A wild Toxic Bunny HD appears!

edited in General
Whoa, looks like this is done: http://www.lazygamer.net/review/toxic-bunny-hd-review-point-squeeze-mop-up

Review scores aren't the best thing ever, not really sure how Mr Bulford is going to take that. Fair, not fair? Oppinions?


  • You know, I never played the original, and I remember the one time I saw it was at the Bruma flea market, browsing that one shoddy computer shop near the entrance. That was probably when I was in high school. Wow.

    The nostalgia and the proudly SA factor is cool and all, but I doubt that I'd give it a whirl because of that, simply cos it doesn't appeal to me. Another platformer, and a re-make at that - is difficult to make me sit up and notice when stuff like Super Time Force is on the horizon.

    I don't believe in scoring games myself, at least not in a final score kind of way. Games are always much more than a score, and giving a score definitely removes people from the rest of the stuff people are supposed to read.

    @dislekcia what's your opinion?
  • Found some recent interviews.

    To be honest, I'm a little confused about some of the choices behind the game's approach so far, mostly business/marketing type stuff. I've emailed Travis to say congrats and ask him questions ;)

    I'm not certain about the boxed copy approach, these days that feels like a hindrance more than anything else, although I do get that having someone handle distribution for you is much better than covering your living room floor with boxes and packing tape.

    I'm interested in the choice to show the game off at rAge, especially just when I'm making the business decision not to go this year, given how little it moves the needle for us. I'm keen to hear how that works out, Toxic Bunny's strongest marketing position is definitely here in SA and pushing the message of "Hey, we did this before and we're back" is a good strategy in that position. I'd like to see how it does, given the size of the local market, and if they manage to break out of that market.

    I think there's a lot to learn, so I'd love it if Travis and co would hang out here. I do know that one of the major advantages of this community is in helping polish games before they release, so in some ways the game already being out means that there's not too much to learn from the dev side of it, but the marketing/sales/business stuff is also something we have to do as indies, so let's share about that ;)
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  • After chatting about this yesterday, I reckon an important thing would be seeing a gameplay video, too.

    There's a lot of commentary I want to pass on the game itself (as opposed to the business and marketing), but I've realised that a lot of it is moot until I see action. Otherwise I really just have the review score to go on, and if we're going to look at this from a critical (developer) perspective, it seems unfair to allow our impressions to form second-hand like that. Especially since, being what looks like a "purist" platformer of sorts, the motion, actions and controls are such a vital part of understanding and appreciating it.

    It's a shame we can only look at this from a postmortem perspective, but I'd still like to analyse it on that level.
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  • I think we're only likely to get dev responses on this stuff once rAge dies down again.

    Agreed on the video, that would be powerful.
  • Hey all,

    Oh and hello. Been too busy to see whats going on. This looks like a great initiative, well done to those driving makegamessa.

    Certainly not offended by any of the reviews of our HD remake. Heck someone takes the time and effort to look at our product and give us some suggestions and thoughts its an investment of there time and if we are to grow and succeed we must listen. Some of the issues are things we could do nothing about since were were still constrained by the old system. Some issues we agree with and are considering a possible patch to assist. Some we consider out of our hands to solve since we don't have the sort of budget required solve.

    Pretty sure we made the right call on Boxed product just a point. From the more business perspective Toxic Bunny HD is aimed at old fans but also the young market same as before. That market needs to see the game to purchase it. To see it it needs to be in a box. Not many 10yo with credit cards. Would happily field and answer some questions on all this and more all I ask is coffee OFC. Hope fully Nick and I can come visit your next JHB meet and chat.

    We currently aiming at Europe where we did 150,000 units previously (without any local advantage I might add). Yes we certainly planning some digital distribution too.

    You should also read some of the other reviews such as


    As for how internationals would look at the game removing the local aspect I have no reviews of the HD version yet but take a look at this more recent international hobiest review of the original.


