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Corpse Party PC - Programming Blog

Hey there. Another PC game release, another blog from XSEED’s own PC title localization programmer! This time I’m here to talk to you about the PC version of Corpse Party and give you my own perspective on things, including why this release was so long coming.

- A Cup of Soup -

First, let’s look back at the original Japanese PC release of Corpse Party: BloodCovered. Released episodically from 2008 to 2011, the original indie version of BloodCovered was coded in a curious programming language known as HotSoupProcessor, or HSP for short.

Originally based on BASIC, this programming language is as minimal as they come, far from what’s usually used in the game industry. It gained popularity in the Japanese independent industry, being used for many other games by indie developers such as Team GrisGris and Platine Dispositif for a time.

The thing is, of course, that HSP is not a language that has wide use. It’s pretty tricky to work with at times, and indeed, it wasn’t going to be very compatible at all with the APIs used by popular services such as Steam or GOG. Maintaining code made in HSP was also going to be difficult, and bugs could sneak right under my nose without notice if I wasn’t careful.

We initially worked on the HSP version of the game as we inserted the English localization, but eventually, it was pretty apparent that we couldn’t keep going like this if we were going to release a compatible version with all the frills; I had to make a call. I decided to port the game to a modern, wide-use programming language and a new engine.

- Making a New BloodCovered -

Porting the game to a new engine wasn’t going to be easy. The original game’s code was made in a very intricate way where functions depended heavily on each other, and HSP is a type-weak language, much unlike the languages most commonly used in the industry. There were a few goals I wanted to achieve through this as well:

  • Maintainability, so that I could take care of issues fairly well as time went by.
  • Adaptability, such that features like graphics options and gamepad support could be robust.
  • Portability, in the hopes that we wouldn’t be stuck with just a Windows PC build in the end.

So it began. I named the new engine BloodCookie. I don’t know why. It just felt right at the time. Silly, personal, and yet still somehow appropriate. Over time, every function from the original HSP game would be reproduced in C++ code as part of BloodCookie, but with the vast differences between the two languages, a lot of issues came along for the ride. Even the slightest typo could mean the difference between working and not, and due to the intricately intertwined nature of the code, it took a while before we could really see the game running at all in the new engine. Still, after many months of hard work, it became a reality.

- Horror within Horror -

So the game was running in its new engine. But it soon became apparent that more work would be needed, as bugs gradually crawled out of the woodwork, engulfing the new code. One of the most amusing bugs happened early on, where Chapter 1’s intro would continually loop for some strange reason, along with other oddities, such as everyone turning into little girls… or worse. Sadly, this was just scratching the surface, as other bugs reared their heads too, such as characters who did not move far enough due to a mistake in the script parser, or a number of continuity issues we later discovered could be triggered through very specific circumstances. Crawling through this pit of bugs was no easy task.

We tested the game thoroughly, making sure to fix as many things as we could, but even now I’m sure more bugs are lurking, and I continue to hunt them. This very instant, I’m sure there are still some of the minor audio-text desync issues that plagued us throughout, and to the very end we were fixing some really strange bugs such as being able to ‘revive’ a character by checking a certain note at just the right time. That said, most of the bugs remaining now seem to be bugs that existed in the original game, so I’m glad that this long, long haul has paid off in making the release as smooth as it could be. It’s such an incredible relief to finally be able to say “it’s done” and move on to the stage of support and improvement.

- The Payoff -

As development went on, we were able to start making the game better than it was originally. We added a name box to the dialogue boxes, which the original Japanese game lacked, allowing us as much room for text as in the PSP and 3DS versions without looking disruptive. For that matter, the original release of the game ran only at 640x480, with a fairly minimal selection of options. With the new engine, I was able to allow the game to run at any resolution you could possibly want to use, along with implementing features like a screen smoothing toggle or smartly-sized black borders for widescreen resolutions. The game also runs at a smooth 60fps, and it’s a beauty to see it in motion. Controllers handle the game pretty smoothly, with more in-depth control configuration to come. Most recently, I added an optional stretching feature and enabled vertical sync. While these features may not currently be available in our non-Steam versions of the game, look forward to seeing them soon enough!

