Proof: https://twitter.com/ColdBeamGames

I'm Steve, creator of Beat Hazard & solo indie game developer.

I had my first game publish at the age of 14 for the Atari 800. I worked for 15 years for main stream studios such as DID, Rage games, THQ on projects like EF2000, Total Air War, Juice 1&2.

I’ve held all sorts of positions from programmer, project managers and design director.

I got made redundant 3 years ago and decided to go Indie. I made a music driven shooting game called Beat Hazard and it’s been a great success.

It’s out on XBLIG, PC & Mac (Steam), PSN, iOS and now is out for Android. AMA

EDIT 1: Wow - lots of comments! Thanks guys. Give me some time, I'll answer them all. Working my way through.

Update: I'm back - Hi!

Comments: 603 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

LookingforSteve426 karma

Steve!!

ColdBeamGames175 karma

Omg - You found me!

gust4vsson49 karma

Whoa. You actually found him, after more than a year of searching for Steve.. You actually found Steve!!

ColdBeamGames39 karma

hahaha - a whole year! That's class.

torre_avenue72 karma

Hello there. I bought Beat Hazard for the iPhone a couple months ago and it is honestly one of my favorite games to play on it. I love how the game plays, as well as the amount of replay value it has. My question to you is, how do you determine the density of enemies in the next "wave" based on the song? And will there ever be Pandora integration with it, like how it is now with the radios? Thanks for doing the AMA!

ColdBeamGames101 karma

The game analyses the music on the fly. It uses the raw PCM data (amplitude) and the FFT data (Frequencys). All the parts of the game are derived from this data. Some parts respond instantaneously, e.g. your fire power. Other parts use a sum over time system so music power builds up and causes things to happen at certain thresholds.

So the enemy density is based on a 4-5 second window of music power. The more powerful the music in that time the more enemies you get (and the harder the enemy types are)

Even where they fly too is take from the music, of course this is not something as a player you can notice as you can't really see a relationship between sound and position. But it happens nonetheless.

Re Pandora. Yes, I'll be looking at this for Beat Hazard 2. Will look at spotify also.

Edit: Sorry it's PCM, not PSM (Fixed)

NBC_ToCatchARedditor44 karma

Good luck for Spotify - that API is a bitch...

ColdBeamGames58 karma

Oh :( - Mail me if you've got any good advice!

Krusmir13 karma

What about GrooveShark integration? if it doesn't have it already ;)

ColdBeamGames22 karma

Last I heard was that it didn't have an API yet. If it has I'll look at it for BH2

Joosch38 karma

huge fan of beat hazard and ultra!

do you have any other games in the works at the moment? or maybe release beat hazard for windows phone?

ColdBeamGames46 karma

Well, here's a little scoop, my friends at D3T are converting Ultra back to C# for release on XBLIG ! (With multiplayer too!)

I need to tidy up all my code so I'm going to do a small music driven puzzle game next. (I've got a few ideas I think will be cool)

After that I'll start work on Beat Hazard 2 :D And I've got some really cool ideas on how to move it to the next level.

Re Windows Phone: Possibly, not too sure at the moment.

Joosch11 karma

beat hazard 2, can we have local co op/multiplayer?

ColdBeamGames30 karma

On which platforms? Local co-op is a definite. Online I'm not so sure. It takes a huge amount of time to implement this and online play seems to die off a few weeks after release. However, I will be adding an asynchronous challenge system.

Joosch10 karma

PC, i just want to be able to play co op on the same screen. any chance of customisable ships too, i think that would be a sweet addition.

ColdBeamGames35 karma

customisable ships Yup, something along these lines for BH2 :D

jordsta30 karma

Hey Steve! Love your games, I've got Beat Hazard/Beat Hazard Ultra on Steam, beta tested and now own the full version on Android. It's addictive stuff!

My question for you is: What are your thoughts on music piracy? You've allowed the ability for anyone to use .mp3/etc. files in all of your versions of the game AFAIK, and of course not all of us will use legally purchased songs to play the game.

Do you hope to one day integrate your game with Spotify/Rdio/iTunes as a way of beating music piracy, if at all possible?

ColdBeamGames41 karma

Yup, piracy is bad. However, I guess it's always going to be around. (I've just checked the Android version and it's currently sitting at 90% pirated)

However, I do understand the argument that all pirated copies doesn't equal lots sales. And that some people who play an illegal copies might go on to buy the game/music.

It looks like all music is going to be steamed soon. Spotify etc are cool and I really want to add these services to my game.

marky112417 karma

I'm really saddened to see you confirm that Android is such a pirated platform. It means the platform as a whole is going to suffer because developers won't want to spend their time creating top quality apps/games that don't pay their bills and put food on the table. Are you able to tell the piracy rate as a difference between number of legitimate sales in Play store and some form of ping the game sends back to a server when it's run?

