Hi! I'm Chris, the developer of a game called 20XX.

Five years ago, I quit my great-but-boring cybersecurity job and got to work on the game I'd dreamed about since I was a kid. We made it to Early Access right before Thanksgiving 2014, and sold 64 copies on our first day. I was thrilled. After a whopping 33 months in Steam Early Access and 71 consecutive bi-weekly updates, we've finally launched our full 1.0 build. To celebrate, I'd love to answer some questions (maybe ALL questions).

So, AMA about 20XX, life as an indie, jumping/shooting/riding on cars, or anything else! I'll start answering questions at 2pm EST.

Proof: twitter picture

Video proof that that's me (from PAX East this year): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZThBk00ynk

Finally, shameless steam plug.

edit 1: still here, still sellin' fake doors. People are still asking questions, so I'm still answering!

Comments: 388 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

earbroccoli61 karma

  1. Why make a Megaman X inspired game, is it your favorite series?

  2. What was the biggest challenge you encountered during early access?

  3. How does the "rogue-like" part of this game work?

fyeahcking64 karma

Yeah, it's my favorite series. I've been super into Megaman (and X) since I was very young - so much so, in fact, that my brother still calls me "Mega."

Early Access was full of challenges -- it's hard to pin down one, so I'll talk about one challenge per time I'm asked that question until I run out of stories.

When we were preparing to enter Beta in Sept. 2015, we'd just done a pretty major player character design overhaul (I think we did this six distinct times), hoping our shiny new visuals would be a step up for the game. They ended up being the single most negatively received thing we've ever done, which I learned while 3000 miles from home without a decent computer. Zach fixed the characters while I caught a redeye home to get access to my media-worthy computer, and we cut entirely new trailers/screenshots/etc overnight with remastered old versions of the characters. It was super stressful, but it worked out.

20XX's big roguelike elements are permanent death (one failure and it's back to HQ for you) and random level generation/boss order. As you play, you'll find Soul Chips, which you can then spend on new items to increase the item pool in-game, and a set of permanent upgrades that apply to the game's default modes. Think of it like Isaac or Necrodancer in the MMX style, and you've got the right idea.

not_a_moogle34 karma

so, Mega Man X + Rogue Legacy...

added to my queue

fyeahcking19 karma

Yeah, basically.

earbroccoli13 karma

Could you provide an image of the negatively received visuals next to the release ones?

Sourpowerpete34 karma

fyeahcking19 karma

Image four is the style I flew home early to fix. (edit: clarity)

fyeahcking13 karma

I'll leave that for one of our EA folks to show off. (I'm pretty sure one of them compiled a full list of our iterations!)

westquote52 karma

Was there any point (or several) during those 5 years when you almost decided to kill the project? What kept you going?

fyeahcking99 karma

Only one - the day Mighty No. 9's Kickstarter launched, we were only a bit into the project, and suddenly "let's make a spiritual successor to Megaman X" became a much rougher prospect.

We eventually convinced ourselves that we were offering something fundamentally different than they were, even if our inspirations were similar, and moved on. (EDIT: "different" -> "similar")

We've definitely had other rough times, but nowhere near packing-it-in levels of rough.

SirNishin32 karma

Hey there!

Congratulations on the 1.0 release, i love the game and feel like it's captured the Megaman magic like nothing else - including a big thing for me - the soundtrack feels like it really nails it.

I have a couple of things to ask about the soundtrack specifically:

  1. Was it a lot of work to put together a soundtrack so fitting and good or did it sort of happen organically?

  2. Any chance we'll see it on Spotify et al? I'd love to listen to it outside of the game!

EDIT: Formatting fixes

fyeahcking20 karma

Here we go! Thanks for the kind words.

Paging /u/cityfires for more detail on soundtrack composition, but the guy's a miracle worker, and it helps that we work well together.

The OST will go on sale on Steam as a "DLC" package (not real DLC, just the soundtrack) as soon as Valve approves it, and I think we're selling it via one non-Steam site, too - following up with Cityfires about this now.

TL;DR - we'll definitely make sure you can get your hands on the soundtrack!

karstovac22 karma

Hi Chris! I've been the biggest Megaman / X fan since I was a child and when I found your game on the steam market, I immediately saved up to grab it and it has given me so many hours of fun. A couple questions.

1) Favorite Megaman X game?

