Hello friends! Eufloria HD for PlayStation Vita is coming out very soon. To be precise: 18th December! This makes me happy indeed J
As an indie game developer I remain amazed at the journey this game is taking, and the superb response it gets from fans. And as a proud Vita owner it’s fantastic to be able to announce this release.
Having released a few different iterations of Eufloria over the years I’ve come to appreciate that each one poses a new challenge. How do we adapt the controls to joypad? Does the game speed work nicely? Are the visuals “right”? Generally there are real problems to overcome before you can settle on a solution that is right for everybody. Well, this PS Vita release is quite different, but in a very positive way. Here’s why:
Performance: Eufloria is a funny old game. It may be “just” 2d, but you end up controlling thousands of seedlings across dozens of asteroids, zooming in to the level of individual blades of grass, or zooming out to see a bird’s eye view of an entire asteroid belt, all within the space of seconds.
This works really well, and is very pretty, but admittedly can be a bit of a strain on the game’s frame-rate. As a result we have often tried to lock the frame-rate to 30fps, and this is a pretty good compromise for most levels. On Vita however, we found that with we could push things much harder, and as a result the Eufloria HD Vita release runs at 60 fps in almost all circumstances. NICE!
Controls: Not only does this performance increase make the levels much smoother, it really makes the controls super responsive. More so than I anticipated… The superfast update we get from running at 60fps, combined with the Vita touch screen makes for a very immediate and tactile experience. It’s a very different feel from the PlayStation 3 release, which I am very proud of, but requires one to get used to radial controls on a joypad.
This new release offers dedicated and refined touch controls, which supports a broad range of play styles. Because we allow the player to play at three speed settings, it is possible to luxuriate (yes it’s a word) in Eufloria’s ambient mood, strategise nicely at double speed, and really go for it at triple speed. And it all feels natural.
I actually had to get used to how quick and easy it was to control the game. (And I know it pretty well). Panning and zooming is insanely crisp, and when you speed the game up (a nice feature anyway) you don’t lose any control at all. The screen is sensitive enough to deal with the responsiveness, but not so sensitive that it becomes fiddly. It becomes second nature very quickly.
Visuals: Eufloria HD has (rightfully IMO) received a lot of praise for it procedural visuals. Alex May created a look that took inspiration from Japanese art, watercolours, nature… not really typical sources of inspiration for most games. But that is what is cool about indie games. You can do whatever you feel is right for your game, without corporate stakeholders being a huge influence or worse; vetoing anything too risky.
We have also integrated the play mechanics in the visuals, so the entire look of the game is designed to deliver vital gameplay information through visual cues. You can “read” the game very well, after spending some time with it.
Ironically, Vita’s excellent screen worried me a bit. Because of its super high pixel density (bear with me) the visuals can become very sharp, which could alter the overall feel of what we achieved. In reality it has given us the best of both worlds. The almost hazy and zen-like quality of the visuals is intact, but a new clarity is added in places as well. You can easily see the small details on the game’s inhabitants, enhancing the game’s readability. I like this a lot.
This port was developed by Titanium studios, and they did a wonderful job in my opinion. The lovely surprise for me is that, without detracting Titanium’s achievement, how well it all gels on this hardware. Great port meets great platform.
I am a life-long gamer, and remain a huge fan of all kinds of different devices, but I must say that I have fallen in love with PS Vita. This means I’m pretty excited that we can add to its gaming ecosystem with the newest (and in my opinion best) iteration of Eufloria HD. Vita is already a home to some amazing indie games, and I hope that people will appreciate Eufloria HD in a similar light. I am playing through it myself again, and despite my knowledge of the game (I did design it after all) it feels fresh and immersive again. Hopefully you will feel the same.
Let me know what you think in the comments below? I can answer any and all questions you have. Alternatively get in touch via our website: www.eufloria-game.com.