Welcome to the Easter 2017 edition of the Team Pixelboy News Bulletin. I have lots of news to report today.
CURRENT SITUATION WITH THE BUDGET GAMES
Sometimes, things just don't work out the way you planned, and when you try to find someone to blame, you simply end up looking at yourself in the mirror. Case in point: I decided way back in December 2016 that I would ship the budget game cartridges and manuals to everyone who pre-ordered them, regardless if I had the boxes or not. But after I finished assembling the Frostbite cartridges last month, I suddently realized that I needed to purchase a large lot of bubble bags in order to have the carts (those with no box) protected during shipping. So I ordered 1000 bubble bags from Uline.
Uline returned my check over a week later, because I had made a mistake in the information I wrote on the catalog order form. I clarified my order, then I mailed the corrected form and a new check back to Uline. Late last week, my letter and check were returned to me (again) because I forgot to include my phone number. Really, Uline? Well, screw you, I'll get my bubble bags somewhere else.
I looked on eBay, and I found a seller who had the kind of bubble bags I was looking for, but he didn't ship outside the USA. I enlisted the help of AtariAge member adamcon to order the bags on my behalf, but then we discovered that the seller had 430 bags left in stock, even though he advertized having over 1000 bags to offer. (*Sigh*) So we looked for another seller, we found one, and bought the stupid bags. adamcon received them last Friday, and they are now on their way to me. I mean wow! Of all the stupid reasons to delay shipping video games! But then again, I have only myself to blame, I should have ordered those bubble bags way back in February. Bah...
With all this said, the current situation is that all the cartridges and manuals are ready to go, except for Yars' Revenge which is still in development (I received some sample screenshots from the programmer recently, and I will post them on teampixelboy.com shortly). So far, I received from the printer the boxes for Caverns of Titan, Cold Blood, Danger Tower, Kralizec Tetris, Shmup! and Sudoku. Those 6 games will be shipped complete-in-box, and the other budget games will be shipped as cart-and-manual only. I will ship the rest of the boxes at my own expense later this year, and I will also ship Yars' Revenge together with those empty boxes. So people will at least be able to play the games while they wait for the missing boxes.
I bought a large supply of shipping boxes recently, and I'm anxious to have all those budget games shipped. I'm just waiting for those stupid bubble bags. By the way, thanks for your help with this, adamcon.
RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR 2017 and 2018
After the budget games will have finally been shipped, I will turn my attention to the next group of "regular" Team Pixelboy releases, namely:
- Ghostbusters - Space Shuttle - A Journey Into Space - Secret of the Moai - C-So! - King & Balloon - Children of the Night - Wizard of Wor - Zombie Incident - Flicky
I'd like to have the above games released in September or October 2017, but the way things are going right now, I won't be the least bit surprised if I end up releasing them in November, or perhaps even December.
More games will be released in 2018, namely:
- Utopia - Uridium - QBIQS - Arcomage (limited to 80 copies) - Jewel Panic - Gauntlet - The Cure - Booming Boy - Multiverse
I'm also considering releasing one or two of these three games in 2018 (perhaps even all three if possible) but it's not a sure thing yet. They are all MSX ports:
- 1942 - Bomber King - Dragon Slayer IV
LET'S HAVE A CLOSER LOOK
I'm sure you noticed a lot of new games in the lists above. Allow me to present these new games in more detail, as I provide below a status update for each game. I also added the newest games to teampixelboy.com, although there's not much to show right now in terms of info or screenshots.
Ghostbusters : The game has passed the beta-testing phase, and I still need to prepare the manual, which promises to be quite a job, since it's a rather complex game. I'm just hoping to fit everything in 16 pages.
Space Shuttle - A Journey Into Space : The MSX version was ported to ColecoVision an eternity ago, but beta-testing has yet to begin. This will be one of my earliest priorities once the budget games have been shipped. I expect preparing the manual will also take up a large chunk of my free time. The box template is ready to be sent to the printer, at least...
Secret of the Moai : Beta-testing is almost done on this one, and the box art is ready.
C-So! : Beta-testing was completed quite a while ago on this game, and the box art is also ready, so if I can find some time to vectorize the title logo, I can get the box template prepared, and then all I'll have to do is the manual. Pretty standard stuff, I'm not worried about this one.
