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PostSubject: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Sat 21 Mar 2015 - 16:09

Kraut Buster Kb_00

NG:DEV.TEAM announces the opening of pre-orders for its next game for Neo-Geo MVS: Kraut Buster. It's a run'n'gun game in the style of Metal Slug. The story takes place in Europe in 1936, John "Küken" Mallone and Jack "Handsome" Rowdy are part of the Kraut Buster corps, their mission: defeat the evil dictator Dolph Edelwolf and save all girls in the process. Kraut Buster is the first game from NG:DEV.TEAM which supports 2-player simultaneous gameplay. The 2-player mode is integrated within the game engine and will be re-used in the future for appropriate titles, nothing could make us more happy! This is what was missing the most in the productions of the German developer. The game will feature 3 routes of different difficulty, finishing the game using the normal difficulty course will take an average of 35 minutes during which the players fight 5 or 6 boss and sub-boss. Technically, the game will run at 60fps and will occupy approximately 784MBits of ROM space. The different levels will be quite long and will offer panoramic backdrops with parallax scrolling. Like most games of this manufacturer, the scoring system is chain based. The project occupies 2 full-time and one freelance pixel artists, one programmer/designer and one musician; the excellent Rafael Dyll. A video of the alpha version has been published on Youtube, the least we can say is that it bears a strong resemblance with Metal Slug (including the bloody aspect). But the game coming out this winter, plenty of time remains to refine the product. The Kraut Buster cartridge is currently available for pre-order in two editions: the standard gamecenter edition in its cardboard box for €399 and a limited edition of 99 copies hosted in a shockbox with a CD of the soundtrack, 2 posters, a postcard and a set of bonus stickers. This deluxe edition costs €449. A spin-off of Kraut Buster using the same characters but played in a top down view will be released later.

Official website: http://www.kraut-buster.com/

Alpha version video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBdlmOXi9LM

---------------------------------------------

NG:DEV.TEAM annonce l'ouverture des précommandes pour son prochain jeu pour Neo-Geo MVS: Kraut Buster. Il s'agit d'un run n' gun dans le style de Metal Slug. L'histoire se passe en Europe en 1936, John "Küken" Mallone et Jack "Handsome" Rowdy font partie des Kraut Buster corps, leur mission: vaincre le dictateur Dolph Edelwolf et sauver toutes les filles au passage. Kraut Buster est le premier jeu NG:DEV.TEAM pouvant se jouer à 2 joueurs en simultané. Le mode 2 joueurs est intégré au moteur du jeu et sera réutilisé à l'avenir pour d'autres titres, rien ne pouvait nous faire plus plaisir! C'est ce qu'il manquait le plus aux productions du développeur allemand. Le jeu proposera 3 parcours de difficulté différentes, traverser le jeu en difficulté normale prendra en moyenne 35 minutes au cours des quelles les joueurs affronteront 5 ou 6 boss et sous-boss. Techniquement, le jeu tournera en 60fps et occupera environ 784MBits. Les différents niveaux seront assez longs et offriront des décors panoramiques variés avec scrolling parallax. Comme la plupart des jeux de l'éditeur, le système de scoring favorisera les chaînes. Le projet occupe 2 graphistes à plein temps plus un graphiste indépendant, un programmeur/designer et un musicien; l'excellent Rafael Dyll. Une vidéo de la version alpha a été publiée sur Youtube, le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est que ça ressemble très fort à Metal Slug (y compris le côté sanglant). Mais le jeu sortant cet hiver, il reste plein de temps pour peaufiner le produit. La cartouche de Kraut Buster est actuellement disponible en précommande en deux éditions: l'édition gamecenter standard dans sa boite en carton à 399€ et une édition limitée à 99 exemplaires fournie dans une shockbox avec un CD de la bande originale, 2 posters, une carte postale et un set d'autocollants en bonus. Cette édition deluxe coûte 449€. Un spin-off de Kraut Buster utilisant les mêmes personnages mais se jouant en vue du dessus sortira plus tard.

Site officiel: http://www.kraut-buster.com/

Vidéo de la version alpha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBdlmOXi9LM

Kraut Buster Kb_01 Kraut Buster Kb_02

Kraut Buster Kb_03 Kraut Buster Kb_04

Kraut Buster Kb_05 Kraut Buster Kb_06

Kraut Buster Kb_07 Kraut Buster Kb_08

Kraut Buster Kb_09 Kraut Buster Kb_10

Kraut Buster Kb_11
Gamecenter kit

Kraut Buster Kb_12
Limited Edition

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Sun 7 Jun 2015 - 20:13

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
All MVS versions are limited to one print run. The game will be licensed in 2016 to another arcade platform for Japan/Asia.

--------------------------------

NG:DEV.TEAM vient d'annoncer que toutes les éditions MVS de Kraut Buster seraient limitées à un seul "pressage". Il n'y aura pas de réédition car le jeu sera licencié en 2016 pour une sortie sur une autre plateforme arcade pour les marchés japonais et asiatiques.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Tue 9 Jun 2015 - 21:16

New trailer and details about Kraut Buster:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Dear customers,

We recommend to first watch the new trailer and then read the long text:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9OEt-3CMXI

This video shows an early development version.
Due to a change to a different musician team all music is extremely early.
We are going this time with a FM/chip tune sounding soundtrack.
The music is done by the team Groovemaster303 and Jredd.


