Interview: Beat Hazard Ultra
Beat Hazard Ultra looks absolutely intense, and I recently had the pleasure to interview Steve Hunt, CEO of Cold Beam Games, and sole developer on Beat Hazard Ultra. I’ll let him take it from here, he does a much better job of explaining the game than I could ever hope to;
1. Beat Hazard Ultra is certainly a unique game, how did you come up with the concept? What sort of improvements does Ultra have over the original title?
Well I’ve always been mesmerized by music visualizers, and after playing geometry wars I thought how cool it would be to combine the two and make a game. That was about 4 years ago and the idea just sat there in my mind. I’ve got a book full of game designs at home, but this was the concept that I thought could do really well and could be written by myself.
Ultra has a whole bunch of new features:
Online Play with both Co-op and Head to Head play. More Bosses and bad guys, from a huge serpent boss to a host of new bad guys like mine ships, stalkers, and the swarm. I’ve also added a new perk and upgrade system so now you have 3 cool new weapons, Ultra Beam, Reflect Shield and Micro Missiles. There’s also a Boss Rush mode too. So just more fun stuff to do and kill!
2. What was the process like to bring the game from PC to PSN?
Developing for PS3 has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career. It’s such a complex beast and Sony have so many departments and systems. It’s taken about 9 months of very hard work to get it finished and given that game part was already done and all I was really doing was porting over low level systems and code it gives you some idea of how hard it is. I have got to say though that the guys and the support system at Sony are awesome. They were great in helping me get the game going and supporting me when I needed it.
3. The game makes great use of the songs on the user’s hard drive, what sort of elements of the songs does the game pick up on and transform in to levels, and what parts of the various levels do they affect?
Music is the driving force behind Beat Hazard and everything you see comes from the music in some way. The game constantly monitors different frequencies as the song is playing. The energy in each frequency is used to trigger different events & aspects of the game. Triggers are set to work over short, medium and long time periods.
Short term triggers are linked to your weapons. Medium term triggers are linked to enemy numbers, flight patterns and firing.
Long term triggers are linked to boss encounters and enemy wave types. The cumulative effect of all the triggers is to produce a gameplay experience completely unique to each song. It also ensures each song plays the same every time. This means you can learn harder songs and go on to defeat them!
4. Do you have any songs that you recommend playing, except for the ones included in the game?
Well everything and anything works in Beat Hazard (I’ve even heard players listening to podcasts in the game!) so I’ve not got an specific recommendations. However, if you’re gunning for a high score you probably want to play something with a lot of energy in it.
5. And finally, when can we expect the game to hit PSN, and what price are you aiming for?
If all goes well with QA it should be out later September/Early October and the price will be around $9.99 / 6.99 Euros
There you have it. Look for Beat Hazard Ultra late September/Early October for around $9.99/ 6.99 Euros. Many thanks to Steve for the interview.