    Comments, abuse and coffee welcome.
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    Hope fully Nick and I can come visit your next JHB meet and chat.
    It's happening this tuesday (tomorrow)! :)

  • I know about that one. Bit tight since we all kinda catching up with our family/sleep/borderlands addictions.

    When is the next one? Do you have a date yet?
  • It's the second Tuesday of every month. So the next one's tomorrow, and the one after that will be the 13th November.

    It'd be really cool if you could bring the game for people to try out and ask questions and stuff! :D
  • Cool the ides of November. OK not the ides since that's the 15th. But certainly think we can make it.

    How many people from the team or should I just try drag everyone along?

    Is there a place to set up pc etc. Perhaps we should take this off the forums and plan via email. Either is fine. Booked in my diary for the time been. Excited although happy to have a few weeks break show off the bunny.

  • Hi @tbulford, glad to see you here :) I think it would be great to drag the whole team along. But if the can't all make it, there is always next time.

    There is a podium with relative easy access to a vga port connecting with the projecter and the sound system of the room. There was a talk about maybe setting up a table to put PC's for people to play the games, but I don't know if that has happened yet.

    The meetings usually have a casual feel to them.
  • Cool will drag em all along with the promise of strong coffee :) "hopefully not a lie"

    We like casual, projectors on the other hand we don't like depends on the resolution. More into people playing it then simply watching us play.

    Will bring a kit along 27" monitor perhaps 2 kits we can set it up and leave people to play the game.
  • Well, there's free drinks(beer and sodas) in limited supply. Don't know if there is coffee though?

    Maybe @Elyaradine or @edg3 can help organise a table for demos like this? We can probably talk about it tommorow at the meetup so it's ready for the next meeting.
  • Great email me if you have any questions or suggestions please. I am not sure how often I can check in here.
  • @tbulford said:
    We like casual, projectors on the other hand we don't like depends on the resolution. More into people playing it then simply watching us play.
    I think it's more about showing off the game to people at all than really worrying about resolutions...

    We've got a system going at the CT meetups: We get other people who haven't played the game before to come up and play it while the creator's talking. Works really well and deals with the whole "Play and talk same time hard brain argh" problem :)
  • Whilst I understand what you mean HD is in fact in the title after all. So HD visuals to match are cooler/better brighter etc. We did the game on projector in Durban and when people got to our stand at rAge they could not believe it was the same game.

    When, oh when will they make a semi decent projector for gaming. Is there such a thing. I would love to know.

    Not a complete issue either way. Just makes our art team sad if people cant appreciate there work.
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    @dislekcia, I like the "get someone else to play" thing. But personnaly I would also like to be able to have a place where people can show of playable demos. The forum feedback is good way to get feedback on design and techinical issues. But I think it's really worth it to see someone's reaction as well(when their playing). Like the recent video about broforce. It tells you a lot about what the players enjoy and what they think is cool instead of just a cold analytical approach.

    I don't know what your setup looks like in CT but recently we have been doing the meetups in absence of any tables. Which is great for the talks...everybody can face the front and more people can squeeze in, but there is no place to sit down and play stuff. Which is bad.
  • @Rigormortis: Oh sure, player testing is always useful in person, but that sort of seems to happen at the CT meetups anyway: People usually break out into this area outside of the projector room and play on the tables there; Often people will stay after the talks and demo sessions have ended in order to play a specific game more (it happens a lot with @BlackShipsFilltheSky's stuff TBH, hmmm); Last CT meetup we even drew all over the parking lot outside with chalk for a game of mine, so I'm a big fan of breakout play sessions :)

    I don't think that much of the feedback here is "cold" or "analytical", people keep saying "OMG! I totally loved this or that part" and then go on to explain why they loved it, which is always hard to do in actual playtesting sessions with crowds: Running after someone and asking why they laughed right at that bit there and not the other part after it is a bit of a strange thing to do.

    Playtest sessions are different to demo sessions. I kinda think playtests are usually best when organised just for your game - doing stuff like putting a PC down at a university somewhere or just getting a bunch of friends of friends over to play something works wonders. Trying to squeeze too much into the events might be a bit of a problem, but I know that there's probably not too much of a barrier there to doing playtesting, you just have to drive it for your game instead of it being something that's "pre-organised" for you.

