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GoNintendo Exclusive - Renegade Kid unveils Xeodrifter for 3DS eShop

We've had some truly amazing moments in the history of GoNintendo, all thanks to you guys and gals. Hands-on events with big first party games, interviews with game industry bigwigs and celebrities alike, and even a feature straight from the desk of Reggie! It's been an insane ride, but I think our feature tonight might take the cake as the most exciting ever.

We are honored to unveil Renegade Kid's new 3DS eShop project, Xeodrifter! This is the first of a weekly development diary series straight from Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham. Every Sunday night/Monday morning, you can hit up GN to see a brand-new diary entry from Jools that gives you a deeper look into what Xeodrifter is all about. Tonight we start things off in a big way with Xeodrifter's official unveiling! - RMC




This is the development diary of Xeodrifter by me, Jools Watsham. I expect it will be a little disjointed, but hopefully it will offer some insight into the process involved in the creation of this game.


[This is me, on my laptop, excited about designing a new game – hooray!]


Monday, July 1, 2014
Dear Dev. Diary,

It is July 1, and today, USA lost against Belgium in the World Cup – but we won’t dwell on that. USA played really well. In other news, we’re on the final march towards the completion of a currently unannounced game called Xeodrifter! We usually announce the games we’re working on fairly early on, so it has been strange to work on this and say nothing about it publicly.

The first thing I expect many people might think is, “I thought you were working on Treasurenauts!” Yes, well, I have a confession to make. We were working on Treasurenauts – and it was progressing really well – then, one day I got a bee in my bonnet to make a metroidvania game.

I should stop there for a second and mention that I kind of dislike the term “metroidvania”, but much like the term “indie”, it symbolizes a collection of thoughts and expectations and immediately communicates something that would otherwise take a few sentences to explain. The word “metroidvania” has become well-known within gaming culture, and therefore has its place, no matter how much I dislike it. So, I will be a hypocrite and continue using the word because it makes my life easier when it comes to explaining the new game I am working on – it’s a metroidvania game, hoorah!

Before I get into the details our new game, I feel as though I should mention that Treasurenauts is still going to happen. I am really excited about Treasurenauts, and look forward to returning to it. I feel that I should also mention that we are not actively working on Cult County or the Razor game that we announced. Due to publisher issues outside of our control, it looks like the Razor game is dead for us. The good news is that we’re working on fewer games, which is always a good thing, right!?

OK, so back to the new game… it started when I mocked up a 2D demake of Moon Chronicles for fun a while back. It came together much better than I expected, and I really liked how the main little space man turned out. I let that mock-up sit dormant for a few months while we finished up the real Moon Chronicles and also continued to work on Treasurenauts, but the idea of the 2D space game came back to the front of my mind one day.



[This is the original mock-up of the Moon Chronicles demake, which is not in development]


I am a huge fan of Super Metroid, Metroid Zero Mission, and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, and have always wanted to develop a game in that sub-genre. The day finally came where the desire to develop it got too strong and I just had to act on it. Xeodrifter was born. It is completely separate from Moon Chronicles, and related in no way at all. Xeodrifter is a separate character and story. And don’t worry; we will get back to Treasurenauts once Xeodrifter is completed.

Xeodrifter is the story of an interstellar drifter traveling the stars on a mission of exploration. In this particular installment of the story, we join our nomad as he embarks on the exploration of small cluster of four planets in the omega sector, after a collision with a rogue asteroid damages his warp drive. A scan of the neighboring planets reveals a number of energy signatures on the planets that may provide the special material needed to fix his warp drive and get back to cruising through the cosmos.

My goal from the beginning of Xeodrifter was for it to be a small, bite-sized experience, much like Ikachan in terms of scope. I want it to be something that you can dip into for fun, and accomplish in a relatively short period of time. But, there will be enough secret goodies located off the main path to keep the thorough gamers among us busy for a little longer.

As of today (July 1st), I have completed the layout of the levels to provide a playthrough of the entire game from beginning to end, in rough format. No enemies are functional, but the player can traverse from level to level while I imagine blasting alien scum and collecting nifty power-ups.