ColdBeamGames28 karma

Yes, it's pretty sad. I'm not sure why Google don't do more to stop it. Their anti piracy stuff is seen as a joke. They end up losing money too as they get 30% of each game sold. It must add up to millions!

Piracy will always happen, but they should make it harder than just running a script that strips the code out.

I added Flurry to my game. This tells me how many people are playing and I can compare that to the number of sales. (Flurry is cool)

mikelouth8 karma

We've had some requests at Digitally Imported (di.fm) to add our shoutcast style streams to Beat Hazard before, I wasn't sure if it was possible so directed the question to the game dev(s) at the time.

Is it possible? A never-ending game sounds like a cool idea.

ColdBeamGames6 karma

Do you mean to get the game to play your own custom radio streams? If so, yes, you can do that now by editing a text file on the PC version. I can always add station permanently to the game if there's a big demand.

(I'm not sure if that's what you meant though)

mikelouth2 karma

Yes that's what I meant, since we provide a premium service we won't want our customers private streams added permanently. Where is the text file located? Will it support authenticated streams?

ColdBeamGames2 karma

Ah - I see. There's a text file called Radio2.txt You can add any url here (Make sure it's before the [end] command) I think some people have got subscribed stations working by adding the authentication to the URL (I think)

To do it properly I'd need to write it into the game though. Lots of people want this sort of thing so I need to start looking in to it.

go-rot-in-a-sewer3 karma

i was one of those pirates, now i own it on pc and would gladly buy it for android but there is no android version..

hey... there it is.. releasesd 2 days ago and bought.... now i can finally play this on the crapper...

ColdBeamGames5 karma

Hey thanks! That's great. Well there you go; Piracy is a sort of 'try before you buy' thing. I always hope players who get the game for free but really like it will come and buy it. I understand that a lot of the pirated copies might only be played for 10 mins and then forgotten about.

20c8e4399c24 karma

Hey, Steve. I don't really have any questions. I just wanted to thank you for so many hours of entertainment. Beat Hazard is actually the reason I started using Steam again and also the first game on Steam that I bothered to get every achievement in. I also bought my friends copies during the indie bundle so they could enjoy it as much as I do. We ended up making a Youtube series of videos over 215 videos of us playing but I've since taken them down due to copyright strikes.

So thanks!

ColdBeamGames17 karma

That's great - Thanks for the support!

HeeroJay22 karma

No questions. Just thanks for being awesome.

ColdBeamGames38 karma

Thanks! - [Usain Bolt pose]

denierCZ22 karma

What programming language did you use to write the game?

ColdBeamGames21 karma

C# for the first XBLIG version (I'd never used it before!) All the other versions are in C++. The mobile versions have a wrapper with some java & objective c, but all the game code is in C++

LuvMeSomeGuitar8 karma

Did you use a framework or did you code the entire thing(Gfx, audio)?

ColdBeamGames12 karma

I used 3rd party libs like BASS Audio lib to do most of the hard work.

Camplify15 karma

What's your toughest challenge as a solo indie game developer?

ColdBeamGames26 karma

For me, low level tech programming. I really don't like it. I'd rather be making the game better. However, I have learnt a lot, and it's valuable knowledge. (The PSN version was particularly challenging, in fact I'd say the biggest of my career. So much low level code!)

Bad feedback and angry customers are hard to cope with too. I always try my absolute best to make my customers happy. Things always go wrong and people get upset. However, I find the once I start talking to people they calm down. I think it's because people assume that nobody will listen to them. When you do, everyone gets happy.

GGfpc18 karma

As a teenager who is interested and pursuing a similar career, what is low level tech programming?

ColdBeamGames26 karma

Low level programming involves tasks like reading input devices, saving and loading, drawing polygons, playing sounds etc. It's all the nitty gritty work that you need to do to before you can get anything like a game working.

However, there's no clear boundary, you will always need to get your hands a little dirty and have an understanding of low level stuff even if you're working with a high level engine.

For example, with Steam you can call a function to save your game to the cloud - job done, takes 10 minutes. With the PlayStation to do the same thing took me about a week and 10 pages of code. (Nightmare)

If you're just starting out, I'd recommend trying something like unity where all this stuff is taken away as much as possible.

Hope that makes sense. And good luck!

Thewackman15 karma

Who?

Thewackman36 karma

Really of all the ama's I've asked questions on, who? Gets me a response.

I QUIT!!

