SpeedRunners, as you might have guessed, is a game about running real fast. It's also a game about jumping and grapple-hooking, two methods of traversal that go particularly well with the above. tinyBuild's game hit Steam Early Access a couple of months ago, though it's just been revealed that if you wait until release you can get an (offline-only) version for free. Wuh? Guh? It's a positive response to the inevitability of piracy - you can hear tinyBuild's reasons below.
In an email to RPS, creator Alex Nichiporchik stated the following:
"I’ve seen it multiple times when people pirate some sort of software, fall in love with it, and then due to constant updates reminders end up buying it, just for the convenience. Basically, when developers provide a good service, people see the value in spending money. Minecraft is a great example. With the constant updates, it’s so clear you should throw your money at the screen – simply provide a service, making it much more convenient than searching for cracks.
"We’ve decided to make SpeedRunners free when it comes out. The local version of SpeedRunners will be available completely free. You’ll be able to download it and play with your friends on a couch, or use any of the offline features (right now we have bots to play against offline). The online part of SpeedRunners will be what people pay money for, it’s the service we provide to players."
It's not the first time that tinyBuild have decided to deal with piracy in a non-self-defeating way. For their previous title, No Time To Explain, they uploaded their game to The Pirate Bay themselves, replacing all the unlockable hats with pirate hats in a move that's a) quite funny and b) taps into our innate desire to collect as many goddamn hats as possible. The move (and the resulting press attention) worked out quite well for the game - so piracy 'ain't all bad, it seems.
In the statement, Nichiporchik also revealed that he's an evil terrorism-funding worse-than-Hitler pirate himself - he's pirated Battlefield 4 (if only to test whether it works on his machine).
SpeedRunners is currently on Steam Early Access - if you buy it now, you'll get the full, online-enabled game when it releases for real.
If you bought the game for Windows, you automatically have it in your Mac Steam library.
Remember kids, don't develop games in ancient technologies and expect them to work fine cross platform. That's why it took so long. The game runs fine most of the time, here are some things to keep in mind though:
- hi resolution monitors will cause full screen to lag (so don't play it on Retina MacBooks, or iMacs)
- fullscreen is achieved via a maximized window
- Steam overlay does not work, nor do achievements or cloud saves. The game will save locally
- Resolution selector is disabled
Meanwhile the Windows version got a couple of updates (these automatically transition into the Mac version)
- Redid the Mole Boss. It is now beatable with a smaller hitbox and less glitches.
- Updated the Cake Boss, the lack of walls caused players to roll off the map on that level
- Multiple fixes to stability and the way the game saves progress. For example it will try to store save data locally (if no connection to Steam, this applies to the Mac Build), and then upload that to SteamCloud
- The game launches much faster without any black screens first
- Addressed multiple performance issues and glitchout complaints
There is a small chance you'll get lag on Windows 7/8. This can be fixed by disabling your Windows Aero theme or special effects. In rare occasions the game might start to conflict with Windows' cursor, in cases of multiple video cards present. Just disable fancy Windows special effects for the cursor and you'll be fine. Again don't develop games in ancient technologies and expect them to work on multiple platforms!
Just to give everyone an idea of what the game is structured like:
There's an ActionScript 2 file
There's an ActionScript 3 loader
There's a Steam API extension
The Steam API extension gets wrapped with the ActionScript 3 loader into an executable
This calls the ActionScript 2 file via a local connection
The game launches
The loader communicates between Steam and the game via a local connection, and an internet connection
Nothing can go wrong in this scenario. That is sarcasm. Everything can go wrong.
Latest build of No Time To Explain is updated now. We addressed performance and lag issues mostly.
* Performance significantly improved on Windows 8
* By default the game will just your most optimal resolution for full screen
* You can increase the resolution in the Options menu
* Fixed the cake levels not being beatable on some machines
* Changed the way the game goes into full screen, it should do it much faster now
If you are experiencing lag, try setting the resolution higher or lower. For Windows 7, try disabling the Aero theme (go to Windows Default theme)
Known issues that are being worked on:
* Mole Boss being buggy
* Selected resolution not being remembered
* Cake Boss - rolling off the map on sides of level
* Mac version...
