Super Mixtape on The Square Enix Collective

Super Mixtape was featured on the Square Enix Collective after I submitted the project the week before. I got an email from them saying, please make some changes here, here and here, and we will accept you to the feedback stage. This was a great opportunity to gain some research in finding out if players would back the game if it was on kickstarter or indiegogo. This is especially valuable as I’m in the process of planning an indiegogo campaign to fund the final leg of development.

“Do you know what makes a good game? We’re pretty sure you do, so make your opinion count – and help independent developers at the same time. Take a look through the projects published here, and let us know if you’d back a game through crowdfunding or not by voting. Even better, help to shape that game idea by leaving your feedback in the comments section. Each game’s campaign ends after 28 days, and if the response is strong, we may lend our support as well when it lands on Indiegogo or Kickstarter.”

http://collective.square-enix.com/projects/196/super-mixtape

Below is the campaign on The Square Enix Collective, which will end up being the starting framework for my indiegogo campaign. Some very positive comments, and some interesting things to think about such as the challenge of having such complex controls work on an iPhone or Android device, or really allowing players to speed run the game. Players enjoyed the challenge. I will also be looking into localization for multiple languages for the game.

I am extremely happy with 52% given the vast amount of votes the game received and the competition on The Square Enix Collective, where the other games have large development teams, polished graphics and near complete games. Also, I know that not everyone is into hard platforms and wouldn’t back the game on crowdfunding, not because they hated the game, but because they are into 3D adventure games, or multi-player FPS titles for example.

Here are some of the comments Super Mixtape recieved:

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SquareEnix SuperMixtape

 

SuperMixtape

What is Super Mixtape?

Super Mixtape is a rhythm-based puzzle-platformer that has been stylistically built with the visual style of the Commodore 64 in mind and remixes retro-fuelled gameplay with musical manipulation. Guide ‘Mix’ across a fully reversible 2D world of A-Sides and B-Sides in his quest to reclaim ‘The Lost Tapes’ from the evil power of ‘The Stream’.

With a nostalgic late 80’s narrative and levels build to a beat that you control, define your own path using refined physics, unique mechanics and a fully interactive soundtrack that shapes the very landscape and its formidable puzzles around you.

 

gameplay

Gameplay

“Throughout the design and construction of the game I have spent a lot of time thinking about the unique mechanics and elements of the game that create the overall experience.”

As you progress through the game, your aim as a player is to traverse ‘Mix’ across the musical landscape to collect keys and unlock doors, allowing you to progress through the beat.

 

The Mechanics, physics and rules of playing as a cassette tape: “Within Super Mixtape, from the beginning, I wanted the main character ‘Mix’ to behave like a physical cassette and have some basic ‘rules’.”

  • You can only move when your magnetic strip is touching the ground
  • You can jump from the left wheel (Left Trigger) or the right wheel (Right Trigger) allowing the cassette to jump and behave differently within the physics, giving you more distance or height.
  • When you flip onto the B-Side, the amount of spooled tape is reversed.

 

 

The Flip Mechanic: One of the core mechanics in Super Mixtape, allowing you to flip the world and play backwards through the game with a whole new audio sequence to progress with. The foreground denotes the active side, and the background is the opposite side of the track. The combination of the two sides will help you progress through the game and solve the puzzles.

“If you’re one minute into the A-side on a cassette tape, then flip the tape, you have one minute left on the B-Side”.

Flip-optimize

 

The Jumps & Physics:

Another Core-Mechanic in Super Mixtape is the way you jump from either the left side or the right side of the cassette, depending on which trigger/wheel you use to propel yourself into the air. Jumping from the left will make the tape rotate slightly to the right and vice versa when jumping from the right, the tape will rotate to the left. This allows the player to gain either distance or height when moving, and allows for ‘Tricks’ to be completed when combined with the ‘tumble’ mechanic.

Jump-optimize

 

The Tumble Mechanic

Whilst moving and jumping throughout Super Mixtape, you have the ability to control your ‘tumble’ to correct yourself. If you land upside-down, you can use the jumps momentum and tumble to correct yourself and continue on your path. WHen upside-down, Mix’s facial expression will change until he is corrected.

