Posted 1:00pm

Coconut Dodge Revitalised coming soon to PS Vita

Coconut-Dodge-Revitalised-Key-Art

If you’ve been noticing Shahid Ahmad’s handsome mug plastered all over gaming websites recently you may be wondering if Sony’s commitment to indie development is just hype or if there’s some actual truth to the notion that Sony is the best place for indie development right now.

The story of Coconut Dodge might give you a clue.

I was part of a team who wrote a game on a different system’s indie platform a few years ago – and it seemed like nothing had changed in all the years I’ve been writing games. Without a publisher behind you, you were essentially throwing your game release into the Marianas Trench, never to be seen again.

That can be a little crushing.

Like a lot of programmers too moralistic or too stupid to get a job in the banking sector, I spent the next few years being passed around by various companies like a cheap bathroom concubine. One place I was packaged off to, tied and gagged with an apple in my mouth, was called FuturLab.

Dodge Coconuts

The manager, a chap called James Marsden, treated me with kindness and we set to work on a game called Drop The Beat. It didn’t go anywhere but we did end up with a working sprite and sound engine for the PSP, along with some contacts. It wasn’t a fancy engine – we didn’t presume to give it a cool name (I quite like The Polynator, but apparently that’s rude) – but it handled the basics and allowed us to start work on updating an old FuturLab Flash game to run on the PlayStation Portable. Sony was genuinely supportive, so FuturLab decided to self-fund Coco’s development and we set to work.

Coconut Dodge isn’t a huge game in coding terms – it isn’t even as big as the code for Velocity’s menu system – but making it was fun and everybody who played the test versions enjoyed it. In the week before release we were still cramming in extra modes and polishing gameplay – you do that when something is dear to you and you’re working as part of a small team.

Without the ease of development on a fixed system, the mature Sony libraries and their technical support – not to mention somewhere to actually release the game (the Minis platform) – Coconut Dodge would never have been made and FuturLab would be yet another brief blip in the gaming landscape of failed software devs. Or even worse James would have returned to making Flash games and I’d still be dancing naked for coins down the docks.

Mazin

Coconut Dodge came out at the turn of the decade and won plaudits and even mentions in Kotaku and IGN. It opened doors which we then pushed open even further with Velocity – which was inspired by many of the mechanics in Coconut Dodge. Unusually the game was popular with both guys and girls – that was particularly gratifying.

EA asked for a mobile phone version, Marmalade wanted a tablet version, we were interviewed on websites and YouTube – it was an exciting time. More importantly we now had the leverage and recognition to create something bigger.

And now, for PlayStation Vita, we have given our first game an HD overhaul, along with modern requirements like an online leaderboard and trophies. We think it’s a fitting update to the game that kept us in the industry. If you have the good taste to pick up a copy when it releases on 5th June we’re sure you’ll enjoy it!

Dodge Coconuts

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Comments

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Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:04 pm   1

Hello mortals!

I have slowed my processing speed down so I can answer your questions :D

 
Deak-in 14 May, 2013 @ 1:16 pm   2

Welp this is great news! I bought Coconut Dodge on release day all those years back for the princely sum of £1.99 and since then a great friendship has blossomed between me and Clawrence :)

 
zalwelgoedgaan 14 May, 2013 @ 1:17 pm   3

Are there day/night cycles?

 
ssorc_bro 14 May, 2013 @ 1:17 pm   4

Game looks fab, any idea on price range ?!

Also, nice subtitle you gave it :D

 
Phalansa 14 May, 2013 @ 1:19 pm   5

What will you guys be working on next?

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:25 pm    

    Velocity Ultra is out tomorrow – that’s a super insanely updated version of our second game after Coconut Dodge – a game we could never have made without Clawrence. After that… well, I can’t say more except the limits are galactic…

Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:22 pm   6

Deak-in – great to hear! And to respond to the enigmatically named ssorc_bro, we will stick with £1.99 for this new flashier version – keeping the price low so everybody can have meet our crabby little mascot. I’m pretty sure that’s the price we’re going for – if I’ve guessed wrong I’ll get a smacked bottom and this will be my last ever blog post

 
Virgo21Child 14 May, 2013 @ 1:23 pm   7

Does it have a platinum? Besides HD, is there any changes that has been done to the game, touch controls, special tricks with vita etc?