2) Is there anything that you really wanted to put into 20XX but haven't been able to, either because it is too hard/not enough time/too many other things taking precedent?

3) :)

fyeahcking34 karma

1) X4. Love the fluidity of movement, the crispness of controls, and being able to play as Zero the whole way through. (No, I'm not counting X3 in the "Zero the whole way through" category. I wasn't anywhere near good enough for that.)

2) So many things -- and hopefully, after today's 1.0 release, we'll have time!

The biggest one's a solid level editor - the 20XX dream really goes infinite once we build a community of people using well-made tools to help build potential level pieces, and to get there, I'm going to have to build a good level editor. None of that would matter if we made a bad game, though, so we focused on making a good game first.

fluffynukeit8 karma

I love the X series and all your answers have shown to me that our tastes even within the series are similar. I'll definitely be checking out 20XX.

fyeahcking3 karma

Thank you!

Jim10521 karma

What mistakes from Mighty No 9 did you learn from?

fyeahcking59 karma

Without a doubt, the biggest lesson a developer can take from MN9's struggles is how to communicate with your fans.

Our entire time in Early Access, our fans have treated us so, so well, and we've done our best to repay them in kind. 20XX would be a garbage fire without their feedback.

crash_roader10 karma

Congrats man on finishing it!

fyeahcking9 karma

Thanks!

neo14117 karma

Hey, Chris. Zero here. I'd just like to know two things.

First of all, since I got the game last year, I have:

  • encountered and reported bug after bug after bug.
  • submitted numerous suggestions, some great, some not.
  • clashed with you on more than a few game changes. Oxjack legs, that mortar segment
  • broken the game in ways even I don't know how. Three repeat daily glitches?
  • broken netplay many, many times. You reading this, co-op buddy?
  • just always keeping your hands full in some way. Even now. Where are we on that cheapshots list?

So my first question is; are you sick of me yet? We joke about it but I am legitimately curious.

As for my second question:

Will you be hiring play-testers for down the line for this or your next project?

fyeahcking15 karma

Hey, bud! Somehow missed this one for a bit.

I am zero percent sick of you. (Get it?) Of course not - you've been a huge help these past few weeks, and I'd have to be a fool to think otherwise.

I have no idea what our future QA needs look like - depends a lot on the nature of the project, and we're going to be whole hog on 20XX for a good while yet.

GeneticsGuy4 karma

Just to comment, as a software developer myself... Bug reporting is SO useful. I am always amazed with the people that do weird things with my programs and break them in interesting ways I never even considered.

Report them. If you love your project, you love the idea of fixing all the potential bugs too, even if a bit tedious some of them will be.

fyeahcking3 karma

It is SO USEFUL.

Sprocketvgc17 karma

What did you learn after Mighty No 9's infamous flop that helped shape the design philosophy for 20XX? Do you think the "Mega Man-like" genre will have legs in the future?

fyeahcking23 karma

I think there's a very clear market demand for the "Mega Man-like" genre -- there's definitely an opportunity here if developers execute on it well.

MN9's biggest lesson to us was on community management - I talk about this a little bit above, but they really drove it home for us that clear, open, honest communication with your fans is pretty important. In our case, since we were developing an Early Access game, it was downright critical.

AsixJin16 karma

What inspired you to make a megaman x roguelike?

fyeahcking24 karma

I've always wanted "more Megaman X," and it seemed like the best way to get it was to make a super replayable game that feels like it. It turns out that Megaman and roguelikes mesh together in a bunch of ways, but that wasn't why we did it.

Sprocketvgc13 karma

Are you a Fox main, a Marth main, or a Mega Man main?

fyeahcking18 karma

Peach, back when I played a bunch of melee.

jhnsnc12 karma

I got 20XX right when it became available in early access. I noticed that you completely re-skinned/re-animated enemies a few times over the years.

If you had it to do over again, do you think you would have changed the scheduling of when you completed design/assets/animation to reduce the number of iterations? Also, how many of those re-works were based on gameplay feedback vs simply visual updates?

fyeahcking7 karma

Zach nailed this one.

nosfusion12 karma

I would love to see this come to the Nintendo Switch; any plans for a console release?

fyeahcking12 karma

Yep! Working on PS4/XB1 first, then figuring out what's after that. (Maybe Switch - it's definitely our current next-most-likely option.)

jrainer23412 karma

What's next for Batterystaple Games after 20XX? Also, is Batterystaple Games hiring software developers by chance?

fyeahcking21 karma

For now, we're still full-steam ahead on 20XX. There's still a lot to do - at the absolute minimum, we're taking the game to PS4/XB1, and then we'll see about additional ports afterward. I intend to stay in games one way or another, but I'm not sure what that looks like yet. Regardless, I'ma be supporting 20XX for a long time.

