It has been well over a year since we began work on bringing David Jones’s classic 8-bit title ‘Spellbound’ to the OUYA console.
A massive amount of work has been done by the team to get the game this far and we are now proud to be able to announce the release of the very first Public Beta.
A year does seem an awfully long time to have spent on the game, but just seeing it run on the machine makes every single line of code, every single pixel placed and every single idea thrown between David, Saul and I worth while.
You can find out how to take part in the beta down the South end of this post, if you are keen, go there now. Go on. If you want to find out a bit more about the beta, how it started, how it managed to get this far and where we are going from here, as well as some info about what to expect in the beta, including what data we steal from you (although, spoiler, it’s not much at all….), then it would be best to read on. I’ll try to keep it brief, although I’m not known for brevity…..
Spellbound OUYA has been in existence, in one form or another, for around a year or so. It has gone through a number of changes, visually, technically and conceptually over this time, but at its heart it has always been Spellbound.
The pre-history of Spellbound OUYA is dull.
It dates back to 2008 when I first tried getting in touch with David (unsuccessfully) regarding using Magic Knight and a few other characters from the MK universe in a new game named Underlord. This was a new Magic Knight game that was to take place after Stormbringer. The game was completed but not being able to find anyone to make it look pretty or sound great, and not having David’s permission, the game went no further than a few friends and fizzled out.
I did warn you this was dull.
Fast forward to 2013 and, at a loss, I decided to look back at my Underlord code and see what I could do with it. Not much, it turns out, still no graphics and audio and still no permission. But looking at the code, and having seen Scottige’s fantastic Finders Keepers remake I thought I might have a go at a project that I had been considering since starting to remake games. Spellbound.
The instant I mentioned it on the Retro Remakes forum I had two offers for graphics for it. This had never happened before for any of my games. In a tiz, I chatted with the first chap who had messaged me, Saul Cross, and the project was born.
Spellbound remake (PC and Mac) was in development for 6 months. The plan was to do a complete and accurate remake of the Spectrum 48 / 128k games and be done with it.
In September 2013 two things happened simultaneously. The first was that the lovely chaps at OUYA saw what I was doing with the remake and shipped me an OUYA to play with, which was lovely. The second was that a certain David Jones appeared out of nowhere and began posting on the World of Spectrum forums.
After getting all the fanboy stuff out of the way early, I approached David with thoughts of getting Spellbound Remake authorised. Instead, after much discussion and emailing to and fro, it was agreed that, instead of a PC remake, we would create an official OUYA port.
We have been working together as a trio on the project ever since.
There. Dull bit over and done with.
The beta is the culmination of months of planning, coding, drawing, composing, recoding and testing. There has been a lot of testing.
So, how do you play it then? Patience. Or go to the bottom, although, I assure you, the rest of the post is more interesting and important than the guff above.
You need to know certain things about the beta.
I guess the most important thing is that we are watching you.
Don’t worry, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. Flurry Analytics is running in the game. It’s there to track crashes. Nothing nasty, we collect no personal data at all, all I am really interested in is crash reports. We do get, as a byproduct of this, session details. Times played, length of time played, your geographical location (down to your country I think) and other analytical stuff. No emails, names, user names, passwords, credit details or anything suspicious is gathered. The data collected is used only to improve the game. Actually, we do collect whether you play the 48k or the 128k map…. That’s it though. Promise.
Another important point is that the game assumes you know what you are doing. The instructions aren’t particularly helpful, but it should all be fairly self explanatory. The full game will be much better documented. If in doubt, you can always get me on the Retro remakes forum or leave a comment on this post.
The game is not completable. I should warn you that now. Save games are in and working but I can’t guarantee compatibility with newer versions of the beta. I can guarantee save games in the beta will not work in the full game.
Nearly there now …….
It should go without saying that this game will crash. Not all the time, not even often, but if you play it long enough it will. That’s the point of a beta. I have tried my hardest to crash the game in new and interesting ways but I can’t. It’s down to you guys.
This game will NOT work on an Android phone. Try it if you like. It just won’t.
Ok. Game time….
How do you play it?
We are finally here……
You need an OUYA. A working one preferably, one connected to the Internet if possible. It’s not been tested with anything but an official OUYA controller.
If you want to chat about the beta, report a bug or give feedback, the best place to go is here I’m known as Spraydough in those parts.
You can also tweet me @Spraydough. Use the hashtag #SBOBeta if you want, I do.
The link I hope you are looking for the mostest is this one…
It can be side loaded onto your OUYA or downloaded directly and installed from you downloads folder.
Please play, please leave feedback and, most of all, please enjoy Spellbound OUYA.
Mike, Saul and David