Posts with ‘DerekYu’ Tag

Big Spelunky News!

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: September 2nd, 2009

Spelunky! First of all, Derek Yu‘s super popular platformer-roguelike Spelunky has finally reached version 1.0! I’m assuming everyone here has played the game. If not, give it a try already — it’s one of the best freeware titles ever, absolutely.

You can find the latest version here, at Spelunky World.

The other, almost bigger news is: Spelunky will be coming to XBLA in 2010. Derek says, “it’s going to be much more than a straight port of the PC game – I’m planning on stuffing it with new graphics, audio, and other features for XBLA users.” The game will be developed under his new label, Mossmouth. (Support of the original will continue, of course!)

All in all, pretty exciting. Check Spelunky World for more information as it’s released.

Aquaria Design Tour

By: Derek Yu

On: January 15th, 2009

Warning: the design tour has quite a few spoilers in it!

David Rosen of Wolfire Games posted his 4th design tour almost two weeks ago, and it’s about a game that I’m pretty familiar with – Aquaria! I’ve already mentioned this to David during our email discussions of the game and his tour, but apologies for not posting it sooner. I wanted to make sure that I gave the tour an adequate mindshare before I posted my response to it. (I’m also slightly hesitant to post news about my own games.)

First things first, I have to be honest and say that I was secretly hoping that David would do a tour of Aquaria, but I wasn’t sure if he had played the game or not. So yeah, I am pretty excited about it, considering the caliber of the other games he’s toured (World of Goo, Knytt Stories, and Gish). Thanks, David!

So anyway, my 2 cents (it’s actually more like a nickel) on his 2 cents:

David has a designer’s view of things, so it’s not surprising that a lot of the concepts he brings up during the tour were on our minds when we were working on the game. Chief among these was the idea of accessibility. Specifically, how much prodding should a developer give to the player to push him or her in the “right” direction, and to prevent them from getting stuck. “Getting stuck” has been anathema to game designers for a long time now, and it’s often cited as a chief reason why the classic point-and-click adventure genre died (in the mainstream industry, at least, but not so much in the indie scene). The holy grail of game design, it often seems, is to craft something that every person in the world can eventually get through and feel good about. And that’s not sarcasm at all – I genuinely believe that that goal underpins a lot of the choices that many designers (including myself) are making when they develop commercial games these days, for better or for worse. The fear, of course, is that if someone gets frustrated with your game or can’t get through it, then they will give the game a low score, they will not recommend it to others, or they will just give up before they get to some of the other goodies you spent a lot of time on.

And that’s something we did agonize over while we were working on Aquaria, and designing its puzzles, controls, and so forth, because it is a game we want people to play and experience fully, and yes, also purchase and feel good about purchasing. In actuality, a lot of the features that David mentions as being “hidden” in the tour (the hotkeys, the map, the hints, etc.) were added later on in the development (many of them as a patch Alec worked hard on after the release) to address those worries. As to why they are hiding in the game, rather than being displayed prominently, well… I think one reason is that we would prefer people to spin by spinning their mouse, sing spells note by note, and place each ingredient by hand, rather than using a hotkey to do it, and we would prefer that people get lost, even, rather than use a map hint. I won’t speak for Alec (even though I think he feels similarly), but I kind of wanted people to live in the game, and maybe even feel bad or bored about it occasionally. This is supposed to be Naija’s life, after all, and even though we didn’t want to make you watch her spend 5 minutes pooping after she eats, we did want you to feel (flashes, at least) of what her life is like, even the more mundane parts.

I’ll be the first to admit that it seems questionable to insert features into the game that you’d prefer the player not use, but in our case, I believe it was the right choice. Partly for the simple fact that it DID alleviate our fears with the game at a time when we were definitely worried that players would find the game too hard or too frustrating (i.e. it gave us more confidence in the game), and partly because people do find them and use them, but generally only if they are having trouble. It’s a bit of a fidgety situation, but I think it works pretty okay for the type of game that Aquaria is meant to be (your mileage may vary). I definitely should have added the hotkeys to the documentation, though – that was an oversight on my part that is easily rectified.

The puzzles – not so easy! The “Song Door” puzzle near the beginning of the game confounded us for a long time. If you had trouble with it now, you should have played its earlier incarnations (but I’m glad you didn’t!). I still feel like it’s a pretty simple puzzle, but I realize that that’s a meaningless opinion to anyone who got stuck on it for a long time. And David’s definitely right that, ideally, if a player comes up with a clever solution that should work within the context of the game, then it should work. I agree completely.

I am really glad David mentioned Alec’s level editor and animation editor, which are an amazing set of tools that we included with the game itself. I don’t think they get enough mention in reviews of the game. That the sprites have a slight “paper doll” quality to them is not ideal (we did try to think of ways around it), but it’s a small price to pay for the ease of the game’s creation (without which the game would not have been completed).

I do wish that there had been more mention of the game’s narrative and what was good or bad about how we executed it, because it’s a major part of the game and there were some interesting design decisions involved (like the use of voice over). But David told me that the original video was around 30 minutes long and he had to cut it down, which I understand. Overall, I, like the designers toured by David before me (that sounds slightly wrong!), am impressed with the things he pointed out and how close to home his observations were. In the end, I think we made the right choices with Aquaria, though it is not a perfect game by any means. But that doesn’t invalidate at all any of the things David pointed out.