We're not currently hiring! If I'm being honest, programmer's pretty far down the list for when we do. Anything could happen, though!

Vevent2 karma

Are you looking at any other consoles currently? Specifically anything portable? I've played for a fair bit of beta and would love to be able to go somewhere with my 3ds/vita if at all possible (even the switch for that matter if the others can't work). Congratulations on launch!

fyeahcking7 karma

Nothing definitive - looking at Switch as a third likely port candidate.

chunkystyles1 karma

Any chance of cross platform multiplayer? I'm a PC gamer through-and-through. I have a friend that refuses to buy a gaming PC. One thing we have in common is a love of Mega Man. I showed him a trailer for this game when I found it and he was really bummed that he couldn't play it on his Xbox One.

So, we would love to be able to play together cross platform. As disinterested as I am in consoles, I think cross platform play is one of the best things that can happen in the near future for games.

fyeahcking1 karma

TBH, I have no idea what the challenges of cross-platform play really are - my guess is that adding x-platform makes cert substantially more of a hassle on consoles, which is a pretty big strike against it. Time will tell though!

TheRealMewt9 karma

Who would win in a fight? 100 X sized Zeros or 1 Zero sized X?

fyeahcking36 karma

Seeing as they're about the same size, I'd say the Zeroes have to take this one as long as they can figure out what they're fighting fooooooooor.

valveplsnerf8 karma

Hey! 20XX is a lot of fun. Congratulations on getting it out of Early Access! I have a few minor questions because everyone else pretty much covered what I wanted to ask about but I still wanted to participate. Oh well.

  1. Was there any specific reason for renaming the game from Echoes of Eridu to 20XX?

  2. What was the biggest roadblock you encountered during development? Is there something you wish you did way earlier in development?

  3. Were there any major inspirations for the game besides (obviously) the Mega Man franchise?

  4. According to the i.bin file in the game's directory the Charging Magnet item was used to be called "Mag-NEATO". Why is that not a thing anymore? That should be a thing, honestly.

  5. Is there anything specific you have in mind for the next update yet? Also, will 20XX eventually get additional content? Has the team considered DLC (besides the soundtrack, I mean) down the line?

Thanks!

fyeahcking18 karma

Echoes of Eridu was a super non-memorable name. It didn't evoke the inspiration, it said nothing about the gameplay, and it was hard to remember. Basically, it was a bad/unmarketable name, so we changed it.

We've had plenty of challenges while making 20XX, I'm not sure we've ever really hit a roadblock. I wish we'd settled narrative earlier in development - would have made our lives a lot easier toward the end.

Re: 3: Just the recent roguelike trend. I've always wanted endless, replayable Megaman X, it seemed like a good time to shoot for it.

4.

We're definitely going to continue to support the game, but we're not 100% sure what form that'll take yet. As I mention above, I'd really like to build good, solid level-piece authoring tools, so the community can get engaged in helping build the game's level diversity. Beyond that, just more content! Levels, bosses, augs, maybe even characters, etc.

Sairek7 karma

Nina or Ace, which do you prefer for your play style, and why?

fyeahcking10 karma

Depends on the patch! I usually roll Nina when I'm playing Challenges -- I find it a lot easier to avoid damage for that sweet efficiency bonus -- and Ace if I've got to plow through and test a thing, but those are pretty far from set in stone. Few things in 20XX compare to a full Dracopent+Blender Ace run.

Sourpowerpete3 karma

Full Draco + Wave Beam was pretty close

fyeahcking2 karma

no doubt

cocoamunckies7 karma

Do you have any plans to incorporate kittens into future games? How do you see kittens fitting into the future of gaming as a whole?

fyeahcking7 karma

There's actually a cat in this one. You can pet it! (Also, hi! Hope you're well)

cocoamunckies2 karma

Great news! The Cocoamunckies Kitten Association approves this decision and looks forward to one day petting said cat! (Hai hai! Hope you're well as well!)

fyeahcking3 karma

yessssss

ThirdProjectJuno5 karma

In early megaman games, most of the robots look like grenades or magnets or cannons with legs. By the x series, and in 20xx, everything is a robotic bat or ostrich or penguin, and every boss is a robotic animal, even when it doesn't make sense, like hamster balls that split into more, smaller hamsters. Why do you think the antagonists in these worlds need their evil armies to resemble animal ecosystems so much?