    Also, laptops are win. Almost as much win as iPad games.
  • @dislekcia, I should really think more about exactly what I say here :P I forget that people here don't know me that well. I didn't mean to say that the feedback is cold emotionally. I meant that any type of text based feedback seems colder that an actual in person session where you can see and feel the reactions of the people.

    But yeah, I get what your saying. It's probably not as useful as a more focused approach. But it's so much fun :D I think it also depends on the crowd. If you give it to fellow developers, you want more elaborate feedback because you can probably get advice about specific things. Where as if you give it to casual gamers you wouldn't spend too much time on asking specific things and rather just listen to their general feelings about the game.

    Where do you draw the line between playtest vs demo?
  • @Rigormortis: One of the things we do at the CT meetups is have someone talk about their game while someone else is playing it, then after they've explained their basic ideas and what they're working on polishing, everyone asks them questions while the playing is still going on. That seems to work really well, making it a more directed demo/playtest at the same time.

    Personally, I consider a playtest a controlled environment where I put someone in front of the game and don't give them any other information. The goal is to see what they do and what they enjoy/dislike without any preconceptions. Not jumping in when they hit a bug or a poor bit of puzzle/interface design is really, really hard.

    A demo is a carefully selected section of a game experience designed to promote the game to specific people. It could be for press, players or even investors. The idea is that you want people to go through a mini-experience of your game so that they want to play it again and/or tell other people how awesome it is. Sometimes that means you need to build a little progression story arc in the game (tiny heros journey!) or maybe you need to start off with a pile of awesome explosions. The approach that works well for DD is to lump players into a not-too-hard dungeon and then watching them play again as soon as they die - or challenging them to try a harder dungeon if they win. We've built custom versions of the game for GDC, E3 and IndieCade before. The responses to the demos have also helped us refine what we'll use for the game demo itself...

    That said, there's a spectrum here. Informal testing is wonderful and I think we need to do as much of it as possible! I know that we've had playtest-like results from demos (you won't believe the number of bugs people found on the show floor at GDC last year, so stressful) and generally just having other people look at your game is always going to give you useful feedback. The two examples above are either extremes of that scale.
  • Back to the original topic though: I'd really like to see what Toxic Bunny HD looks like. Are there any plans for video? Right now all I can find on Youtube is an old vid of the previous version :(
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  • I like to believe that this is *basically* what I've been trying to say here, too.

    I'm glad that the devs are hitting their milestones and all, but why not show us the game in action either way? It could make for a really cool discussion.

    I'm also one of those unfortunate buggers stuck in Cape Town with no way to see the demo at next month's Joburg meetup.
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    @dislekcia, thanks for the clarification :)

    About the video. I'll see what I can do when I get home after the meetup tonight. Not that I'm part of the team or anything but after rage I do own a copy :P Anything specific you want to see?

    Or would you rather see a developer demo type thing?
  • Just make sure it's decent quality if possible to justify the pretty art and animations. ;) I also wanna see how character motion and level design have been handled. That's things off the top of my head.

    So, uh, what would basically satisfy me is just seeing any few minutes of gameplay (heck, just the first level, even). You don't have to do anything fancy, I wouldn't ask you to put in too much time or effort -- would be a grand favour and convenience until we can see an "official" dev video. :)

  • Hey Nandrew we will be down in CT showing off the game at a gamers hook up. I will make sure I put some details here when that happens.

    As for the video, we have been working on an intro with game play elements. I don't think its the sort of thing you mean though.

