GamingFive years ago, I quit my safe cybersecurity job to make the Megaman X-inspired game of my dreams. I am Chris King, developer of 20XX. AMA!
Aug 16th 2017 by fyeahcking • 19 Questions • 1297 Points
You can also see me these days as the President of the United States of America, Laura Montez, on VEEP, a kind of angry lesbian network president on EPISODES, a ballsy military contractor zombie on iZombie and getting super beat up in the movie THE HOUSE. I also lurk around Twitter and Instagram at @andreasavage. Come say hi.
Why make a Megaman X inspired game, is it your favorite series?
What was the biggest challenge you encountered during early access?
How does the "rogue-like" part of this game work?
Can you ask Tom Everett Scott if his favorite band is still "Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters?" Tell him it's Lenny
Yeah, it's my favorite series. I've been super into Megaman (and X) since I was very young - so much so, in fact, that my brother still calls me "Mega."
Early Access was full of challenges -- it's hard to pin down one, so I'll talk about one challenge per time I'm asked that question until I run out of stories.
When we were preparing to enter Beta in Sept. 2015, we'd just done a pretty major player character design overhaul (I think we did this six distinct times), hoping our shiny new visuals would be a step up for the game. They ended up being the single most negatively received thing we've ever done, which I learned while 3000 miles from home without a decent computer. Zach fixed the characters while I caught a redeye home to get access to my media-worthy computer, and we cut entirely new trailers/screenshots/etc overnight with remastered old versions of the characters. It was super stressful, but it worked out.
20XX's big roguelike elements are permanent death (one failure and it's back to HQ for you) and random level generation/boss order. As you play, you'll find Soul Chips, which you can then spend on new items to increase the item pool in-game, and a set of permanent upgrades that apply to the game's default modes. Think of it like Isaac or Necrodancer in the MMX style, and you've got the right idea.
I will text him now!
Veep has notoriously over the top insults and nonchalant vulgarity as a staple of the scripted dialogue, did it take any special focus to be able to make it through your scene with Timothy Simons without breaking? Is it a relief to be able to play a character on a show where the use of swearing is so liberally used?
I've always wanted "more Megaman X," and it seemed like the best way to get it was to make a super replayable game that feels like it. It turns out that Megaman and roguelikes mesh together in a bunch of ways, but that wasn't why we did it.
Fuck! I just wrote a long answer and it disappeared!! Basically, I love to swear, so it is a win/win for me. And oddly I have this ability to not break in a scene, kind of no matter what, and then as soon as they yell CUT I fall apart. And this scene was improvised in the whole rape the president part, so it was super fun.
Hi Chris! I've been the biggest Megaman / X fan since I was a child and when I found your game on the steam market, I immediately saved up to grab it and it has given me so many hours of fun. A couple questions.
1) Favorite Megaman X game?
2) Is there anything that you really wanted to put into 20XX but haven't been able to, either because it is too hard/not enough time/too many other things taking precedent?
Thank you for the answer! Looking forward to more episodes!
1) X4. Love the fluidity of movement, the crispness of controls, and being able to play as Zero the whole way through. (No, I'm not counting X3 in the "Zero the whole way through" category. I wasn't anywhere near good enough for that.)
2) So many things -- and hopefully, after today's 1.0 release, we'll have time!
The biggest one's a solid level editor - the 20XX dream really goes infinite once we build a community of people using well-made tools to help build potential level pieces, and to get there, I'm going to have to build a good level editor. None of that would matter if we made a bad game, though, so we focused on making a good game first.
Thank you! I do speak Spanish! It's the only other language I speak. so for the audition I just decided to speak totally normally and then for the few Spanish words go way over the top. And it worked!
What's next for Batterystaple Games after 20XX? Also, is Batterystaple Games hiring software developers by chance?
Mustard or mayo?
For now, we're still full-steam ahead on 20XX. There's still a lot to do - at the absolute minimum, we're taking the game to PS4/XB1, and then we'll see about additional ports afterward. I intend to stay in games one way or another, but I'm not sure what that looks like yet. Regardless, I'ma be supporting 20XX for a long time.
We're not currently hiring! If I'm being honest, programmer's pretty far down the list for when we do. Anything could happen, though!
always both. always.
Hey, Chris. Zero here. I'd just like to know two things.
First of all, since I got the game last year, I have:
- encountered and reported bug after bug after bug.
- submitted numerous suggestions, some great, some not.
- clashed with you on more than a few game changes. Oxjack legs, that mortar segment
- broken the game in ways even I don't know how. Three repeat daily glitches?
- broken netplay many, many times. You reading this, co-op buddy?
- just always keeping your hands full in some way. Even now. Where are we on that cheapshots list?
So my first question is; are you sick of me yet? We joke about it but I am legitimately curious.
As for my second question:
Will you be hiring play-testers for down the line for this or your next project?
Hi Ms. Savage, can I ask, what is the best thing a director can do for you on set?
Thank you. :~)
Hey, bud! Somehow missed this one for a bit.
I am zero percent sick of you. (Get it?) Of course not - you've been a huge help these past few weeks, and I'd have to be a fool to think otherwise.
I have no idea what our future QA needs look like - depends a lot on the nature of the project, and we're going to be whole hog on 20XX for a good while yet.
It kind of depends on the project really. TV directors are different in their role than movie directors. And it depends if I am on the set as an actor or a creator. But I would say be prepared, set a professional tone and respect the other professionals you are working with.
Hey! 20XX is a lot of fun. Congratulations on getting it out of Early Access! I have a few minor questions because everyone else pretty much covered what I wanted to ask about but I still wanted to participate. Oh well.
Was there any specific reason for renaming the game from Echoes of Eridu to 20XX?