Also, given that you not only made an MMX game, but had to design a procedural level generator based on it, do you ever feel like the X series wall jumping mechanic hurts the ability to design better platforming levels?

fyeahcking8 karma

I can't really answer your question without a huge spoiler tag for the game's lore, so find your answer there!

And, yes - in a sense, default walljump is a little limiting. It also adds a toolset, though, so it's a bit of a tradeoff. Can't have a game like this without wall jumping, though, so it was never something we considered taking out for design's sake.

coryrenton5 karma

what is the weirdest thing you had to change in order to make the game ready for sale (name change, boot time etc....)?

fyeahcking9 karma

We've done a bunch of things like this over time - we changed the name from Echoes of Eridu because it was a terrible, horrible, no-good-very-bad name, but we've also taken lots of time to improve performance, load times, save times, etc. Basically, for every feature in the game, we ask, "is this working well?" and fix it if it's not. Sometimes several times.

Oh! Actually, I just remembered a better answer. Early in 20XX's development, we discovered a crash bug with our Lotus enemies a week before our first PAX showing, and promptly pooped ourselves. We couldn't figure out what it was about the asset that caused it, and eventually just had to rebuild the thing from scratch, after which it never bothered us again. Still have no idea what was wrong with that thing.

Sourpowerpete5 karma

Hey hey, I told ya I'd be here later. =P

  1. The Piecemakers idea was (is/will be?) a great way of allowing users to expand upon 20XX by creating level segments, but it never really took off. Personally, I attribute the lack of submissions to the difficulty of using Tiled, which is a shame, since user created content is one of the best ways to strengthen a game's replayability. If it isn't already, could you make a proper level editor one of your biggest post-1.0 priorities? Edit: I asked this question before you answered it several times above.

  2. I was taking a look at the different branches 20XX has awhile back, and I have to ask... what is the pharoahman build?

  3. What are some ideas you seriously considered adding but never saw the light of day?

  4. What plans do you have for the Superfriends? We're still very eager to help =)

  5. What's next, now that 20XX is released? I know you've said that 1.0 is not the finish line, but what are some exciting ideas that you want to implement or try? Do you have plans for any other games?

fyeahcking5 karma

You are 100% correct (I hope) that Piecemakers' initial failure is because the level tools we provided (and used to make this game) are terrible. (To be 100% clear - nothing is wrong with Tiled - it's fantastic - but our specific implementation is very clunky, and hard to get a hang of.)

After the dust settles with 1.0, porting and a proper level editor are my highest priorities.

I'm pretty sure the "pharaohman" build was for a player a long time ago who had a crash only with the current build, so I gave him the previous build to play so he could still enjoy the game while I figured out his problem.

We've got a barrel of level mechanics that we'd love to put into future content -- as for stuff that never saw the light of day and is likely to stay that way, we (at one point) had limitless, unbounded permanent power progression, where you could use your ingame currency to buy endlessly stacking upgrades for everything, including speed. It made the game a clown fiesta of the worst caliber.

Who do you think I'm going to come to when I have a level editor draft? :D

We're still going to be so focused on 20XX for the next several months that it doesn't make too much sense for us to talk about what's next yet. You guys'll probably know first, though!

derglingrush4 karma

With the glut of Rogue-lites that have come out in the past five years, did you ever start to get concerned that the market was over saturated, or did you feel pretty good about it because no one had done one in this style before?

How stoked were you that MN9 kinda bombed?

How much of the success of the game do you attribute to your, frankly, excellent interaction with the community? I've purchased maybe a dozen early access games but the amount of feedback you received and the amount of communication you had with your player base really went above and beyond anything I've seen before.

What happened to those handsome booth babes you had at PAX for a while, I didn't see them this year?

Were there any other name ideas you were tinkering with before you settled on BatteryStaple Games?

Are we ever going to get a Spacious 2: Return of Spacious?

