In a post on the NinjaBee forums Steve Taylor, Lead Programmer, let it known that the next project is known internally as "Swat". While I'm certainly happy to learn about another NinjaBee game, I think it's pretty safe to say that with the off beat story design behind their first two XBLA titles, speculating about what "Swat" could mean is most likely useless.
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, but wait, there's more...
Not only are they working on a new title, but both the long awaited patch and new DLC are in the works for Outpost Kaloki X.
It certainly is a busy time for Mr. Taylor and the rest of the team at NinjaBee
Jeremy Throckmorton and Steve Taylor of NinjaBee let us fire a few questions at them and came up with some interesting answers, including a great line by Jeremy that will certainly become a standard question in all of our upcoming interviews: “Is a game from ten years ago a threat to a truly new and unique game?”
[XBLArcade.com] Could you please say who you are and what your role in the company is?
[Jeremy] Hi. My name is Jeremy Throckmorton, and I’m one of the NinjaBee designers. For anyone who wants to look me up on Xbox Live, my gamertag is Marmosetofdeath.
[Steve] I’m Steve Taylor (gostay on Xbox Live). I’m a programmer, and part of the team that made Outpost Kaloki X.
[XBLArcade.com] Did Wahoo submit an application to Microsoft to be part of XBLA or did Microsoft come to you?
[Steve] Sort of both. I had known Ross Erickson for a few years, and we started talking to him in general about possibilities for projects we could do with Microsoft. One of the things Ross suggested was XBLA, and after very little discussion it was clear what a fantastic opportunity this would be for Outpost Kaloki. Since Outpost Kaloki was originally designed as a console title, this was an amazing chance to realize the original vision we had for the game, and we jumped on it.
[XBLArcade.com] Will you have a booth at E3? and if so will you be showing off existing or upcoming properties?
[Steve] We won’t have our own booth at E3, but some of the things that we’re working on now (as Wahoo Studios and as NinjaBee) will be showing there, including, we hope, NinjaBee’s next XBLA game.
[XBLArcade.com] What are some of the biggest differences between developing for an XBLA game as opposed to a regular game?
[Jeremy] A Live Arcade game is smaller to a regular Xbox 360 game in just about every conceivable way. I guess it could be argued that size is the only real difference. For us at the NinjaBee hive, that means the budget is smaller, the development schedule is shorter, and the data size of the game has to be kept way down. When compared to other 360 games even the number of Achievements and Gamerpoints we can award is smaller. Fortunately, the one thing that doesn’t change is the focus on fun and gameplay. In some ways the smaller scope makes it easier for us to focus on the gameplay more than we could with a larger game.
So as is a well known fact now there are two achievements that cannot be reached in both Outpost Kaloki X and Hardwood Hearts. The Achievements are: Outpost Kaloki X
Both games have cause gamers to flock to the developers board demanding that things be set right, this is where things differ… Let me pause it here and state for the record that I do own both games and while I do enjoy Hearts, Kaloki is one of my favorite games available for the 360. The developer for Kaloki is NinjaBee. The have been very tight lipped about a fix (to the point of never even saying that there would be one) and have gone on to paint the picture that the reason they aren’t saying anything is that Microsoft won’t let them. This is exactly what you would expect from a developer and what you would expect from Microsoft. Until… Silver Creek Entertainment is the company that has put out Hearts, and they have been, in stark contrast, extremely open about a fix, stating a couple times a day what the status is and what exactly it will contain. All in all you have to hand it to Silver Creek for being so open about it. My guess, based on the way ninjabee is going about this, is that there will never be a fix for Kaloki, mostly due to the game not being set up to allow it. More info as it comes in…