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We’ll be presenting Sunset Overdrive on the center stage at 12:00pm CDT on July 4th, and 9:00am CDT on July 5th. Hear all about the game directly from Insomniac’s James Stevenson and Brandon Winfrey. See a live gameplay demo from the single-player campaign and the never-publicly seen footage from the game.

Be sure to follow @SunsetOverdrive, @JamesStevenson and @BWinfrey on Twitter for a chance to find them during the Expo and score a limited edition Sunset Overdrive T-shirt.

This week on Sunset TV we go in-depth on two specific mission types you’ll see in our co-op mode Chaos Squad. Plus, we chat about weapon leveling and everyone’s favorite topic – dedicated servers! It is truly a thrilling time to be alive.

SUBSCRIBE! for weekly shows: http://bit.ly/SOYouTube

Be sure to send your questions or comments to sunsettv@insomniacgames.com to join in on the fun!

You heard a lot during E3 about Chaos Squad, Sunset Overdrive’s 8-player co-operative experience. Now you can hear all about it from us! Check out this video with brand new footage from Chaos Squad:

Make sure to tune into Sunset TV tomorrow, where Brandon will be answering your questions about Chaos Squad, and hitting giving you some more depth on context about some of the missions you might take on.

As always, we love to get your feedback, thoughts and questions, so leave them in the comment section here on the blog!

Greetings, humans! Lisa here. Welcome to the first of what will be many dev blogs on Slow Down, Bull. First of all I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by our first dev stream last week, and especially thank you all for being so nice and asking such great questions! It’s wonderful to already have such a positive community for these streams. If you missed it, you can check out the archived video on our twitch page.

During the stream, the team was discussing the stress bar, and how to solve the fact that it is the most important piece of information on the screen but also the most temp, uninteresting thing to look at. The resulting attempt at a solution is using a shader to fill up the actual bull sprite rather than having a separate piece of UI representing our bull’s stress.

I’m currently playtesting this to see how well it reads (no seriously, I’m writing this post while I wait for my next playtester to come over). One thing I’m doing is having the tester hold down the button and then release JUST before they think he’s about to tantrum, then comparing how close that stress value is to the actual tantrum threshold. That will help us figure out if people are undershooting too much, and if we need additional feedback to convey what the “limit” of the meter is (there was a lot of great suggestions in the stream for ways to convey his stress!)

We have to mix up the streaming schedule for this week since the Insomniacs are off on holiday on Friday, so tune in Thursday, July 3 at 2pm PST for our weekly dev stream. This week will show Alex working on sound stuff and Dave working on more art. We’ll be back to Fridays the following week. Hope to see you there!

Meanwhile, here are some lingering questions from the chat that we didn’t get to last time.

Sonyrumors: If you’re targeting PC, any chance of this coming to mobile? Especially tablets?

Since this is a big experiment for us, we wanted to target one platform to start to keep things lean and mean.. However, if it is well-received, I would love to put Slow Down, Bull on other platforms someday, since its simple controls are conducive to many different input schemes. It’s just a cost/risk balance at this point, as we are a small team on a tight timeline.

Necksnap: How many Larpers are there at Insomniac?

Do the Fargarths count in this tally? If yes, I’d say at least 15.

Kmickelz: I just began creating content for an FPS Horror Survival game, hoping to have a kick starter campaign next year, but my question is what are must haves before starting up the campaign? Working mechanics? Just Content? Cutscenes? etc..

Having never run a kickstarter, I do not feel qualified to give good advice on this question, but I know there are a toooon of articles, post-mortems, and “best practices” stuff out there that would probably be a big help. Check Gamasutra for sure.

Jeyzer: What’s your favorite aspect of unity and what would you change in it?

From Lilian: I actually have 2 things that I really like about unity. I like how everything is component based. It makes my scripts a lot easier to read, debug, and I can reuse their functionality. Second, is that there is a growing community that is super helpful for all levels of unty-iers.
Things I would change about Unity. Originally it would be the GUI/UI system, but they are working on that. The next one would be the Input Manager. I wish you can modify the input manager in script. Currently, you can only gain access to controller data if they are connected before you launch unity (and you’ve mapped them before hand). You also can’t remap controls in game, unless you write your own system. It’s not fun.

Edlago: Can we play in the future the first prototype of Slow Down, Bull? The one in construct 2.

