Super Stardust Delta Q&A

Super Stardust Delta has been one of the best received PlayStation Vita launch games, based on reviews and what you have been telling us here on the blog, so we popped a few questions over to its developer, Housemarque Games, and here is their response.

What’s it like to work on PS Vita?
We found working on PS Vita to be an easier and smoother experience than we might have originally expected for an entirely new platform. Overall the experience of making a PS Vita game is the same as for other current platforms, and in some respects even easier.

One of the most memorable moments was of course when we got our hands on the actual device for the first time, and got to try out some of the first things we worked on.

Also the day when we held our first play test session and weren’t sure if any in the test group could even get past the first planet, but they all managed to do it (one of them even made it to the fourth planet)! And when they still wanted to play it even more we knew we had a good thing going :-)

The main challenge has been ensuring the action and performance go hand-in-hand. From a technical side, getting the game running in full resolution at a solid 60 frames per second, etc.

In addition to technical wizardry, the gameplay demanded special care – we used a lot of time to get the pacing, scoring & reward systems and bosses just right. The scoring system is very deep and we really hope that players will discover new ways to improve their strategy long after they’ve beaten the game.


Which feature are you most excited about?
There are so many cool features we got into the game that it’s hard to pick just one, so here are three of our favorites:

Jere, lead programmer:
New score bonuses and multipliers (like “Super X”, etc.) add a lot of depth for chasing highscores. On a related note, I also like the new boost system’s easy approachability and the scoring mechanics of boosting through multiple points tokens with greatly enhanced precision.

Petsku, game designer:
I can only pick one? Ok the new “Black Hole Bomb” (man, it’s the bomb!). It’s just super cool and something I’ve dreamed of seeing in the series for a long time – finally we got to do it!

Markku, programmer:
I like effects that slow the flow of time, so I naturally love the new boost system in the game’s new “Delta mode”.

Why is SSDelta a great fit for the PS Vita?

PS Vita’s beautiful big screen and versatile controls really complement SSDelta well. SSDelta lets you hop into the action in no time and start having fun. On a short trip you might want to beat your friend’s score on a single planet, or have a quick go at one of the many mini-games or additional DLC modes.

And when you have an hour or more you can blast through the entire new galaxy and see if you’ve got what it takes to top the global leaderboards.

Builder_01 Boss4_02

Which part of the game was the most difficult to build?

Well this gets really technical so here’s lead programmer Jere:

“Getting the performance profile smooth and steady at 60fps, which was basically split into two problems – rendering performance on GPU and simulation on CPU.

  • For rendering we optimized a lot of shaders to be as light as possible, and came up with quite creative solutions for some effects. The Black Hole effect is embedded in the same pixel shader as the rendering for the “game grid” (planet orbit/playfield), so we utilize the pixel power from the GPU more efficiently, etc.
  • For the CPU side, we made a totally new custom gameplay architecture, and all gameplay code now runs multithreaded. It utilizes a fiber based system to switch the active simulation tasks to make sure that all cores are fully utilized. Separating the rendering and gameplay this way, we have most CPU cores calculating the collisions/frame updates for the whole frame duration.”

Phew! All that basically means is that’s how we got so many asteroids, enemies and special effects on the screen for you all out there to marvel and destroy :-)

Any fun things that have happened while working on PS Vita?

Sometimes funny things happen during game development when the game logic and systems aren’t quite there yet.

When we tweaked difficulty levels the speed of asteroids kept increasing, and at first we didn’t have any speed limits so when gravity (which keeps them in planet orbit) wasn’t strong enough, they began shooting and flying off into outer space and at the screen at ridiculous speeds.

The collisions were already working so the resulting galactic fireworks were quite an epic sight to behold…


What’s new in Super Stardust Delta?

Oh boy, there is so much!

First of all, every planet is new, with new enemies, and new end Bosses – and boy are they big! If you play the game in “Delta” mode, the player ship gets equipped with a new boost system that temporarily slows down time at the start of the boost, enabling players to navigate through tight spots with greater accuracy.

Then we have the three new types of smart bombs – Black Hole, Missile Strike, and EMP bomb, activated using PS Vita controls like rear touch, motion control, and touch screen.

Delta also has a bunch of different game modes – more than in any Stardust game to date! Five of those are brand new “mini-games”, built in and exclusive to the PS Vita. The “Advanced Fighter Pack” DLC adds four further modes familiar from Super Stardust HD (“Endless”, “Impact”, etc).

And for the first time in a Stardust game, players will finally be able to actually collect stardust – left behind by destroyed enemies and asteroids – that grants players with new power-ups and score bonuses.

You’re in for a real wild ride through a brand new galaxy full of epic sights and scenes.

5 Author replies

Near is broken for alot of Vita users with a “Error Has Occured” message, when will this be fixed?

To get 100% at Starsust was allot easier then on the PS3. Had allot of fun tho ^^

Guess now its time to go up in the Highscore….


Question: Does gifting(for Near) happen automatically in the game?

Nathalia Chubin 09 March, 2012 @ 09:10

It does, yes.


its really funny that seldom in the blogs posts,all messages have nothing to do with the article.
But lets be honest. The vita has so many issues, that no one cares to officially comment, that is no wonder people comment about their issues.
Such as minis purchased with plus do not play, near not working etc etc.
As a someone who has majored in business and in Marketing Management, I just cannot understand this practise from SCEE or SONY International or whatever it is called. It is just not good business. Forums are filled with complaints, and I do not think I am the one to tell you the power of mouth to mouth advertisment. Or maybe I should. If you really need people for your Marketing Department feel free to contact me for a CV


I’ve had no issues with the Vita other than it taking all my time!
Machine is AWESOME.

