Introducing Beat Hazard Ultra – A One-Man PSN Game

My name is Steve Hunt and I’m really excited to be able to talk about my PSN game Beat Hazard Ultra and how I wrote the game from scratch on my own, in my bedroom.

About the Game

Beat Hazard Ultra is a twin stick arcade shooter that is entirely powered by YOUR music! Just copy some music on to your PS3 hard drive, or use the built in songs choose a track, and be dazzled by the eye-bleeding visuals and enjoy blasting away enemy ships to the sound of your favourite pumping tunes.

Everything you see in the game is dictated by the music in some way, from the firepower of your ship to the number and patterns of enemies coming at you. Each track produces a unique (but, most importantly, repeatable) level.

In addition to Standard play, Ultra has plenty of cool gameplay features to keep you busy, including Boss Rush and Survival modes, 23 perks to unlock and 42 in-game challenges that award 14 trophies. There are also three awesome tactical weapons: Micro Missiles, Reflect Shield and Ultra Beam to unlock & upgrade, turning you into a mean music-driven badass.

BHU 2

Beat Hazard Ultra is designed to be a real ‘in yo face’ experience. It doesn’t pull any punches as the visuals pump and pulse to the music. However, you’ll be glad to know you can turn this down if you need too. But if you’re in the party mood you can turn the visuals up to 200% for the most intense action you can get.

And if you’re feeling like a challenge, you can jump online and play either co-op or head to head. Online play is crazy! Watching two powered up ships on Suicidal mode with 200% visuals is completely mental.

Introducing Beat Hazard Ultra - A One-Man PSN Game_1

About me and the Development for PS3

This game was written from scratch by just me, in my bedroom. I started writing games when I was 14 back in the 8-bit days. After graduating from university, I spent 15 years working as a designer and programmer for bigger studios such as D.I.D, Rage Games and, most recently, Juice Games and THQ. Although I enjoyed working with the big guys I always wanted to go back to bedroom coding and working for myself. I got the push I needed to go Indie two years ago when I was made redundant. That was when Beat Hazard was born and, due to its success, I’ve not looked back since.

I’ve always been a massive PlayStation fanboy (I even had a Net Yaroze back in the day, anyone remember that?). I was ecstatic when Sony approved Beat Hazard Ultra for release on PSN last year. Once I’d finished jumping around and started to think of the challenge ahead, I suddenly realised I might have bitten off more than I could chew. Attempting to write a console game from scratch is a huge challenge and I knew I had a lot of work ahead.

And a massive challenge it was! However, as with any big project, I just broke it down and took it a day at a time. With the help of the awesome support guys at Sony, six months later here it is – Beat Hazard Ultra running on the PS3! I can’t tell you how rewarding that feels!

In that time I’ve learnt many new skills, from writing a renderer on the PS3, to coding a Digital Signal Processor which runs asynchronously on the PlayStation SPUs and is used to analyse the music in real time.

I get many emails from budding game designers and programmers asking about going Indie. Well here you go – even one guy can write a game for PSN, and it’s all there for you if you have the time and dedication to go for it. I hope Beat Hazard inspires more Indie guys out there.

Beat Hazard Ultra should be out this September. I really hope you enjoy the game.

I’ll be hanging out here on the blog to answer any question about Ultra or its development process. You can also email me here, or follow me on Twitter here. Join the Ultra facebook fan page here or check out my website here.

48 Comments
0 Author replies

I bought both Beat Hazard and Beat Hazard Ultra the day it was out on PC. It’s the best music game I’ve ever played. Highly recommend picking this up if your a fan of shmups.

ERROR8013030F 09 August, 2011 @ 16:05
2

Looks good. What price will it be at? Will there be a day one discount/ PS+ discount? Will a demo be available?

Until they make a HD remake of Rez this will do me nicely as I love this sotr of thing.

Shame the video only has music overlaid as it would have been nice to see and hear exactly how music effects what happens onscreen

ERROR8013030F 09 August, 2011 @ 16:07
4

… and one non-question. This should part of PLAY. Clearly going to be a good game, and right timing for that promotion. Would be far better to promote a decent indie game than rehash street fighter one more time!