How many hours of play time do you have for 20XX?

Finally, do you have any plans for your next game? Even just some vague ideas? I assume you're going to continue making games given how well 20XX seems to be doing?

Thanks!

fyeahcking6 karma

You hit the nail on the head. Especially by now, "roguelike" is no longer enough of a distinction to make your game stand out, but we feel still feel pretty solid about it since we're the only one of this kind.

MN9 could have done two things that'd've been beneficial for us - they could have done so well that they revitalized the genre and left fans hungry for more, or done so poorly that fans needed a different fix. The worst way that could have gone was "okay and non-noteworthy", so we're happy it didn't go that way.

I'm pretty sure our community interaction is one of our big selling points as a company. We see stuff like "I was on the fence about this then saw such an active/interactive developer and bought it" all the time, and it never stops reminding us that we're doing a good thing. We've built our community slowly and carefully over the course of three years, and it's a very two-way street: they're awesome to us, so I try to make that mutual. Yes, fielding people's crash reports at 3 AM sucks, but having your new game you were stoked for crashing at 3 AM with no recourse sucks more.

The booth babes needed a year off. Something about board games. (The "booth babes" being referred to are my buddies DJ and Chase. They were volunteers helping us get time to eat lunch, not actual booth babes. They're both very handsome.)

We're still chewing on narrative decisions before we can move ahead with [i]Spacious 2: Return of Spacious[/i]. It'll be around someday.

My personal Steam account says I have almost 1500 hours in 20XX. Not sure how many are on my other accounts.

We've got a lot of stuff in the hopper, but we're not really ready to talk about stuff yet - we're super focused on 20XX for now, and likely still will be for several months at minimum.

seattleandrew4 karma

Any chance you'll put the game up on GOG?

fyeahcking3 karma

Not super likely short term - we use a lot of Steam's API for 20XX's various bits, so migrating is not cost-free. We'll have to address this anyway when we port to consoles, though, so there's a chance then.

sardu14 karma

How does it feel knowing your game is getting better reviews than Mighty No. 9?

fyeahcking7 karma

We're very proud of our reviews!

ewingj324 karma

Does Mr. Coffee have a bomb in it?

fyeahcking4 karma

You know it does, my dude.

chimarvamidium3 karma

Hey Chris! I love the game, thanks for making it so awesome.

What's your play style for 20XX? When you play, is there a particular build you gravitate towards?

fyeahcking4 karma

I usually let my first few Augs/Cores dictate my run - an early Owlhawk helm means I'm picking up a bunch of Powers, a Nut Replicator means I'll hoard and take the 10 nut bonus at level's end, a Plasma Blender means MUST TAKE ALL DRACOPENT ALWAYS, etc. The game's full of synergies, so I just try to let my early items dictate what should come next.

yubhb23 karma

Are you aware that 18XX is a genre of train and economics related board game?

fyeahcking2 karma

I'm not! I love board games, though. Can you compare them to any "mainstream" boardgames I've probably played? (good mainstream like Catan/Dominion/Agricola, not bad mainstream like Monopoly/eating a flaming barrel of garbage with your hands)

nolunch2 karma

A very incomplete comparison would be Ticket to Ride with a stock market added. That really doesn't do the 18XX games justice though.

fyeahcking2 karma

Neat. I'll see if I can rustle up folks to check it out.

Blase-and-Blithe3 karma

Any plans for a release on console?

fyeahcking5 karma

We're actively working on ports for PS4/XB1, and figuring out what's coming after that.

Honeymaid3 karma

Wait, isn't 20xx a Homestar Runner joke from long ago when they did the anime parody??

fyeahcking4 karma

That's 20X6! But we love that, too.

yourhandsarecold3 karma

What prompted you to finally take the leap from a stable job to game development full time? Do you regret your decision?

fyeahcking6 karma

I finally had the financial resources to give it a try. I didn't have any industry connections/publisher/etc, and before that point in my life I'd never had the cash to quit working and still eat.

(I probably should have started making games when I was in college, but I was too busy playing WoW.)

Sprocketvgc2 karma

Since this IS an "Ask Me Anything"...

