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  • Ascension: From Game Jam To Xbox One In 12 Months

    - Kenny Creanor

  • The problem with a console game though is expectation - releasing a game for one of the next gen platforms feels VERY different to creating something for mobile (especially when it was something that you thought nobody was ever really going to see) and so I felt a lot of pressure to bring the game up to a higher visual standard very quickly, but at least now that I had found my style it was just a matter of implementing it. I quickly made very good friends with Unity's new Post-Processing behaviour, and the final look started to come together. Here's a snapshot of the initial trailer we sent to Microsoft:

    Still a long way away from where oOo is now, but you can start to see some of the UI, tones and general feel of the game coming together, and those survived through to the launch version. Microsoft were on board, and through their [email protected] program we were able to sign an Xbox One exclusivity deal that would see oOo: Ascension launch in the spring of 2018. I couldn't believe it then, and I still can't quite believe it now. From December onward I was working on it full-time and I felt I now had the opportunity to really hammer out the kinks in the gameplay, difficulty curve and the overall visual style.

    After years of playing local co-op games with my brothers, splitscreen co-op was a must-have

    A very important and often overlooked aspect of working on a project alone is that when you find yourself struggling with one part of it, you can always just jump onto something else for a while, and come back to it later with a different perspective. This is what the next 4 months were like for me; one day I was working on the lighting, the next I'd be looking at sound and then later on I might start programming in a new mechanic: the to-do list was gargantuan but I was excited about literally every single thing on it.

    From January onward, everything has been a bit of a blur - my wife gave birth to our daughter at the end of February and I became determined not to let the making of this game take over my life - it had to get finished, but it also had to be as good as I could possible make it. With the help of Tony McBride, (Lead Programmer at EM Studios and creator of Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity) we managed to get the game up and running on the Xbox with achievements, stats etc all set up. Now, after a great deal of testing oOo: Ascension is ready and waiting to launch on Xbox on May 25th, with other platforms scheduled for the end of the year. Coming up with Box Artwork and launch trailer was the final step, and capturing the games look and feel was imperative, so here's what I came up with:

    oOo: Ascension Box Art:

    I went for a minimalist approach to the box art - an attempt at mimicking the simplicity of the game's controls.

    The lack of text in the game is also reflected in the trailer - just good old fashioned arcade fun on show

    Now I can't do much else besides wait patiently until the 25th of May to see what the world makes of my efforts. It feels very strange to not be working on oOo anymore, as it has been such a massive part of my life for the last 12 months, but now I can start to reflect on all that I have learned in the process - I hope that this it have been helpful to some of you, and that someone, somewhere is encouraged to show the world their own personal project; who knows, somebody just might like it.

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