Let's talk Armillo!

#1
[Verified Wii U Developer]

Hey Nintendo Enthusiasts!
Developer of Armillo here! I was invited by Nintendo Enthusiast to come here and post stuff. I'm the programmer and game/level designer of this game, and a huge Nintendo fan as well!
Armillo is a 3D and 2D platformer that's been in development for 3 years now (mostly part time) by around 2-3 people at a time. It's going to come out to the Wii U eShop in about *crosses fingers* 3 months and be exclusive on the Wii U for a few months before releasing it on the PC. Nintendo has been super awesome to us and we're really excited to be releasing on the Wii U!


You can check out more details and screenshots over at Nintendo.com:
http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/s6gxA7nRWkQ7KIFfRkgeiPgshove-iUZ
Feel free to ask anything about this game, development, etc. in this thread and I'll do my best to answer! I'll be posting updates here as well. I'm generally updating the twitter account frequently on this game and on misc Nintendo thoughts, so feel free to follow there as well: http://www.twitter.com/fuzzywuzzygames
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#3
Holy cow! This looks tremendous. The 2D sections are so good that they look like they could be their own game.

So, questions...

Any plans for a demo?

And what brought the game over to Wii U? (Kotaku reported that the game could have ended up on XBL.)
 
#5
Holy cow! This looks tremendous. The 2D sections are so good that they look like they could be their own game.

So, questions...

Any plans for a demo?

And what brought the game over to Wii U? (Kotaku reported that the game could have ended up on XBL.)
Thanks!
Yup. There's definitely plans for a demo. We don't have the timing for this figured out just yet.
Initially, we did aim for XBLA mainly because we used the now defunct XNA system. We first went throught Microsoft's approval system and got our final answer after 5 months of waiting, which was basically a no. Their explanation is that there isn't really much of a market on their system for our type of game based on similar XBLA title sales.
The Wii U wasn't really in our radar until Emily Rogers (press member, Nintendo fan & critic) came to us and encouraged us to release it on the Wii U. Although the market is perfect for our game, the initial reason why it wasn't on our radar is because of their office space requirement as we couldn't really afford that extra expense at that point. Imagine how happy we were once we found out that they were getting rid of that!
 
#6
Looks GOAT tier. Can't wait for the PC demo. What specs are you planning on optimizing it for on the lowest?

I'm currently developing the PC version off of my laptop, which has a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. Minimum spec should be somewhat lower than that, with at least a shader 3.0 videocard.
 

Menashe

Moderator
Moderator
#7
I just saw the latest trailer and it looks like there's the potential of being a candidate for Wii U downloadable game of the year if it plays as fun as it looks.
I'll be looking out for the release. Was it hard making such a game in your spare time and not even as a full-time job?
 
#9
I just saw the latest trailer and it looks like there's the potential of being a candidate for Wii U downloadable game of the year if it plays as fun as it looks.
I'll be looking out for the release. Was it hard making such a game in your spare time and not even as a full-time job?
Initially, I was full time on it for a few months at the start and I'm now back on it full time for a couple of months working towards getting this game to completion.
Yep, it was a bit challenging. I also had to juggle a family (proud father of two boys!), but I've managed by working mainly in the evenings. My main motivation to keep going is that it's something that I really enjoy working on.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#10
And this is why I'm excited for the next era of "finding which 3rd party company's are quality".

I haven't been able to do this since the NES/SNES gens as a kid. After that the landscape of 3rd party devs started to really shape with the big guys comin out for the next 3 gens it seemed.

Now there too big, or even too safe, and supposed AAA can be bad from time to time.

Being a WiiU only owner this gen I'm really looking forward into digging into which indie devs have the unique, and quality I crave.

This one is looking like a winner, will buy and keep up with you guys aswell. Nice work looks like it will be tons of fun. :D
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#11
I've been keeping my eye on this game for almost a year now, and it's great to see it almost finished at this point. Based on the trailers I've seen, it looks very well done, and I'm excited to play it this year. :)
Holy cow! This looks tremendous. The 2D sections are so good that they look like they could be their own game.

So, questions...

Any plans for a demo?

And what brought the game over to Wii U? (Kotaku reported that the game could have ended up on XBL.)
Thanks!
Yup. There's definitely plans for a demo. We don't have the timing for this figured out just yet.
Initially, we did aim for XBLA mainly because we used the now defunct XNA system. We first went throught Microsoft's approval system and got our final answer after 5 months of waiting, which was basically a no. Their explanation is that there isn't really much of a market on their system for our type of game based on similar XBLA title sales.
The Wii U wasn't really in our radar until Emily Rogers (press member, Nintendo fan & critic) came to us and encouraged us to release it on the Wii U. Although the market is perfect for our game, the initial reason why it wasn't on our radar is because of their office space requirement as we couldn't really afford that extra expense at that point. Imagine how happy we were once we found out that they were getting rid of that!

