AGDQ and Speedrunning

Exciting news: Bleed 2 releases on Feb 8!

I announced this a few places earlier in the week, but it just occurred to me that I never said so here. Oops. To try and spread a little hype, I’m putting out mini-trailers each week until release. Here’s a peek at the next one, demonstrating local co-op.

(If you look closely, you can see that the purple player’s bullets are coloured purple now. It only happens in co-op, and I think it helps players keep track of themselves a little better in the chaos!)

Anyways, I spent the last few weeks working on these mini-trailers, as well as about 70(?) semi-personalized emails for games journalists and entertainers to see if they’ll cover the game. I’ll probably have to wait until release to see if many bit, but the game was already mentioned on a Giant Bomb podcast and articles from Hardcore Gamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, so I’m feeling encouraged.

As for this week, I spent most of it at AGDQ (which raised over 2 million bucks for cancer prevention!! WOW!!) Bleed got an early-morning speedrun and I really wanted to see it in person — I even ended up getting put on the couch to provide a little commentary! Here’s the video — I can’t bear to see how I look in it, haha, but maybe you’ll enjoy it. Studio blew through the game despite my distracting him with questions, and it was an honour to be a small part of something so awesome.

I got work done despite being at GDQ, mostly polishing things and trying to solve final bugs before release. I was also inspired by the event, and added a few tiny features in the GDQ sprit.

First, an in-game timer. It was already an option in Arcade Mode, but now it’s for all modes! Why not?

A final time has also been added to the level clear screen! I’m debating making it only appear if you have the timer enabled, but for now it’s always there. The time and final score will also turn yellow if they represent a new record — I didn’t want the screen to be any more cluttered with text, so the colour change was my solution.

Finally, a friend asked me: does it hurt watching years of hard work being blown through in such a short time? I liked the thoughts it stirred enough to put them here.

The Bleed games are old-school arcade shmups, a genre which by design is very short. Even stand-out games like Contra 3 can be beaten (by a pro) in 15 minutes, though some titles like the Graduis and Metal Slug games can take around 45 — but those are on the “lengthy” end of the spectrum (and many would say “too lengthy”!) A single playthrough doesn’t have to be long because the game’s legs are meant to come from it being extremely replayable. Someone blowing skillfully through a session is not too far off the point!

Furthermore, and more generally: you have to realize that being good (gud?) enough to play at this level represents tens or hundreds of hours spent on the part of the speedrunner. To me this suggests only a passionate love for the game, and a cause for celebration on the part of the developer. It’s incredibly gratifying to me to see people running my game, and I hope other developers can agree! Speedrunning is just another way for players to experience our work and show how much they enjoy it. It’s really touching.

Well, that’s my little soapbox for the week. I actually wrote this at the airport terminal, so I’ll go catch a plane now! Happy Sunday!