Currently the html5 prototype is kind of in a super-busted state, so I couldn’t really put it up without some work done on it. Since I’m pretty much completely absorbed in working on the unity version at the moment, I could only do this if the universe grants me a decent swath of free time, which may or may not happen. However, something I CAN do – a bit ago I did a Construct 2 tutorial for our Game Jams group at work and recorded it. It had a lot of examples from the Slow Down Bull prototype, so I could post that video somewhere for folks who just want to learn more about Construct 2!

As we continue towards this Fall, we wanted to spotlight various members of the Sunset Overdrive team with some questions you hopefully haven’t seen answered elsewhere. Get to know the Sunset Overdrive team. This week we talk to Game Director Drew Murray.

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There is a rumor that you were standing on top of a chair when pitching Sunset Overdrive to Microsoft, can you confirm or deny?

Confirmed. I was telling the story of what we thought would be a typical experience in the game, and as I reached the culmination of the story, I was building up the performance, talking louder and gesticulating more. At the end, I jumped up on my chair, switched to yelling, and acted out the last 45 seconds or so. I’d actually been practicing jumping up on a conference table, but the table at Microsoft seemed a bit flimsy so I decided to go with the chair, not really considering the fact that jumping up on a swivel chair maybe wasn’t the best idea. Thankfully, Noah Mussler at Microsoft snatched his arm out and held the chair for the rest of my performance so I wouldn’t flip over.

Describe your ideally dressed Sunset Overdrive character?

As part of our pitch, I described what I pictured me and Marcus looking like in-game. My character was wearing nothing but a Speedo, a kangaroo codpiece, and sneakers. Add a black-eye or a bloody nose, and I’m good to go!

What were some of your first design rules for Sunset Overdrive?

After seven years of Resistance, “no rubble, no grey” was our first rule!

Our best rule, though, was “Less talk, more rock!” (which we totally ripped off from a Superbrothers article based around a Jordan Mechner quote). The core idea is that most developers spend a ton of time talking and talking and talking about how to translate their basic, essential inspiration into a game, and then start working on it, but the best way is to go directly from inspiration to making, or “rocking.” As the article said, “Don’t think it through. Don’t talk about it. Don’t plan it. Dive in and start making it happen.” As soon as something is playable, you find consensus much quicker, even if it’s to go a completely different route, and you also get people focused on improving a feature instead of arguing against it as a theoretical concept.

All game designers should read this: http://boingboing.net/features/morerock.html

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Sunset Overdrive inspiration concepts

What’s the hallmark of a well-designed game for you?

I think it’s how well a game reflects its inspiration and intent. “Fantasy-based melee game” could be used to describe both God of War and Dark Souls, but those games have completely different inspirations and intents. One is to make you feel like a total badass the moment you pick up the controller, the other is to oppress you and make you work for every inch of ground you gain. And they’re both fantastically successful at evoking the feeling that they intended.

You’re a stickler for terrific controls, can you talk about the process? How do you know you nailed it?

The process really just comes down to tons of iteration. We do a rough pass to get the overall experience feeling vaguely correct, and then drill into the details. We’ll look at a particular thing like camera turn speed and really drill into top speed, acceleration and deceleration, how the stick-input-angle relates to different speeds, how the turn speed is affected by zooming, and tons of other details. Details like whether acceleration to top speed is going to take 5 frames or 6 frames are huge decisions, and there are heated debates about them.

Then we start playing the game and looking for cases where the controls don’t feel right, and we decide whether to adjust the core controls or set up special-case adjustments.

Along the way, we’re doing constant usability tests – first internally and then bringing in outsiders who have never seen the game – and seeing how players handle the controls. We get a lot of feedback from players telling us what they like and don’t like, but we’re also watching them play and will pick up on a lot of details that players may not consciously realize but that they’re having problems with. We take all we’ve learned, adjust what we need to, and run more people through it.

It’s a balance, though – your intent for the game has to stand firm. A game like Dark Souls could be considered non-responsive by a lot of players in a usability test, but those delays and slow, heavy animations and losing control after a big hit from an enemy are what make that game great at realizing its intent and inspiration. For Sunset Overdrive’s high-action, immediate responsiveness is what we aimed for, and so making sure that the controls are fast and tight was our goal.

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The One-Handed Dragon from the E3 2014 trailer. Drew’s favorite Sunset Overdrive weapon.

What’s your favorite video game of all time?

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. I already loved Ratchet – the colors, the weapons, the combat, the tight controls, the humor, the minigames, the variety of mechanics, the different planets – and Up Your Arsenal took everything that was already great about the franchise and made it so much better. It cemented my desire to come to Insomniac to figure out how they made such great games. We’ve described Sunset Overdrive as “the game for adults who grew up loving Spyro and Ratchet,” because that’s who we are.