Here’s the current state of the world map to get an idea of the flow:



This was the main thing that I worked on for the longest time until I had a flow from point A to point B and so on, that I was happy with. When designing a metroidvania type of game, it is important to present the player with an obstacle they cannot overcome that they will hopefully remember when they obtain the power-up that enables them to overcome it.

Even though the games’ launch destination is initially the 3DS eShop, the game currently only runs on the PC. The reason for this is to allow us the ability to create and iterate rapidly with minimum hassle. Once the game is in a state of “Yeah, cool, I think this is going to work”, we move it over to the 3DS to finish off. It is always a very exciting moment when the game is first playable on the 3DS. That is something I really look forward to.

In fact, the Xeodrifter should be playable on the 3DS in the next week or so. Matthew is going to complete the fancy new particle system on the PC first before moving the current game code over to function properly on the 3DS.

Today was the day that I finally started making the levels look somewhat decent – I hope. Up until now the levels have been single-colored shapes that represent the ground, wall, and ceiling collision, No frills. It is important to work this way so the levels can be changed to suit the gameplay with maximum speed and minimum hassle.


The image above is a screengrab from the PC version. The level art is fairly final, I think. The sense of depth on the different layers should look pretty cool on the 3DS. As we did with Mutant Mudds, the foreground layers are scaled up 200% so each pixel is larger than the default 1:1 pixel size. The layers in background are at 100% scale. This gives a great sense of depth and also allows the player to exist in the background without having to be scaled or redrawn to “look” smaller. When in the background, he “is” actually smaller.

Special note: Since we’re able to do a little bit of time-travel here and take advantage of “being in the future”, we have a QR code you can scan with your 3DS to view a 3D screenshot of Xeodrifter.



As you can see, I’m going for a NEO-NES look with the limited color usage. I am also using the NES palette to give it that familiar aesthetic. Hopefully you can imagine how cool the layers will look on the 3DS in 3D, with the far background being in the distance.



The image above is the logo for the game. I like how the X and R letters form a symmetrical diagonal shape to book-end the logo, and the magenta/cyan colors lend a psychedelic sci-fi (psy-fi?) quality to it. Zarjazz, baby! The smallest logo above is down to a single-pixel scale, which is where I started the design of the logo because Xeodrifter is very lo-fi, and I wanted to make sure a very low resolution version could look OK.

Alright, I think that brings us up to speed for now. Until the next diary update, keep playing those games!

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Discussion Preview
38 total comments (View all)
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 01:59

First I just want to say congrats to RMC! Very very cool that you get to do this.

Anyway, this looks great! Jools is such a great dev, all his games are consistently good and fun times. Anytime to you see or hear Renegade Kid mentioned, it has always been nothing but positive things. I've been following Jools' stuff for years, I even got a reply from him on his YouTube channel back before Mudds even came out, and comments on YouTube channels were still a thing. With all that said, I'm excited for this game, and the upcoming dev diaries. Can't wait!
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 02:50

Congratulations on the great reveal!

This game looks to be close to my ideal 3DS eShop game, I doubt I could imagine better!

However, I've had to give up all hope that I'll ever be able to play most of Renegade Kid's or other Indie developers games on the 3DS - They remain North American exclusive more and more often. Still don't have Mudds DX, ATV Wild Ride, Bomb Monkey, Moon Chronicles.... I understand it's extremely expensive and difficult to release and get games rated, but it doesn't make me any more content.

Should I get excited for Xeodrifter? Or just give in knowing I've got better odds of winning a 8 figure lottery than ever playing this game? :(
No Avatar
04 Aug 2014 03:35

@Delta46

"all his games are consistently good and fun times. Anytime to you see or hear Renegade Kid mentioned, it has always been nothing but positive things"

yeah, not true

bomb monkey was a mediocre puzzle game and moon ep 1 was an over-priced 45 min bore-fest.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 03:41

I'm (re)playing Super Metroid right now on the Wii U and this map got me really excited!