The biggest thing that’s come from this, however, is raw compatibility and support. This release of Corpse Party should run on just about any system or setup, supporting a wide variety of displays, controllers, graphics cards, and other hardware. We’re also able to look into bugs far faster and easier than we might have been able to with the HSP version. But of course, the biggest benefit of all is one that hasn’t yet seen the light, although it’s actively in progress and will happen sometime in the near future: the game will have a Linux port, and be able to run in SteamOS. Functionally, the Linux version of Corpse Party will be 100% identical to the Windows version, but you’ll be able to play it on a wider variety of systems, including Steam Machines!

- In Conclusion -

Well, that’s about it. This release has been a very long time coming, and it’s been a very rough ride for many of us involved, I would say. I hope that everyone who plays the game will enjoy it. I also hope that those who are reluctant, such as those who are longing for the different artwork and voice acting of later versions of the game, will see how much effort has gone into this release. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, those people might give it a fighting chance. After all I’ve been through with this game, all I want is for it to get out there and bring joy (or terror) to as many people as it can. For me, the nightmare is finally over, but for everyone else, I would certainly say it has just begun…

Sara J. Leen

Localization Programmer, XSEED Games

Corpse Party PC & 3DS - Victim’s Memoirs (1/?)

Sachiko, we beg of you…

  Sachiko, we beg of you…

     Sachiko, we beg of you…


…That’s how it all began. And so it begins again…

We’ve just announced a Corpse Party double bombshell: a release date for the digital PC version of the game (April 25th via Steam, GOG, and Humble Store, for a list price of $14.99) as well as release plans for the 3DS version, which will be dropping in both digital and limited edition physical forms in North America this summer (nothing to report yet for Europe; sorry!). Counting our previous digital PSP release, this means the very first Corpse Party title will now be available in English on three major gaming platforms, widening the spread of Sachiko Ever After all the more (truly, we are doing Sachiko’s work here!).

But this brings up a crucial question: if you can only pick one version of the game to play, which will it be? Each of the three has something unique to offer, despite all being fundamentally the same game. And there have been a lot of concerns and misconceptions surfacing on this and other topics since our announcement went out yesterday morning – so I’d like to take a moment to assuage the most commonly voiced worries, as well as provide a general breakdown of the three editions to help you figure out which team you’re on.

Let’s start with the worries:

– Worry the First: The 3DS version has no voice-acting, right?

Wrong! The 3DS version is fully voiced, utilizing the exact same Japanese-language voice recordings as the PSP version of the game, in all their 3D binaural glory. I think the origin of this rumor may have been the four 3DS-exclusive Extra Chapters – new content created specifically for this version of the game. These four Extra Chapters are not voiced (save for flashbacks to other parts of the game), but every other Chapter and Extra Chapter is, with not a single voice file from the PSP version missing or unaccounted for.

– Worry the Second: The 3DS version has to be censored, right?

Nope! All versions of Corpse Party released by XSEED Games are presented to you with no content removed or altered whatsoever (save for the small handful of sniggly things we had to change for legal reasons, like a Nokia ringtone). The ESRB M rating exists for a reason, after all, and our M rating for Corpse Party 3DS has already been secured.

– Worry the Third: No physical for 3DS, right?

Incorrect! The 3DS version will be available either digitally via the Nintendo 3DS eShop for $29.99, or physically in a “Back to School Edition” for $49.99 (pictured above). The Back to School Edition includes figurines of the characters Naomi Nakashima and Seiko Shinohara (with interchangeable faces), as well as a nearly 80-minute music CD containing all the remaining PSP/3DS version Corpse Party music we couldn’t fit on our “Songs of the Dead” compilation (as well as a few tracks unique to the 3DS version of the game!). So physical Corpse Party 1 is a go, for the first time ever in English!

– Worry the Fourth: I heard some of the PC version content was too gruesome for the PSP version of the game! Is that true? And is that gruesome content present in your PC release?!

We’ve heard that too… from you guys! The rumor is, some of the content from the PC version was removed for the handheld ports solely to prevent the game from getting too high a CERO rating in Japan, but I’m… honestly not sure if that’s true or not. There are definitely some endings unique to the PC version, but none of them seem any more gruesome than some of the endings present in all versions of Corpse Party. There’s a rather unsettling insect-related scene in the PC game that isn’t present in the PSP version, but that’s likely because the PC game was released episodically in Japan, and Chapter 5 (where the scene in question plays) didn’t actually come out until after the PSP game, meaning it’s more of an addition for PC fans than an omission for PSPers. (This is supported by the scene’s subsequent inclusion in the 3DS version of the game.)