Game play:

As we got mixed reactions for the last video trailer we worked very hard to improve on all fronts.

Differences to MS games:

As some people think this is a blatant MS clone,here are some differences listed:

- Mask feature. Wear different masks to change your characters abilities, your weapons, change your surroundings and enemy behaviors.

Examples:

   - Chicken mask: become John Chickenstein and rescued chicks will join forces with their Gatling guns. You can also float slightly down with your feather power and drop big egg grenades.

   - 13th Splatterguy mask: turn the fight into a blood carnage with your super charged long range machete. Rage flows early through your body. Knife throwing chick sidekicks.

   - Wolf mask: supercharge your weapon power and make the grunts your little pigs. Rage flows early through your body. May have reduced scoring potential, but is easier to play.

   - Pig mask: sniffle out secrets like a truffle pig and don't get eaten by the big bad wolves. Your tasty bacon body withstands a few bullet hits. Reduces difficulty in a passive way.

   - Japanese "Tengu" demon mask: Jump as high and fast like a Ninja, use a Katana for close range attack and lay fused bombs (use them tactical). Also 3-way shuriken throwing ninja chicks.

   Currently we have 5 mask implemented, but we plan to add 4-6 more, like "Vampire Hunter" mask (chain whip in the dictator's castle?), "Gunlord" mask (maybe with his wheel bombs?), "Uncle Sam", "McKraken Nerd mask", "Chainsaw killer mask". The possibilities are endless.

- Rescued chicks can act as sidekicks (depends on the mask). For example they shoot a Gatling gun, throw shurikens and knives. The amount of chicks attached change also their behavior.

- Contra style controls and game play elements such as:

  8 way aiming
  Aim lock (lock the weapon in a direction to better shoot enemies from above)
  You can hold 2 weapons and switch between them anytime. If you die, you only loose the active one. (adds a nice tactical component)
  With holding the lever in direction you can throw grenades further away
  You can drop down from ledges/objects and outmaneuver enemies from above.
  Faster pacing
  Weapons like 3-way, scatter particle shotgun, arch grenades and others
  Lot's of mini bosses (a little bit boss fest style here and there)
  Spawning run-in enemies in some run'n'gun sequences.
  1 mid boss per stage
  2-3 scenario changes per stage
  Different characters may have slightly different abilities (like speed/jump height)


- 2 players can co-op/interact with each other, like standing on the shoulders of each other to reach higher places. The score counter is shared for maximum co-op feels.


- Mission bosses are mostly based on German WW2 "Wonder Weapons". Like "Der Mörser „Karl“ (Gerät 040/041)", The "Bismarck", "Schweres  80-cm-Kanone (E) „Sondergeschütz“ Dora". We also added a few fantasy bosses like WW2 style mechas

- Mid bosses and mini bosses are more fantasy based like War-hot-air balloon, WW2 style mechas "Schneeläufer Ausf. B", "Über Soldiers", "Russian War Bears".

- Stages are up to 9000 pixel long pixel art drawings (no tiles, just like a huge fighting game background)
  It's probably one of the most ambition pixel arts games made in a long time. No other company out there besides us is doing real 16 pixel art arcade games anymore and especially not in this scope.

- choose up to 3 different routes/difficulties with changes in length/map design/enemies and attack patterns.

- physic simulation for dead bodies/body parts, a first on NEOGEO! and a first on 16 bit?  (currently in BETA)

- 60FPS/60Hz twice as fluid, twice as responsive, zero the lag of MS games.

- one of the biggest and most ambitious games developed for NEOGEO since SNK's unfortunate demise in 2000.


If you still think it's just a clone, just think of it as an in-official sequel. But with completely new engine, completely new graphics,completely new music, completely new stages, completely new enemies and completely new game play.

We want this game to become our masterpiece and tribute to NEOGEO and we are willing to continuing work very hard for it. If you have any feedback how we can further improve or cool ideas for mask items please don't hesitate to contact us. You can contact us anonymous too: http://www.ngdevdirect.com/contact_us.php (just use some bogus email).

If you don't follow us on social medias, you can find some new CRT screen shots and product photos here: http://www.kraut-buster.com

TL;DR: Kraut Buster will be awesome!

Best regards,
NGDEV

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Wed 10 Jun 2015 - 21:23

Kraut Buster news of the day. Wink

The initial AES Collector Edition run will be extended. The good news for us is that the extra revenue will be used to improve the game. Read below:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Dear Customers,

well this didn't go as expected. Kraut Buster AES CE was sold out within ~1h.
After the harsh critics of the first video and the price increase we didn't expected to sell that fast and well. We thought it will take at least 24h.
While that's good for us on first glance, it's also a serious problem. A lot of our best long time customers didn't got a CE unit. Due to a bug in the shop system we are also overbooked by more than 10 copies.
So what should we do? Cancel those units? Cancel the known investors? We can't really cancel them as they are very important to us too, whether some people like it or not, they help quickly raise the money that's needed for development.

To give our long time customers a chance we decided to increase the limitation.