How do you like your eggs?

fyeahcking5 karma

s c r a m b l e d

table_it_bot4 karma

S C R A M B L E D
C C
R R
A A
M M
B B
L L
E E
D D

fyeahcking7 karma

this is a good bot

Talandarling2 karma

In the game there are charged powers that you can only use if you get lucky enough to build a full set of randomly spawned OwlHawk gear (that disappears after your run) which I have yet to build in 25 hours of gameplay. Do you have any plans to allow players to charge powers normally like in megaman?

fyeahcking1 karma

Not at this time!

Zellyff2 karma

Sick 1. 0 is out you actually made me break my early access boycott because it was just so much fun

My question is

How difficult was getting multiplayer to work in any capacity I've seen many devs say multiplayer just isn't worth the time effort and money was multiplayer always a design goal for you?

fyeahcking2 karma

It was always a design goal for us - maybe not a smart one. Online multiplayer specifically ended up being a huge time sink for me -- we don't really know how not having that involved would impact sales. That said, I learned a ton doing it, and am very glad I did it in hindsight - I'm just not sure I'd suggest it to someone starting out.

Thank you for the kind words!

cwolfcommander2 karma

Regarding some of the plans of Eridu, I remember Jam and Blitz were once talked about. Did their names and concepts come up in proper development for 20XX, or have they kinda sunk away since?

Side note, Sorry I couldn't have chipped in on the Kickstarter proper, I'd been looking aside at the time.

fyeahcking3 karma

No problem! They've sunk away entirely. If we get the opportunity to make more characters, those designs might influence us - or they might not.

AsixJin2 karma

Assuming that you worked on this full time, what was the hardest challenge and what failsafe did you have in place?

EDIT: I finally got to a computer, but I read that you did quit your job. At what point did you decide to quit your job?

fyeahcking7 karma

When I left the cybersecurity gig, it was the first period in my life where I had the money to back it up and nobody in my life who'd get really upset if I lost it all doing something stupid. You only live once, etc.

The hardest part of making this game was the netcode. Online multiplayer testing is hell as a lone developer, and while I'm glad I did it, it's overwhelmingly the single issue I spent the most time on.

neo1412 karma

Can confirm. I never let him rest when it comes to netplay.

fyeahcking3 karma

it's true

AsixJin2 karma

How did you go about getting these funds?

fyeahcking3 karma

Savings from working as a programmer for several years after college.

NuAngel-1 karma

Mega Man X... online multiplayer...? I think you went overkill for your first game.

AsixJin4 karma

Obviously not if he released it...

fyeahcking3 karma

No, he's right. Totally overkill for our first game. Definitely don't recommend doing it this way!

fyeahcking2 karma

We sure did.

Janube2 karma

Had the game since Christmas- it's amazing. But my question is:

Has anyone told you that you look like Sylar?

Seriously, congrats on the success and keep up the great work. I can only hope I'll be as dedicated and skilled a game designer as you someday!

fyeahcking1 karma

I've gotten Sylar a few times, yeah. I think it's a compliment! Thanks for the kind words.

cryoclasm2 karma

I've always wondered: are you able to go back and play your own game for fun, or does knowing all the secrets take the excitement out of it?

fyeahcking2 karma

IT's definitely hard to play it for fun sometimes, but (more often than is productive) I'll get caught up playing the game when I meant to test something out. I'm pretty sure that's a good sign.

With a few of the optional difficulty skulls on, I still have a lot of fun just playing it. Had a run while I was testing today's release candidate that ended in a final boss fight crash (which we've fixed) after six consecutive bosses ending at 1-2 hp, which was pretty deflating.

My dream is to build a strong enough level piece editor that players make enough level pieces that I really get to play the game fresh - I made the game I wanted to play, and that would be the best.

CapsUnlocker2 karma

I'm a huge fan of MMX myself! I love good platformers and I think the rogue like elements and procedural generation are interested. In-fact I wanted to buy 20XX because it looked so great previously but one thing was holding me back:

Any plans to release a Linux version?

fyeahcking2 karma

There's a decent chance we do mac/lnx after PS4/XB1 - really depends on effort level. Most people say it plays fine in WINE!

Jkolorz2 karma

Have you ever heard of The Protomen? Megaman inspired rock?

fyeahcking2 karma

Of course! They're awesome.

TheSpicyGuy2 karma

When I introduced 20XX, my gaming bro joked 'The melee community should sue them.'

I went with, 'They can't sue themselves.' *

Then we were wondering if you guys were into Smash Bros.

So. Do you smash? If so, favorite character? (I have a guess.)