Other than the odd ending here and there, the only thing I know for certain that was removed from the PC version when it made the jump to PSP is… a trail of blood on the hallway floor during one particular scene. I can’t say for certain why that was removed, but I don’t see how it would’ve affected the game’s content rating when other parts of the game are far, far more disturbing.

And either way, once again, you needn’t worry about things being removed or altered on our end: everything present in the final Japanese PC release of the game will be present in our PC release as well, just as everything present in the Japanese 3DS game will be present in our 3DS release. We will be making absolutely no content changes on either front.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the three iterations of Corpse Party face off in a battle royale!


PSP

Number of Extra Chapters: 10. None exclusive to this version of the game.

Main benefits of playing this version: Vita and PSTV compatibility, making it overall the most accessible version of the game. Same platform(s) as its sequels.

Main benefits of playing another version instead:

- 3DS: Four more Extra Chapters, higher-res character sprites, 3D support for art stills, omnipresent Touch Screen menu, message log feature.

- PC: Completely different Japanese voice track with different nuances, one notably exclusive Extra Chapter, additional scenes and endings, original indie art, Steamworks features (achievements, trading cards, wallpapers, etc.), fast-forward feature, swanky text boxes.

Tagline: If you want to easily play Corpse Party on your living room TV, or you own a Vita or PSTV and want the entire Heavenly Host trilogy (Corpse Party, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Corpse Party: Blood Drive) in one place, the PSP version is for you!

3DS

Number of Extra Chapters: 14. Four exclusive to this version of the game.

Main benefits of playing this version: Exclusive Extra Chapters of considerable length and interactivity, which help fill in some gaps in the story and develop side characters who don’t otherwise get a lot of screen time. Higher resolution character sprites than its PSP counterpart, perfectly matching the resolution of the game’s background art (if this bothered you in the PSP version, you know exactly why this is so notable; if it didn’t, you’re probably just scratching your head right now!). Some new music tracks, including a really awesome arrangement of the classic Chapter 1 BGM.


Main benefits of playing another version instead:

- PSP: Vita and PSTV compatibility, parity with sequels.

- PC: Completely different Japanese voice track with different nuances, one notably exclusive Extra Chapter, additional scenes and endings, original indie art, Steamworks features (achievements, trading cards, wallpapers, etc.), fast-forward feature, swanky text boxes.

Tagline: If you’re the type of gamer who values high-fidelity visuals and the most up-to-date, top-of-the-line presentation, or you’ve already played the PSP version to death and want to experience something new on your next replay, the 3DS version is for you!

PC

Number of Extra Chapters: 4. One exclusive to this version of the game (but it’s a doozy!).

Main benefits of playing this version: Completely different Japanese voice track with different nuances, to such an extent that much of the game’s dialogue was re-edited to account for subtle shifts in mood and tone. The “Tooth” chapter from Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, fully recreated here in classic 2D adventure style; easily the biggest and most involved Extra Chapter in any Corpse Party game to date, thoroughly expanding upon its Book of Shadows counterpart and providing lots of new content both in terms of story and gameplay alike. The presence of a genuinely fast fast-forward feature, making ending collection a breeze. And last but not least… those beautiful, beautiful text boxes! Seriously, those have to be the swankiest, most mesmerizing text boxes I’ve ever seen. Observe in our trailer:


Main benefits of playing another version instead:

- PSP: Vita and PSTV compatibility, parity with sequels.

- 3DS: Significantly more Extra Chapters, much higher-res character sprites, 3D support for art stills, omnipresent Touch Screen menu, message log feature.

Tagline: If you’re the type of gamer who would pick a quality indie title over a AAA game, or you’ve played another version of Corpse Party and want to hear some wholly different takes on some of your favorite characters, the PC version is for you!

No matter which of the three versions you choose, you’re going to have a gruesomely good time. Get ready to be corpsed once more, as the party begins anew in 10 days, then continues this summer.

Your invitation awaits. You need only r.s.v.p.

-Tom

craveonline.com
Gamers Flood Baldur's Gate Expansion with Negative Reviews After It Introduces a Transgender Character - CraveOnline
The GOG and Steam store pages for Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear are littered with negative reviews, with gamers trashing the game largely as a result of an encounter that takes place between the player and a transgender character.