All extra proceeds will go into increasing the quality further and also adding new content.
For example adding the female character, maybe a nice pixel intro as well. This type of game is eating money away like
nothing else. So it will be a welcome help.
It's both in the interest of gamers and "investors" a like. If you are an investor and want to cancel due to the increase, we will immediately comply and refund.

We will go with a maximum of 22-42 extra units. We will close it latest on June 19th no matter if we sold less. The certificate card will be adjusted accordingly. Numbers will be given in order of payment.

We sincerely think that this is in the best interest of everyone and especially for the NEOGEO community. Only with large sales numbers we can create the games the NEOGEO deserves.


Regarding the music.

It's really extremely early. The new musicians basically only had 2 long weekends to create what you heard in the trailer. Imagine what they can do in the next 6 month!
The reason we switched the musician is that Rafael unfortunately needed to retire from making commercial video game music for now, due to private and job obligations. We will miss his music for sure. He already promised to return for Gunlord 2, if we ever make it. Good news is that we have 2 SHMUPs in our secret vault with Rafael's completed music that will be released in the next years.

Best regards,
NGDEV

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Sun 18 Oct 2015 - 11:37

New pictures of Kraut Buster:
De nouvelles images de Kraut Buster:

Kraut Buster Kb_13
Midboss: "Bohrmaschinen Totengraeber Mk II" a drilling machine used to build the secret weapon science base.
Le midboss "Bohrmaschinen Totengraeber Mk II", un engin de forage utilisé pour construire la base secrète de recherche en armement.

Kraut Buster Kb_14
Boss: "Kleiner Siegfried" controlled by the scientist "Professor Stubenhocker".
Le boss "Kleiner Siegfried" contrôlé par un scientifique, le "Professeur Stubenhocker"

Kraut Buster Kb_15
Mutant enemy. Some of the acid spraying soldiers mutate when killed and become crazy fast and agile mutants.
Un ennemi mutant Certains soldats projeteurs d'acide se transforment en mutants agiles super rapides lorsqu'ils sont tués.


Other shots are available there: http://www.kraut-buster.com/screens.html
D'autres images sont visibles ici: http://www.kraut-buster.com/screens.html

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Thu 16 Jun 2016 - 19:12

New gameplay video:


New details:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Dear NEOGEO fans,

after a long wait we finally have a new video ready.

Sorry for the long time. But it's the first time and maybe the last time we create a project like this. So we want to put everything in that we can.
Currently Kraut Buster has no release date, but a release in the late 1st/early 2nd quarter of 2017 seems realistic.

We have great news for the music, Rafael Dyll is back with a vengeance. With a dramatically increased budget and the fist time with the support of a musician who plays live in the studio his guitar and e-guitar. Having live recordings from a studio musician is a first in one of our games.
The result is a fantastic rocking OST.

The sound mixing of the video has priority on the music but we have tons of new SFX in the game too. Currently it has around 2x-3x the amount of SFX than Gunlord. We haven't decided on voice recordings yet, but we will do some experiments with it later this year too.

As the project increased significantly in size and budget we decided to introduce some kind of mission select structure to the game. So the players can choose the length of the gaming session and the mission parts themselves.
Kraut Buster can be played both as a short and sweet arcade experience or a long more console like session. It also adds more variety and replay value.
The player can also select his military rank (1-PRIVATE,2-CAPTAIN,3-COLONEL) which has a big impact on difficulty. It influences the amount of action and AI of the enemies among other things. The grunts/Zakus are always kinda stupid but they may learn a trick or two in higher difficulties.
We are currently testing whether we allow difficulty selects for each sub mission (kinda like in Death Smiles) or only global.
The video was captured at rank 2-CAPTAIN.

The wolf mask was designed for speed runners, it increases both movement speed and weapon power. It's draw back is that it consumes ammo faster, so it requires a more careful ammo/weapon management.

The video is quite long as it's purpose is to show new mission parts and general progress. More details will be added but like always in game development that will be done in the last 3 months (polishing phase).
It shows parts of mission 2 (2-2/2-4) and mission 4 (4-1/4-2).
The last video (#2) showed parts of 1-1, 2-1 and 2-3.

For the first time we used 60 fps for the video. If your video player does not support it, there maybe some glitches with flicker transparency effects (sprites seem to disappear) or other problems.

Video: https://youtu.be/IzAGkLOJ-No

We added Kraut Buster AES (regular) back to the shop for a limited time to increase the budget further.

Best regards,
NGDEV

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Fri 23 Dec 2016 - 3:15

News about Kraut Buster!

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Kraut Buster Mission Status Report 2016

Dear customers,

with the year ending here is the current state of Kraut Buster for NEOGEO.

Compared to our original vision the game got pretty huge, basically twice as many mission parts, twice as many bosses etc. as originally planned.
Without any additional financial costs to you, but at cost of waiting time.
At current projections the game will break even but will not generate any profits in the first year, but that was expected from the beginning, it was always a dream project for us.

Work on the final mission already started. We have the basic map done, currently it's getting finalized pixel art.

The game is kinda "two games in one" both in content and game modes. It comes with two quite different feeling game modes.

