tinyBuild discusses Mr. Shifty development, says patch is coming

The following comes from Alex Nichiporchik, I'm the CEO of tinyBuild...

I was the producer on games like SpeedRunners, Punch Club, and am currently neck-deep in Hello Neighbor. Just wanted to drop in and clarify a couple of things. Obviously a game launch is an exciting and extremely stressful time for everyone involved -- the publishing team, and the development team alike. So in the midst of the excitement and chaos some things get said that probably can sound awful out of context. It happens to all of us.

So let's talk a little bit about Mr. Shifty. The dev team are an extremely talented group of individuals who previously worked on games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. I'm not a mobile gamer myself, but those 2 specifically I've spent countless hours on in the train (also Kingdom Rush). This experience is seen in how Mr. Shifty feels. The game has a very careful balancing act of physics-based calculations that create the satisfying feeling of punching a dude in the face and seeing him fall through a glass window.

The original plan was to launch Mr. Shifty in Q4 last year. The game was in pretty good shape to launch at that point, but we felt like launching just on Steam wouldn’t make much sense, as the game wouldn’t get enough exposure -- so we started exploring consoles (that’s why PS4 and Xbox One were on our initial marketing -- games that launch on multiple platforms at once tend to get a ton more exposure). We’ve brought games like Party Hard, No Time to Explain, The Final Station amongst others to consoles. So as soon as we learned what the Switch was -- and how it controlled, it was a no-brainer. We wanted to bring Mr. Shifty to Switch. It made sense to release the Switch and PC builds at the same time so they’d elevate each other.
Like with all new platforms, there are limitations and timelines. The fact that Unity and UE4 plugins actually work for 3rd party devs before the platform's launch are already a huge achievement by Nintendo and Unity/Epic.

With Mr. Shifty specifically though it's all about that "feel". The way the game was originally built, the physics are directly tied to the amount of frames per second. So if I would take the original game, and uncap the FPS -- I'd get unexpected results like a guy flying through half of the map, and the "feel" would be lost.

Take this into account, then a brand new platform with brand new development tools and a 3rd party engine -- and you have a recipe for disaster. But we pulled through. Somehow, through some miracle we were able to get the game out as a “first wave” title on Switch. We locked this version at 30fps for consistency in physics so we could keep the “feel” that everyone is excited about, and there are occasional drops on some production units which we're working on replicating and preparing a patch. But the fact that we shipped on a brand new platform, in light of all these facts, makes me nothing but proud.

I think we got very lucky with the Switches we have, as mine -- after 80 hours of Zelda -- hasn’t seen any issues, same for Shifty; I personally couldn’t get it to drop below 25fps on the later stages with a ton of enemies, other times it’s consistent 30. But as we started sending out media keys, a small number of press outlets reported major slowdowns on their consoles. This came as a complete surprise to us, and we’ve been tracking down possible issues that we’d solve with an upcoming patch.
I'm just very sorry that the stress on everyone involved created this situation. Some things were said that shouldn't have been, and we didn’t do a good job with communicating here. I hope this post brings some context to what’s going on.
I’ll personally oversee the patch submission process to get it out ASAP

Categories: Consoles
Tags: eshop, switch


Thu Apr 13 17 04:40pm
(Updated 2 times)

I think we got very lucky with the Switches we have, as mine -- after 80 hours of Zelda -- hasn’t seen any issues, same for Shifty; I personally couldn’t get it to drop below 25fps on the later stages with a ton of enemies, other times it’s consistent 30.

Is this a comment that portrays an experienced developer?

Developers are usually fans. In some cases the nerding can make better games becausr of the passion.

Not saying this is the case ( though could be), but just saying ;)

Welcome to the world of game/software development where you think you have fixed everything, but problems that you have never seen start appearing when consumers use it.

Yes it is.
What, you thought developers were gods or something?

I expected them to know that all Switch consoles have the same hardware. Saying that after 80 hours of Zelda he has never met any issue because they "got lucky with their Switches" as if they have some sort of superior version that meets no frame drops is a bunch of bullshit.

I mean they are third party, a rather small studio and they are dealing with a console launch and first waves of any console launch is bound to have small adjustments and modifications even hardware-wise.

I'm not saying they can't be blamed if their product is flawed, I'm saying that comment doesn't sound particularly unreasonable to me.

Fri Apr 14 17 06:49am
(Updated 2 times)

There are no adjustments or modifications to the chips used in the console. Frame drops in BotW have been well documented, there is no Switch that can run the game without frame drops because they all use the exact same SoC. Saying that their Switches did is just them trying to cover their incompetence.

Though I guess you are right, their comment saying "just buy the steam version" was far more unprofessional than this.

Feel sorry for any business that falls even remotely falls into nerd culture. Some of the most angry and entitled group of consumers out there. Hope they manage to patch the game to meet expectation.

Thu Apr 13 17 06:38pm
Rating: 1

I mean, in a case like this where the frame rate issues are significant, the outrage is justified.

If something is broken, consumers should complain.

It's not broken. The framrate stutters. Which, yes, leads to a less pleasant experience. So if they're smart they will fix it or risk tarnishing their brand in the long run. And I'm not saying consumers shouldn't alert them of fixable aspects of the experience. But unless a company literally assaults you (like that dumb ass airline that I'm drawing a blank on) antagonism is unwarranted. If a company's service or product doesn't meet your expectations and they don't adjust their behavior I promise they will suffer as long as you as a consumer fulfill your role in withholding future purchases.

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