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:30 pm    

    Coconut Dodge has had the resolution of the sprites quadrupled in size, which was the main thing we were keen to fix – and we altered some of the plotting code because the game no longer needs to compensate for the PSP’s slow (by modern standards) lcd pixel refresh rate. We have also added a trophy screen (but no platinum for this game, although Velocity Ultra will have one) – with several trophies scattered through the game just to pep things up a bit. And of course an online leaderboard so you can mock your puny human chums. Also all the menus are now touch compatible – we’ve tried to make the game feel a fair bit slicker for the new platform. With Coco the main thing is keeping the simple addictive factor, so we’ve not added lots of bells and whistles – although Robin mode and Keepy Uppy mode are more easily accessible

 
S-o-h-a-i-l 14 May, 2013 @ 1:25 pm   8

Can you tell us what the game entails (for those of us who were oblivious to the games existance beforehand) ? Thanks :)

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:51 pm    

    Hi Sohail, and well met. In essence Clawrence is a crab who likes collecting treasure, while avoiding being hit by coconuts. A lot of his crab behaviour is based on observing real life crabs collecting gold on a research holiday I got James to pay for. After returning from the Bahamas with copious notes we decided to also add beachballs for Clawrence to bounce, mazes to jink through and a general sense of increasing urgency. Just like with real crabs. If you’ve never played the game before (for shame!) think old school arcade one-more-go factor where reaction speed is key. You’ll get 30,000 points, then 50,000, then swear like a trooper, then get 100,000 and before you know it you’re hooked. The online scoreboard makes it easier to compare scores – with friends, or the whole planet. If you see 15 billion points turning up at some point, that just means James has finally figured out how to hack my code

 
chrisboers 14 May, 2013 @ 1:28 pm   9

Hi James, welcome on the PS Blog! For Velocity Ultra, we got some extensive info on the actual changes between the Mini version and Ultra. Can you shed some light on the differences between the original and this HD release?

Also, did you tweak the controls, to use any of the new input possibilities (touchscreen, backscreen, giroscpoe) of the Vita?

Last, James almost begged us to ask the impossible questions, so, how much would YOU pay for this game? :-)

Any chance for a ‘best of’ package of futurlab games? I think you guys have enough to form a nice package!

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:43 pm    

    I think a best of package is a great idea – I’ve already suggested we make a sort of Futurlab greatest hits album with our current Vita and PlayStation Mobile games bundled up for those who missed them the first time round.

 
Rocstarr 14 May, 2013 @ 1:29 pm   10

Wonderful!

 
chrisboers 14 May, 2013 @ 1:30 pm   11

Ugh.. “Hi Robin”, that should have read….

 
Golwar 14 May, 2013 @ 1:31 pm   12

Revitalised, heh. Nice one. I’d trademark that asap if I were you. ;)

And yes, Sony is doing a lot of thing right about supporting indies. Meanwhile I stopped buying those on Steam, because I’d prefer to play them on my Vita.

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:41 pm    

    Aye – same here – prefer to have bite sized indie snack food on the Vita – much better platform than a PC for this sort of game. “Revitalised” was thought up by a fan – who of course ended up in the Velocity credits as a reward. We like plastering our fans names all over our games – we’re just so chuffed the mail we get these days is from fans and not from baliffs

 
chrisboers 14 May, 2013 @ 1:31 pm   13

For anyone wondering what this game is actually like, here is the trailer of the iGadget version:

http://youtu.be/YO42b9Yrhu0

 
ssorc_bro 14 May, 2013 @ 1:40 pm   14

Thanks for the reply, you guys always have great price points for your games. Looking forward to playing it, as well as the highly recommended Velocity Ultra tomorrow :)

James Marsden 14 May, 2013 @ 1:41 pm   15

Hello all, crashing the party.

If you haven’t seen it, this video is VERY funny. John Steels playing Coconut Dodge on minis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4wDwD9fyO0

:)

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 2:07 pm    

    Oy, hop it James! You gaffer taped me to the Answer Chair – it’s the first time I’ve been unchained from the Coding Chair in the basement in weeks – and I’m going to enjoy my moment in the sun! Go polish your head or something. I promise to almost definitely not say something regrettable that sinks the company.

 

First Velocity now this, thanks FuturLab!

 
aros2011 14 May, 2013 @ 1:50 pm   17

I’ll pick this up tomorrow, as long as it doesn’t have freemium rubbish added in like the giraffe game. That said I have a lot more faith in Futurlab so I can’t see you guys doing something that will give you a negative reputation and destroy the well earned positivity that exists toward your studio.