ColdBeamGames24 karma

Hahahhaa - don't go.

Thewackman20 karma

Ok as I've now made an ass of myself I will go get the game and be back with a Q in 15 min, sound cool??

ColdBeamGames17 karma

Sounds great! Waiting for your question :)

Thewackman22 karma

P.s. I wasn't a cheapo, paid for beat hazard. :)

ColdBeamGames18 karma

Thumbs up!

Thewackman19 karma

Well now I have 2:

Firstly, how had I not heard of this game before!?!?

Secondly, I've always wondered what happens when it comes to maintenance of an iPhone app, is there a certain point when you don't get anymore bugs, or do new bugs happen all of the time because of the on going updates to iPhones. This also leads me to ask, how much would an update effect you when it comes to your apps.

ColdBeamGames24 karma

-- Firstly, how had I not heard of this game before!?!? Where have you been ? It's all the rage. :P

When you first release a game there's always problems, especially on open platforms like PC & Android. (I've just spent the last 4 days fixing bugs with the Android version)

However, once the game is out for a few weeks things settle down. You might get the odd bug but nothing serious. I do get a lot of feature requests though. Some I do right away, others I keep in a list.

Changes on the platform have never really given me any problems. I've not have to change anything because of an update. iPhone 5 being the exception. I need to put out a new version for the bigger screen. The irony with this is that the game already works with it, all that was missing was a bigger splash screen!

D0ct3r15 karma

About how long did it take you to make the game? And at what point did you decide to make a dlc? And if I may ask why make the Dlc? Just more ideas you wanted to add to the game or what? (PC Player)

ColdBeamGames26 karma

The XBLIG version took about 6 months. I spent a long long time just tweaking 'magic' numbers to try and get the gameplay working with the music in the right way.

The DLC was only done because of the PSN version. Sony wanted more features adding to the game before they would approve it.

I was then unsure whether to release that as Beat Hazard 2 or as a DLC add-on. In the end I felt it wasn't enough to warrant BH2 so I did DLC.

gilm0re13 karma

Heya. I love the game. I don't own it, but I play Beat Hazard Ultra on my friend's Playstation 3 whenever I get the chance...Which isn't enough time, I'm still bloody terrible at the game. I'll get around to buying it on Steam some day, I promise.

Call me easily amused, but I love all the vibrant colors that bump with the beat, so my friend and I always wondered...Were there any sort of "party additives" that may have helped influence the game? ;)

ColdBeamGames26 karma

Nah, developing the game on 40" LCD TV was all I needed :P

RJLupin212 karma

Where do you think music based games will go in the future? Do you think they have a future? Personally, I wish there were more games like Beat Hazard and Audiosurf... it's just so fun to use. If I had one critique of Beat Hazard, it'd be that it's not quite clear enough for me how the music is influencing the game. With Audiosurf, I have the opposite problem where the game is too "on rails" so to speak where the music controls the game too much and it becomes linear and never changing. I want there to be a good medium some day!

If you ever make a Beat Hazard 2, you should contact Spotify and other major companies like that and see if you could get a partnership with them so you could integrate their services with your game. I can't tell you how much I'd love that.

Have a good day!

ColdBeamGames14 karma

I think there is a great future for these games. There's a lot of ideas that haven't been explored yet.

The big difference between AudioSurf & BH is that AudioSurf pre-analyses the track where BH does it on the fly. By doing it on the fly there's always going to be limits on what the game can react too. But I'm always trying to improve it.

Yes, for BH2 I'll try and get these guys on board if possible.

mch4311 karma

Hi Steve! Thanks for the AMA.

  • May i know which platform proved to be the most profitable? PC, Console or Mobile.
  • How would you feel when you saw your game on piratebay?
  • What do you think of steam greenlight?

ColdBeamGames20 karma

Yup, it's currently PC under Steam by a mile. (Steam is amazing!) Now the game is out on so many platforms, I'm going to write a blog post soon that breaks this down.

XBLIG is non too shabby though. It's done very very well on there.

Stickill10 karma

What's the hardest song you've played on Beat Hazard? Do you even play the game yourself?

ColdBeamGames22 karma

Friday by Rebecca Black ! hahaha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgW6jSIIqVg That song is terrible. I did it as a joke and couldn't stop laughing all the way through.

Seriously though, if you play on suicidal level they're all hard! Classical music is hard because of all the slow/quiet parts, but very rewarding.

Yeah, I do play my own game sometimes. I just tend to play to a trance/techno radio station and have fun. (I'm currently trying to beat my brothers score)

What is amazing is seeing people play the game way way better than I can. It's amazing. And I know all the secret tricks, but some people are just so good.

tinf7 karma

Obvious next question: Can you tell us some of those secret tricks? I promise I won't tell anyone.