King & Balloon : The current situation with this game is exactly the same as C-So! above.
Children of the Night : Same as C-So! and King & Balloon, although the game's manual may turn out to be quite a lot of work because Children of the Night is a pretty large game. The beta-testers had quite a bit of fun playing this brand new, fully original title, so I can hardly wait for it to ship so the rest of you guys can enjoy it as well.
Wizard of Wor : Beta-testing was completed recently, and the game works really well. The box art is ready too, so once the box template is done, I'll have to put some time on the manual.
Zombie Incident : Same story as Wizard of Wor above.
Flicky : This one is brand new to the Team Pixelboy release lineup. It was ported from the SG-1000 by Mystery Man. Beta-testing was completed recently, and I bought the original SG-1000 game CIB so that I can scan the box and vectorize the box art with Adobe Illustrator. This vectorizing job is not done yet, however, and neither is the manual. Not a ton of work to do on this one, but still much more work than the other titles listed above.
Utopia : According to the beta-tester assigned to this game, the standard two-player mode works okay, but while Mystery Man did his best to program the AI for the one-player mode (within his limited free time) the end-result is somewhat lacking. It's a good thing the game will only be released in 2018, because we're going to need some time to improve the AI.
Uridium : I have some unexpected good news to report regarding this game: The game's original programmer, artrag, was able to add some speech in the game, the kind that plays without having to freeze the game! The quality of the voice samples is not exactly great, but it's still quite good given the ColecoVision's technical limitations. I'm personally quite impressed with this achievement, especially given that the speech runs in parallel with the music, the smooth horizontal scrolling, and everything else that happens on the screen. The game is now in its beta-testing phase.
QBIQS : I kinda lost contact with the programmer of this game over the last few months, but we exchanged e-mails earlier today, and the good news is that he will resume working on the game soon. He was just busy this past winter. I've played the game myself on real hardware and it plays really great. The programmer just wants to add a few extra bells and whistles, and since the game will be released in 2018, he's got plenty of time to finish the software.
Arcomage : This game was ported last year, and beta-testing will start as soon as the tester receives the test PCB I just shipped to him.
The Cure : This game is still under development. There will be several differences between the ColecoVision version and the existing MSX homebrew game. You'll discover them next year.
Booming Boy : Here's another brand new title in the Team Pixelboy release lineup, presented by the guys behind Majikazo, Operation Wolf and Zombie Incident! Booming Boy is a Bomber Man clone, and was originally developed for the MSX2, which explains the colorful graphics displayed in the sample video shown on teampixelboy.com. The graphics will have to be downgraded a bit for the ColecoVision version, but the game itself will remain the same.
Multiverse : Yet another brand new, previously unannounced title from Team Pixelboy, this one comes from the programmer behind Caos Begins and Children of the Night! It will be a 32K platformer, and it's also an original game (so one more game for those who complain about seeing too many MSX ports on the ColecoVision!). I can't say a whole lot about the game right now, and whatever info I currently have about the game is found on teampixelboy.com, in the section devoted to Multiverse.
Gauntlet : The guy who had volunteered to port the MSX version to the ColecoVision officially dropped out of the project last month. I was just about to throw in the towel on that game, but then Mystery Man stepped in and told me that he will have a look at the MSX version later this year, and if he thinks the port is possible at all, he will attempt it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed at this point...
Jewel Panic : I haven't worked on that game in ages, and I will probably keep this project for last, once all the other games have been taken care of at the software and box artwork levels. It's a simple fact that you can't be a homebrew publisher and a homebrew programmer simultaneously. Not when you have a full-time job, go to the gym regularly, and have occasional social activities on top of everyday responsabilities. So once I can put my publisher duties on the proverbial bench for an extended period of time, I will resume working on Jewel Panic (which will probably require a complete rewrite of the source code, in order to fix some graphic glitches).
1942 : The MSX1 version of this game may not be the best shooter out there, but it does offer good variety and challenge, and it's a Capcom classic, so I think it's worth porting to the ColecoVision. The main problem with the MSX version is that the sound effect that is produced when the player shoots his guns completely overrides the background music of the game. So if the player fires continuously, the sound output easily becomes a garbled mess. Just listen to the Youtube footage below and you'll understand what I'm talking about. However, since the Super Game Module doubles the amount of sound channels of the ColecoVision, Mystery Man could actually fix this issue, and that would make 1942 more enjoyable pretty much instantly.