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 1:55 pm    

    There is zero freemium rubbish in the game – we’re not remotely keen on that sort of thing. We’re gamers, not cynical businessmen – can’t be having with all that micro transaction nonsense. Although if you post me a fiver I will send you a coconut.

 
chrisboers 14 May, 2013 @ 1:55 pm   18

Hah! the still at http://youtu.be/d4wDwD9fyO0?t=3m25s sums up this game quite nicely :-)

(I’m pretty sure I watched this vid back then also, and it’s indeed great!)

 
Aces73High 14 May, 2013 @ 2:13 pm   19

Hi Robin, thought I’d quickly log on between hospital appointments (I’m quite – well, very – sick at the moment – cue violins please my fellow gaming bloggers!), to say hi. So erm, Hi!

I remember buying Coconut Dodge for iOS back in the day and had quite a bit of fun with it. So when I realised that it was from the guys and brought the utterly sublime Velocity Ultra into my once empty heart, I grabbed the Minis version too. As a huge fan and supporter of the indie gaming industry, I like nothing (well, not much anyway) more than supporting talented studios – particularly homegrown outfits – so I’ll definitely be grabbing Coconut Dodge Revitalised when it hits the store the the fifth.

Finally, I couldn’t sign off without wishing you guys all the luck in the world with Velocity Ultra. Needless to say, I’ll be all over it come this time tomorrow (unless my damn doctor gets his way and admits me this afternoon). As a Plus subscriber, I’ll get VU via the Instant Game Collection, but please know that I’d have all too gladly shelled out some real world coinage had it not been an IGC title. Either way, I just know it’ll do great.

All the best, Simon.

 
Witcher70 14 May, 2013 @ 2:17 pm   20

Hi Robin

I am going to snap up your game and if theres ever a greatest hits package released i’ll snap that up too, i like to support devs who love to make and play games….. I hate freemium and free-to-play….. and all the other fee paying rubbish. Keep up the good work :)

Fred Dutton 14 May, 2013 @ 2:21 pm   21

Absolutely first rate blog respondage from the Futurlab gang! Kudos!

 
Witcher70 14 May, 2013 @ 2:23 pm   22

I second that Fred ! :)

Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 2:24 pm   23

Hi there Simon – thanks for taking the time out from medical stuff to write and say hello – really appreciate it. Also I’m sure, like everyone here, I wish you good fortune with your illness – very best of luck in kicking it in the teeth, whatever it might be.

I’m sure you’ll like Coco when it comes out – the Vita version is the prettiest and nicest to control of the lot.

Drop us a line via the FuturLab website – it won’t help to get you better sooner, unless my understanding of modern medicine is radically inadequate, but I’ll hide your name in the next big Futurlab release as a thank you for saying hello while suffering from, well, whatever you’re currently been lumbered with!

 
Aces73High 14 May, 2013 @ 2:31 pm   24

Good shout Fred, Robins response made me laugh out loud too – and it pulled my bloody stitches!!!!!

Anyway while I’m at it, one other thing Robin – and James…!!

A few months back, I grabbed your PSM games Beats Slider, Fuel Tiracas and Surge, and (along with the likes of Jetpack Joyride and Treasures of Montezuma Blitz), I regularly hop into them when I’ve got a few minutes here or an hour(!) there. However, as much fun as they are (and they really, really are), they’d be soooo much cooler as all-singing, all-dancing PSN titles with trophy support! I know it’s EXTREMELY unlikely, but some kind of FuturLab Trilogy with those three bad boys clumped together with all the bells and whistles would be awesome.

Just food for though..

    James Marsden 14 May, 2013 @ 2:50 pm    

    Good things happen for those who ask…

    … all I can say at the moment ;)

 
monoliet 14 May, 2013 @ 2:49 pm   25

Shahid Ahmad’s big news = bof noting special
give me minecraft on vita / ps3 wil be big anouncement .

 
SirTodge 14 May, 2013 @ 2:52 pm   26

Can I just say regardless of this game in particular that I wish every developer would take the time out like FuturLab does on Twitter, on this blog and on a certain Gamaing Age Forum to engage with their fans, give nice decent length answers to our questions and ultimately listen to our concerns and suggestions.

Please never ever stop doing what you are doing. It’s fantastic and more devs, especially indies, could learn a lot from how you guys handle yourselves in this socially networked age.