ColdBeamGames13 karma

I think everyone knows them now :( http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1934068 I need to learn their tricks!

Babrook9 karma

I just want to say that a few weeks ago a friend and discovered Beat Hazard's multiplayer. We dropped acid and played through the new Title Fight album before he got too weirded out to continue. It is the most fun I've had with a video game in a very, very, long time.

What do you think the future for this kind of genre - music generated games like yours, Audiosurf, etc - is? I think that this kind of game is perfect for mobile devices. Do you plan on making another game of this type?

ColdBeamGames11 karma

Lol - If you do that again, can you film it an put it on YouTube?

I think there's a big potential in the music-driven sub genre. I've got a load of ideas for music driven games of different types. All waiting in my design book. So yeah, I'll definitely try some different gameplay types in the future.

Stickill9 karma

Hey Steve thanks for doing this!

Would you ever go back to working for a big studio now that you've experienced Indie developing life?

ColdBeamGames17 karma

Very unlikely. I'm really loving doing my own thing. And I'm really looking forward to trying some more experimental games the you could never make in a big studio. (I have this idea about making a cloud based brain that people interact with & train. And a sort of evolution based game).

However, I do miss the people and the banter of working in an office. It can be a little quiet sometimes on my own.

CardMoth9 karma

I would love to see an evolution game that is done really well. Sort of like what Spore was meant to be. I don't have a question, I just want to say congratulations on the success and good luck for future projects.

ColdBeamGames16 karma

Yeah, I was disappointed in spore. My 4th year project at Uni was an evolution simulation that worked really well (And showed evolution theory working before your eyes - I got an 'A'). I've always want to go back an 'gamify' it. I'd love to do Creator vs Evolution where a player tries to out design an evolutionary process running in the background. (Might be a little conversational though)

zsombro9 karma

Stock question: what's your advice for aspiring designers? game design schools are still not a widespread thing

Also, I love your game, it's hilarious awesome

ColdBeamGames16 karma

Easy - go write a game. Something really simple though. Like pong. And take it from there. By making a game you will truly understand what it takes to design a game. And if you show this skill at an interview it will score you big points. Hope that helps.

Odatas8 karma

How does the steam sales work? Did they writ you if you whant to participate and you have to say how much you whant or is it more like the bought the keys from you and just sell them for less?

ColdBeamGames9 karma

They write to you and ask if you want to take part and the discount. Steam is very respectful to their developers. They are an amazing bunch.

Sometimes they do special sales when devs add extra achievements so that players can win other games/prizes. (these are great)

enspire8 karma

Thank you so much for Beat Hazard. I have about 100 hours in the steam version, (mostly from Boss Rush cause i sink about 30 mins a run), if and when you make Beat Hazard 2 please do not get rid of Boss Rush. Its my favorite mode.

Also congrats on the recent Android release, is there gamepad support? If there is definite buy from me, I cant stand virtual touchscreen joysticks

I'll know you'll do a great job on 2,maybe more bosses (like a doppelganger ship that mirrors your moves, or a ship that teleports around the map, just random ideas) maybe more gamemodes (kinda like geometry wars 2, although i know having it mix with songs would be difficult) whatever you add it will be great.

ColdBeamGames7 karma

Thanks! Boss rush is cool - I'll be keeping that. I'll be looking at Gamepads for Android once things have settled down a bit.

patricknayani7 karma

will your app be optimized for iPhone5?

ColdBeamGames9 karma

Yup, I've just finished doing it. I've got a few things to tidy up. An update should be out in a week or so.

natezomby7 karma

Any ideas you've seen around that you want to incorporate into a future Beat Hazard game?

Do you live comfortably off the profits from your games?

Would you ever promote your game in Team Fortress 2?

ColdBeamGames8 karma

-- Any ideas you've seen around that you want to incorporate into a future Beat Hazard game?

I've got a ton of ideas that will take the game to the next level. Not so different it's not BH any more, but cool stuff I think everyone will get a kick out of. (A little too early to give concrete details though)

-- Do you live comfortably off the profits from your games?

Yes, I feel very lucky that BH has done well and I can continue to be an Indie dev. I'm so thankful too all the players out there who have supported me and bought my game - you all seriously rock.

-- Would you ever promote your game in Team Fortress 2?

I don't know. Some people have said they would love this, others say they would hate me forever! lol - so maybe I'll keep out of it.

KimmoS7 karma

Hi Steve,

as a (beginning) solo indie game developer I'm interested in how do you handle marketing for your games? Do you rely on word of mouth? Special campaigns? Sharing of ads/links with other developers?