"Slug"* mode:

Tactically and slower game mode, similar to the classic MS series. Lots of stops with fighting bigger enemies and a more tactical approach.
Due to the size of the game, we plan to offer a mission select (A or B) in this mode to keep the playtime around 30 minutes.

"Contra"* mode:

Fast and action oriented. Only stop at mini bosses and bosses and run and crush through enemy hordes. Probably no mission select here as the increased speed/flow gets the playtime under 30 minutes.

Enemy balancing and enemy placement may differ slightly to reflect the slightly different mechanics.
Weapons/Powerups/Secrets/Masks will be handled differently in this mode too.

* (Both game mode names are just placeholders)

We will show the "Contra" mode in a later video in 2017.


Some current statistic numbers (subject to change):

9+ bosses
6+ mini bosses
19 mission parts
207 screens.
Nearly all are individually hand drawn pixel screens (not tile based, think more fighting game backgrounds).
That's like 86 KoF backgrounds (of course with less animation in KB). All combined, give a huge picture of 66240x240 pixels.

New screen shots from Mission 4-4 are available on the game site/the shop site and Facebook.

Kraut Buster Kb_16

Kraut Buster Kb_17

Kraut Buster Kb_18

Kraut Buster Kb_19

Kraut Buster Kb_20

Kraut Buster Kb_21

Kraut Buster Kb_22

Kraut Buster Kb_23

As you can see in the screen shots, we also reworked the HUD:
We removed the big bubble head from the HUD as it looked too "western"/unfitting for NEOGEO to us. It also would have taken too much of the very small SFIX ROM space with the other characters.

------------------

Release date:

In the last newsletter from 16th June 2016 we stated:
"Currently Kraut Buster has no release date, but a release in the late 1st/early 2nd quarter of 2017 seems realistic."

Our new estimate is to start beta testing in June and start to ship in September. We originally had planned to have 3 pixel artist full time on this project, but in the end only two were available over the full course. That lead to an unexpected delay.

We know that we started pre order too early for it, but without the pre orders we wouldn't have been able to made a big game like this.
The next few games will be smaller projects again, with similar work sizes like NEO XYX (pixelart) and Razion (CGI).
We will probably do a huge project in the size of Kraut Buster in the future again, but not for a few years and in a different genre.

------------------

MVS reprints:

Originally it was planned and communicated in the newsletter that the MVS reprints will be produced together with Kraut Buster MVS. As sales of the reprints are getting close to our minimum factory order amount we will try to produce them earlier. For now we set April 2017.

Thanks for being patient and happy holidays,
NGDEV

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Wed 4 Oct 2017 - 21:45

New gameplay video:


New details:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Dear customers,

here is the current state of Kraut Buster for NEOGEO.

We have a new video ready here: https://youtu.be/TMix_9cesik

This video uses a simple RGB CRT effect to make it look a little bit like an arcade screen.
It's recommended to watch it full screen to prevent distortion and to have it run in 60fps.

We kept the video intentionally short as we don't want to spoiler too much of the game.

C-MODE:

It's the first time we show the player character: Jack "Handsome" Rowdy and the "contra" mode (displayed as C-MODE).

The C-MODE mode changes the gameplay to a faster more action and running and crushing oriented gameplay.
With less stops, less energy for enemies and less bullet sponges.
Masks and treasures/collectable/secrets are removed in C-MODE to keep this mode as clutter free as possible.
The player's knife attack is also disabled to keep the gunning flow.
To compensate the "simplicity" of this mode we also added a fast kill score system additional to the timed chain system to increase long time appeal of the C-MODE.

Content of video:

We are showing small parts of mission 3-1 (train ride), mission 3-2 (train yard), mission 4-2 (boat ride),

Mission 3-1 you are fighting your way across a military train towards it's locomotive to stop it.
It has 4 parallax layers. Far away background, background, train, foreground details.
All train cars have a nice full body hand pixelated driving motion effect applied to them.

Mission 3-2 is about battling yourself through the ruins of a bombed village, a train wreck and destroying some experimental weapon system in the train yard.
It also introduces the enemy characters: Vixens of the Dictator "Heiße Helga" and "Herrin Peitsche"
We are only showing the first 60 seconds of ca. 6 minutes.

Both missions are also very military. While mission 2 and mission 4 have monsters, robots and tesla enemies.


Mission 4-2 is about escaping a secret submarine base, the fortified coastal zone and infiltrating the dictator's battle ship.
We are showing the first 60 seconds of the "fortified coastal zone" part.

As you can see in the map screen the game has 9 selectable missions.
Some missions consist of several "rooms" with their own settings and graphic sets. Right now we have about 17 "rooms".
Each mission ends with a proper and individual end boss. All stages also have mini bosses.

Overall game status:

The base game will be finished in December/January.
We included below information of which nice to have graphic details we want to add to the game and will see if you guys give us the time for it or if you guys want an earlier release.
We won't do a vote, we will just go with the general impression of the mood we get from you guys.
If we produce the PCBs in December we can do a release in January. A release in February is advised though.

The allotted graphic development budget of KB will be used up after December, we will then start the next pixel art game for NEOGEO.

