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Postmortem: Gaijin Games' BIT.TRIP BEAT
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Postmortem: Gaijin Games' BIT.TRIP BEAT

June 2, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

3. We completely forgot about localization.

Because of the timeframe, we decided early on that we would do no in-game localization. It was not required by the regions that we released in, and as such, we saw the feature as a time-saving tool so long as it was cut. And cut it we did.

However, after completely neglecting any sort of localization pipeline whatsoever, towards the end of the project, as we started doing our Lot Check audit, we realized that error messages needed to be localized.

These are the messages that tell you that the save data is corrupt, etc. This threw a huge monkey wrench into our process, because early on when we decided not to localize anything, we chose a font that had no special characters in it. Furthermore, our engine had no localization support in it.

In the end, we used a different font for the error messages and crammed a localization pipeline into the game and rushed the error messages. Had we thought of this at the beginning, our error messages could have used our in-game font, and since we have so little text in the game anyway, we probably would have just localized the whole thing from the get go.

Forgetting about localization until the very end of the project somewhat diminished the game's accessibility worldwide due to all in-game text being in English only. It also delayed our project by about one week.

4. Our amateur marketing efforts, while decent, petered out prematurely.

While technically not a development issue, this is one of the things that I believe we did very poorly with in terms of timing, and it may have affected our sales in the end.

Being that we had no marketing money and no time to do a "real" marketing campaign, we tackled something within our means and launched a viral marketing campaign. The video was well-received and led to a lot of internet buzz, as did the subsequent images and our CommanderVideo website. However, for one reason or another, the game's release didn't follow close enough to the high of that buzz.

Our viral campaign died down well before the game was released and people shifted their attention prematurely.

5. Our bosses were a complete afterthought.

In the original design, there were no boss battles. Why there weren't seems silly in retrospect, because as a gamer I love boss battles. Regardless, I chose not to include them in the design.

The more we played the game, the more we realized that we needed something. However, this realization came quite late in the project, after all of our other tasks had already been scheduled.

And due to the small scope of the game, as acting producer, I didn't want to cut anything in the schedule to make time for the new work we'd have to do to implement bosses. So, we piled them right on top of the crunch that we were already doing.

Because we were so far along in the development process, each boss had to be done in roughly two to three days. As you can imagine, that doesn't lead to well thought out design, nor does it lead to enough tuning or difficulty balancing.

In the end, the bosses were rushed, and while I think they ultimately add value to the game, they definitely feel rushed when I play it.

What We Learned

Over the course of BIT.TRIP BEAT's development cycle, we learned our limitations, above all else. We learned how much work we can actually handle -- or rather, how much is too much.

We learned to try harder as a team to find the right solutions to development problems and recognize better when doing something the wrong way is okay.

We also grew stronger in our determination that working with people you like and trust (whether it's in the office or with your business partners) is invaluable.

For the sequel, BIT.TRIP CORE, we've already done much better than we did on BEAT, but we have also fallen into some of the same traps.

All in all, though, I believe that there is value in both success and failure and I have faith that each game we make will be at least as good as the last, and I hope better.

Game Data

Publisher: Aksys Games

Release Date: March 16, 2009

Developer: Gaijin Games

Platform: WiiWare

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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