Monster Madness

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Monster MadnessWS000000Monster Madness
Hi everyone, the response to my blog entry in August was great, and I finally have some spare time. So here’s an entry about our latest PixelJunk title: PixelJunk Monsters!

Everyone here at Q-Games loves real-time strategy games, from Warcraft through to Command & Conquer and Company Of Heroes, etc., but the Japanese public simply don’t buy that genre yet. So one thing I really wanted to do with Monsters is take the simple RTS concept of building and researching and having base defenses (a concept that has been used in Warcraft tower-defense mods and more recently in its Flash incarnations) and wrap it all in a completely different style and mode of gameplay that the Japanese public (and hopefully the West too, of course!) would really get into.

RTS’s are historically controlled by a roving cursor (either a mouse, or an analogue controller) and right from the start I decided to take that away and replace it with a cute character you control. You run around as this little defender-of-the-forests type chap, collecting money and building defensive towers along the paths to your base. You can only build towers where we have placed trees in the stages, which gave us enormous control over the design and balancing of each map. As a result we have over 20 very different stages, all of which are unique and addictive to play.

Another major help in the design was the addition of gems that the monsters sometimes drop; using these gems you can research more advanced towers, or upgrade existing ones. If you like though, you can upgrade existing towers by doing a little rain-dance-type performance in front of them too. The longer you dance, the more powerful the towers become!

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Out of all the games I have made over the years, PixelJunk Monsters was probably the hardest to balance and tune! In the end, it took a whole team of planners (Japanese for game designer) to play the game non-stop for a month and record their data into a database from which we adjusted money/gems/toughness of enemies etc., accordingly. They were all thoroughly addicted by the end of this process and even after completing the game in its entirety numerous times they still boot it up for “one more go.” The online rankings are going to be pretty competitive for this title and there are separate tables for cooperative and single play. The cooperative mode actually gets people to talk to each other as they play, and seeing as girls love this game (no, honestly, they do!), Monsters could become an important tool in every lad’s arsenal!

On a completely different (but important) note, some people might be looking for flashy graphics with thousands of polygons and in-your-face transparency/effects everywhere but if every game is like that things begin to look the same; so for this title we have purposefully gone for a style that hearkens back to the pre-PlayStation era. By using a ton of meticulously hand-drawn 2D art instead of 3D modeled graphics, we have tried to re-create the feel of some of those older classics (we still go overboard on shader effects though, as they are so much fun to program!).

Our next title will be yet another completely different style (as was PixelJunk Racers). In fact, this freedom of style and expression we are discovering is one of the great things about developing indie games. With your continuing support (i.e. please keep buying our games, they only cost approximately 1.5 beers!) we’ll continue fiddling and experimenting with new concepts and styles for as long as we can come up with the ideas and cash to support them!

PixelJunk Monsters will be available on PlayStation Network globally in January.

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116 Comments

8 Author Replies

  • hi dylan.

    I just watched video for Monsters. Very awesome. Really want to try it out.

    Wondering. Will you guys be diving into a 2D Vertical Shooter? I really love those types of game.

  • i just want clarify one thing.
    by global you do mean worldwide and not just the us right, because many devs dont seem to believe there is anything outside the us and japanese borders but one huge desert.

  • aeneima, if you are from Mexico City(D.F), maybe we can meet someday, you give me the money and we add funds in that moment via the internet ps store

  • no for me, i dont think ill like this game. im sorry.

  • Game looks great. Checked out the video and thought some of those weapons were really neat, plus the whole art direction is quite unique.

    Also, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see someone finally using the PS3/PSP remote play capability for good! Thanks especially for that one, guys.

  • and pixel junk expect us to pay for stuff like this? i can get 100’s of similar looking flash titles free off the net already.

  • @mobiletone
    Really? You can get a free version of this kind of multiplayer game for free online? Riiiiiiight….
    Not everyone likes to sit at their computer playing single player flash games.

    If they do to those flash RTSs what ThatGameCompany did to flOw, consider me sold. Didn’t care too much for Racers, but this one has me interested with its style and feature set.

