August 18th, 2013
Platform : Playstation Vita & select Android devices
Technology Used : PSM Rush (my Sony Vita game framework)
Genre : Infinte runner
Status : Released March 2014
Team : Myself, Akari Nakashige and Marysia McGilvray
Development Time : 9 months part time including the game engine/framework
This game is my first independent release on a major console. When I heard that the Sony Vita was going to allow developers to make games for the platform without needing publisher backing and an expensive development kit I bought one immediately. I absolutely love the Vita from a hardware standpoint. The input and hardware are still amazing to this day in my opinion.
This project was a collaboration between myself and my partner. I did the programming and she did the art. Akari is already an amazing artist. At first I believe she agreed to work on the project to support me but once we got going she really took the reins when it came to art direction and game design. She had no issues with ripping out assets if they didn’t meet her standard. All while simultaneously learning the rules and best practices of pixel art. By the end of the project she was teaching me a lot about my own pixel art and amateur mistakes I was making.
Towards the end of the project we needed music and I reached out to my sister Marysia who has an extensive history in music. She’s been in many metal bands and has studied the technical side of music production. She wrote 2 songs for NekoRush which fit perfectly. This is the first time I’ve collaborated with my sister on a art project. I think we were both nervous to give feedback to each other at first but once we got going she did some amazing work.
One thing I didn’t see coming is both Akari and Marysia have told me how much fun they had working on this project and how they would both like to do another project in the future. I sincerely hope this happens. I would very much like to redo NekoRush from the ground up for a more common platform like IOS/Android. I would also prefer to use an established framework if we do this so I can focus on game systems rather than spend 95% of my programming time working on the game engine rather than the game.
Development on this game took longer than I expected. One reason is the PSM SDK was very much constantly in flux. Internal changes could cause different rendering techniques to suddenly run slow on a SDK update. This was eventually rectified.
Working on the Vita and Android involved some unique rendering performance issues since the hardware was both relatively less powerful and used the PowerVR architechture which uses some internal optimizations that required me to change the way I handle rendering compared to how I usually write my rendering code. I re-wrote the rendering code 3 times, each time learning profound lessons on graphics hardware and rendering. Special thanks goes out to very skilled Katelyn Gadd who provided a ton of help on the Sony Playstation Mobile developer forums. You can visit her website here – http://www.luminance.org/
Here is a video from latestvitagames who were nice enough to cover NekoRush. You can visit their youtube channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2zIyveI3dcYG1h5p0tI2fA