Official BLOK DROP U Community Connect Thread

#1
[Verified Wii U Developer]

Hello all.
First I'd like to begin by saying how excited I am to be joining this community of Nintendo fans. I've been a fan of Nintendo since I was about 3 playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES. Until recently, Nintendo consoles have been the only gaming consoles I owned. My name is Michael Aschenbrenner, based in Pittsburgh, PA, and I'm from indie studio RCMADIAX. Nintendo called me back in September with the opportunity of joining the Nintendo Web Framework / Unity development program. My first title to be released is BLOK DROP U.
BLOK DROP U is a simple, yet challenging physics-based puzzle game for the Wii U eShop. The goal is simple, navigate the red blok down and land it safely on any platform, while destroying the grey bloks. Here is an extended trailer that explains this concept hands-on:
At launch the game comes with 30 stages across 3 different categories. Stage Set 1 is Basics, which as the name describes, is just the basics of eliminating the gray bloks as you guide the red blok to safety. Stage Set 2 is Blades, which can help you destroy gray bloks, but at the same time can destroy the red blok causing you to fail the stage. Stage Set 3 adds a new blok, the Bounce Blok. This blok can not be destroyed but is there to either aide or hinder you from landing the red blok safely.
BLOK DROP U will launch for $1.99(US,CA) / $29.99(MX) / R$5,99(BZL) in North America. Release in Europe and Australia is in the works. As of right now it will not be published in Japan.
As of this writing, the game has been submitted to Nintendo of America for final testing and release is pending for January/February 2014.
Plans are in place to support the game post-launch with a variety of FREE stage updates. The plan is 20 additional stages in Q2/Q3, with a final batch of 30 additional in Q4. This brings the grand total number of stages to 80 in 2014. Support beyond that depends on market conditions and consumer demand for additional content.
I have set up a website, located at www.RCMADIAX.com, where you can learn about this title and future titles of mine. Keep in mind that what you see now (as of 01/12/14), is just a teaser site for BLOK DROP U. I am working on a newer site with links to videos, reviews, and release information. Also, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rcmadiax.
This is where I would like to turn it over to you, the community. I am here to answer any questions you may have. Also, any comments and criticisms are welcome too. What levels did you find interesting or difficult. What kinds of stages would you like to see in a future update. This is your chance to be able to connect to me 1:1 about the goings on with BLOK DROP U, and in the future, my other titles I have planned.
Thanks for reading everyone!
-Mike
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#3
This is awesome to have Indie devs coming to join with us and talk with them. Much appreciated rcmadix! After I watch these videos I will probably be back for questions as Im a sucker for puzzles games, especially challenging ones.
If you need anything in the way of mod help you can ask @Superfakerbros, @FriedShoes, @juegosmajicos, or myself Mattavelle while you are here at TNE.
 

Menashe

Moderator
Moderator
#5
How long did it take you to create the game so far?
Did you use a physics library or did you write the physics engine from scratch?
How difficult would you consider the game? How difficult does the game get by the end?

And how many sales do you hope to make in order to consider it a personal success for yourself?
 
#6
How long did it take you to create the game so far?
And how many sales do you hope to make in order to consider it a personal success for yourself?
Took me about 3 months from start to finish. Once I had one level programmed, it was a matter of just desiging different levels.

As far as sales go, Im concerned that even discussing my estimates might violate my agreement with Nintendo. I'll only say that my expectations are what I consider to be very reasonable for first day/first week sales. Of course I'll double check with Nintendo this week and see what their stance on sales figures are.

Since making games has not turned into a full time job for me yet, I'm not relying on the income to live. Ultimately if I make enough to pay for the development hardware, I will consider it a success.

Good questions.

-Mike
 
#7
Did you use a physics library or did you write the physics engine from scratch?
How difficult would you consider the game? How difficult does the game get by the end?
The game engine I used already had support for real-time physics, which cut down on development.