I look forward to Revitalized and Velocity Ultra :D

regards,
@DBT85

James Marsden 14 May, 2013 @ 2:53 pm   27

“A lot of his crab behaviour is based on observing real life crabs collecting gold on a research holiday I got James to pay for.”

Megalolz!

    Robin Jubber 14 May, 2013 @ 2:57 pm    

    I told you to stop reading this! It’s tax deductible. I have a receipt. Wait until you see the bill for the Velocity space flight research.

    Now go away! I’m enjoying myself – I made one of them bleed with the power of words.

 
Envirasu 14 May, 2013 @ 3:07 pm   28

This actually looks like a lot of fun. With exams ongoing at the moment, I don’t have much time to play my bigger games. Will definitely be getting this.

In regards to what SirTodge said, I agree. Furthermore, I’d say I’m much more likely to buy a game when its developers take time to interact with fans of their game(s). :D

James Marsden 14 May, 2013 @ 3:08 pm   29

We’re about to lose our internet for a short while. Back later!

 
JO-AYNE 14 May, 2013 @ 3:13 pm   30

I’m nearly crying with laughter so for that you’ll get an instant purchase from me! Good show~!

 
almighty-slayer 14 May, 2013 @ 3:48 pm   31

Yay, Clawrence :D

FuturLab continues to be one of the greatest developers around. Even better that they talk to their fans, have a great sense of humour, and are all around brilliant bunch of people.

Looking forward to Velocity Ultra (if it comes out this week) and definitely looking forward to Coconut Dodge as well! Look forward to seeing whatever brilliant ideas you have in the futur(e).

#GetFuturLabOnPS4! ;)

 
Mr-Matt13 14 May, 2013 @ 3:52 pm   32

Sold!

I’ve had the PSP version since the £1 minis sale they had a few years ago and I wouldn’t like to guess how many hours I’ve spent sat on the can playing this game. And I now have the music stuck playing in myhead just thinking about this game.

I have the PSP version on my Vita but will gladly update to the HD version tomorrow.

Thank you in advance for making all my future poos even more enjoyable.

 
SirTodge 14 May, 2013 @ 4:10 pm   33

“Thank you in advance for making all my future poos even more enjoyable.”

If ever there was a quote to put on some box art…

 
Stocko 14 May, 2013 @ 4:15 pm   34

This game looks fun! I like how you guys are so intractive with your consumers it makes me very happy, purchase from me :)

 
supersmith2500 14 May, 2013 @ 4:40 pm   35

Played this Mini before as part the Mini Collection on PSP and is a really good game. Hope the game comes real cheap like Nun Attack. Keep up with the great support FutruLab team and hope you support the PS4 next gen. = )

And that Beats Slider from PSN giveaway and free Velocity as part of the xmas giveaway and even it’s remake on Plus? Thank you so much for the major support. Hope you keep this up. =D

 
Rytteren 14 May, 2013 @ 7:25 pm   36

£1.99 ! take my money.
loving them vita games. you do know, you are on your way to becoming one of my favorit teams with games for PSN/vita. up there with Creat Studios.

now give me this game with a spaceship ;)

 
DoYouLikeMyID 14 May, 2013 @ 8:35 pm   37

There really should be a best of 2013 award for “best replies by a developer” – It wouldn’t really be that exciting a category, since you guys at Futurlab would win the award easily, but I think your amusing responses deserve at least some kind of recognition. ;)

Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next! (Regarding both comments and games)

 
kivi95 14 May, 2013 @ 9:09 pm   38

24# I’ll second that. As it seems like Sony will NEVER(when they do it it’s already too late) expand the PSM service.

 
cowbanana 15 May, 2013 @ 10:51 am   39

I’ll buy it. That is all.

 
aros2011 15 May, 2013 @ 12:53 pm   40

This does not seem to have launched today – hopefully next week! I hope buying this to thank you for Velocity will be acceptable. Really glad to hear it is not full of IAP.

Are there any plans for new IP on the Vita? As great as your PSM games are, I would love to see what you can come up with designing for the Vita from the start.

 
supersmith2500 15 May, 2013 @ 1:03 pm   41

Also confirmed for June’s IGC Plus update. Looking forward to play the HD remake for this once it comes on Plus next month. =D

Again, keep up with the great support FutruLab and I may even make you something for the thank you very very soon.

 
Witcher70 15 May, 2013 @ 3:00 pm   42

Regardless of the fact this game is going in June’s IGC, i am going to spend £1.99 to support u guys :)