ColdBeamGames15 karma

At the start I spent no money on advertising (I didn't have any) I used site like gamespress.com to do releases and mailed the main game sites directly. Due to the unique hook of the game and that I'd made it on my own, I got good response from the press and that got me a lot of exposure.

Word of mouth is really important. I always ask people who talk to me if they can help spread the word about the game.

With the Android version I've started an Google Ads campaign. You can limit it to $25 a day so it's really cheap. I don't know yet if it's been effective though.

drparton2113 karma

Well, doing an AMA on Reddit was a good move-- I just found out there was an Android version. I didn't know that before.

OFF TO THE GOOGLE STORE.

ColdBeamGames9 karma

\o/ - Yessss!

Parlock6 karma

Do you feel remorse for the countless people with Epilepsy you've murdered?

ColdBeamGames18 karma

Yes.... but they died happy :P

marky11246 karma

Hi Steve. I love Beat Hazard (PC player since it launched) and still now play for a quick blast to my favourite tunes. Is it too soon to share your ideas for Beat Hazard 2? I still love the music that came with Beat Hazard classic. I hope there'll be more like that. I was going to ask about engines, but I see you've answered that. To follow up on your comments with Unity can you expand on what you mean when you say it takes all the power away? Is that about speed & performance or other areas? All the best, Cheers, Mark

ColdBeamGames10 karma

Re BH2, A little early at the moment.

Re: Unity. I've heard it's a little slow and makes your game install a lot bigger. Also, I want a proper debugger. I don't want to work in a 3d editor and have to use a script to make the game.

You can't beat just writing in C++ with a real debugger. (In fact I've never understood the script thing, I don't get it)

WNCaptain6 karma

Hi Steve!

I'm an indie game developer too and I just want to ask, what keeps you sane?

I'm building a small FPS with UnrealEngine and it can very well be a royal pain in the ass, even with 4 other team members.

ColdBeamGames7 karma

Wibble - who says I'm sane Jane?

Nah, I love it. A bit quiet, but working in a big studio used to make me really insane sometimes!

Good luck with your game.

FlappyKona6 karma

How do the sales for Beat Hazard vary by platform? I assume it's highest on PC due to the regular sales?

Also, is there any plan for controller support in the Android version? I'd love to use my controller to play it.

I'm a big fan of your work, played loads on PC. I'm looking forward to seeing what you bring with Beat Hazard 2.

ColdBeamGames5 karma

I'm going to write a blog post about relative platform sales soon. (Yes, PC is the highest). Yup, will also look at gamepads for Android.

the_noodle6 karma

What do you think of one purchase, cross-platform distribution models, like how the Humble Android Bundles handle it? Do you have any plans for Google Play in that regard? I ask because I know I have an Android gift card that I'll probably use for this game, but then I know I'll be wishing I could just play it on the computer, as well.

ColdBeamGames7 karma

I think it's a good idea. Steam working on PC & Mac is great. I hope they bring it to Android at some point. I think you need a 3rd party to do this though, the platform holders themselves would hate it.

Wombat20016 karma

BeatHazard is out for Android? EXCUSE ME. rushing to play store

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Great - Enjoy!

Velocirocktor4 karma

Can you optimize Beat Hazard for the Xperia Play? I want to see my whole screen.

ColdBeamGames5 karma

Yup, I'll look at this when things settle down with the Android version (Still some support issues)

milleniacinder4 karma

Steve, I just want to say thank you for this game. Beat Hazard and Ultra are, without a doubt, the single best $10 gaming value I have EVER seen. Not only is your game ridiculously fun to play, but just the dollar per hours put in is HUGE for me. I discovered the config hack to keep the volume up all the time and now this game is one of my favorite forms of therapy.

Ok :) Flattery over, now for the tough questions. If you've answered any of this elsewhere in here I'm sorry.

1) I wasn't able to find an answer to this on the steam forums. What is going on with the song that most people have used to get to the top of the 3 to 4 minute board/ "Crazy de Gnarls Barkley." I have the album version of that song and while profitable, it goes nowhere near as high as the leaderboards top 20 or so. What is happening here? Are you aware of it, is it a bug, exploit, flaw, etc?

2) The game is equally fun with most music/play modes however there is a bit of a bias towards faster songs and I believe that comes with the nature of beat matching music games. In BH2, are there any plans to balance out weapon strength vs. enemy intensity during slower, singer-songwriter-y songs or classical and such?

Thanks again. Your game is fantastic. EDIT: Just to clarify, I play the PC version exclusively

ColdBeamGames4 karma

Thanks - glad you like the game!