  • @mobiletone
    This game goes beyond the flash titles offering multiplayer and online play, the graphics are better the game plays at 1080p. There is remote play for your PSP. These things deserve the price that they are selling it at.
    @Dylan
    I am interested in PJRacers but you are right the demo is all wrong. I do see the game has many modes and maybe you chose the wrong mode to place in the demo.

  • Since the game can be played on the PSP via Remote Play anyway, is there any chance that we’ll see a version of the game (or future PixelJunk games) that we can actually transfer over to the PSP completely like we do with PS1 games now?

  • (Off topic)
    Why the hell is 360 always 10 steps ahead of us? This is really starting to anger me. They just annouced “Connect360” Which allows you to organize your Mac life with your 360.

    Does anybody knows how I’ve been waiting for a little Mac support from Sony (PS3) camp? GOD DAMNIT!!!

  • @Ghostm
    Considering that Connect360 isn’t made by M$, how is this Sony’s fault for not having it supported?
    Why don’t you ask the Mac community why they’re not supporting the PS3 since they’re the ones who made it….?

  • Wow! You really believe what you’re saying huh? Cool!
    Then how come the PS3 works together with PCs? The machine works effortlessly with PCs out of the box.

  • Connect360 is made by Nullriver.
    Why are you betching about Sony not supporting Macs when the two aren’t related.
    Just dual-boot or use a program that does something similar.
    It just sounds like you’re complaining because you’re too lazy to either:
    a) develop it yourself
    b) find an alternative solution to do what you’re trying accomplish (of which there are dozens of solutions out there).

  • Tower Defense? I’m in(if its $4.99).

  • well looks like another “the whole world consists of the us” peice of crap again.

    if my money’s not good enough for your game then your game sure as hell isnt good enough for my money.

  • I just couldn’t get into PixelJunk racers. Maybe it was the demo but it just seemed… boring. This made me sad as I think you guys have some great ideas. PixelJunk Monsters looks right up my alley though and I’m really looking forward to this one.

    Oh, and another vote for a PixelJunk RPG of some sort!

  • Solace, are you getting paid for this?

    lol

  • I notice N’Gai at newsweek has a couple of articles up now if you want to check them out:

    https://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/levelup/archive/2007/12/06/exclusive-level-up-takes-on-pixeljunk-monsters-for-ps3.aspx

    and a rather embarrassingly large photo of me:

    https://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/levelup/archive/2007/12/06/the-dylan-cuthbert-interview-part-i.aspx

    We’re obviously going to be compared to “free” flash titles (not so free of course because of the constant advertising you are bombarded with) but I’m confident that people will love the extra features, balance tuning and ideas we have packed in, and of course, sitting in front of your big tv playing a game at 720p or 1080p and 60hz is just such a nice experience.

  • You guys would be able to make a killing on DLC. New towers,maps, and monsters! Oh My! Can’t wait!

  • im sorry to being offtopic, but since the topic is already rather ‘old’ i feel not guilty.

    @ dylan: i just wanted to ask if there is any plant to take the pixeljunk racers demo to europe? I dont have a credit card and the prepaid cards aren ‘t out yet, but i still want to try it, because i think its a rather cool game…

    -Q

  • >>Qbrain (121)
    I’m probably not meant to say this but can’t you create a non-credit card account on the US store and grab the demo from there if you want to give it a go? As I mentioned earlier though, the demo for Racers is a bit too limited so a lot of people didn’t get a good feel for the huge variation in the game. I think a lot of people will go back to it after playing Monsters and understand where we are coming from with this series.

  • Will this game have any online co-op multiplayer or will it be local multiplayer. Either way I am very interested in this title.

    It would be awesome if there was a level editor so you could make ya own levels

  • Dylan,

    Also in response to 109 (Govi), will owners of the PSP only have a chance to download this game a la Beats so that we can play it on the go without the PS3/Remote Play? I’d gladly pay $5 for a PSP port of this cool title.

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