If your city was overrun by mutants who had drank Overcharge, how would you survive?

I’d steal an ice cream truck, cover it with pinwheels and roman candles, and blast T. Rex from the truck’s speakers while cruising around the city in order to gather a group of like-minded survivors. Then we’d drive to the Santa Monica Pier while eating ice cream novelties and create a post-apocalyptic pagan nudist colony in the amusement park there, surviving on funnel cakes and beer while we watched the sun set into the Pacific from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

Your Sunset Overdrive Weapon of Choice?

The One-Handed Dragon. I love the whistle-sounds of the fireworks, I love the risk-reward of the delayed-explosion, I love the dragon fireworks effects, and I love the gun model itself. I also spent a lot of time defending its early implementation, so I think the One-Handed Dragon and I bonded over other people’s mutual disdain for us.

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Drew and Conan O’Brien at E3.

What was it like demoing to Conan O’Brien?

It was fun. I knew in the back of my mind that I might look like an idiot on national TV, but I’m the guy who was jumping around on tables and chairs when presenting the game and asking concept artists to tweak the ears of the in-game kangaroo codpiece for the fifth time so it would look just right; it’s not like I have a lot of shame. I know how lucky we are to have people interested in the game, so I’m just trying to enjoy all the cool and unique experiences that are coming up, and this definitely fit the bill. Conan and his crew were very cool and, despite the appearance on TV, they all seemed to really dig Sunset Overdrive. As a bonus, my mom now thinks I’m famous.

Other interviews with Art Director Jacinda Chew and Creative Director Marcus Smith.

This week on Sunset TV we answer a big-ole-bag-o questions. What’s the inspiration behind the name? Does it use rumble triggers? What’s the biggest secret we can’t tell you. Find out all this and more on another installment of: HEROES OF SUNSET TV: THE STEEL-BOUND SINNER!

SUBSCRIBE! for weekly shows: http://bit.ly/SOYouTube

Be sure to send your questions or comments to sunsettv@insomniacgames.com to join in on the fun!

lisa_sdbAhoy ahoy, humans! My name is Lisa, I’m a designer here at Insomniac, and today I’m going to tell you about…

…an experiment.

Insomniac has a lot of exciting things going on with Sunset Overdrive, Outernauts, and the Ratchet & Clank Movie and game, but we are always on the lookout for ways to throw even more excitement into our lives. We love AAA games, and mobile has been delightful, but we also love watching all the fun, amazing things coming out of the indie games space. We’ve been super inspired by our friends at DoubleFine and their adventures with Amnesia Fortnight, and we love Vlambeer’s performative development initiative with Nuclear Throne. Seeing all the cool, small games and development streams popping up is incredibly inspiring!

That led us to consider what a true indie project of our own would look like. While we’ve been a 100 percent independent game developer for 20 years now, few people would classify us as “indie” even though we pride ourselves on that very spirit. For example, many folks don’t know that Insomniac founder and CEO Ted Price burned through his life savings creating our first game demo, literally down to his last dollars when he signed a three-game deal with Universal. Chief Technology Officer Alex Hastings was sleeping on Ted’s couch when he wasn’t madly programming Insomniac’s first engine. Several weeks later Brian Hastings, Insomniac’s Chief Creative Officer joined to bring more programming power and ideas to the party. The three dove headfirst into production, all wearing lots of hats. When I think of the term garage developer it’s an apt moniker for how Ted, Al and Brian describe their early days.

Fast forward to today and despite the fact that we’re bigger, the independent, “everyone contributes” spirit has never waned. So when this question came up: “What’s the smallest number of Insomniacs it would take to make a great game?” it was very familiar territory for Ted, Al, Brian and Chief Operating Officer John Fiorito. They enthusiastically fired up the laboratory! Now, all that was needed was a guinea pig…

And that, dear reader, is where I came in. Captured from the wilds of the Insomniac design department, I was whisked away to the lab, microchipped, supplied with ample stock of food pellets, and then put to prototyping under the watchful observation of our top Insomniac scientists. A game was spawned, a team was formed, and here we are today. This is such an experiment that they even let me write this announcement post!

Let me tell you about our game…

WAAAAAIT! STOP EVERYTHING!

Wait a minute, what? Who is that? What are you doing in my blog post?