1) Have you looked for a video of how they're doing it? The standard tactic is to find a dead space, not fire for as long as possible to build up multiplier and then let rip with a bomb.

Remember that BH uses a non-linear scoring system, so a small advantage at the start of a song can make a huge difference to the final score.

No one is cheating as far as I know. Nor is there really an exploit. Rather just some talented players who have honed their skills to gain silly points. (I do my best to stop cheats and remove their scores)

2) I have a few ideas about this. I'd need to try them out though. But balancing is very hard with a game like mine, I can only try a infinitesimally small amount of music compared to what players will actually use.

patricknayani4 karma

how do you feel about the unlimited polygon theory?

ColdBeamGames8 karma

I've heard of it, but I don't know enough to give a good answer. Sounds interesting. Sorry a bit lame.

Garanik4 karma

What kind of music would you say lends itself to the best gameplay?

ColdBeamGames8 karma

Hummm.... well they all give different results. Audio books can be a bit odd though :P

j00ky3 karma

I just bought BH Ultra on PSN because you deserve to get paid. Well done sir.

ColdBeamGames4 karma

Wooo! Hope you enjoy it. (Don't check the leader boards btw, it'll crash - Long story)

yeeliberto3 karma

whar is oyur user name in beat hazard so we can see you best record?

ColdBeamGames5 karma

I'm on the boards as Starg http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197970772289

However, I have to reset my scores a lot while I'm developing, so they're not much to shout about.

EpicTurtle3 karma

Hi Steve - thanks for the AMA! And for Beat Hazard, of course - I absolutely love it. I think about half my playtime has been trying to beat friends' scores, so I guess thanks for the leaderboards, too :)

Anyway:

  • Was BH the first game of that style you'd made/worked on? i.e. was it made from scratch or did it evolve from some other project?
  • How difficult was it to base the gameplay on music - both extracting the relevant data and balancing the gameplay to work across different music styles?

Again, cheers for everything you've done.

ColdBeamGames9 karma

-- Was BH the first game of that style you'd made/worked on? Yes. The idea had been rattling around in my head for a few years, but BH was my first attempt and it went pretty well.

-- How difficult was it to base the gameplay on music.

Pretty tricky. I spent long long hours playing different music and tweaking 'magic' numbers in the game. I still tweak it a little even now.

The game doesn't pre-analyse the music either. So the code doesn't know what is coming up. This means I need systems in there to calm things down if the music suddenly loses power. (The up-side to not pre-analysing is you can play to radio / any length of song)

Oh yeah, check out this video of this guys messing with BH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj9NYLAybxw

Roxel3 karma

First off: huge fan

What made you want to male beat hazard, or was ot spir of the moment?

ColdBeamGames10 karma

I had the idea years ago when I first played geometry wars. It stuck in my head for ages. (I then found Audiosurf and thought someone got there first, but then realised although it's the same concept it's a different genre)

As it baked in my mind for so long, I had a good idea of how I was going to do it once I had the chance.

xano952 karma

i still need to try Beat Hazard D:

ColdBeamGames2 karma

There's a demo for each platform - go for it :)

Hark_An_Adventure2 karma

Hey Steve! I was lucky enough to get Beat Hazard on the cheap during some kind of Steam sale and have since logged over a hundred and fifty hours on your nifty little creation.

However, I've exhausted my music supply. Can you suggest any songs or artists that really create an awesome Beat Hazard experience?

ColdBeamGames4 karma

Have you tried playing to a radio station? I don't listen to trance or techno normally, but I love playing the game to those radio stations. (I sort of zone out and kick ass)

MunchyAce2 karma

Hi! I bought Beat Hazard Ultra on PSN some time ago, and I absolutely love the game. Been playing it a lot with my brothers, and all of us have 100% of the trophies on it. We play it every weekend. :)

Oh, right, almost forgot to ask a question.

What's your next game going to be? Is it gonna be Beat Hazard 2, or do you plan on doing something completely different?

ColdBeamGames6 karma

I'm going to do a small music driven puzzle game before BH2. Mainly so I can tidy up all the code and have a break from space ships. (I want to see how well my puzzle idea works too)

MunchyAce2 karma

Any chance your next game will get a Vita release? I'm asking because you said that it's gonna be a puzzle game, and I personally think puzzle games are best in short bursts on handhelds. And I refuse to do gaming on my Android phone, mainly because of the lack of physical buttons.

Sorry for the rant-ish nature of this post.