Tumble-optimize

 

Beat Switches:

Throughout the game you have the chance to collect beats which can be found in the top right corner of the screen when they are collected. Selecting alternative beats remixes the audio immediately and areas of the level will react to the change. The active beat can also be seen in the HUD. WIth future iterations of the game, the environment itself will be more responsive to the audio from a visual perspective, and more of the level will respond to you. Changing the beats to your style, manipulating the world to solve puzzles.

[The GIF for the beat switches was too large to upload whilst I’m out and about on a tethered connection]

 

Puzzles:

Using the mechanics of playing as a cassette tape, the core mechanics of the game and being supported by a killer soundtrack, you can navigate through puzzle to puzzle to complete the game.

“WIthin the puzzles I really spent time thinking and planning how I can teach the player through trial and error on how to complete the puzzles themselves using the taught mechanics. Progressively teaching the player through play”.

fallingPuzzle-optimize

 

Difficulty Level Graph:

Super Mixtape is planned to be a difficult physics platformer with a strong focus on unique and rewarding gameplay and fun.

After playtesting at EGX 2015, Super Mixtape’s current (red) and planned (green) difficulty level can be seen on the graph below. Although the introduction to the game is a fairly steep learning curve, this was received positively at EGX by over 80% of the players.

Challenge_vs_Skill_graph

Based on the Skills vs Challenges graph found in ‘The Art Of Game Design’

 Schell, J. (2008). The art of game design. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann, pp.118-124.

 

Audio:

The audio is a key part in Super Mixtape, and from early conception; “I love rhythm based games but I suck at them, so rather than penalise the player for missing the beat, I wanted to let the player control the beat and create their own experience whilst manipulating the environment”. A sample of the audio can be heard in the raw gameplay video from EGX 2015.

 

The Levels:

There are 5 genre specific planned levels in Super Mixtape; each boasting a beautifully-crafted manipulatable A-side and B-side of audio with multiple variations created for each act. Each level will contain multiple acts which will progressively increase with difficulty. Throughout the levels there are planned speed run routes available for players if they choose to race against the clock.

 

Planned Platforms:

Super Mixtape is planned to be released on Steam, Xbox One, Windows 10 Store and PS4 in 2016.

 

egx

EGX 2015 Birmingham

Super Mixtape was at EuroGamer Expo in Birmingham in September 2015. The game was shown for the first time on a double booth at EGX 2015 and was well received by many. On the EGX official app, Super Mixtape was the 5th most rated game out of 113 games and scored 4.62 / 5.

Alongside some of the quotes below, Super Mixtape was mentioned positively by Project Zomboid, PixelBomb, Various YouTubers, Ready-Up, and other EGX ‘write-ups’.

Super Mixtape was also mentioned in a post from Eggbox Interactive titled; ‘Tips for showing your indie game at conferences’ on point number 3, ‘Make the stand reinforce the theme’. [Link]

  • “Like nothing I have seen before” – Machinima SBOC.
  • “My favourite game of EGX 2015” – GameGazm.
  • “It throws everything you know about the standard platformer out of the window and creates its own rules.” – Otaku.
  • “EGX game of the show for me – Super Mixtape by @Polygrammatic. Retro style platformer, some awesome level mechanics!”

 

the_team

The Team – Polygrammatic

Polygrammatic is a one man studio ran by programmer Christo and is currently using the freelancer model to help bring Super Mixtape to life with rich audio.

Company Mission: Polygrammatic creates enjoyable experiences through considered content creation, always with multiple strong USP’s in mind. Delivering gaming immersion through player interaction, remixing traditional gameplay for the modern day gamer.

 

why_square_enix

Why The Square Enix Collective?

“I decided to submit my game to The Square Enix Collective as I’m currently hoping to get funding to finish development of the project, and getting more community feedback is invaluable. “

Seeing people play the game and hearing feedback about the game is crucial in these development stages for indie developers, especially when they are working on their own.

“Getting the backing of The Square Enix Collective adds value and credibility to the project and will hopefully generate more interest, whilst giving the project more traction commercially with potential investors.”

 

contact

“Thank you for taking the time to look at my submission for the Square Enix Collective. If you would like to see more or have any other questions, then please feel free to reach out!”

 

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