This is Ryan, and what are YOU doing??? We can’t announce this game! It’s not ready yet! We don’t even have a game logo!!! And where’s the trailer??

But, Ryan this game isn’t even half finished yet, that’s the whole point, we’re going to show…

WHAT ABOUT KEY ART??? We don’t even have key art!! We can’t announce a game without ASSETS!!

Ryan.

Wait, who’s that?

This is Ted. Ryan, chill out, man. It’s an experiment!!!

…but…but…

Hey, Ryan, what if we show some draft versions of key art soon as a work in progress, then we can show its evolution over the summer as the game goes on and we update and change the key art until it is final! The goal is to show off the development process after all. We can even get people’s feedback along the way!

So, we get to post key art?

Well how about we just start with some concepts.

Okay…okay I think we can do that. Carry on!

OKAY THEN!

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About the Game

Slow Down Bull is a small action game about a stressed out, overachiever bull named Axel. He loves collecting beautiful things, but has to overcome his innate bull nature to accomplish his goals. Axel tries very hard to be graceful and cautious while he collects, but it’s very stressful! What if he bumps into someone? What if his bull-like nature erupts and ruins everything he’s trying to collect? What if he messes up???

The trouble is, if our bull *does* get too stressed out, he *will* succumb to his bull instincts, and tantrum and trample all over that which he loves. Can you help him achieve his goals and keep his cool at the same time?

Slow Down Bull is being made by a team of 4-5 people in Unity for the PC, and we’ll be streaming our work on the game on Friday afternoons (PST). Our first stream will be on Friday, June 27 at 2:00pm PST on the Insomniac Twitch Stream. We’d love for you to stop by and hang out with us in the stream! We’ll also be posting development progress here on the blog, so stay tuned for updates about the game and stories about the team making it.

We hope you’ll join us in observing the results of this Insomniac experiment! See you in the stream :) -Lisa

Slow Down, Bull is a small action game about a stressed out, overachiever bull who loves collecting beautiful things. Help the bull keep his cool to get the biggest, most beautiful collection he can by steering him and managing his stress.

Slow Down, Bull is an Insomniac experiment to make a great game with a small team. You can read a bit more about the origins of the experiment in this post. We are building Slow Down, Bull in Unity for the PC with a team of 4-5 people, and want to share the development of the game with you! Here’s how you can participate:

  • Stop by our Insomniac Twitch Channel every Friday at 2pm PST to see our live development stream. We’ll stream the team working on art, programming, design and sound for the game and will answer audience questions about game development. This is a great opportunity if you are an aspiring game dev to learn more or if you’re just curious to see what development on a small game actually looks like.
  • Keep up with developer logs on this blog and our forums to ask questions and give feedback about the game.
  • Follow @SlowDownBull on Twitter to keep informed about new updates to the project.

Today the 29 judging publications that are a part of the Game Critics Awards announced their nominations for the Best of E3 2014. We were honored that Sunset Overdrive received two nominations, for Best Original Game and Best Action/Adventure Game. It’s the first time Insomniac has ever received a best Original Game nomination from the Game Critics Awards.

These nominations are the cherry on top of a super-successful E3 for Sunset Overdrive, which saw the game earn (by our totally unofficially official count) 58 nominations with 30 wins of various E3 Awards and Best Of lists from various media outlets. You can see just a few of those nominations in the photo of Creative Director Marcus Smith and Game Director Drew Murray.

Sunset Overdrive Game Director Drew Murray celebrates a successful E3 2014 by jumping on Creative Director Marcus Smith's back

Sunset Overdrive Game Director Drew Murray celebrates a successful E3 2014 by jumping on Creative Director Marcus Smith’s back

The Game Critics Awards will announce the winners of the awards next Tuesday, July 1st. You can see all of the nominations here.

You can pre-order the game to receive the Day One Edition from our various retail partners here. As always, for all the latest on Sunset Overdrive keep it tuned here for follow us on twitter @SunsetOverdrive or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SunsetOverdriveGame.

 

 

This week on Sunset TV we reveal more details on Traps. And, YES, you can play as a female character in the game. You’re the hero. Take a stab at being who you want to be. So, take a look at some new footage!

SUBSCRIBE! for weekly shows: http://bit.ly/SOYouTube

Be sure to send your questions or comments to sunsettv@insomniacgames.com to join in on the fun!

Download our Exclusive wallpapers featuring characters we created just for the E3 demo: Full set here. This is a little taste of some of the characters YOU can create in Sunset Overdrive.

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