Sr. Producer Rusty Buchert of Sony Santa Monica Studios shared the following today via PS Blog:
Hi all, it's Rusty again from the Santa Monica Studio. We are getting ready to launch Everyday Shooter PSP on the PSN store today, and we are really thrilled about how it has turned out. Between Jon Mak, Backbone Entertainment and us, we have Jon's thoughts about how everything went on getting this made. Hope you all like what we've done.
First things first: the seaweed is gone, but the hashbrowns are still in the freezer.
So Rusty wanted me to write a little blog post about Everyday Shooter for PSP. I don't really know what to talk about so I guess I'll start chronological and see where that goes.
I actually tried porting Everyday Shooter to PSP way back around December 20th, 2007, and stopped around December 27th, 2007. Here's an old video I found from back then:
WHAT!!??!? WHY DIDN'T YOU RELEASE IT!?!?? WHY DID YOU SIT ON IT FOR 239846921487 MONTHS YOU SON OF SO MANY UNMENTIONABLE THINGS!!!!!!!
I thought the same thing until I remembered that it crashed every eight seconds, had a ridiculously low frame rate, was missing graphics and effects, and generally blew.
Yeah, Everyday Shooter PSP really worried me at the time. I was convinced to get the game running properly it needed to be hacked to shreds - reducing the number of enemies, changing all the
backgrounds, changing the enemy graphics - ugh, this is going to SUCK.
So I dropped the idea until Rusty contacted my agent, Warren, and I, saying Sony was interested in putting Everyday Shooter on PSP. Immediately, the floodgates opened to the stress of so many potential problems sweeping my soul to the faraway depths of darkness where it was then beaten repeatedly at three frames per second before crashing...
But Rusty said (paraphrased): "Jon, this is how it's going to go down. We're going to hire this developer [Backbone], and I know this guy, he is one of the best programmers I know. And the deal is going to be this: if they even hint at a suggestion of messing with your vision, we are going to fire them and find a new developer. This is going to be a straight port, we are not going to mess with your vision."
Skeptically, I replied "and the boobies?" To which he answered "no boobies."
Honestly, I was still skeptical.
I was also told that the original QA team for ES-PS3 was brought in to test the PSP version too, so I'm quite confident that it was left in good hands.
I'm amazed at the job Backbone did:
They actually ported it without altering any of the graphics, effects, or gameplay! How!?? No seriously, how did you do that!? Like, even the backgrounds? I was expecting to have to do this whole back and forth about what graphics needed to be changed and redesigned, what enemies needed to be reduced, gimping the game just for the sake of performance... NO! Not at all! They just somehow made it work. What is this sweet juice of hexadecimal that you drink from and where do I get it?
Then again, I'm not technically a great programmer, so maybe there's some simple secret I'm not aware of. I generally just multiply things by negative one if they don't work because in math, to get the opposite of something you just multiply it by negative one. Since the opposite of "doesn't work" is "it works," multiplying numbers by negative one should yield a correct result. Unfortunately, when
applying this strategy to Everyday Shooter PSP it still didn't work.
Thus, and clearly thus, there was no solution.
Of course Backbone proved me wrong.
I think this is a pretty accurate port of the game. I mean, I played it till my hands cramped, jotting down every subtle problem, some bordering on imaginary, but yet still fixed. For example, the first
few builds I played, everything looked great and seemed to be in working order but something was weird.
I kept getting beaned by the game! I mean, I couldn't even get to level 4! Suspecting my own skill level, I busted out the PS3 version just to make sure and to my surprise, I was still able reach the final stage with just three starting lives. It's got to be the port.
Okay, so how do you convince someone that this is actually a bug and not because of some lack of skill on my part? I mean, otherwise, the game felt exactly like the PS3 version, so there was no factual information to draw from except for "well, Jon thinks it's too hard now." For weeks, I kept thinking they were going to ignore it, and it'll get released, and the internet will swallow me whole, and then it will hurt a lot.
But amazingly, the bug was found. Apparently (and from what I recall - I might be wrong), it had something to do with timing issues since Everyday Shooter PSP runs at a much lower simulation rate given that the PSP isn't as powerful as the PS3.
To this day, I'm still not sure if anyone believed me on this, and I'm not even sure if I believed myself (I'm quite positive it was way harder, though), and I totally see that the whole thing just sounded nuts and imaginary, but either way, Backbone was gracious enough to give me the benefit of the doubt and make this change. I know some people who paid a silver dollar only to have their ports birched by shoddy developers, so I'm very grateful for the amount of effort and attention Backbone gave to the project.
Anyway, we tried to make this as accurate as possible. Warren called me a few weeks before the final build asking whether I played the PSP port yet and what I thought of it. I replied, "I don't know what to say. I mean, it's basically Everyday Shooter PS3, except it's running on a PSP." More PlayStation 3 News...