Xeno Crisis: a new game for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch and Steam

Created by Bitmap Bureau

Xeno Crisis is a new game for the Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch and Steam. It's a top-down arena shooter for up to 2 players that is best described as Smash TV meets Aliens! Run and gun your way through thousands of enemies spread over 6 areas as you attempt to discover the cause of the alien menace.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Progress Update (April 2018)
about 1 year ago – Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 09:31:12 PM

Time for another progress update on Xeno Crisis! The last month has seen excellent progress on various fronts - here are a few highlights:

René (from db electronics) has just received what we hope will be the final revision of the PCB design. After some more hardware validation tests we expect to soon be able to order the PCB production run so that we are all set, well ahead of the completed game ROM.

Our Mega Drive cases arrived this morning, so it looks like we’ll be dashing around sorting a storage unit this week! As with many the aspects of Xeno Crisis’ production we’ve bought, received and rejected lots of samples for not being up to the highest quality. But I’m pleased to say these cases are excellent, as close to the originals for size, quality and finish as we can get!

Preparation of the other physical production aspects such as covers, manuals, labels and other printed materials continues to go well. We’ve had a few setbacks like having to reject the Kickstarter Edition enamel pin badges for not being made correctly. But this is why we’re trying to get the physical production completed sooner rather than later, as otherwise lead times for unexpected issues could cause big delays when nearing release.

Game Development

Tilesets are complete! We’re pleased to say the pixel art for all 7 arenas is now complete but not only that; they are all packed, compressed and optimised for the ROM, and the logic for all the procedural room generation is finished too. This is a major milestone for us as we can now focus on layering up all of the enemies and bosses for each of the zones.

Talking of bosses, here is another gem from the mind of Henk Nieborg! You’ll encounter this boss at the end of the second area - the storage facility.

Henk’s also been cracking through more of the enemies and other details in the game. Here are a couple more enemy sprites for your enjoyment:

Vigilis

These somewhat resemble the standard Xenoids you come across, but prefer to shoot from a distance than fight hand-to-hand, and have a tougher exo-skeleton.

Remuneror

One of the more annoying enemies you’ll meet as they fire back when hit, making them particularly dangerous if tackled at close-quarters. An alternative way to deal with them is to propel them into pits by rolling into them.

Aside from the procedural logic and new enemy / boss coding we’ve also been refining the story, cutscenes and text into the game this month and the related materials (like the manual). We’re now sending all the text off to be professionally translated and we hope next month to integrate and test the multi-lingual game aspects. Once we’ve got those up and running we’ll be switching focus back fully onto the core game development.

We’ve also got some great new audio from Savaged Regime; here is a preview of the title music:

Thanks for all the continued support, comments and feedback! We couldn’t do it without you.

Progress Update (March 2018)
about 1 year ago – Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 01:36:28 AM

Hey everyone, we thought it was time for another progress update on Xeno Crisis! 

Thank you to all those who have filled out their Backer Kit survey already - it really helps us plan manufacturing quantities. If for whatever reason you’ve not received one please visit: https://xenocrisis.backerkit.com/ or contact us if you need help.

Since the Kickstarter campaign closed we’ve been working hard to prepare and manufacture as many of the physical aspects of the game, pledge rewards and add-ons. We’re keen to get as many of those made sooner rather than later, so we can maximize focus on game development and try to avoid any manufacturing delays nearer release. Quality is of the utmost importance to us so we have been busy sourcing and acquiring a whole range of samples from different suppliers, as well as commissioning various bits into prototyping, manufacturing and so on (a big thanks to Matt Phillips, the creator of Tanglewood for all of his help).

We’re pleased to announce a high quality extra (free to all backers) has come out of the mix that wasn’t planned - we’ve managed to source some lovely custom Mega Drive cartridge shells. Hopefully they will make Xeno Crisis stand out even more in your game collection!

 

We’ll be showing some more sneak previews of further bits we have commissioned as and when they are produced and delivered - watch this space!

Henk has been pixeling like crazy and we’re pleased to say he has now completed 6 of the arena tilesets! What we’re even more happy to announce is that we’ve commissioned a 7th tileset, so it will mean even more great content for everyone! Check out this amazing air-lock animation and a sneaky preview at one of the new tilesets:

 

Catherine has continued to work on some more beautiful static screens and is currently focusing on the in-game cutscenes to help progress the story line through the game.

 

Savaged Regime has been working on some of the sound effects, vocal processing and composing some more amazing tracks! Here’s a preview of one of the boss tracks:

 

This month coding has been largely behind the scenes important but more “boring” work needed to make the game. Mike has been busy implementing and refining the game UI, controller configurations as well as the general game progression/flow. He’s also been refining the game balance for the first area and testing out the in-game hud. I’ve been focused on creating improved tools for packing Henk’s tilesets and implementing the procedural generation for the arenas. We now have 4 of the 7 arenas working nicely in-game.

If you haven’t already then you might want to check out our interview on the Retro Hour Podcast, where you can hear us ramble on about retro game development and of course Xeno Crisis:

https://theretrohour.com/henk-nieborg-and-bitmap-bureau-the-retro-hour-ep110/

BackerKit surveys are coming!
over 1 year ago – Thu, Feb 08, 2018 at 06:17:46 PM

Hey everyone, thought we'd better do a quick update to let you know how we're getting on! 

