- Jackie Spencer
At Last: A Sound Plan on Switch
Jimmy here with some awesome news!
Last week, we dropped a trailer showing that A Sound Plan will be coming to the Nintendo Switch! That wasn't fake! It's been a long journey for this game, and we thought to document it all here for you.
A Sound Plan started a few years back when Dean (the game designer and artist) showed me a concept of a game he was working on in college, it was basically the prototype of A Sound Plan, zombies and all, there was even a very short single-player mode! Thing was, this demo was made in an engine from his school, so he couldn't make it a full game for legal and practical reasons.
Dean noticed that I had built an engine from scratch for Chang-e, so he brought up the idea to make his zombie game using said engine. I was working for someone else at the time but figured that making this zombie game would be beneficial to the engine, as making a full game would be a great test of the maturity of the tools.
Fun thing, the game was code-named "Zombiegame" for a very long time.
A Sound Plan proved to be quite the test for our little engine, I was forced to create better level editing tools, and make giant optimizations across the board. When Spencer joined the team, I also had to integrate FMOD into the engine.
During development, Dean made sure to playtest the game frequently with friends and family, particularly during our weekly fighting game nights, this lead to him constantly refining the levels.
There were many features that we implemented but left out of the game, such as moving level obstacles, a single-player puzzle mode, and cooperative mode. We just didn't have time to get these into a state we were happy with and chose to focus on multiplayer. Online was pitched to us as an idea, but during this time GGPO wasn't freely available to our knowledge and it was a lot to ask of our one programmer (me).
As a fun thing, I decided to submit A Sound Plan to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and we were invited to show the game! During this time we learned how to demo a game in public, it's a lot harder than it seems, my feet were very sore.
After we finished the game, we threw it up onto Steam, we put almost no thought into logos, and it showed. Sales were slow at first, but the compliments kept rolling in! The reviews were good enough that I was feeling confident, and chose to submit A Sound Plan to the Indie MEGABOOTH.
That moment changed everything.
Not only were we invited to the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX West 2019 as part of the Minibooth, but Nintendo reached out to us to let us develop A Sound Plan for the Switch! To be honest, I was shocked.
So here we are, about to launch our first game ever on the Switch. I used to work at Nintendo's testing department, and now I'm a developer on a game for a Nintendo product, it's a strange reversal of roles. It has been a very fun journey, and it all started with a dumb conversation with a guy I used to play fighting games with.
To cap this all off, I want to thank the staff at Portland Retro Gaming Expo for inviting us, to the Indie MEGABOOTH for letting us in, to Steam for letting us on their store, to Nintendo for taking a chance on us, and most of all, to our friends, family, and fans, we really appreciate it and hope to continue working with you all in the future!