Wow, I don't want to turn this into an anti-Microsoft rant, but that's a damn shame they would say no to a potential client that is willing to make a game with their own time and money. I'm glad Emily Rogers got in touch with you about developing for the Wii U. :)
And speaking of which, do you have any future plans for the Wii U after this is done (Sorry, if this has been asked before)?
 
#12
And speaking of which, do you have any future plans for the Wii U after this is done (Sorry, if this has been asked before)?

Oh yeah! One of the aspects about Armillo is that it won't really take much advantage of the Wii U's unique capabilities because of the way how the game is originally designed. However, I am currently in the process of planning out something that is a lot more in-line with its capabilities in mind.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#13
And speaking of which, do you have any future plans for the Wii U after this is done (Sorry, if this has been asked before)?

Oh yeah! One of the aspects about Armillo is that it won't really take much advantage of the Wii U's unique capabilities because of the way how the game is originally designed. However, I am currently in the process of planning out something that is a lot more in-line with its capabilities in mind.

I look forward to hearing more about this future project of yours. Hopefully in the coming months, possibly this year, maybe? ;;)
 
#14
I look forward to hearing more about this future project of yours. Hopefully in the coming months, possibly this year, maybe? ;;)
More likely in the coming months. The new title is planned to be developed differently, albeit in a more iterative fashion. In other words, release a simple yet featured basic version first, then expand based on user feedback.
 

Juegos

All mods go to heaven.
Moderator
#16
And speaking of which, do you have any future plans for the Wii U after this is done (Sorry, if this has been asked before)?


Oh yeah! One of the aspects about Armillo is that it won't really take much advantage of the Wii U's unique capabilities because of the way how the game is originally designed. However, I am currently in the process of planning out something that is a lot more in-line with its capabilities in mind.
I wanted to ask something along those lines. The 3D sections remind me of something like Marble Madness Kororinpa (pictured below), or Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble, and that brings about the question: are motion controls supported for these sections in Armillo, or is there a chance that they will be supported later through a patch?

I'm probably already sold on the game, but being able to control the little ball by tilting a Wiimote or Gamepad would be a huge boon.
 
#17
These screenshots look amazing!
How did you split the work between the three of you? Did you have assigned "areas of expertise" or did you all just work on whatever needed to be worked on?
 
#18
If you're still answering questions, how different is the game on Wii U than the planned 360 version? In fact do you have any screens of the 360 version when it was as far as it gotten?
 
#20
I wanted to ask something along those lines. The 3D sections remind me of something like Marble Madness Kororinpa (pictured below), or Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble, and that brings about the question: are motion controls supported for these sections in Armillo, or is there a chance that they will be supported later through a patch?

What's interesting is that Nintendo themselves have also asked us to try out accelerometer support. We'll give it a try, but Armillo is actually more platformer rather than a rolling game (sometimes requires fast reaction times) so I'm not sure how well this will work. But we might end up making it an option for those who want a good challenge.

These screenshots look amazing!
How did you split the work between the three of you? Did you have assigned "areas of expertise" or did you all just work on whatever needed to be worked on?

In total, Armillo has been worked on by more than a handful of people. Most of them took on minor tasks (a model here, some testing/design/feedback here, bits of coding there). There was a time when there were about 5 people on board, which lasted for about 3 weeks. Initially, it was mainly one coder/designer, one audio artist, and one 3d modeler who did the bulk of the work. During that time, we've had some people come and go with some help on the side with marketing, concepting, and testing/feedback. That was just in the first few months of development. After that, the 3D artist left due to life changes (getting married, moving, etc.), so it was just me and the audio guy for well over a year. At that point, the project was also in a bit of a limbo. The XBLA declination, and some health problems didn't help either. I then started learning photoshop and blender myself to make up for any modeling / art that's needed. Just a few months ago, a new artist came on board to help out a bit, so that was very helpful!
If you're still answering questions, how different is the game on Wii U than the planned 360 version? In fact do you have any screens of the 360 version when it was as far as it gotten?
Biggest change would be the port to Unity. Most of the code was re-written in this process so that the development workflow works much better with Unity itself. I'd say the core game is nearly the same (controls, model assets, level layouts, etc.), but everything else around it changed. Unity made development a lot easier - tweaking and tuning the game ended up being way faster. Here's a couple of screens that I've grabbed from the XNA version:


And what the level at the top of this post looks like on the XNA build:
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#22
This is damn cool
What's also damn cool is getting these indie devs coming here to talk with us.

