Thursday, March 20, 2008

More stuff, this time about two things!

Alright, I've got some info about Blast Works, and about what's happening at Smart Bomb Interactive!

1. The many boxes of Blast Works were done by Majesco's Marketing Team, not Budcat.

2. Even pseudo 16:9 is a no-go for Blast Works.

3. Asking why and about any sort of difficulty regarding any additions, as well as dates and delays, I got this very detailed response:

In the case of the pseudo 16:9 mode, it probably won’t take too long to get in there. The problem is that there are dozens of ideas that we can say the same thing about. In order to get a game done, you have to lock the features and get it out the door. Every game developer has to do it.

Would it be costly to slip by 1 week? Yes. No one working on the project works for free, in most cases we can’t (you know problems like rent, and food). There are collateral costs that are harder to measure. Since people don’t work for free, work on a new project has to be lined up and ready to go. If those people are busy because the date has slipped, the new project gets behind schedule before it’s even started.

It’s important to hit the release date for numerous reasons. There’s a huge amount of coordination that goes into the marketing and advertising. Magazine ads have to be placed months in advance. Weekly flyers that places like Best Buy put out have to mocked up weeks in advance. To know that there is some good shelf space reserved for your product in the stores on the date you promised the retailers that they would have it is very important. If you’re off by a week, that shelf space will go to another product, one that actually shipped out to the retailer when it was promised. Majesco (in this case) is a publicly traded company. If they don’t deliver the number of titles they’ve promised per quarter then their stock goes down, and this effects thousands of people who own the stock.

If the product doesn’t get into manufacturing when it’s been scheduled, the equipment might be busy manufacturing another product that did get in when it was supposed to, this can further delay your ship date.

How were the original dates chosen?

Usually ship date targets can be determined by budget. A fixed budget is set aside to do a project, so it’s development can’t go beyond a fixed date (because that’s when you’ve run out of money and most people on the project can’t work for free). If we go over budget on a project is that publisher going to work with us again? There are a lot of developers out there. I know if I was the publisher I would be more inclined to work with the ones who can make their dates, and stay within their budget. It’s important for us to make our dates, so that we can keep our doors open.

I suppose I could have just said, that it’s very important to us to make our dates, but I want you to understand. It’s very important to make our dates.

So there you have it! Delays don't happen unless it's VERY necessary!

4. regardless of the ever changing box and logos, Budcat is trying to keep the logo as similar to the current one as possible. A change would take mere minutes, so that shouldn't be a problem for them. So Blast Works won't pull a Crash of the Titans and Endless Ocean. XD

As Jason said:

The lettering for the words Blast Works is the same. The other things, like the Build, Trade, Destroy aren’t the same as the box. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say that on the title page, which is the main menu. There really won’t be room to add that other stuff to the screen.

As you cursor hovers over the different menu options, different ships appear in the center of the menu. The menu is kind of circular.

You’re right though, changing out a bitmap only takes a couple minutes, and as long as it’s the same size and bit depth as the previous one, there’s very little chance that one might introduce new bugs.

5. On to Smart Bomb. They are currently developing a Wii and Xbox 360 game (WTF, no PS2 version hidden somewhere? Is this the apocalypse?! O_o).

6. Both versions are being developed side-by-side, so no version is being shoehorned into the other.

7. 480p, 16:9, Dolby Pro Logic II, and 60 Frames Per Second ARE A GO in the Wii version! :D

8. Both versions are releasing in early 2009.

9. Judging by the attention and careful timing of the game, I'd assume it's an original IP (Smart Bomb had to keep their mouth shut as far as Bee Movie goes as they were forced by Activision, so Activision were the ones to ask about anything regarding the game). But Clark Stacey didn't say anything about my assumption.

And dat's da end!

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