ColdBeamGames2 karma

I'm really not sure. I didn't have a great experience with PS3 so I've been put off. But never say never. The API might improve and with PS Mobile it might get easier.

wizzed2 karma

Hi, I've bought Beat Hazard Ultra for Android and it was tons of fun! But I realised the game doesn't detect songs that has foreign characters. Any support for that in the future? Love the game!

ColdBeamGames3 karma

I need to look at this. The game doesn't support unicode so it can't handle these file names. With windows you can ask for a non-unicode name and open the file with that. I don't think you can do this on Android. :(

pingspike2 karma

I friggin love beat hazard, especially the fact you can customize the action with your own tunes. That kind of customization and ability to literally make the game uniquely yours you just don't see in games these days. Was this your original plan or intent?

Also, did you anticipate the level of insanity that dubstep or any glitch style tunes (some trance is incorporating the style too) would bring to the game ? :D

I have to ask, do you plan making any future titles as customizable and reactive as BH ?

Finally, thankyou. People seldom make games so good and just plain fun. Thanks for that.

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Dubstep is mad. No I didn't really expect this - it's mad eh? Yup, BH2 will start development next year.

Mates15002 karma

How long did it take to actually develop BH? It's kinda hard to think about all the game mechanics ideas, draw the textures, and code as one-man team, isn't it?

ColdBeamGames2 karma

The first version took about 6 months. But I had something working on the xbox in a day. (XNA is great!) I had a picture of a lear jet flying around firing blobs with the music.

baconator9552 karma

Hi Steve! What advice would you give a noob programmer who would like to get into indie game developing? Any tips on where to start?

ColdBeamGames4 karma

Yup, get Unity (or something like that) and make a very small game. (like pong). If you can get a finished game you will understand all the parts you need to know about. You can then try something bigger from there. If you want a job in the industry, they will be very impress if you can show a finished game (even if it's small & simple)

d3zz2 karma

What's a good 2d library for c++? I like pygame, but I'd like to move on to c++

ColdBeamGames3 karma

I use a free 2D engine called HGE http://hge.relishgames.com/ It's got everything you need to make 2D games. (All the source is there too) I've not really tried any other PC engines.

michael152862 karma

Thanks for AMA and making Beat Hazard: It's an awesome game! :D

Gone through countless hours on Steam and is one of the few games I play on iOS.

Anyway, I'm just going to ask this: Could you please consider making Beat Hazard / Beat Hazard 2 for the Vita?

(I remember from a forum post a while ago that you weren't too eager to do it thanks to how complicated making the PS3 version was, but I figure I'd ask anyway to see if anything has changed)

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Never say never. I've been told the PlayStation Mobile isn't too bad.

LkMaxBr2 karma

I just want to say BH is the first "musical" game that I actually enjoyed. Really. Was skeptical about it but decided to play the demo when the christimas sales highlighted the game and I was surprised by it's quality. I ended up buying and having a lot of fun with BH.

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Hey thanks! :D

RavenKillick2 karma

Beat Hazard is awesome, and you are awesome, just wanted to say that.

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Woo - thanks :D

TheBrokenTrees2 karma

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate that you took the time to put in local multiplayer for Beat Hazard. My brothers and I love it and we bought two copies, including the DLC.

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Awesome - thank you.

drapestar2 karma

Hi Steve,

I'm curious to learn about your experiences in promoting your game. What was your marketing strategy?

Traditional web ads? Promotional apps (i.e. FAAD, other app promoting services)? Blog reviews/buzz?

Very interested in your experiences in this regard. Thanks!

ColdBeamGames3 karma

I try everything that's free. Gamepress.com is good. I mail the press and had a lot of interest from them because of the unique hook.

I tried FAAD on the iPhone, but didn't see any success with it.

I'm currently running a Google ad, which is dead cheap ($25 a day) - Not sure if it works yet.

Steam sales are good. They generate a ton of sales and get people to try the game who might never touch it.

But my strategy is to try everything (Like coming here to do AMA!)

killakrimpet2 karma

What's your favorite song to play to?

ColdBeamGames3 karma

I like playing to Techno & Trance radio stations. (But I don't normally listen to that type of music)

And you?

MaxiPareja2 karma

I absolutely LOVE Beat Hazard. Would you consider using the same idea for a different genre of game? For example a platformer or racing game? Also, any chance of a 3DS/Wii U port?

Thanks for making such an amazing game though, definitely money well spent. Bought on both XBLIG and Steam.

ColdBeamGames2 karma

Yes, definitely. I've got a design book with a load of music driven ideas for different genres. Some I hope I'll get round to making at some stage. (Some are duds, but I still like to keep thinking about how to make them work)

cydereal2 karma

Steve: my game came out at the same time on XBLIG. It has been awesome seeing Beat Hazard everywhere. Perfect for iPad on the plane!