Bomber King : Known as "Robowarrior" on the NES, the MSX port of this game would make a great addition to the ColecoVision library, don't you think?
DragonSlayer IV : I've been trying to find someone to port this game (known as "Legacy of the Wizard" on the NES) for a very long time, and now that Mystery Man has opened the door on this subject a tiny little bit, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that it actually happens! But admittedly, it's a pretty big game to port from the MSX to the ColecoVision.
Please keep in mind that the last three games listed above should be considered long-term possibilities, and that's why I haven't added them to teampixelboy.com yet. Mystery Man seems interested in porting them, but he will make his final decision after he's had a chance to examine Gauntlet.
PRE-ORDERING THE NEW GAMES
Among the upcoming new games, there are many for which I haven't recorded any pre-orders yet. I am now at the point where I need to determine how many copies of each game I should produce to meet the future demand, so within the next few weeks, I will contact all my past customers by e-mail and I will give them the chance to pre-order the games they want. There will be no obligation to buy, nor will I ask for any kind of payment in advance. I just want to build up a valid waiting list. The games I'm talking about are these ones:
- Zombie Incident - Flicky - Utopia - Uridium - QBIQS - Arcomage (this one will be limited to 80 copies) - The Cure - Booming Boy - Multiverse - 1942 (only a possibility, just gauging interest at this point) - Bomber King (only a possibility, just gauging interest at this point) - DragonSlayer IV (only a possibility, just gauging interest at this point)
The prices of the above games are undetermined for now, but you can expect them to fall somewhere between 40$US and 50$US, as usual. Fair warning though: DragonSlayer IV, if it ever becomes reality on the ColecoVision, will likely cost closer to 60$US.
Of course, if anyone wants to pre-order any of the other upcoming Team Pixelboy games (Ghostbusters, Space Shuttle, Secret of the Moai, Children of the Night, Wizard of Wor, Gauntlet, etc.) then by all means, go ahead! I do prefer to be contacted my e-mail, via pixelboy at teampixelboy dot com.
This concludes this Team Pixelboy News Bulletin. We now return you to your regular forum activities.
Hard to say I would be interested in a game like Multiverse. Can this be compared to any other game , or what kind of game style is it?
Antoni Burguera describes it as an action platformer. And I quote his own words: "Completely different to Caos Begins: It will have more action, a larger map and more types of enemies".
There's actually some short, early footage of Multiverse found here but I haven't mentioned it until now because all the graphics are placeholders borrowed from other games. The final game will look completely different from what you see there. Programming has barely begun on this game.
Same for Arcomage?
If you like card games like Magic the Gathering, you should find something to like in this game. Otherwise, it may not be up your alley. That's one of the small reasons why I'll be manufacturing only 80 copies of Arcomage. Do check out the video footage on teampixelboy.com.
Interested in all of the games -- and two copies of The Cure.
Before anything else, I should mention that I'm NOT taking notes from whatever people post in this thread. If you want to confirm your interest in the upcoming game(s) you want, you need to contact me by e-mail so that I may add you to my waiting lists. Again, there's no obligation to buy, and you don't need to pay anything in advance. On the other hand, please don't pre-order if you think you'll change your mind later. I am fully aware that not everyone has a generous gaming budget...
And now, for today's big news: I finally received those bubble bags I was waiting for! Woohoo!!
So from this point, here's what I'm going to do: My first order of business will be to ship the budget games to those who ordered all 17 games. This represents just over 60 people, and I'm starting with them because the logistics are easier, since all packages will be exactly the same. I have already wrapped in bubble wrap 60 copies of each of the 6 boxed budget games, and I have also prepared 60 yellow envelopes with 10 manuals each (i.e. the manuals of the budget games that don't have boxes yet) so preparing those 60 packages should go forward fairly quickly. Once those packages will have been shipped, I will keep going and prepare/ship all the other packages as quickly as I can.
So if you pre-ordered Team Pixelboy budget games, do keep an eye on your e-mail inbox over the next few weeks.