So far FuzzyWuzzy, QubicGames, and Shin'en all seem to be cool with TNE.

I'm lovin this hearing from guys who games I'm going to be buying.

And I wanna thank FuzzyWuzzy for atleast taking some time to come here and at the very least get us hype!
 

Menashe

Moderator
Moderator
#24
What's interesting is that Nintendo themselves have also asked us to try out accelerometer support. We'll give it a try, but Armillo is actually more platformer rather than a rolling game (sometimes requires fast reaction times) so I'm not sure how well this will work. But we might end up making it an option for those who want a good challenge.
Wow, that's really cool. I imagined Nintendo just approves developers and remains completely hands off for the rest of the process until the game is ready to be submitted. They're actually asking you to try out different functionality? So that means they pay attention to the development process of very promising eShop games and even make suggestions for the game's development. Very cool indeed.
 

Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

Well-Known Member
#25
What's interesting is that Nintendo themselves have also asked us to try out accelerometer support. We'll give it a try, but Armillo is actually more platformer rather than a rolling game (sometimes requires fast reaction times) so I'm not sure how well this will work. But we might end up making it an option for those who want a good challenge.
Wow, that's really cool. I imagined Nintendo just approves developers and remains completely hands off for the rest of the process until the game is ready to be submitted. They're actually asking you to try out different functionality? So that means they pay attention to the development process of very promising eShop games and even make suggestions for the game's development. Very cool indeed.
ARTICLE TIME

In light of this http://www.dromble.com/2014/01/07/dolphin-tale-story-of-gamecube/

And this https://twitter.com/ValeFalkren/status/420796936438812672

Along with this https://twitter.com/ValeFalkren/status/420798228192169984

And whats going on with Nintendo Shares (up 1200 yen)
It'll make a good article

Would be a good place to discus Nintendo's whole "Be Unique and Value People" mindset that drives them
 
#26
I want to personally thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. Some great questions and discussions here!
And feel free to continue asking any questions if any come up. I'll also be posting here on any main updates on Armillo as well.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#27
^
You're awesome for stopping by! Jacesonnall is putting together something based on this thread, but would you mind doing a sort of 5 questions interview at a later date? This game deserves some hype, and I want to do all we can to help out.

If you stop back around these parts, I'd love to hear about working with Unity on the Wii U (how friendly the hardware architecture is, how indie devs view the engine, its feature-set equivalent against the "big boys," etc.).
 
#28
^
You're awesome for stopping by! Jacesonnall is putting together something based on this thread, but would you mind doing a sort of 5 questions interview at a later date? This game deserves some hype, and I want to do all we can to help out.

If you stop back around these parts, I'd love to hear about working with Unity on the Wii U (how friendly the hardware architecture is, how indie devs view the engine, its feature-set equivalent against the "big boys," etc.).
Thanks! Don't mind doing the interview at all.
As for working with Unity, it's pretty good. There's quite a bit of setup to be done on the dev kit side before getting Unity ready, but once it's ready it's very similar to working on the PC, that is it takes one click to deploy the game to the dev kit. Since I do development in large chunks (focusing mainly on finishing the game through the PC build), the last I've worked on is an earlier beta that's from around August and it looks like they've fixed a lot of issues since then. But when I worked on it, because Unity Wii U was in beta, there were some bugs and performance issues, but nothing that I wasn't able to work around. I think it took me around 15 hours to get the game fully running - but a bit slow with some glitches. Another 25 hours, and it was optimized, most bugs fixed, featured (second screen support, off-tv play), and sent to Nintendo for review for PAX Prime. Of course, they've approved it. *happy dance*
In terms of hardware architecture, development say between a Power PC and an x86 hardly differs because of the high level nature of development tools today. Only when you want to do assembly level optimizations (which is becoming more irrelevant with faster processors) or transfer data cross-platform (programmer speak for endianess correction - both CPU's processes data differently at the byte level), there might be some differences. But the vast majority of developers won't really notice. Unity and other cross-platform tools also makes things a lot easier since you don't have to write wrappers for the system level C/C++ library functions when doing cross-platform programming.
In terms of performance, I had to down-res Armillo on the XNA build to around 580p to get it to run smoothly on the 360. On the Wii U, I've left it at 720p and it also has more post-processing and lighting effects going on. I'm sure the PS4/XBox One are quite a bit more powerful in terms of pixel pushing, but the Wii U's GPU feature set is also a lot closer to the PS4/Xbox One rather than Xbox 360 and PS3. I'd say it's good enough for us indies.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#29
I don't know if this has been asked yet. But with a game of this type I don't see online multiplayer. How about leaderboards and scores tho? If this has been asked then face palm me lol.
And if no thats fine Im just asking, it won't break me from buying the game if it dosent. :)>-
 