Are you still using XNA for future development?

ColdBeamGames2 karma

Cool - What game was it? Are you still developing? My friends at D3T are currently porting Ultra back to XNA so the full game can come out on XBLIG :)

G3ck02 karma

Hey, Uni student here who wants to make a living making indie games (and apps maybe). So I have a couple of questions I'd love you to answer!

What's it like living that life? It seems perfect to me. Work on what you want, where you want and when you want, have time off when you need it etc.

How many sales does a game like Beat Hazard have? Is it enough to live a comfortable life and take a lot of time off to relax? Or is that a pipe-dream for an indie developer?

Thanks for the (hopeful) answer! :)

ColdBeamGames3 karma

I love my life as an indie dev. It's great. You do have to put a lot of work in of course, and sometimes it's hard going and stressful, but I wouldn't change it for the world!

I'm going to post a blog about sales soon. But yes, BH has made enough for me to carry on as an indie dev and to be able to take time off without worrying about money.

chrisman012 karma

I'm a wannabe indie developer, I have tons of filled sketchbooks and I'm currently teaching myself Unity 3D.

What programming/design tools do you use?

And how the hell do you keep yourself motivated?

please don't get buried...

ColdBeamGames3 karma

Oh, I could write a lot about design tricks & tactics. i went on a formal brain storming course and learnt how to do it properly. It's such a powerful tool and it's not done how most people think it is. (Look for DeBono on amazon)

I don't find motivation a problem. Sometimes I'm a bit tired or lethargic, but i've got so many ideas I want to try, I've always got something to do and aim for.

Good luck with your development!

WhimsicalJape2 karma

Hey Steve, welcome to Reddit!

How have you found the experience of dealing with all the different platform holders you've worked with? Most positive/negative experiences? If you were to tell an new Indie developer to go for one platform first would it be Steam like everyone assumes?

Thanks!

ColdBeamGames3 karma

With XBLIG, iOS & Android there isn't anyone to deal with. So it's easy. Steam (if you can get on) is just a pure joy to work with. Their API is powerful and simple and the guys at Valve are just awesome.

Console holders on the other hand are at the opposite end i'm afraid to say. Making the PSN version was a complete nightmare. I don't think I'll ever do it again. The people are great, but their systems, API and paperwork is just mental. It just never ends, and there's absolutely no reason for most of it. It's really sad actually.

So to answer you question, Steam first yes. Then mobile & XBLIG.

snemand2 karma

I just wanted to say thank you for making a very good game like Beat Hazard yourself and be a part of a good indie game making community that's going on out there. Feels nice to be a poor college student and be able to buy games that support possibly a veteran of the business trying to do his own thing or possibly another poor college student and not always the big guys.

Also good on you for basically making a game with endless replay value. I'll be sure to look out for future projects.

ColdBeamGames2 karma

Thank you!

AndSoItWasWritten2 karma

Thanks for Beat Hazard! I freaking love that game. Go indie developers!

ColdBeamGames3 karma

High five .o/

Lokgar2 karma

No real question, but I listen to a lot of technical death and folk metal, and playing beat hazard while on acid to the songs of Decapitated and Tyr were like a eyegasm that turned into a full body mindfuckorgasm of HOLY SHIT LIGHTS SYNCING UP WITH THE MUSIC.

Thank you.

ColdBeamGames4 karma

hhaha - nice description!

Velocirocktor2 karma

I own Beat Hazard Ultra on all platforms. I can beat almost any song on suicidal. It's my favorite indie game. I must thank you. How in the world could you program such beautiful lights? (I play at 200%)

ColdBeamGames2 karma

Wow - You rock! Thank you for buying it so many times :D

RAPiDCasting2 karma

What Song did you find makes Beat Hazzard the most difficult?

ColdBeamGames4 karma

Classical, because they're so long and they have lots of slow/quiet bits. Try playing to the Star Wars theme or the Imperial March - tis madness!

imnavi2 karma

Hey Steve! How well does the profits from the XBLIG section treat you? Does Steam pay you more per copy sold?

ColdBeamGames2 karma

30% / 70% is the standard split. I've not come across any main platform holders/distributes that don't have these.

Is that what you meant?

Danntheftauto2 karma

I would just like to thank you for Beat Hazard first. My question to you is how do the colours work in game ? Thank you again!

ColdBeamGames2 karma

The game works in HLV colour space. (Hue, Luminance, Value - that is Colour, Brightness and Whiteness (ish) ). By using HLV you can move around the colour space in nice way and then convert to RGB at the end.

Is that what you meant? Sorry if it's not clear.