The GOG and Steam store pages for Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear are littered with negative reviews, with gamers trashing the game largely as a result of an encounter that takes place between the player and a transgender character.

The new expansion, which is set between the events of the first and second game, features a conversation with a transgender character in which she explains her transition.  Mizhena, a cleric in the game, explains the origins behind her unusual name in a dialogue tree if the player questions her about it.  “I created the name myself several years ago,” Mizhena says, adding: “My birth name proved unsuitable."  When the player asks what was wrong with her old name, she continues:  "When I was born, my parents thought me a boy and raised me as such.  In time, we all came to understand I was truly a woman.  I created my new name from syllables of different languages.  All have special meaning to me, it is the truest reflection of who I am.”

Many have taken umbrage with this line, littering its GOG, Steam and Metacritic user reviews with low scores, with the majority of these reviews referencing this exchange.  A video titled ‘Tranny Abuse’ in which the player kills Mizhena after she reveals herself to be a transgender, has also been uploaded to YouTube, attracting over 13,000 views and over 350 likes, with the uploader writing: “It’s refreshing to see that nearly everyone, even a lot of neutral folks, consider this a bastardization of a classic game world.  Beamdog dug themselves a hole that their company will never recover from now.  Any potential Baldur’s Gate 3 they develop will fail due to people now knowing how little they care for the license.”

A common suggestion made by those posting user reviews of the game was that developer Beamdog’s inclusion of the trans character had somehow sullied its reputation, with it being commonly suggested that the dialogue tree with Mizhena had irreparably damaged the reputation of the series.  A reference to GamerGate made by the developers, in which a character says “Actually, it’s about ethics in heroic adventuring,” has also rubbed many up the wrong way.

Though these user reviews also cite other problems with the game, including apparent bugs and an unsatisfactory multiplayer component, the majority of these reviews devolve into panning the game’s writing, focusing upon its supposed “social justice agenda."  Despite the game’s lone review from an actual outlet awarding it 87/100, an influx of user reviews are giving it the lowest possible score available, accompanying these reviews with complaints of the game "forcing gender politics down [their] throats.”

The game currently sits at a 3.6 out of 10 on Metacritic’s user reviews section and 2 out of 5 on GOG, though has a Mostly Positive rating on Steam.  Coincidentally, this is the only one of those three platforms that requires the user to own the game they’re reviewing.  Take a look at a few of these negative reviews below:

[reviews at main article]

Amber Scott, a writer on the game, responded to these criticisms by saying: “As I’ve said before (and I won’t say much more on this subject other than to get my perspective out there): I’m the writer and creator.  I get to make decisions about who I write about and why.  I don’t like writing about straight/white/cis people all the time.  It’s not reflective of the real world, it sets up s/w/c as the "normal” baseline from which “other” characters must be added, and it’s boring.

“I consciously add as much diversity as I can to my writing and I don’t care if people think that’s "forced” or fake.  I find choosing to write from a straight default just as artificial.  I’m happy to be an SJW and I hope to write many Social Justice Games in the future that reach as many different types of people as possible.  Everyone should get a chance to see themselves reflected in pop culture.“

Beamdog founder Trent Oster also took to the forums in order to encourage those enjoying the game to post positive user reviews online, writing: "I usually spend most of my time lurking here, but I’d like to ask a favour.  It appears that having a transgendered cleric and a joke line by Minsc has greatly offended the sensibilities of some people.

"This has spurred these people into action, causing them to decide this is the worst game of all time and give it a zero review score on Steam, GoG and meta critic.  Now, I’d like to ask for that favour.  If you are playing the game and having a good time, please consider posting a positive review to balance out the loud minority which is currently painting a dark picture for new players.”

“Dragons, ogres, magic, gods, undead – sure!  But a transgender character?  RUINED FOREVER!!!1!”

Want to show support?  Leave a positive review:

6

“I told him you were a fuckin’ psychopath.”
“Oh that hurts my feelin’s…nah but am sorry, I am, I mean it. Y'know things have been a bit hectic recently and that. But you know what I mean, I miss you Den, don’t I. Eh, you remember that time your Mum took us to Center Parcs? We drunk all her Baileys, she smacked you with my Spiderman slipper? Go on, one drink. One drink, bag o’ chips, straight home.”
“Mum won’t like it.”
“She in?”
“No…”
Well then.”