For anyone who has even the slightest of a knack for games, Atari is a household name. The company is behind a vast array of arcade-inspired cult classics that span over generations. This is not our first project in tandem with the legendary publisher but a continuation of a Recharged series.
Just as the last time, Sneakybox studios are responsible for revitalizing and reworking a legacy title from the 80s called Black Widow. It is up to us to stretch the game to match modern aspect ratios in 16:9, create visual design and effects, check and update the code involving game mechanics, rework UI and port the game to numerous platforms.
Working on such titles, especially when it should be ported to more than half a dozen platforms is, undeniably, a challenge. This challenge was not helped by the fact that we started to port our games at the same time as the biggest platforms updated their software developer kits and our game engine Unity was outdated for a while. So how does one manage such a feat?
In order to port a game, one must adopt a file system that the platform will be able to read and almost all of them implement a unique one. One must also update the achievements and leaderboard functionalities before spending a lot of time on implementing controller support as there are numerous ways to play the game. I. E. while playing on the Nintendo Switch, it is possible to play the game with two controllers on the screen, two controllers in hands or with a single controller that is just rotated 90 degrees. Only after implementing these feats, one can move on to optimizing performance, visual effects and other various specifications. For each game title, we had to prepare 8 different ports for 8 different systems. Thankfully, our in house porting team is rather experienced with numerous projects under their belts.
Despite the experience though, there were problems when submitting games for release just after a new SDK came out, as our new submission had to be done with the newest version. The problem we encountered was that our game engine Unity did not support such a recent update and it caused unavoidable delays in the process. Even after the new SDK support came out the game engine build was not as stable as we could have wished so it added more to the chaos. Eventually, all of the games were ported to Steam (PC, Linux, macOS), Epic Games (PC, macOS), PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Atari VCS.
TECHNOLOGIES AND TOOLS
Game Engine: Unity
IDE: Visual Studio
I2Localization – localization
ReWired – controller support
Cinemachine – camera control
Shader Graph – Shader editor