Tokyo Game Show 2016 Guest Schedule

Hello everyone!
With Tokyo Game Show 2016 (September 15-18.) rapidly approaching, we’re happy to announce the final list of guest appearances at our booth. The full list of guests includes Yakiniku Banzai, Orange Juice, LIFE0, Tazigen Clock, Inu to Neko, Muzintou and Shiisanmei!

timetable

You can meet representatives of the circles at our booth, 7-N01 at the above times. Our star guest, Poppo, will also be giving signatures whenever she’s not out and about.

Poppo_TGS

We also have some super limited badges from various games available at our booth, for those quick enough to visit us each day.

TGS Badges

Hope to see you there!

Fruitbat Factory at Tokyo Game Show 2016

Happy to announce that Fruitbat Factory will be at Tokyo Game Show in 2016!

TGS-banner-v2

You can find us in hall 7, booth 7-N01 – across from the 2K / Take Two Interactive Japan booth, and on the other side of the wall from SEGA booth in hall 8.

The event’s held in the Makuhari Messe convention center and we’ll be there during the regular event hours, 10-17 every day (September 15-16 business days, and September 17-18 public days).

At our booth, we’ll be showcasing our past and future releases (lots of exciting announcements coming this year!)

We’ll also have several guests at our booth, watch this space for more details and schedule!

If you’re in the area, make sure to come say hi to us. Who knows, there might even be some special items to grab!

Sora – A Development Story

It’s been a while since we’ve posted one of these, but we had a lot of fun working on Sora and making it look good on modern systems, so we decided to give a little blurb on the technical changes we’ve made to Sora during the localization. Without further ado I’ll give to floor to Tony, the man behind the code.

Sora-Logo

Tony: I had only played Sora briefly in our meeting with Orange Juice in May 2015, but when I actually got to spend more time with the game, it really clicked; the fast gameplay, setting, soundtrack and presentation were amazing. I was also aware of the fans’ wishes for a new release of Sora, and felt it very important to do a good job with our localized version.

When we start localizing a new game, we evaluate its customization options such as screen settings and discuss what technical improvements we could add to make it more enjoyable for the players. Basically we ask ourselves “What would I like to see in this as a gamer?” and then check how feasible it would be to add it. Sometimes the engine the game runs on makes this impossible, but usually we’re able to add fancy things like higher resolution support.

The first thing we wanted to improve with Sora was the game’s resolution. The original version of Sora runs at 640×480 resolution which feels rather small in modern HD era. Since the base resolution was so low, simply adding resolution options to upscale the graphics to a higher resolution would leave the screen looking blurry and pixelated. I had some concerns about changing the rendering resolution because in shooting games every single element’s positioning is very important, but there’s no harm in trying, right? I set up the necessary changes to launch the game in 720p as an experiment and we got this:

first720p

First higher res shot of Sora running at 720p (16:9 aspect ratio). Notice how the action is centered on the screen because the game area is supposed to be 4:3!

The first tests revealed that the essentials were already in place thanks to Orange Juice’s smart coding, but there was still a lot of work ahead. The view was too far, allowing the player to see more of the game area than they were supposed to, leading to problems like enemies appearing out of thin air. Some of the backgrounds and effects were broken, some boss positions were off, and of course all 2D elements were still happily in the 640×480 land.

Yet even with all the chaotic results, we could see that the game’s visuals got a noticeable improvement from the resolution increase. We went through the graphics assets we were given and found that many images had more detail than the original game resolution could show. Our graphics guys Ozhan and Yulay were on board for creating high-res versions of the menu elements. After some gameplay / image comparisons our minds were set.

As a side mention, we experimented with making Sora’s gameplay fully widescreen while deciding on the new target resolution. We had a lot of fun with it and even had some back and forth with OrangeJuice, sending different builds! However, it was clear from the onset that it would break the game too much. Let’s put aside the stage 1 opening cutscene continuing forever because the missiles never hit their target, and ignore enemies popping out of thin air, how about being able to move behind bosses like Nath and getting some free shots while she’s stuck firing at nothing? The amount of undesired behavior the change would generate was overwhelming.

I’m over here!

I’m over here!

We decided to set the resolution to 1280×960 which doubles the original dimensions, the main reason being that beyond that even the higher resolution graphics wouldn’t benefit much. While our previous attempts at full widescreen were doomed, we were able to add support for widescreen menus and cutscenes specifically. As an added bonus, since the fight against extra stage’s last boss is in a special type of area, we added widescreen support for that too!

widecutscene

Jakke: After upgrading the resolution everywhere else, we were left with the game’s opening (at 640×480 resolution) looking strongly pixelated, not to mention all the Japanese text in it. Unsurprisingly, the original project files for the opening were gone from existence. Luckily, we received most of the original graphics used in the opening, and pieced them together with newly recorded gameplay footage to recreate the opening identically at a 1280×960 resolution with English texts. Our friends at Interweave Productions pulled some miracles with the video.

Sorathumb

Tony: We also changed the texture format. Sora uses a Japanese engine called Luna3D, which is also used by our earlier title 100% Orange Juice. The engine handles a lot of things well, but its texture handling has problems. There’s an issue with texture drawing that causes all textures to appear blurrier and the engine’s own texture format is somewhat slow and also takes up a lot of space. We changed 100% Orange Juice’s texture format some months ago and brought these changes to Sora as well. As result, our version should have faster load times despite having bigger images and the required hard drive space for textures is down to less than 100mb instead of the original’s 1gb.