I wonder how this pixel-guy can have upgrades though. It will be hard to display. Even with Samus some things were barely noticeable and she was huge in comparison. The visual push as part of feeling overpowered is a nice thing to have.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 04:18

Yes RK! Day 1 for me, haven't been this excited about one of your projects ever since Mutant Mudds. CAN'T WAIT. :D
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 05:30

Just downloaded the image, this looks incredible. I'm glad I missed Mutant Mudds when it was free on PS+ a month or so back, now I can buy the superior 3DS version and support a new gem. Thanks, Jools!
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 06:31

Delay in Treasurenauts is a shame, but this looks awesome as well!
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 06:35

Oh, I am legitimately excited for this.

@Delta46

I can't say I agree.

I have not been that impressed with Renegade Kid's games at all yet, and I've heard nothing but mediocrity from the ones I didn't play.

Dementium played like a mess.
Moon is super expensive for how short it is.
Mutant Mudds is a good game, but nothing amazing.
Bomb Monkey is meh.

I'm glad they are supporting the 3DS, and that people enjoy their games, but I have not seen anything they've done really worthy of praise. And I don't mean to sound like I am bashing them. I just don't think they've put out 'nothing but winners'.

However, like I said, I am super excited by this. I like the character, the graphics, and the concept in general.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 06:42

First Renegade Kid game I'm interested in.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 07:50

pixel art, how original
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 09:21

This is good, this is the right direction for Renegade Kid. I'm liking this, looks good... very good.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 10:49

Saw images, Ctrl+F the word "Metroidvania", happy with results.

I am really looking forward to this, I'm a HUGE sucker for metroidvania type games so I am looking forward to learning more about this game.

Argh... Man do I miss IGA Castlevania games...
No Avatar
04 Aug 2014 12:11

Good to see that no one is sad for the cancellation of their Razor Freestyle game on the Wii U. Long live the 3DS.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 14:28

I guess intuitively I understood why you used largely-pixeled sprites, but to have it spelled out makes it seem really clever.

I'm really looking forward to this.
Even more than Treasurenauts! <_<;;
No Avatar
04 Aug 2014 14:40

Looks good and looking forward to the next eShop classic in the making!!!
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 15:37

Wow, pixel art?! I would have never guessed.

Looks bad.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 16:07

@MoldyClay

Wow, its almost like, people have different opinions on video games.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 19:29

I dont even have to read this.
I see Jools' face
I see those screens
I know I want it.
No Avatar
04 Aug 2014 19:55

@Delta46

yet some of what you wrote didnt come off as an opinion.

for example:

"Anytime to you see or hear Renegade Kid mentioned, it has always been nothing but positive things."

seems as if you making a general statement about RK, when the above isnt true. nintendolife and neogaf had posters say negative or neutral things about past rk titles and this game.
User avatar
04 Aug 2014 21:38

@BillyIdol

I don't visit nintendolife or neogaf. I visit this site, /v/, reddit, and YouTube. Among all those, I've never seen a single negative comment. In my original comment, I was just stating what I'VE seen. Just because you happened to have seen negative comments on other websites doesn't mean EVERYONE has seen them.
No Avatar
04 Aug 2014 22:21

@Delta46

Yeah sure, not everyone has seen the negative or positive comments about rk on the internet. Yet I don't see the problem with me bringing up the fact that rk does receive negative comments. You made the broad statement of RK doesn't receive any negative comments/feedback,in which I go to point out that isn't true with my experience on other sites.

Here's your statement again,"Anytime to you see or hear Renegade Kid mentioned"... you should most likely change the "you" to "I". Since the statement is from your own readings, not the readings of others. In way, it's like you're putting words into the mouth of others.
User avatar
05 Aug 2014 11:07

Finally a new 2D Metroid game. Tired of waiting for you Nintendo. Renegade Kid will take it from here. :mrgreen:
User avatar
05 Aug 2014 14:29

Looking forward to it, Jools! But, I really really want my Treasurenauts!! ...Would really love Treasurenauts on the Wii U, to be honest. :)
But, this does look very good, indeed. And I will gladly buy this when it comes out.

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