Definitely getting this when it hits!

Carnivius_Prime 09 August, 2011 @ 16:08
6

Not sure if this is my kind of thing (a demo would be nice) but just wanted to say congrats on making a PSN game. Bit of an indie game maker (though I prefer to be called a retro game maker and even then I prefer doing the pixel art graphics more than anything) and always wanted to have a game out on a PlayStation myself. Kinda envy you. Good luck with it :)

This looks awesome. :D Great soundtrack :D

Looks great! Looking forward to play it :)

I have this game on PC, it’s really good. Visuals are fantastic, and I love games that react dynamically to your own music. Shooting the **** out of bad dudes to the rhythm of Strobe by Deadmau5 is particularly satisfying

Congrats on making the leap to PS3 by yourself, it’s quite the achievement.

oops asked if this was coming to Europe while reading the US blog – excellent – will definitely be picking this up

11

nice, looks good. NOW SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. lol

12

Any idea on a price yet? :P

I’ve never seen Beat Hazard Ultra before, and apparently it’s been on PC ages?! I’ve got the original Beat Hazard and it is absolutely awesome!!

look good may get It, off-topic i want to say to sony that i was sad to hear there was a fire in a sony warehouse every sites about it.

Due to the UK Riots i saw the News this afternoon underage sickOs walking out with a Ps3, when they should be in-bed i agree,

law of kama again what goes around come around, my question is for warehouse was the warehouse stored games & if yes there be a knock on effect?

chrisredfield_97 09 August, 2011 @ 16:52
15

hey guys why don’t you bring some sega genesis collection free from playstation plus

I think i will definitely be picking this up albeit will probably get offered it for free one week on ps+.

17

Question to author, how this game will react whe i will use some Classical music: Bach, Beethoven, Wagner?

This sounds like it could be fun and its always good to see something original from an indie developer. Day one purchase. Keep up the good work and hope this is huge success for you :)

looks fun

20

I would buy this just to support indie game development. The fact that it looks awesome is a huge bonus too…

21

Also, I’m interested to learn the answer to bennyrafal’s question concerning classical music!

22

Bought it on Steam sales a few weeks back. I still play it every now and then.

Awesome game but I’ll probably not get it for the PS3.

obiadekanobi1980 09 August, 2011 @ 19:36
23

bravo sir hope you earn a good few bucks off this ill have a look wonder what it be like to stockholm syndrome by muse hmmmmm…..

looks like a great game, and from the sounds of it, you can have as many different levels as you have songs on your hard drive.
and i have a lot of music on my ps3. :)

25

I really hope it’ll actually generate the stages and enemies based on the song that’s being played. Space Invaders Infinity Gene had a similar “play your music” kind of mode, but it had premade enemy patterns that were simply activated with certain music patterns — in the end, the stages were never really unique and they didn’t feel like they were based on your music at all.

It’d be great to have a one-song demo or something to try and see how strongly it follows the player’s music, but for the right price, I won’t complain for the lack of a trial — I’ve had some money on my account for who knows how long without anything to spend it on.

@9

Hey, you have the right idea ! What about ghosts n stuff? That will be awesome! Can’t wait to buy this! Good work!

cool game

can you choose your songs through the media server streaming thing? or can you only choose tracks from whats on your ps3 hdd?

29

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the great comments!

Re: Price – Will be 6.99 euros
Re: Demo – Yes, you can access 1 built in track and 2 of your own
Re: Classical Music. Yup, it’ll work great with classical music
Re: Streaming. Nope sorry, you can only use music that is on your PS3 HDD. (That’s a restriction that games have)

Oh yes, looks like it’ll be out in October now.