Shipping is done as always in this order: MVS LE->MVS RE->AES CE->AES RE (order of payment)



Features that we would like to implement but that need more time:

Details:

- Proper story intro / ending / special ending / new fitting music composed
- 3rd character: Valaria "Bona" Bossa (needs to be drawn from scratch unless we reuse the legs of the guys)
- Proper character select screen
- Character customization: skin color / cloth colors
- Mission select screen (partially implemented as you can see in the video, but we would like to include some fun stuff happening on the map)
- Animated title screen
- Adding more destructibles, parallax scrolling and small background animations in the stages
- Player stage win animation (each character)
- Experimental: Sliding for players in C-MODE to make it even more fluid/speedy (requires extra frames for each character) / can have large implication on gameplay / not sure if it can happen


We redrew some later backgrounds from scratch to boost quality even further.
We redrew most explosions.
Added a fast kill / quickkill score system

Having the game run in 60 fps was also quite time consuming at times and not an easy feature to archive.
While we have up to 2x the amount of objects on screen the engine kinda runs up to 4x times as fluid as similar games on NEOGEO (60 fps instead of 30fps).
A lot of optimizations, trickery and out of the box thinking was required to archive this.

We wrote a new Z80 sound driver for better handling the limited resources and adding new features such as user adjustable music volume.
We are not sure but we think it's the first time that it's possible for the user to adjust music volume in a NEOGEO game!?

All our future NEOGEO games will benefit from those engine upgrades.

It also looks like KB could become a gigashock game as it is approaching 512MEGS for graphic ROMs. Music is already at 512 MEGs.
It would be the first pixel art giga shock NEOGEO game ever.

We added some new hardware features on our custom PCBs, implementing them and using them well will take additional time too:

AES+MVS:

- 64KBytes EEPROM: for example to save scores / configs / unlocks / achievements / game progress

- WLAN for example to do software updates / worldwide online highscore list
 WLAN needs quite some testing both in hardware and software, hopefully it will make it.
 Having WLAN on NEOGEO would be quite cool and could lead to interesting stuff in the future.

- GFX ROM doubled in size

MVS:

- Micro SD-Card (software update) to replace USB update. If WLAN does not work out we maybe add this to AES too.
 Allows software updates without the need of a connection to a windows PC.


Those hardware costs are covered by us for the existing pre orders.

Best regards,
NGDEV

******************

This video was recorded at 59.18 FPS -> speedup to 60 FPS and a simple artificial scan line CRT effect was overlaid in post production (line tripling 3x 224p->672p). The music are MP3s of the in game OST overlaid.
The videos were recorded on an unoptimized debug built.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Thu 8 Mar 2018 - 22:18

Kraut Buster should be released during the 2nd quarter of 2018:
Kraut Buster devrait sortir durant le 2ème trimestre 2018:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Current state of Kraut Buster development:

With the finalboss fight done, we are now in the end phase.
The final boss fight got bigger and cooler than initially planed years ago, for the last phases we gave him a new dramatic scrolling room and a giant golden war vehicle.

One last bigger task is creating and animating the female soldier character (Valeria).

After we have added the 3rd character we can start the final phase of beta testing.

The two pixel artists will then focus on graphical details like
Background animation / destructible objects / parallax scrolling
Funny animations / general detailing / adding more life to the world.

This will take about 6-8 week.

While the 2 pixel artists finish up, the coder will program the intro / ending / menus / highscore screens / WLAN online features etc.

Hardware wise we recently switched to a completely new generation (2.0) of PCBs, FPGAs and MCU to add new hardware features and to further protect our IPs.

All in all this will bring us to an 2nd quarter 2018 release.

Best regards,
NGDEV

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Thu 24 May 2018 - 22:27

Kraut Buster news:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
* Current status and schedule *

You can see a first look of the newly added character Valeria here:

Kraut Buster Kb_24

Btw. her hair color is configurable if the color is too extreme for your liking.

The base game is already fully done for a while. We are in the final phase of polishing and detailing.
We can finally see the ends of our to do lists.

Finishing up takes now again about 6-8 weeks.
We will order the MVS PCBs in early June to be ready for an end of July release. Of course beta testing can add 1-2 weeks if unexpected issues come up there. But we will have anything in stock in end of July to be ready at any time.


Reasons why it takes longer again:

General difficulty to estimate time of pixel art.
Art is not a linear process you can calculate by the pixel count and frame count. It heavily depends on style, quality and specific tasks.

Just some examples of many:

As parallax scrolling fells so much better we decided to add it to stage 4-1 too, maybe even 4-2 (both weren't planned before)
Stage 4-2 get small new background animations like sailors on the war ships/dock workers

Boss 1-2 animation needed reworking. It was the oldest boss in the game and not up to standards anymore

Another unplanned task was to give the grunt soldier different personalities. They were a little bit boring.
Randomly picked they get 1 of 4 personalities assigned. Each personality has it's own walk/idle and shoot face animations.
Personalities: stoic / angry / psycho / cold blooded killer

New hardware PCB + programmer add-ons

We created a complete new hardware generation of our PCBs (v2.0 3rd generation).
We switched to a completely different MCU and to a more modern and powerful FPGA as the old ones will be discontinued in the future and/or are getting more difficult and expensive to get a hold off.
Also our production chain/dev kits and cartridge programmers needed an hardware upgrade. All this was more complicated than anticipated and added several weeks too.