    With regards to animations keep in mind we were limited by the original frames cut low then for memory sake. There are a few things that were beyond the scope of our HD revision. Level design meaning tools used or meaning ideas and concepts. Would be a fairly long video to show off a single level.
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    @tbulford said:
    Hey Nandrew we will be down in CT showing off the game at a gamers hook up. I will make sure I put some details here when that happens.
    You realise that the MakeGames dev meetups aren't the same as random gamer meetups, right? I go to the dev meetups because I want to talk about game design and development and learn from other people doing this. I don't go to the gamer meetups because I'm tired of people trying to sell me the latest thing from EA ;)

    Also, what's so tricky about starting up FRAPS and just capping a few minutes of gameplay? Sure, you probably really do need to do a more polished marketing trailer, but you've got to start capping stuff somewhere, right?

    P.S. That reminds me that I should really upload the short DD gameplay thing I put together for PAX.
  • LOL, yes I would imagine they different. I like the gamers meetings. So far its been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed meeting some of the people driving the game playing communities/clans/fans of games.

    However that's when I will be down in CT, the offer is there. I could look at staying in CT for a day or two extra meet some of you guys. It seams improbable that your meeting would coincide with the trip. But since I don't actually have a time you never know it might.

    Ofc I love CT so time and budget willing a trip down another day is also possible. Just Nick and I should be there for this trip so would be nice to bring him along too.
  • Cape Town developer meetups are the last Wednesday of every month. (I'm hoping that that improbably falls within the scope of your trip to Cape Town:) )
  • You having your meeting on Halloween night? Trick or treat! Should be there the 1st or 2nd week of November :(
  • So here is some gameplay. Gameplay. I'm not sure how to embed it. :/
  • Thanks @Rigormortis beat us to it.
  • Cool! Will cache this up and view it later.
  • HD version!!!! I think I only played Toxic Bunny in 98' but Jazz Jack Rabbit definitely stole my heart.
  • Did the sound effects get an HD upgrade? (I guess it's too late for constructive criticisms, though it does seem to me that the old sounds are dragging down the all the work that went into new art).

    Also. Ack! Halloween does seem like an awkward date for a community meetup.
  • Having checked the vid, I'm also wondering about that. Wasn't sure if it was just the video cap quality itself, though. :)

    And though this probably isn't particular to the HD remake, I'm interested in some of the level design choices. Do the "quest" activities need to be done in sequence (noticing the anchor bit)? If so, is there a way to gate player progress so that they don't accidentally get all the way to the end of the stage before realising that they turned left instead of right and missed the alien crash site near the beginning? Open-world level design is always cool, especially when there's Metroidvania-esque unlocking techniques.

    The occasional clusters of pickup resources are also something I'd draw attention to, if only because they seem designed to slow down player progress rather than reward good flow (ie. they're usually clustered in a ball that requires several stationary jumps to collect rather than an "arc" which represents perfect motion). Considering how there's a distinct "run" state on Toxic, I'd imagine that maintaining momentum and graceful motions would be a good player incentive, and it may be something to consider for any other platformers further down the line.

    I like all the little animated details that have been added to the environments -- moving vines, slow background scrolling, and lots of light source effects. I think I'd notice even more on a high-quality vid, but these elements already struck me as adding greatly to the idea that the levels you're going through are truly "alive". Very nice from a content-based point of view (I assume, at least, that none of these elements were present in the original, they seem a bit advanced for DOS-era stuff).
  • Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't underestimate the value of constructive criticism. We still doing some enhancements for a patch and our international version will have some of those too. Anything we release internationally will be patchable locally.

    Some of the sound effects did get an HD upgrade some didn't. I can be sure if its video quality you picking up or the sounds could be either.

    There are mechanics that make sure you can't progress too far before you have completed tasks. Players can not break the quest chain by design.

    I hear what you saying about the collections, but its in our play goals. Patience is rewarded where just running past everything at a blurring speed is not. This is both in terms of cool things to see on the level as well as having enough cash to purchase cool goodies. The levels don't have a linear design so you back and forth a few times over different parts. Toxic Bunny was never meant to be a Sonic or Jazz where its a racing plat-former.

    The lighting was part of the DOS era stuff but the rest most certainly wasn't. We really regret that we could not bring the level more to life, but at some points we had to draw a line between HD remake and new project.
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