#30
I don't know if this has been asked yet. But with a game of this type I don't see online multiplayer. How about leaderboards and scores tho? If this has been asked then face palm me lol.
And if no thats fine Im just asking, it won't break me from buying the game if it dosent. :)>-
We don't have plans for online multiplayer (Sorry!), but we do have plans on updating Armillo post-launch with a free local multiplayer update. I don't have any specifics on what the multiplayer will be just yet. Leaderboards are planned as well, but I'm not sure if it will make it in the initial release.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#31
Excellent thank you for that. The reason I'm not that concerned is because I think there are many games out there that don't need multiplayer. I still enjoy myself offline games.

What does irritate me is when reviewers or people mark points off of a game just because it dosent have these features. Seem to me you would judge a game as is. But anyhow, I appreciate the answer and it dosent affect me one way or another.
 
#32
Since you said Wii U's GPU feature set is closer to PS4/XBO than PS360, can you comment on what possible features Wii U share with PS4/XBO that PS360 don't have? Certain graphical effects?

True Depth-of-Field is one as Pikmin 3 uses it quite prominently and I've been told that was never possible on PS360, it had to be faked.
 
#36
Have you messed around with global illumination?
Dynamic? Not really. But we've been playing around with static global illumination with lightmaps in the past couple of months. Key focus here is mainly to improving framerate where we can.
 
#38
I see

WiiU supports the majority of the features outright, so if you were porting it should be a relatively smooth process yes?
Somewhat, especially when you're porting from a PS4/XBOne/PC game. There are still a couple of issues around it making it not exactly a trivial task.
One is that each console has their own SDK and interfaces. So a game company will need to wrap their code around a new SDK which can take a lot of time. This one isn't an issue if a cross-platform engine is used such as Unity or Unreal.
Another is performance. With all the features enabled, a game might end up running at a very low framerate, especially with advanced features that tend to take up a lot of processing power. So features need to be removed, tuned, downsampled, etc.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#40
As for working with Unity, it's pretty good. There's quite a bit of setup to be done on the dev kit side before getting Unity ready, but once it's ready it's very similar to working on the PC, that is it takes one click to deploy the game to the dev kit. Since I do development in large chunks (focusing mainly on finishing the game through the PC build), the last I've worked on is an earlier beta that's from around August and it looks like they've fixed a lot of issues since then. But when I worked on it, because Unity Wii U was in beta, there were some bugs and performance issues, but nothing that I wasn't able to work around. I think it took me around 15 hours to get the game fully running - but a bit slow with some glitches. Another 25 hours, and it was optimized, most bugs fixed, featured (second screen support, off-tv play), and sent to Nintendo for review for PAX Prime. Of course, they've approved it. *happy dance*

40 hours total sounds pretty impressive (the equivalent of a work week to get your work up and running on Unity). How does the approval/review process work with Nintendo - did they give you any advice, or helpful hints?

This thread has turned into a goldmine. Calling @Goodtwin, he should like it.
More info stuffed into two pages than hundreds of pages of speculative threads on GAF and IGN.

And, of course, one badass game. I really can't wait to play this. The 2D stuff is going to be absolute catnip for me.
 
#41
How does the approval/review process work with Nintendo - did they give you any advice, or helpful hints?
I actually don't know how the process works. They basically give a yes or no after reviewing the demo. I would guess they were happy with what's in the demo as they didn't request any changes.
 
#42
It's always nice to see an indie dev doing things like this, taking the time to answer a few questions, makes a world of difference. I'll be sure to check this out and preview/review it as soon as the demo/game hit the eShop.
I hate bringing it up but it's a necessary evil, how much did it take to develop this game? Do you feel comfortable that you'll make the return on investment? I'd hate to see you not be able to create or have a hard time with future projects.
I'm a sucker for 3D platformers, this and A Hat in Time are my favourite types of game.
 