Whew, okay, I said a lot more than I was originally intending to. That’s all (for now), and hope that it was somewhat elucidating! Thanks again, David. Looking forward to the next one!

Happy Aquaria Day!

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: December 10th, 2008

HD trailer here.

Well, Aquaria has been out for over an Earth Year now (as of December 7th). Pretty hard to believe. I remember back in the day when it was all, “Why don’t these damn turtles move?!” And now look at it. All grown up and shipped and critically acclaimed and everything.

Here is the newest trailer ever, in honor of the game’s anniversary and, more excitingly, Big Update. This weekend, Bit Blot will release Aquaria version 1.1.1 (for Windows). This patch includes “widescreen, graphics and audio enhancements, improved puzzles, a new/awesome map system and more.” And a reduced price.

Alec and Derek have been working hard on this update since the game launched, addressing all the feedback the game’s received. (And that’s a lot!) If there was ever a time to get Aquaria, it’s now. (Yeah, I’m talking to you — no more excuses!)

Congrats, guys! A series of increasingly complex high-fives is in order.

NOTE: Dunno why this ain’t been posted yet, but a Mac version is also now available.


By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: December 8th, 2007

The Final Teaser.

Aquaria has finally been released! I’ll have (much) more to say about the game later, but as the Bit Blot site is down, I’ll just provide you with some hot, hot links for now.

The links that really matter:
Buy the game here. (Do it.)
Download the demo here. (63 MB)


Aquaria Release Date: December 7th

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: December 2nd, 2007

Coming out Friday, December 7th, 2007!

You heard it right. After years of development, Aquaria, Bit Blot’s IGF Grand Prize winning undersea adventure game, is done and slated for release on PCs everywhere Friday, December 7th, 2007! The game will cost a mere $30 USD, which, believe me, is an absolute steal.

Heralding the launch will be a new Aquaria-related post on the Bit Blog (which you should be reading already) every day this week, featuring concept art, music, development stories, and Kenta Cho knows what else.

I was lucky enough to have worked on this little gem, and let me say, I am so proud to have been involved at any capacity. The game is all content, professional and polished on every level, and chock full of soul. Alec and Derek have slaved over it for a long, long time — and it truly shows. (Internet whiners take note!)

Anyway, before I get too sentimental, I just want to express how proud I am of The Bad Boys of Bit Blot. Through consistent determination and sheer passion they have created something wonderful and deserve every ounce of success they get. These guys are in it for the love of the game, one hundred percent. I know this first hand.

Follow Aquaria here, on Bit Blot’s official site. And be there next Friday for the launch.

Documentary on Aquaria, “I’d hit it. Sextuple times”

By: Lorne Whiting

On: June 20th, 2007

Aquaria, that unholy and sexy beast child of Derek Yu and Alec (… Yoo, maybe? What’s his last name?) released THIS:

And it is hot like magma.

(On a side not, I hate having to go through the categories here. I’m just gonna put anything remotely related.) [Too many categories! -Derek]

Aquaria Teaser #1

By: Derek Yu

On: October 8th, 2006


When the God of Indie Games Journalism requests something, you give it to him, by himiny!

Here’s a little teaser video that shows off some of the gameplay in the first part of Aquaria. Some of you were wondering how things move ingame. Hopefully this will convince you that it’s pretty fluid (har har)!

We mention on the game’s site that we’re using voicework in lieu of text-based dialogue (which you have to sit and click through). You’ll hear some of that in there, also. The actress is Jenna Sharpe, and the work she’s done for Aquaria is fantastic.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this little glimpse at the game (still in progress)! As we get closer to our expected release date, you can expect a lot more media and info.

More Aquaria!

By: Tim

On: October 6th, 2006

aquaria-logoSo far only a couple of screenshots were posted for Aquaria. Perhaps we can coax Derek to post a boss screen capture, one creature design or two, maybe even a short gameplay video while we wait for the highly anticipated spring release? (hint, hint)

I’m actually quite tempted to add a new category entitled Aquaria.

On another note, is someone working on a translation for La-Mulana yet? It’s been getting a lot of rave reviews though the game is pretty hard for non-Japanese speakers.. (La-Mulana download link)


By: Derek Yu

On: September 13th, 2006


Hey, guys! It’s me, Derek Yu. Me and my friend Alec are working on a computer game and it’s in IGF. I figured I might as well be the first to tell you about it.

I’ve already written long descriptions of the game twice today, once for the official site and once on my personal blog, so you get the cliff’s here: sprawling, non-linear action/adventure game set in an underwater fantasy world. For more info and screenshots, hit up either of the links above.

This is my first foray into the world of shareware. Whereas my previous efforts have been all gratis, I’ve finally bit the bullet and am going to try and make a living making games! I hope you guys will enjoy it.

Whew, I’ve been keeping this secret for quite a while now. Feels good to finally let it out!

EDIT: It says on the site, but just to make it clear, we’re planning on releasing the game in Spring.