Getting GDPR compliant



Current to do list:


Graphics:

Cleanup of intro/ending
Parallax scrolling for mission 4-1/4-2 (nearly done)
Stage win animation for each character
Little things for menus.
Adding small things like small animals to the stages.
Adding animated stuff to the map screen.

Coding:
Menus
Intro/Ending
Hiscore screens
WLAN/wireless

Music:

Finishing up the music.
The intro music is currently missing.

Some sound fx and voice work.

Btw. the shockbox insert of the MVS version will change to the same design we use for the AES CE.
The artworks we used back then belonged to another project and they will return to their original (back then frozen) project.
The Kraut Buster AES regular will get an update of the insert too. The 3rd character (Valeria) will be added on the front cover.

We will show the respective insert shortly before shipping starts.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Sun 28 Oct 2018 - 13:39

Some Kraut Buster news:

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:

Status: PCBs are ordered from the factory.
Printing of artworks / OST CD etc. starts soon.

We had trouble with the PCB production. The factory is currently reworking the PCBs.
Game development is 99.99% done and beta testing starts in 1-2 weeks.
We will show the OST CD and printing materials/game center kit etc. in the next 4 weeks.
Currently estimated shipping date: 4th quarter of 2018 (late November)

Game features (exact details are subject to change):

Several long stages with varied and changing settings
8 end bosses and several sub bosses
Mask feature: Wear different masks to change your characters abilities, your weapons, change your surroundings and enemy behaviors.
2 player simultaneous mode. CO-OP: players can interact with each other.
8-way: Allows to shoot in 8 directions
Swaying: Some weapons allow 16-direction by swaying with the joystick
Switch weapons: quick tap 'D' to switch between weapon I and II
Grenade hold: Hold joystick in direction to throw grenades more far
Grenade auto throw: Hold 'C' button to throw multiple grenades
Ledge drop: Use the terrain and obstacles to your advantage
Position lock: Hold your position while aiming
Chain based scoring system to provide a long term challenge
Multiple heights/ways platforming for more ways to play the game
2 game modes "T-mode" and "C-mode"
3 difficulties
Arcade perfect playtime of approx. 40 minutes per run (normal route)
Bloodpumping arcade soundtrack
60FPS/60Hz twice as fluid, twice as responsive, zero the lag
Horizontal Run'n'Gun game

So, Kraut Buster should be released in late November 2018 on Neo-Geo MVS. A JAMMA version is planned for the end of 2019. Released as a cartridge on a vastly more powerful system, this version will have no sprite flickering and no slowdown.

-------------------------------

Donc, Kraut Buster devrait sortir vers la fin novembre 2018 sur Neo-Geo MVS. Une version JAMMA est prévue pour fin 2019. Il sortira sous forme de cartouche sur un hardware beaucoup plus puissant, cette version n'aura pas de clignotement des sprites ni de ralentissements.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Wed 14 Nov 2018 - 20:38

Kraut Buster enters beta test phase!

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Kraut Buster Kb_25

the external Kraut Buster MVS beta testing started. We will have a release date and more information in the couple next weeks Very Happy
While the testing is ongoing we use the time to pre produce as much as possible so we can get all MVS units shipped before the holidays.

Speaking about holidays, we added some new small stuff to our shop for the holidays.
A soundtrack collection and the regular edition of Last Hope for NGCD with spinecard/OBI. Only limited quantities are available. After that both are gone for good. Both items are in stock.

----------------

Kraut Buster est en beta test externe. Il sortira avant les vacances de fin d'année.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Thu 27 Dec 2018 - 19:31

Kraut Buster starts shipping next week!

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
Kraut Buster Kb_26

Finally after years of hard work and a lot of patience from you guys we are ready to release Kraut Buster.

Warnung! Ueberlangertext! Warnung!

Kraut Buster is our love letter to the NEOGEO and a fulfillment of the dream of making a World War 2 themed technicolor styled pixel art run'n'gun.
It's art direction and designs were inspired by old war movies, Hogan's Heroes and Indy III.

When you play the game you will see the game is quite German in design and maybe humor? Yes German humor ;-).

Kraut Buster evolved and changed a lot over the years and became a different and better game.
We hope you guys feel the same and think it was worth the wait.

--------------------------------------------------------

New moves

We added a lot of new moves and more modern controls to the game:

Ground slide move and air dash.
You can dash both on ground and air.
The slide/dash makes you shortly invincible against most projectiles (except stuff that explodes/fire/acid).
Mastering this move is very important to survive maniac-ish amounts of bullets and enemies in later missions.

With the new weapon position lock you can walk around while your weapon is in an arrested position.
It's very useful against air enemies and bosses. Advanced players also can use it against enemies that are below.

A drop down feature allows dropping down ledges to quickly get closer to enemies below or to get treasures.

Different grenade throwing speeds/modes and in C-mode you can adjust the grenade throwing angle to a small degree
If you hold the grenade button it automatically throws up to 3 grenades in a short succession.

You can shoot directly in 8 directions and with spraying/swaying the Maschienenpistole can do 16 directions.
Players can hold up to 2 weapons and switch among them.