#43
It's always nice to see an indie dev doing things like this, taking the time to answer a few questions, makes a world of difference. I'll be sure to check this out and preview/review it as soon as the demo/game hit the eShop.
I hate bringing it up but it's a necessary evil, how much did it take to develop this game? Do you feel comfortable that you'll make the return on investment? I'd hate to see you not be able to create or have a hard time with future projects.
I'm a sucker for 3D platformers, this and A Hat in Time are my favourite types of game.
Although I can't reveal any hard numbers, the cost to date of this project actually isn't all that high as we're all working based on profit sharing. Biggest costs for us would be the dev kit, licensing fees/software (audio, Unity Pro PC, etc.), and PAX11.
Upside is that we can survive developing this way for a long time. Downside is that we have to find other means of supporting ourselves for living expenses until the game sells. So for myself, I was fortunate to work at a company for a while that allowed me to work on Armillo on the side. But the downside of that is it becomes really busy as it's like working on two jobs and I'd have less time to spend for myself and with my family.
Even if Armillo doesn't sell well, future projects can still continue, but at the same time, I'd love to continue working at a full time capacity.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#44
It's always nice to see an indie dev doing things like this, taking the time to answer a few questions, makes a world of difference. I'll be sure to check this out and preview/review it as soon as the demo/game hit the eShop.
I hate bringing it up but it's a necessary evil, how much did it take to develop this game? Do you feel comfortable that you'll make the return on investment? I'd hate to see you not be able to create or have a hard time with future projects.
I'm a sucker for 3D platformers, this and A Hat in Time are my favourite types of game.
Although I can't reveal any hard numbers, the cost to date of this project actually isn't all that high as we're all working based on profit sharing. Biggest costs for us would be the dev kit, licensing fees/software (audio, Unity Pro PC, etc.), and PAX11.
Upside is that we can survive developing this way for a long time. Downside is that we have to find other means of supporting ourselves for living expenses until the game sells. So for myself, I was fortunate to work at a company for a while that allowed me to work on Armillo on the side. But the downside of that is it becomes really busy as it's like working on two jobs and I'd have less time to spend for myself and with my family.
Even if Armillo doesn't sell well, future projects can still continue, but at the same time, I'd love to continue working at a full time capacity.

Well, you can bet that most of us here will be buying your game when it comes out (I know I plan on getting this). I am also sure when you release the PC version, it'll also get a nice boost as well. :)
Btw, I don't want to concern too much about specs, but what sort of framerate are we looking at for the Wii U version? And what about native resolution? Sorry if this has been discussed before.
 
#47
Btw, I don't want to concern too much about specs, but what sort of framerate are we looking at for the Wii U version? And what about native resolution? Sorry if this has been discussed before.
The frame rate from our PAX demo was about 40-45fps, and that was roughly optimized. We'll be aiming for 60fps on release. Native resolution is 720p.
 
#48
What kind of musical scores does the game have? I am a huge sucker for the "Sound test" option that some games have.
The game will have a good mix of licensed music, a bit of our own original music, and chip tuned music from various composers. Our audio guy has selected a nice selection of music tracks for our game.
Although we can't guarantee the sound test option at this point, but we'll definitely keep it in mind. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#49
What kind of musical scores does the game have? I am a huge sucker for the "Sound test" option that some games have.
The game will have a good mix of licensed music, a bit of our own original music, and chip tuned music from various composers. Our audio guy has selected a nice selection of music tracks for our game.
Although we can't guarantee the sound test option at this point, but we'll definitely keep it in mind. Thanks for the suggestion!

Based on the trailer on Nintendo's Youtube channel, the music I heard was quite good and fits very nicely.
 
#50
Although I can't reveal any hard numbers, the cost to date of this project actually isn't all that high as we're all working based on profit sharing. Biggest costs for us would be the dev kit, licensing fees/software (audio, Unity Pro PC, etc.), and PAX11.
Upside is that we can survive developing this way for a long time. Downside is that we have to find other means of supporting ourselves for living expenses until the game sells. So for myself, I was fortunate to work at a company for a while that allowed me to work on Armillo on the side. But the downside of that is it becomes really busy as it's like working on two jobs and I'd have less time to spend for myself and with my family.
Even if Armillo doesn't sell well, future projects can still continue, but at the same time, I'd love to continue working at a full time capacity.


Thanks for the response. Hopefully the game releases to many sales and you get to relax a while with your family. You can count my sale!
What kind of musical scores does the game have? I am a huge sucker for the "Sound test" option that some games have.
The game will have a good mix of licensed music, a bit of our own original music, and chip tuned music
from various composers. Our audio guy has selected a nice selection of music tracks for our game.
Although we can't guarantee the sound test option at this point, but we'll definitely keep it in mind. Thanks for the suggestion!
Chip tune music? YESSS
 
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