*20XX is an old but popular meme in the smash community

fyeahcking3 karma

Hah. Yeah, the smash 20XX mod went out a few months after our name change.

I haven't played much lately - usually just random w/ friends in ssb4 these days. Used to play a mean Peach in melee.

zeroexev292 karma

Late to the AMA, but I've been following the game for a long time!

My question is: What were some early design concepts that you had to leave out due to balance, but secretly wanted to keep?

Though a short-lived time, I loved getting 5+ Feathers and double jumping through the lategame without a care in the world. The Spillover Matrix was so OP and fun when it went both ways, too!

fyeahcking2 karma

Yeah, a lot of those early item decisions (unlimited stacking feathers, the effects that are now on core augs not being one-ofs, etc) were pretty bad for game balance.

Same goes for the pre-game loadout system we used to have - kinda cool in theory, but a big hassle/barrier to entry for new players. (It was super fun, though. Still remember Elegy's videos on Endless just plowing through levels at lightspeed with unlimited jumps.)

The_0racle2 karma

How much did you have in savings (allocated to the game's development) before you quit your job?

Did you receive funding from private investors?

If so, how did you go about finding them and pitching the idea to them?

fyeahcking2 karma

I had about 80k in the bank when I started all this - no private investor funding.

NeonJ822 karma

Can we get any more information on Level Nine? :^)

fyeahcking2 karma

it's hard. spoilers!

negative_energy1 karma

How did you find a team of people to work with? Did you start with smaller game projects before this or did you just jump in with a big one? I'm in a similar situation and I'm trying to figure out what my next step should be.

fyeahcking1 karma

Hey! I actually built pretty much the entire team through reddit one way or another. I'm not sure I recommend that, but it worked for us. (Our artist and composer game through /r/gameDevClassifieds, and I found our business guy through an /r/gamedev suggestion that I go to an IGDA meeting.)

I built a tiny proof-of-concept platformer before 20XX, but nothing major. I don't really recommend this tack - it was super risky, and it'd've been really easy to lose everything. We got pretty lucky.

Start small, and build incrementally on that. Do it a lot. (How small maybe depends on your skill set, connections, and what industry you're moving from.)

droxius1 karma

Would you care to share some insight on what the financial ramifications of going solo like this are? I'm studying to be a software developer and I'm prepared to work my entire career in a "practical grownup" job, but my dream is really to make video games. Is quitting your job and making a game the tech equivalent of moving to LA to become a movie star, or is it more down to earth than that?

fyeahcking3 karma

It's maybe slightly more down to earth than that, but it's not a good financial decision. It wasn't for me, either - even after working my ass off and releasing a game I'm super proud of, I'd still have more money if I'd stayed put.

Games are a crazy crowded space right now, but there's always room for standouts. Be prepared to support yourself and your team for twice as long as you initially think is necessary - it's only more reasonable than moving to LA to become a movie star because making a game with a small team is something you can absolutely do without external influence, but you can't really "make it on your own" in LA (I think?).

droxius1 karma

That's really helpful! Thanks for putting thought into answering, and I wish you nothing but success with 20XX.

fyeahcking1 karma

Thanks!

UberPrioritizer1 karma

Hey Chris, congrats on all your achievements!

I'm a mid-30's guy in a completely different industry than game development who is currently on the fence about making a career switch. I have zero programming knowledge but tend to have a creative personality, and game making always fascinated me. I have the fortune of having started a very modestly successful business, so I would have some income from that to keep me going during my learning period. My wife is supportive of my goals.

My question(s)... am I doing the right thing? What has been the good and bad about changing careers at this point in life? What would you have done differently in the beginning to better prepare yourself for today?

fyeahcking1 karma

If you're either a talented artist or a talented programmer, it's worth considering. If you're neither of those things, try and become one as a hobby first - small teams don't really have much room for anyone who isn't one of those things first. (Alternatively, if you have an incredibly clear vision and the money to do it, you could hire both, but that's very rare in small-team gamedev. If you've run a successful business prior, that definitely gives you a leg up there.)

Keep in mind that no matter what you do, we're currently in the middle of a very, very difficult time to stand out and compete as an indie dev. Don't do it if you're not okay with the (high) risk of losing the money you invest if it doesn't work out.