Rapid prison shank style stab move for bigger humanoid enemies like "Gas Gerd", "Lurchmutant", "Zwergritter", "Heisse Helga", "Herrin Peitsche", "Wein Werner", "Ueberritter Ausf. S" and "Ueberritter Ausf. G"

Masks can upgrade the knife attacks to a super knife and Katana knife attack. Those do more damage and can penetrate multiple enemies.

Speaking about masks:

Masks can add combinations of abilities like:

- 1 hit shield
- weaponized chick sidekicks
- more shot power
- different grenades
- super knife
- killer slide
- higher jumps
- floating in air
- faster jump and run speed
- faster combo build up
- lower/higher difficulty and personal challenges
- negative effects like increased ammo usage in trade for power


Maybe you can already guess from the above information that Kraut Buster plays purposefully quite different to the MS games.
We used a more direct control approach known from the gorgeous Contra series.
The player always has immediate control of the characters. There are no transition animations that get spooled off.
Most actions are instant, like switching direction/jumping. Other are very fast like stabbing/ducking and grenade throwing.
Those differences above and the 60 fps give Kraut Buster quite a different feel, especially in C-mode.

However for people preferring the old and reduced controls of the MS games we offer a lot of customization options.
Using the "old style" controls makes the game unnecessary more difficult though.

The game requires 4 buttons per player 1L4B / 2L8B.

--------------------------------------------------------

Game modes:

T-mode

T-mode is similar to the MS games.
It's slower and more tactical. It's best played by slowly advancing and has lots of forced stops.
Only a reduced set of missions need to be played to keep the game time below 40 minutes.
Missions can be selected in the mission map screen. The 2nd mission for selection is always longer than the first.
Ammunition is limited in this mode, but a bigger variety of weapons are available for pickup.

C-mode

C-mode is similar to the 90s Contra (III/HC) games.
It's faster, brutal and relentless.
You need to blast yourself through all missions in one go.
There are no masks, no knives, no hidden treasures and no chicks.
The game flow is less guided in this mode and you have more control over your own pace. This also means you need to do more enemy crowd control yourself as the engine can pump out quite a lot of enemies.
But you have unlimited ammunition, an extra extend and you throw 3-way grenades! (The 3-way grenades can be slightly aimed)

There is a fast kill (quickkill) system in place that grants scoring bonuses.

--------------------------------------------------------

Difficulties:

3 ranks are available: bronze, silver and gold

Bronze is the lowest but is still quite challenging.
We recommend starting with that one to get acquainted with this game. Before you play the real game with the silver rank.
The higher the rank the better the enemy AI gets, the more bullets and enemies will be there. Bigger enemies may have additional attacks and more energy.

--------------------------------------------------------

Scoring:

This game features a complex risk and reward based scoring system.

Factors are:
- current combo meter
- the amount of bigger enemies on screen
- T-mode: the amount of rescued birds in your pocket
- C-mode: the amount of fast kill treasures in your pocket
- difficulty/rank

To raise the combo meter destroy a lot of enemies in a short succession.
Some enemies and some attacks give more boost than others.

If your combo meter is very high you are in Baerzerker mode for maximum bonuses.

T-mode: collecting all treasures of a set grants additional bonuses


--------------------------------------------------------

Customization options (just a short excerpt):

Like on modern JAMMA hardware, settings and high scores are stored directly on the cartridge in an EEPROM.
To access the settings hold the start button at booting (can be configured on MVS at soft DIPs).

[Gameplay Menu]

- Auto Weapon Switch Pickup [on]

Automatically tries to select a slot for the new weapon. E.g. if you have an empty slot the new weapon always is put there.
If you pick up the same weapon it sums up ammo instead of putting it in a new slot.

- Auto Weapon Switch Empty [on]

If you current weapon is empty, it switches to the other weapon slot.

- Slide Move [on]

- Weapon Lock [on]
Activates weapon lock mode. It locks the weapon in aiming position.

- Movement and Weapon Lock [on]
Allows the player to move forward/backward (moonwalk), jump etc. while retaining the weapon aim
If off, the player's position is fixed

- Allow Turning in Air [on]

Allows the player to quickly turn the direction while jumping/shooting.

- Simplified Air Dash [on]

Allows doing the air dash with just pressing the slide button instead of needing to press slide+down+direction

- Masks [on]


We highly recommend to leave everything on and embrace the new play style.


[Operator Menu]

- Reduce Sprite Flicker [++ ]

As Kraut Buster has a lot more sprites, multi layering techniques and at times background layers than similar games on NEOGEO, it has a higher risk of slowdown and sprite flicker.
To keep sprite flicker and slowdown in check we introduced some simple 16 bit "AI" that decides on the fly to take measurements to reduce sprite flickering and slowdown. It's aggressiveness can be configured to some extend.
Some examples are that dead bodies have a tendency to fall out of the game area or get otherwise disposed off ASAP.

In favor of 60 fps we also needed to pass on having dynamic sprite depth sorting.
This sometimes results in small sprite priority irregularities.
As the NEOGEO hardware does not have sprite priority flags and with the huge amount of sprites we use, it would have been impossible to hold the 60fps goal otherwise.