Cheers,
Steve

30

That is always good to hear that games are made in the bedroom again, especially on your own and for platforms like the PS3! Anyway, heard about this game for other platforms and am really glad it’s making its way to us

31

Demo = Cool, Heavy Rain and Flower soundtracks waiting, some Chopin tracks too :D

price, if demo will rule… prices automaticly go lower and lower ;)

Connor_mufc_1985 10 August, 2011 @ 07:02
32

This is 100% off topic but i need a reply please ok, I cant look at my own profile on my ps3 , i cant trophy sync on my ps3 nor can i compare trophies with any of my friends it gets to 15% and fails with an error code , but i can do all of this on my girlfriends ps3 on the same router no problem at all , saying use your girlfriends ps3 to do this really wont help i payed for my own i think iv a right to check my own trophies from time to time , i phoned tech support their answer for everything is here are some port numbers go port forward your router , i dont have a computer or laptop , i dont kno anything about computers or laptops or especially port numbers but come on how can port forwarding my router fix this problem when theirs no issue on my girlfriends ps3 , also my friend from germany having same problem as are a lot of other people on other forums please help maybe another firmware update will fix it?

Did you guys just give up on 3D and move?
if i see another useless firmware update i’m gonna hit kaz hirai over the head with my ps3, oh right nevermind, that bum stepped down

Wow…..one man can make a difference….(now where did I hear that before?)
Congrats, the game looks awesome and I will most certainly check it out. Major Kudos to you for going Indie and making this happen all on your own. Respect!

I just bought the 3-disc version of Depeche Mode The Remixes 2 on cd. I’d love to play this to Vince Clarke’s mix of Behind the Wheel. I also have a HUGE 20 year collection of The Orb. I’ve always thought the Orb’s music is very filmic, not to mention how well it would go with games(and it does as I regularly play Zen pinball to the Orb not to mention Dr. Alex Paterson from the Orb collaboration with Dom Beken as High Frequency Bandwidth (HFB)for the Pixeljunk 1 & 2 Shooter soundtracks available ingame of course and from the US PSN store and itunes). I will be buying this game on day 1. Thank you…

36

Hi man!

I’ve got nothing but huge respect for guys like you. You’re clearly very talented and more importantly, passionate. You’ve got yourself a sale from me for sure. :)

Defo trying the demo if it plays to the music better than space invaders also I think it will be different considering I’ve got 80s tracks and pink floyd to play with it (I have a song that’s 23 mins long!) it will be a challenge but I’ll try it lol

Congratulations on this Steve, I’ll buy this to support you, we need more one man / small team projects as the perfect antidote to all the AAA titles which demand the bulk of our attention.

Also, it looks great, Super Stardust has been gathering dust for a while, this has a similar vibe which suits me just fine.

40

Btw, here’s video of me just playing to one of the built in tracks:
(PC version btw, not that it looks any different)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4FLbk2GZ20

@steve

great that you returned to bedroom dev and even got out a few titles that fast.

I came from the c64 and Amiga scene and worked on several games in the past and i stopped in 2003 in hope to return to the bedroom type dev,sadly its been a ruff few years and while support have been excellent we still struggle to get out a major title(PSN).

i will support your work and i’ll buy it on day 1 and i’ll encourage others to do the same :).

PS: that video made the decision even easier for me ;)

42

ive got beat hazard on steam+ultra pack, on xbox indie and will now have it here.

i didnt read if trophies are going to be included, but i would definitely like the game more if they are.

especially given the sheer amount of them in the pc version.

Can’t wait to play some Hybrid and Juno Reactor through this.
Any chance of getting something like this without the gameplay, or maybe a non-interactive mode?

eClunibusTractum 10 August, 2011 @ 11:01
44

@taurus82 – you can turn off the menu and it will simply show the background (visualisation only mode ;) )

That was on the PC though, dunno if it will work on the ps3.

45

Yup, there’s a visualizer mode on the PS3 version.

Btw, here’s the trophy details:
http://www.coldbeamgames.com/3/post/2011/08/ps3-trophy-details.html

(Summary – 42 game challenges. Completing any 3 challenges unlocks a trophy. There are 14 trophies worth 315 points)

47

Lol – Seems the blog doesn’t like my link. Here’s the tiny version:

http://tinyurl.com/3h7ytlv

Looks great, i’d buy it today if it was in store!

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