What was the biggest roadblock you encountered during development? Is there something you wish you did way earlier in development?
Were there any major inspirations for the game besides (obviously) the Mega Man franchise?
According to the i.bin file in the game's directory the Charging Magnet item was used to be called "Mag-NEATO". Why is that not a thing anymore? That should be a thing, honestly.
Is there anything specific you have in mind for the next update yet? Also, will 20XX eventually get additional content? Has the team considered DLC (besides the soundtrack, I mean) down the line?
Hey Andrea! I know you're busy with your own show (love it!) but as the new season of iZombie just started filming I have to ask:
Might we see any more of Vivian Stoll? No body tends to means no death in genre shows, and we never saw her actually get on that chopper.
Echoes of Eridu was a super non-memorable name. It didn't evoke the inspiration, it said nothing about the gameplay, and it was hard to remember. Basically, it was a bad/unmarketable name, so we changed it.
We've had plenty of challenges while making 20XX, I'm not sure we've ever really hit a roadblock. I wish we'd settled narrative earlier in development - would have made our lives a lot easier toward the end.
Re: 3: Just the recent roguelike trend. I've always wanted endless, replayable Megaman X, it seemed like a good time to shoot for it.
We're definitely going to continue to support the game, but we're not 100% sure what form that'll take yet. As I mention above, I'd really like to build good, solid level-piece authoring tools, so the community can get engaged in helping build the game's level diversity. Beyond that, just more content! Levels, bosses, augs, maybe even characters, etc.
Sadly, I doubt it. I know that is not what you wanted to hear. Sorry!!
Who would win in a fight? 100 X sized Zeros or 1 Zero sized X?
what is the weirdest cult or fad do you see emerging among fellow actors (besides scientology, juice cleanses, and improv)?
Seeing as they're about the same size, I'd say the Zeroes have to take this one as long as they can figure out what they're fighting fooooooooor.
Someone told me they were training with a woman who specializes in relaxing your butthole. Apparently that is where we keep 90% of all of our stress.
Which movie is better, Godfather 1 or Godfather 2?
Do I have to choose? For reals...tied.
You used to do stand up. Are there any videos for us to watch?
We're actively working on ports for PS4/XB1, and figuring out what's coming after that.
I actually don't know. I will have to find out. I never did a special, but there must be something, somewhere. I stopped around 2006, so it was right before it would have been posted on the internet automatically.
Not super likely short term - we use a lot of Steam's API for 20XX's various bits, so migrating is not cost-free. We'll have to address this anyway when we port to consoles, though, so there's a chance then.
Hey Chris! I love the game, thanks for making it so awesome.
What's your play style for 20XX? When you play, is there a particular build you gravitate towards?
I usually let my first few Augs/Cores dictate my run - an early Owlhawk helm means I'm picking up a bunch of Powers, a Nut Replicator means I'll hoard and take the 10 nut bonus at level's end, a Plasma Blender means MUST TAKE ALL DRACOPENT ALWAYS, etc. The game's full of synergies, so I just try to let my early items dictate what should come next.
I've always wondered: are you able to go back and play your own game for fun, or does knowing all the secrets take the excitement out of it?
IT's definitely hard to play it for fun sometimes, but (more often than is productive) I'll get caught up playing the game when I meant to test something out. I'm pretty sure that's a good sign.
With a few of the optional difficulty skulls on, I still have a lot of fun just playing it. Had a run while I was testing today's release candidate that ended in a final boss fight crash (which we've fixed) after six consecutive bosses ending at 1-2 hp, which was pretty deflating.
My dream is to build a strong enough level piece editor that players make enough level pieces that I really get to play the game fresh - I made the game I wanted to play, and that would be the best.
Just by watching the trailer for this, it looks very fun and amazing! Congrats on following your dreams dude. I don't really have a question but, since it's an AMA, how much, if at all, did your former job experience as cyber security play into you being able to code and design your game? Do you have any ideas for sequels or other games yet?
Not any more than any other coding profession would have been, I don't think. I had to learn it all from the ground up - started with one of those C++ tutorials that's like "here's how you make a window with one triangle in it!" and worked my way up from there.
See above for future stuff - lots of ideas, nothing we can announce though! Focused on 20XX hard for now.
Hey Chris, I bought 20XX many moons ago, and do love it. But one thing I would love to see is a non-procedural, non-roguelike game type. Any chance of that happening in the future?
Hey! Not super likely from us any time soon, but we aren't really ready to talk about what's after 20XX. Anything could happen!
Hey Chris, congrats on all your achievements!
I'm a mid-30's guy in a completely different industry than game development who is currently on the fence about making a career switch. I have zero programming knowledge but tend to have a creative personality, and game making always fascinated me. I have the fortune of having started a very modestly successful business, so I would have some income from that to keep me going during my learning period. My wife is supportive of my goals.
My question(s)... am I doing the right thing? What has been the good and bad about changing careers at this point in life? What would you have done differently in the beginning to better prepare yourself for today?
If you're either a talented artist or a talented programmer, it's worth considering. If you're neither of those things, try and become one as a hobby first - small teams don't really have much room for anyone who isn't one of those things first. (Alternatively, if you have an incredibly clear vision and the money to do it, you could hire both, but that's very rare in small-team gamedev. If you've run a successful business prior, that definitely gives you a leg up there.)
Keep in mind that no matter what you do, we're currently in the middle of a very, very difficult time to stand out and compete as an indie dev. Don't do it if you're not okay with the (high) risk of losing the money you invest if it doesn't work out.
Two quick questions:
Are you also a fan of the Megaman Battle Network series?
If so, is there any possibility of you guys making a game based on that style of gameplay/battling?
I'll freely admit I haven't played much of those games. The combat's super different, and didn't immediately click with me. LOVE the music, though.