The first thing to tell you is that the BackerKit surveys will be on their way shortly, so please look out for these in your inbox / spam folder. You’ll easily be able to confirm your pledge and add-on items using the survey, and purchase any more too. It’s important to respond to your survey as quickly as you can since we need this information to confirm quantities for manufacturing.

In terms of development, Xeno Crisis is moving along very nicely - we have prototyped several more of the enemy behaviours, procedural generation of the newer tilesets and some of the first boss battles. We also have a sneak preview of boss from Henk to show you:

 

Catherine has been making great progress with the interstitial art - largely focusing on integrating the female marine fully into the game, creating new art for the intro, cutscenes, continue screen and credits. Below is an example of the female marine as used on the equipment screen:

 

Matt has been arranging details with various suppliers ensuring that everything is in place for the physical production of the game. He’s also created some tools to crunch and pack tiles into the ROM and VRAM, as well as load balancing and stress-testing our Mega Drive's tile pushing logic, so that we know we can throw loads of sprites at the screen whilst also maintaining a solid 60 frames per second. Here’s a GIF to give you some idea of the large amount of sprites the game can handle at once!

 

Other than working flat-out on Xeno Crisis, we took a weekend off to take part in the 2018 Global Game Jam at the University Of Southampton - it's a fantastic event where your team are given 48 hours to create a game based around a specific theme. This year the theme was "Transmission", and the game we came up with was a "chase 'em-up" for 8 players called "Jiangshi". It proved to be very popular and we were lucky enough to win Southampton’s People's Choice award for the second time:

 

Anyway, I think that just about wraps things up for now - please get in touch if you have any questions, and we'll be looking to provide another update in the near future!

Thanks everyone!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 09:52:20 PM

Thank you to everyone that has supported the Xeno Crisis campaign and in particular the 1,289 backers for helping make the project a reality! When we launched the campaign back in December we were unsure of just how much demand there would be for a new Sega Mega Drive game in 2018, but it appears that there’s still plenty of love out there for our favourite 16-bit system! The whole team are massive fans of the Mega Drive, so it’s very exciting for all of us to be working on Xeno Crisis, and we’re determined to make the game excel in every department.

Thanks to the additional funding provided by our backers we are now able to bring Xeno Crisis to the Dreamcast, Switch and Steam too, enabling the game to reach an even greater audience. On top of that we’ve also been able to add a new female marine player character, 2-player co-op play, an extra area and boss, and a whole range of other features and additions! Everyone’s feedback and suggestions throughout the campaign have been invaluable and we’ll be looking to implement as many of these as possible in the final product.

 

What’s next?

Over the next 14 days the Kickstarter team will attempt to settle all pledges before making the funds available to us. After that is complete we’ll be sending all backers an email linking to a BackerKit survey to confirm pledge amounts and determine which add-ons (if any) you desire. At this point you’ll be able to purchase additional add-ons, switch pledges and also select your preferences for cover-art region variation, cartridge type and t-shirt size depending on your reward.

For those that didn’t manage to back Xeno Crisis during the Kickstarter campaign we have set-up an Indiegogo InDemand page, where you can pre-order Xeno Crisis. (Please note the Kickstarter Editions are not available to pre-order now that the Kickstarter campaign has completed).

 

Development

Now that the Kickstarter campaign has come to an end, we can get back to working on the development side of Xeno Crisis in earnest, although we will of course continue to answer any questions regarding the project on here, Twitter, Facebook and various forums. As you may have seen from the various videos and screenshots we’ve shared, Henk has already completed three of the tilesets and several enemies, and now his focus is on the first boss battle, so we hope to have something to show on that front soon. Catherine is working on the game’s introduction and will be moving onto key art next, followed by more of the cutscenes.

Savaged Regime is making great progress with the game’s second track, which can be heard over on SoundCloud. Mike is concentrating on prototyping the next few enemies and the first boss battle. Matt is currently stress-testing sprite tile updates through DMA and optimizing collisions to see what the maximum carnage we can get on screen is. We are also looking in more detail at hostage naming, the Dreamcast and Switch ports, and we hope to provide more details on those in due course.

Anyway, we should probably all get back to work, but thanks once again to all of you for the overwhelming support over the past month, and we’ll be keeping everyone informed of our progress via regular updates. Keep the ideas and feedback coming in, and we’ll talk to you soon!

Fifth stretch goal achieved! New audio preview…
over 1 year ago – Tue, Jan 09, 2018 at 02:42:43 PM

Our fifth stretch goal has been achieved with 24 hours remaining, and we’re now over 326% funded - we can’t believe the amazing support we’ve had during the campaign and we are truly grateful. Please keep all of your comments, suggestions and feedback coming!

Added - Nintendo Switch and Steam Ports

 

We’re pleased to confirm that with the fifth stretch goal reached we’ll be porting Xeno Crisis to the Nintendo Switch and to Steam for PC, Mac and Linux

New Audio Preview

The amazing Savaged Regime (Daniel Bärlin) has sent us a preview of the next track he’s composing for Xeno Crisis, showcasing more YM2612 wizardry! Check it out here on SoundCloud:

 

The Xeno Crisis soundtrack will be what Daniel describes as “modern prog metal / djent”, which we believe is a first for a Mega Drive game - hope you all enjoy it!