Hell-Raiser-85 06 March, 2012 @ 13:23

This is a blast to play i love it any plans for more DLC? As for near it works fine for me i have most of the songs unlocked. I did have an issue with 3G when using near for the first few days but it works fine now.

It’s interesting that there are those out there that insist on talking about the Vita like it’s a broken mish mash of wires of cogs, so broken that Sony need to offer some sort of official statement.

I’ve had mine a week now, been playing all sorts of games from Uncharted Golden Abyss to Patapon 3… I also played SSDelta and never had an issue at all. My near seems to work perfectly fine, haven’t seen an error message and I now know that at least 16 people within 2 miles of my house have Vitas!

I understand some people are having issues and yes, of course Sony customer services should address that for those affected, but I wish people would stop making their issues sound endemic. The Vita is fine, this game is great and I would recommend both!


The question is, will there be an update that adds multiplayer?

Nathalia Chubin 06 March, 2012 @ 13:50

Hello all,

Thanks for your comments on the game. Keep them coming.

Generally, we are dealing with technical issues (that aren’t related to SSDelta) in our designated community spaces. Try: if you are having any trouble with your PS Vita.

Good luck with those high scores…


Amazing game and so much better then I thought it would. I have one complaint though and that is after a full playthrough of arcade mode mode I think I needed new eyes :p lol Cant wait for more downloadable content, hopefully more planets :D

Nathalia Chubin 06 March, 2012 @ 16:16

excellent news!



I got 17 plats, but still can’t get 2 trophies in Super Stardust PS3 version… I think you know which 2 they are.

TehPhilosopher 06 March, 2012 @ 14:31

As someone who has Stardusts for PSPgo and PS3 and couldn’t finish the end boss in either, I’m really looking forward to this :D

I’m wondering why there isn’t a plat trophy, though? There is one in Motorstorm RC, and Stardust is potentially even harder.

Hyvä Suomi!

Greate game

i really like it

Nathalia Chubin 06 March, 2012 @ 16:17

me too!

Carnivius_Prime 06 March, 2012 @ 14:54

Looking forward to getting this game when I get a Vita. I already enjoy the PS3 and PSP games and still own the Amiga 1200 game (with the box still in near mint condition too). :D


Let me guess….

Get 5 Shields and the Bomber Trophy? ^^


I completed the PS3 version of Star Dust but I cant get past the 1st planet on Delta. I get to the last phase but the boss…its ok but when it goes up in the air and then comes down again… *death*

SpideyWolvie 06 March, 2012 @ 16:31

Hey, love the game! Quick question though, why did you combine the casuals and normal players on the same leaderboard?


I must ask, is this a download game? If so I’ll be getting this and MotorStorm RC when I get my nice little Vita!

Nathalia Chubin 08 March, 2012 @ 10:44

SSD is available over the network to download, yes.

Just wanted to say congrats on nailing SSD so perfectly. Truly engrossing game. More DLC would certainly be welcome.

Nathalia Chubin 08 March, 2012 @ 10:43

Glad you are enjoying it!

Yep I’m a massivd SSD fan on the PS3, reckon its one of the top PSN games and this is a great version for the Vita, I picked up the bundle with the extra game modes in.
Just need to get some time to play it now!
A great launch title though, well done!


Awesome game! Every Vita owner should buy this.

When will you bring Dead Nation to the Vita?

chrisandsheva 06 March, 2012 @ 21:44

Will be getting this as i liked the demo and thought it worked well on the vita, i do own the ps3 sshd, allthough i never seem to get far b4 game over.. But i am rather upset that this wasn’t done similar to hustle kings, Not because i feel it should mind, no. i just assumed it would be and decided to choose little deviants as my pre-order bonus,.. why i got no idea, as i just aren’t going to be getting That.. (no offence meant).. So now i got the code for £5 off a game i’m Not getting and wishing i could use it dor ssd.. just have to see if i can maybe swop it.

Also regards the ps plus minis not (yet?) working on vita.. What do people expect, i mean this wasn’t part of the terms when we joined plus.. and because, like all plus the content is basically rented.. how will sce address this, imo ppl are being unreasonable ‘demanding’ this issue is addressed, i am sure it will be though.

TehPhilosopher 07 March, 2012 @ 00:03

Ooh Dead Nation on Vita would be superb! My one and only plat is with DN, played it through in coop with a friend, loved it so much.


all trophies done, lets get some more DLC! :D

Havent had many issues with the Vita,its an awesome machine,grt graphics,good controls,and the games so far that have been launched for it play so well and look incrediable.Saying all that i have one major problem that no one knows how to answer,even at Sony support,and its to do with the STARDUST DELTA.Every time i play this game,and its awesome dont get me wrong,but it actually disables my online connection,i sign in onto PSN,WIFI is connected,and the game disables it.Anyone had the same experience or knows what to do?

chrisandsheva 09 March, 2012 @ 13:33

@ ha_19-35
am sure that happens with uncharted as well.. at least theres a message that appears when starting the game saying, ‘signed out of network features’, is this the same thing.? i am not 100% about this though as network features could mean anything (to do with game) i guess.. Still if it is signing ppl out of online status then i would like to know why.


How Does online work for the PS Vita version of Stardust Delta??? i cant click the online button and i baught the bundle pack? help anyone??


Great game for a great console! What is your next proyect? i enjoyed outlands and dead nation soooo much!! you ar great developers people!!

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