Difficulty has been hard for me to measure. For me its easy cause I know all the right bloks to hit at the right time. For the first time player, it could keep you busy for awhile until you have gone through them all once. I'm going to keep a close eye on the forums and Miiverse to judge level balance and rearrage if needed in future updates.

-Mike
 

Menashe

Moderator
Moderator
#8
Did you use a physics library or did you write the physics engine from scratch?
How difficult would you consider the game? How difficult does the game get by the end?
The game engine I used already had support for real-time physics, which cut down on development.

Difficulty has been hard for me to measure. For me its easy cause I know all the right bloks to hit at the right time. For the first time player, it could keep you busy for awhile until you have gone through them all once. I'm going to keep a close eye on the forums and Miiverse to judge level balance and rearrage if needed in future updates.

-Mike
Any way to get testers and see how they fare against the difficulty level?
 
#9
That's hard to do unless the tester has access to development hardware. This is why I must monitor Miiverse and evaluate the situation for future updates.

-Mike
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#10
Ingenious. This is going to be World of Goo all over again for me. Thanks very much for stopping in. I'd say you can't go wrong for the price, but the idea behind it is cool for any price.

How did Greg get the hand's on? One-time DL code?
 
#14
You know, this game really brings me back to the days when the only games I really played were free games and flash games. This looks like one of those simple, calming, yet thought provoking experiences I loved so much. Going to be amazing to try it out on the big screen. $1.99 is a perfect price.

How long did it take you to create the game so far?
And how many sales do you hope to make in order to consider it a personal success for yourself?
Took me about 3 months from start to finish. Once I had one level programmed, it was a matter of just desiging different levels.

As far as sales go, Im concerned that even discussing my estimates might violate my agreement with Nintendo. I'll only say that my expectations are what I consider to be very reasonable for first day/first week sales. Of course I'll double check with Nintendo this week and see what their stance on sales figures are.

Since making games has not turned into a full time job for me yet, I'm not relying on the income to live. Ultimately if I make enough to pay for the development hardware, I will consider it a success.

Good questions.

-Mike
I think the fact that you only took 3 months is amazing. Personally, I think the best developers are the ones who can create great experiences without all while not exhausted a ton of resources.
So Nintendo has a minimum that they expect indie developers to sell? Personally, for $1.99, and if one likes puzzles, this is a no-brainer decision.
 
#15
So I asked around about releasing sales information. While I cant mention specifics, I will be allowed to announce if it hit my expectations or not.

-Mike
 
#16
Ah, I didn't realize sales information was withheld by Nintendo. I guess the way around that would be to ask broader questions like that.
So is this your first attempt at game development? Are you self taught?
 
#17
Not my first attempt, I tried iOS gaming. Since I only know HTML5 programming, I had to hire a programmer for my iOS project. It was a terrible experience and I don't know if Ill ever try that again. Unless Apple starts accepting native HTML5 projects of course. Self-taught, Yes. I actually considered going to Full Sail at one point, but the bad reviews turned me away from wasting 60K. I would love to learn Unity at some point, but I just have too many things going on right now for that.

-Mike
 
#24
So when do we get to hear about Super Robo Mouse? How about a NE forums exclusive? ;)
Yes! I also really wanna hear more about it. The description he gave me on twitter sounded interesting. Really different from Blok Drop U.
 
#25
Hmm... I guess I could give a tease....
Keep in mind this art is not at all in final form, but just a sample from the artist I hired.
I would like to have World 1(10 levels including boss) of my new game near complete by mid-february for demo/test purposes. Will feature around 50 levels. Full game is aiming for Q2 2014.
I'll keep this image here until I make a dedicated forum later in the month.
-Mike
 
#27
So is it a puzzler?
Of sorts, yes. You control this robot mouse around a typical maze. To open the goal at the end of the maze, you must collect a certain number of "Titanium Cheese" pieces. The exact number varies depending on the stage. Each world will have its own theme and bad guys to combat as well as a boss at the end of each. I am looking to have those sprites animated for the final game, beta may just be static. So you could say this is also a platformer of sorts too. When I started the design process in December I didn't realize how big the game was actually going to be. I could see some of the boards taking upwards of an hour to complete your first time through. Definitely a premium download game.
-Mike
 
