June 23, 2016 12:00 AM | Jeremy Ooi
Super SteamPuff is a PVP style space shooter where you fight for weapon upgrades, beat wacky bosses and look for the Fabled Hexachron! With plenty of cute characters to unlock, references to all kinds of pop culture and a very unique art style to boot, its looks like a tonne of fun. It is out today on the iOS store for $2.99.
We got a chance to talk with the guys from Weyrdworks Studio, Shawn Beck from Velocibox fame and JT his artist and partner in crime, about making this wacky title and turning jam ideas into launch titles, and moving from F2P to premium.
How idea for Super Steam Puff came to be? (you mentioned it was from a game jam idea?)
Yeah, the idea was from a game jam. The core mechanic for the game was initially conceived while we were still game dev novices back in late 2012. Unity hosted a little game jam event somewhere in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur with the theme "One Button". At the time, I had this strong itch to work on a party game so I took it as a challenge to design a game where 4 players could play on a single keyboard. You don't see much of that due to keyboard ghosting. The original SteamPuff was a simple one button 2-vs-2 PVP without the dodging mechanic. You had to hold a button to ascend, release to descend and tap it to fire. That was it!
How long you took to develop it?
While the original SteamPuff took us roughly 30 hours to develop for the game jam, Super SteamPuff took us about 9 months to perfect. The project was worked on on and off from November 2014 until June 2016.
What is the biggest challenge developing this game?
Well because it started as a PVP game, we started off trying to develop the game mainly as an online PVP game. It worked for awhile. We linked devices with online matchmaking, implemented battle tags a la Street Fighter IV and battled against each other in glorious online PVP. Unfortunately, we hit a few technical snags along the way. The game just didn't sync up as smoothly as we'd hoped. In order to meet our deadlines and keep the game as fun as its original, we made a decision to switch to a purely offline experience with a strong emphasis on boss battles. We also dropped the idea of making the game F2P later on since it had distasteful influences on the design of the game.
The art looks great! What was the inspiration for the characters and the space theme?
It was loosely based on the original. But we wanted the freedom of going as nuts as possible. We grew up watching a lot of cartoons like Samurai Jack, PowerPuff Girls, Dexter's Lab and Adventure Time so that's where most of our art inspirations came from. JT also has this odd fascination for neon lights so there's that. We also wanted to create a space for us to express our love for the sci-fi genre. Our future update roadmap details a series of nods to Doctor Who, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and more.
Looks like it will be really fun on real time multiplayer. Any plans for that?
The game does have local PVP right now which we admit is a little awkward on a tiny mobile device. It plays better on PC of course, but we're looking into implementing WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity as a free update in the future. We can't say when yet, but as of now there's still a lot to work to do to beef up our single-player experience. While the game will currently launch with 8 bosses, we've planned for 36 more bosses to introduce in future episodic updates. JT and I absolutely love making these bosses! Did I mention these updates will all be free?
Whats your favorite weapon?
The boomerang. It's primitive, versatile and yet very sneaky. Most people never see it coming.
Whats your favorite boss?
The Golden Pyramid. His attacks make you feel like you're playing a controversial hit mobile game from 2014... but with guns. You'll know when you see it. It's a lot more fun than it sounds, haha.
Which is your favorite hipster cafe in KL and why?
SudoBrew! It's open 24 hours and there are power outlets at every corner. Also the WiFi is both reliable and blazingly fast. It's a haven for start-ups!