As for input, the original game only supported DirectInput controllers, but similarly to what we did with QP Shooting – Dangerous!!, we added XInput support to support all types of controllers, as well as added keyboard bind options. Thanks to some helpful feedback from our testers / reviewers, we also added visible keybinds in the tutorial to help new players.

We had a lot of fun with making the achievements. When we started Sora, we were terrible at the game. Back in Japan, I couldn’t even get past the first stage! However as we kept playing we got gradually better and many “How am I supposed to beat this?” fights turned into satisfying victories. We think the game does a very good job at that and that’s why we had no qualms with making the achievements challenging.

Jakke: It took me well over 20 hours to clear the original Japanese version of Sora on easy difficulty. While playing and testing the game, gradually feats that had first seemed impossible, turned possible, then probable, and ultimately felt only fair. I’m not great at shooters myself, so I largely used myself as a guideline for deciding on the achievements – if I can do this, most people can be reasonably expected to be able to. My personal favorite is ‘Dance Like a Flower’, which drove me to near madness before I finally cleared it (with controller burns on my thumb).

 

Finally, go ahead and enjoy these screenshots of things gone horribly wrong during development!

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100% Orange Juice v2.0 ~The Poppoing~ Preview

After weeks of extensive testing, we are proud to finally introduce our upcoming patch 2.0 for 100% Orange Juice.

In many ways, as befits the version number, this build finally encompasses our vision of how we always wanted 100% Orange Juice to be.

Changes:

– Added a new boss character, Big Poppo. Big Poppo has a 10x Player Level chance of appearing for non-Poppo players in place of another boss when encountering one on any map. Any stars lost to Big Poppo will be distributed between Poppo players in the game.

bosspoppo

– Added a new map: Poppo Paradise. On Poppo Paradise, all CPU characters will be Poppos. Poppo Paradise replaces all previous starting maps.

– Added a new field effect: Poppogeddon. Every 6 turns, all non-Poppo players are assaulted by Big Poppo. Poppogeddon has a 50% chance to steal another field event’s place when not chosen for the map.

– Added a new panel: P-panel. If a Poppo lands on P-panel, they will cast Ubiquitous on all non-Poppo players in turn (they do not need to carry Ubiquitous). If a non-Poppo player lands on P-panel, all Poppos in the game cast Ubiquitous on them.

– Using Ubiquitous on Kai now steals their player’s credit card info, instead of their wallet as previously.

Fixes:

– Corrected the tooltip for Ubiquitous to reflect the actual effect. New description: “Move to target unit’s panel. In addition, steal 10% x their level of their player’s soul.”

Barring any technical difficulties, version 2.0 ~The Poppoing~ will roll out on Steam very shortly. We are very excited to see the reception.

 

D is for Dangerous!!

We are happy to announce that a very special, fan-requested bonus is coming for QP Shooting – Dangerous!!.

QPD unlock

All owners of upcoming shoot’em’up QP Shooting – Dangerous!! will unlock a free bonus character in 100% Orange Juice on Steam.

QP (Dangerous version) is an original character designed by Orange_Juice, with art by Hono. She’s a re-imagining of QP as she appears in her signature game QP Shooting – Dangerous!!, with new abilities and a hyper card. Can anyone resist her energetic cuteness?

As we are excited to make another great game by Orange_Juice available to gamers worldwide, we felt this was a great opportunity to connect the games of the popular franchise more closely. The new character is prepared in cooperation with Orange_Juice, exclusively for the game’s Steam release.

QP (Dangerous) will be available for play in 100% Orange Juice immediately upon activating QP Shooting – Dangerous!! on Steam. She does not replace QP, but adds a separate playable character. QP Shooting – Dangerous!! is set for November 14 release, and preorders are now open at the Fruitbat Factory homepage.

Requires 100% Orange Juice base game to play.

Human Tanks Infiltrate Steam

Again, happy news (well, not really super news at this point, if you’ve been keeping up). Yakiniku Banzai’s awesome Strategy/advanture game ‘War of the Human Tanks’, our first release has finally been greenlit! It already made it to rank #27 before the entire top 100 of Greenlight games was let in, which just goes to say… Human Tanks are awesome, or something.

We’ve been hard at work on the game’s Steam release since the news came to us, and are hoping to be able to publish the game sometime soon.

The glorious, Human Tank themed (surprise?) steam trading cards are already ready and raring to go, but we’re having some unanticipated difficulty with implementing our planned achievements to the game.

The base issue is that the engine doesn’t support using non-C code, which creates problems when trying to handle Steam’s class-using callbacks… if that says anything to anyone.

If you have any ideas, let us know. We’ll keep on trying different things for a while longer, in any case.

Cookie Trading Card

Here, have a Cookie.

On the other hand, our third release, 100% Orange Juice, the goal-oriented board game played by Orange Juice’s all-star cast is currently 86% of the way to the top 100 of Greenlight. We are hoping to see it greenlit soon.

Peace out… and let the war begin!