#29
I thought it might be interesting to some to see what BLOK DROP U looked like during development.
These were also taken at a time when I had the Wii Remote as a possible control option. I got rid of it because certain stages require you hit the bloks in a rapid fashion. It just didn't feel right using the pointer.
Also, you will noticed 2 red bloks. This is something that I was considering but I just couldn't get it to work right in time. I may revisit this idea in a later update.
-Mike
 
#31
Also, you will noticed 2 red bloks. This is something that I was considering but I just couldn't get it to work right in time. I may revisit this idea in a later update.
Would be great if you could implement the two red blocks for later levels or maybe Blok Drop U 2 after Super Robo Mouse is finished.
 
#32
Would be great if you could implement the two red blocks for later levels or maybe Blok Drop U 2 after Super Robo Mouse is finished.
If there were to be a BLOK DROP U follow-up, it wouldn't come until at least 2015. With 3 more original projects(SRM and 2 unannounced ideas), and 2 BLOK DROP U patches to push out, I feel taking on anymore this year may be stretching it a bit. :) Also, I'm looking into support of other game-centric platforms such as OUYA and Xbox One. Wii U has been fantastic thus far and will create a lot of original content for me. SUPER ROBO MOUSE, so far, doesn't rely on any Wii U features for it's core gameplay. Not interesting in iOS, Android, or Windows Phone development. BLOK DROP U, as well as 1 unannounced project, will certainly remain Wii U exclusives due to the extensive use of the GamePad touch screen.
 
#36
Looks really nice and this is probably going to be the first released game that uses the Nintendo Web Framework. Seems like that Framework was a good investment on Nintendo's side.
 
#38
I actually have a question for the community now. What are your thoughts on paid DLC? Don't worry I still plan to work with Nintendo on releasing the FREE content that I have mentioned above and in interviews, I'm not abandoning those plans. I was thinking more on the lines of something like a package a levels for Wii Balance Board owners, or something on the lines of extra content outside of the normal game experience. What are your thoughts? I know DLC is a touchy subject and I want to make sure It's not something that is forced to experience the game, but I wanted to experiment with it on one of my titles this year to plan for something bigger in 2015. All thoughts and ideas will be taken seriously.
-Mike
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#39
Depends on which generation of gamer you ask I reckon. Myself playing games since Coleco I thought I would never see such a day as DLC. IM not a fan, and I'm damn sad to see the day that DLC is a selling point for consoles features such as XBL. "GET DLC FIRST HERE!!!" (here's a whisper in the back ground say suckers).

Now don't get me wrong I have payed for DLC to extend games. If it's paid for DLC I would rather have something huge take NSLU for example. I paid 20 bucks for 100+ new extremely hard levels this was more than worth it.

What I don't think is worth it is 4 multiplayer maps in CoD for like 20 bucks. If you have to do paid for DLC IMO make it worth the money.
 
#40
From what I read, it's the idea of having DLC on day one that upsets most people. The thinking behind that is if the DLC was ready at launch, why not include it with the game instead of nickel and diming customers. I agree with that 100 percent. I'm thinking on the lines of Pikmin 3 DLC which seems to have been developed after the fact and for a low price.
-Mike
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#41
From what I read, it's the idea of having DLC on day one that upsets most people. The thinking behind that is if the DLC was ready at launch, why not include it with the game instead of nickel and diming customers. I agree with that 100 percent. I'm thinking on the lines of Pikmin 3 DLC which seems to have been developed after the fact and for a low price.
-Mike
It's like you know me *falls into arms weeping*
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#45
Release date is March 6th, 2014 for North America!! Working on European release, which will take place some time in Q2.
-Mike


Awesome!
 

Menashe

Moderator
Moderator
#48
Will add you, and will buy to support a Wii U indie (and I like puzzle games.)
How about a new thread for your next game/s?
 
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