BrowenChillson1 karma

This on PS4? Cause I'll buy megaman to sit on my couch.

fyeahcking2 karma

Almost certainly will be eventually, but not yet.

BuffHerOverBlow1 karma

What was your specific job in information security before you quit? I'm in the industry and am curious what job you had that was very boring.

fyeahcking2 karma

I was the guy who wrote all the QA automation stuff. (It was a great job! I just wanted to try this while I had the chance.)

pikachupacabra931 karma

As long as its better than mighty number 9 then your going places. My question is did you play mighty number 9 ? If so will you take in consideration the shitynes of this game and try to make a better game.

fyeahcking2 karma

We've done our best to make 20XX the best game we can, and we'll keep doing that.

MarcusQuintus1 karma

Hi Chris. I beat 20xx last fall and haven't played a significant amount since.

At the time, there wasn't a MegaMan style multi-part end level. Has that been added now?

Really fun game!

fyeahcking1 karma

Yes! Runs now end with the challenging Station levels, complete with end bosses.

YeahIGotAFace1 karma

You aiming for a ps4 release at some point?

fyeahcking1 karma

Yeah! See above.

crowscountingspades1 karma

But had you stayed in cybersecurity, you could have been rich and retired by now? Do you ever regret it?

fyeahcking7 karma

Oof. Yeah -- we're doing well, but I won't pretend I have more money now than I'd've had staying in cybersecurity. On the other hand, I get to do what I've dreamed about doing my whole life, so that's pretty rad.

TheKILLSMASH1 karma

Just by watching the trailer for this, it looks very fun and amazing! Congrats on following your dreams dude. I don't really have a question but, since it's an AMA, how much, if at all, did your former job experience as cyber security play into you being able to code and design your game? Do you have any ideas for sequels or other games yet?

fyeahcking3 karma

Not any more than any other coding profession would have been, I don't think. I had to learn it all from the ground up - started with one of those C++ tutorials that's like "here's how you make a window with one triangle in it!" and worked my way up from there.

See above for future stuff - lots of ideas, nothing we can announce though! Focused on 20XX hard for now.

chunkystyles1 karma

Hey Chris, I bought 20XX many moons ago, and do love it. But one thing I would love to see is a non-procedural, non-roguelike game type. Any chance of that happening in the future?

fyeahcking1 karma

Hey! Not super likely from us any time soon, but we aren't really ready to talk about what's after 20XX. Anything could happen!

sammaster91 karma

Hey! This game looks great! I've been following it for a while, but haven't picked it up yet for financial reasons. Looking at the trailer, my main concern is that there were lots of flashy effects happening on screen. Is the platforming ever difficult with lots of visual clutter like that?

fyeahcking7 karma

It's a bit flashy, but we also cherry pick explosive moments for the trailer. The platforming is difficult, but not because of visual clutter. :)

P8II1 karma

Any plans on releasing it on the PS4 or Xbone? As a big couch co-op fan, I would definitely buy!

fyeahcking1 karma

Hey! See above - we'd love to release on both, and are actively working on it.

WRONGonRED1 karma

Will this be worse than mighty no 9?

fyeahcking2 karma

Check out the reviews and decide for yourself!

fluffynukeit1 karma

What are your favorite pieces of music from the X series? There are so many good ones, but Storm Eagle stage music is the one that makes me feel most like a hero.

fyeahcking1 karma

Almost answered "Storm Eagle" before finishing reading your question. It'll always be on top. After that, I love a bunch of tracks from X5 - X vs. Zero will always be pretty awesome in my book.

Im_mostly_lurking1 karma

Two quick questions:

  1. Are you also a fan of the Megaman Battle Network series?

  2. If so, is there any possibility of you guys making a game based on that style of gameplay/battling?

fyeahcking2 karma

I'll freely admit I haven't played much of those games. The combat's super different, and didn't immediately click with me. LOVE the music, though.

drchopsalot1 karma

Pineapple on pizza or no?

fyeahcking2 karma

If you like eating garbage.

apgrenus1 karma

Are you planning on adding three or four player co-op to 20XX in the future? I really do enjoy the ability to play with a friend online but if I have more friends that want to play online, would there be an option for more players for local or online co-op?

fyeahcking2 karma

Maybe down the road if we're very successful and this becomes a popular request - it's not currently in the cards, and would cost us a lot to implement. Besides, the levels don't really give themselves over to being four-player mayhem zones too well.