The game is optimized around the single player mode. The 2 player mode will increase anti flicker and slowdown measurements more aggressively.

- Force 60hz Transparency [off]

Forces 16 bit style 60hz flicker fake transparency on all explosions. This reduces risk of sprite flickering greatly. Works best on arcade and consumer CRTs due to their after glow.



[Customizer Menu]

- Controls (buttons)
- Name Entry (set a default name)

- Character Design John
- Character Design Jack
- Character Design Valeria

Set colors of the characters (cloth, skin, etc.)

[Cheats]

The game comes with a variety of built in cheat modes.
Use at your own discretion. Score saving is disabled in that mode. The score font turns yellow as a cheat indicator.

Unlimited credits are supported in home mode, you can add them with the select button.

--------------------------------------------------------

Note to arcade operators:
Like all our NEOGEO games Kraut Buster was developed for private home use.
Make sure to read the included legal disclaimer and install on location at your own risk.

--------------------------------------------------------

MEGS count:

+512 MEGS for pixel art
+256 MEGS for music and sound fx
+ 40 MEGS for code and data
------
=808 MEGS

As a small surprise Kraut Buster MVS kits come with a high quality mini marquee foil for the lightbox panel of your BigRed or MVS-U.

To build and ship all units it takes about 2-3 weeks from now on. In the first 4-5 days we build and then ship the Shockbox LE and after that all normal MVS kits.
The shop system will automatically send out emails and you can also log in the shop and see the current status of your orders there.

Pictures of the Shockbox MVS LE can be found on our website and pictures of the MVS Kit in the shop.

Once all MVS units are shipped we start working on the AES version of the 2.0 PCBs so they are ready when the software side is final too.
This will take a couple of months.

>>> If you moved since your MVS order please let us know your current address. <<<

Thanks for staying with us over the years and letting us create our dream NEOGEO game!
Without you that wouldn't have been possible...


Small glimpse in the future:

The Kraut Buster pixel artists finished their work on our first exclusive(?) Switch handheld game and already moved on to our next pixel art NEOGEO+arcade game.
While Kraut Buster was made the render gfx team worked on a couple of Shmups, that will be revealed and released over the next 2 years.
We also expect to expand the team further in the next year(s) and maybe add a new hardware platform to our portfolio.

----------------

Les livraisons de Kraut Buster commenceront la semaine prochaine.

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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Wed 6 Feb 2019 - 21:56

Kraut Buster received today!

Kraut Buster Kb_unboxing
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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Fri 8 Feb 2019 - 5:22

Kraut Buster unboxing video:


Game intro and gameplay by System11: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/376708659


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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Tue 12 Feb 2019 - 0:06


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PostSubject: Re: Kraut Buster   Kraut Buster Clock_9Wed 20 Feb 2019 - 19:37

A second print of Kraut Buster MVS cartridges is underway. These cartridges will come in a new shell model. Price is €439.

Pre-order now and you will receive your game in May 2019: https://www.ngdevdirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=81

Game software is updated to v1.01.

------------------------------

Une seconde production de cartouches MVS de Kraut Buster est en cours. Ces nouvelles cartouches auront une coque différente. Le prix est de 439€.

Pré-commandez maintenant et recevez votre jeu au mois de mai 2019: https://www.ngdevdirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=81

Le jeu passe en version 1.01.

NG:DEV.TEAM wrote:
we made a small video that show the first couple of minutes of Kraut Buster. There are some videos around but we wanted to show it in higher quality and with scanlines.


So far feedback is overwhelmingly positive from people who actually played Kraut Buster. This is a first time for us, we are very happy about that.
It's also nice to see that more and more people realize that Kraut Buster offers it's own thing and is not just a mixture of Contra and MS.


As Kraut Buster's development costs exceeded the sales, we need to open pre orders for more AES units and a 2nd print MVS version.
To cover our costs we need to sell AES+MVS combined ~100 more units.

If you are an AES speculator/investor, don't worry all KB AES units (CE+RE+JPN+ENG) combined are still by far more rare than let's say MS5 AES english.

The 1st print AES version is still scheduled for summer/autumn 2019. We need to wait for at least 2-3 more software updates. Fast Striker AES follows after that.

To even out chances of getting a AES copy of the game we will throttle sales in the shop system. Only a given amount of units per day are available in the first days. If the limit is exceeded you can try the next day.
After a few days we will remove any limits.

The MVS version comes with a new model of cartridge shell:

If plan A works out with a molded polished finish shell. Plan B is a high quality laser cut and milled shell (made in Germany). We will provide pictures of those shells in time before shipping.

We added a new option to the shop system for a MVS cartridge only variant at a small discount. The option is at the bottom of the item's shop page.


A software update v1.01 for Kraut Buster MVS is available.

v1.01

- fix: on uni-bios systems: error message/memory viewer after gameover/play through of missions > 1 / on stock bios fixes reset

- demo attract mode sound fix

- reduced hit points of some bigger enemies to reduce coin eating "grindiness" especially in the final rooms of the game

- weapon "Schrotflinte" was over powered in c-mode.

- added secret mask "Schwein" for a "Schütze Arsch" über challenge mode

- increased player's i-frames from 120 to 180 frames

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