SpeedRunners is side-scrolling multiplayer racer being developed by DoubleDutch Games and "published" by No Time to Explain developer tinyBuild. It's an unusual situation - indies publishing indies - and makes you wonder if the tinyBuild guys strutted up with fistfuls of cash and business cards that said, "Join us! We're basically EA." According to them, that's not quite how it happened.
"It's by far not a standard collaboration as we're actively involved in the visual aspect of the game, as well as the personality part," tinyBuild tell us. DoubleDutch, meanwhile, get to focus on creating the core four-player competitive platformer.
The goal of the game is to beat the other heroes and be the first to run off-screen. With everyone sharing the same view, that becomes harder the further you are in front - your reduced vision giving you less time to react to obstacles.
Beta testing is due to start soon, with sign-ups open at the tinyBuild site. Steam Early Access is due to start soon after.
There’s a fine line between challenge and frustration. Behind it, I hope there’s a firing squad with their guns aimed right at No Time To Explain’s evil mole boss’s grinning face. It’s a platformer that should be great fun: chaotic and endlessly varied. None of it matters though, thanks to a descent into platform hell that’s unfit to lick the gristle from Super Meat Boy’s toenails.
"Difficult moments either rev you up to take another shot or recover disk space." Here’s the pitch. You’re you. Look down. Close enough. You’re hanging around at home one day, when a you from the future appears, shouts, “There’s no time to explain!” and is immediately abducted by a giant alien crab. Snatching his beam cannon, you immediately follow in search of answers and, for no particular reason, hidden comedy hats. Hurrah! Except not.
Platformers like this live and die on three things – their gimmick, their precision, and the satisfaction of the challenge. Without the first, who cares? Without the second, victory feels unearned and death unfair. Most important of all, the third defines whether difficult moments rev you up to take another shot, or recover some disk space.
No Time To Explain fails them all. The beam cannon (not your only weapon, but the main one) is used for travel rather than killing, propelling you around the game’s map. It’s incredibly fiddly though, especially when combined with jumps or quick deaths like a springboard pointed at a spike trap.
"It’s a test of patience more than skill, made worse by floaty controls." As such, most of the tough jumps boil down to endlessly abusing the way you usually respawn on the last bit of solid ground you touched, and repeatedly throwing yourself at each problem until you skim through on dumb luck. It’s a test of patience more than skill, made worse by floaty controls, unforgiving timed traps, and regular visits from an unwelcome glitch fairy.
Then you meet that sodding mole. Bosses are always terrible in these games, and No Time’s are worse than most, not least because it’s tough to tell whether you’re having any effect. Unlike previous bosses though, where you can’t die, this horrible fight forces a restart for every screw up until you’ve generated enough raw hate to resurrect Vigo the Carpathian’s whole extended family. It crashed three times, and glitched out several more times. I’d not enjoyed the game up to this point. With that, it burned its last bridge.
There have been some great platformers in recent years, from the harsh-but-fair brutality of Super Meat Boy to the gleefully sadistic I Want To Be The Guy. No Time To Explain isn’t one of them. It’s less trial than error – a game of cheap death and impotent rage. Never knowing what’s coming next unquestionably adds spice, but not enough to compensate for the bland core game it has to be sprinkled over. There are too many better alternatives out there to find time for this one.
Expect to pay: $11 / £7 Release: Out now Developer: Tiny Build Games Publisher: Tiny Build Games Multiplayer: None Link: www.tinybuild.com
No Time To Explain is a game about Time Paradoxes, Jetpack Guns and Ribs In People's Eyes. It's a comedy platformer featuring great music, voice acting and gameplay that becomes more ridiculous as you go.