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Friday, May 18, 2007
Shellblast, the Acidbomb remake is now available for purchase. [Shellblast preview, demo direct download link]

Knytt Stories should be released at the end of summer 2007. Here's a special preview of the soundtrack which will be sold together with the expansion pack to fund the development costs of future releases.

According to DHC, Vulkaiser is close to a release and the team may yet participate in the latest 3Punge competition. [DHC's past projects]

Pixel reaffirms that Variant Interactive's PSP version of Cave Story is not supported by him.
Blogger Mike K said at 5/17/2007 01:39:00 PM:  
Why do I get the impression "scam" every time I hear the name "Variant Interactive"?
Blogger Alex said at 5/17/2007 01:47:00 PM:  
because they are scammers!
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/17/2007 02:36:00 PM:  
what the hell? how can the company just steal cave story and write "developer: variant" and not even mention pixel.
this can't be legal?
its like the proud of the game, but they just stole it.
well, cave story is probably the most famous freeware game ever, so i can't see how they are fooling anyone.
Blogger svrman said at 5/17/2007 02:54:00 PM:  
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/17/2007 04:03:00 PM:  
He said it's not supported by him, but that could realistically mean anything when you figure in translation.

It could mean that he said they could do it, but he has no hands in on the project.

It could mean they just decided to rip his ass off and make Cave Story themselves.

Until Pixel clarifys this, we should hold off on harping on Variant. Of course, should they prove to be rip-off artists; let the DoS and slander begin.
Blogger Mike K said at 5/17/2007 05:14:00 PM:  
Sure. But look at their website. They lifted games from Gary "Gunstar Red" (Army of Trolls), Jets & Guns from Rake in Grass, Cave Story from Pixel, and added 3 Misc games listing nextgen consoles as target platforms. Honestly, I can't find anything that seems half legitimate about them.
Anonymous Michael said at 5/18/2007 06:56:00 AM:  
It doesn't help that Variant shut down the forums a couple months ago with a message about moving to new servers. Taking a long time to finish moving, aren't they? Seems an awfully convenient way to silence the people who were coming to the forums looking for more information about this supposedly official port.
Blogger Alex said at 5/18/2007 07:32:00 AM:  
At least you don't have to read more valley boy drivel posts from the developers.

Yo bro! Yeah, pimp, we're down with that for real. Word! Cave Story rocks and we'll bring y'all the best port ever! We're down with the kids!


Blogger gnome said at 5/18/2007 08:05:00 AM:  
Anonymous Michael said at 5/18/2007 10:03:00 AM:  
Good point, Alex! I don't miss Mav at all.

I saw what kind of people these are when I offered to put them in touch with a professional Japanese/English translator with a game industry background, and they said they weren't interested in working with anybody but Shih Tzu. Don't get me wrong, Shih Tzu is an awesome guy with a good command of Japanese, who also has the advantage of having known Pixel for a while, but it's telling when a company refuses to seek out a seasoned pro for communicating about important licensing considerations. That said, Shih Tzu's involvement is the only thing that lends any credibility to the whole thing so far, as I doubt he'd get mixed up in this if he felt Variant were trying to rip off the creator of a game he loves so dearly. It would be nice if he'd say something about what's going on, but I'm sure he's probably bound by a non-disclosure agreement. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if along with Variant's forums, their whole company disappeared soon.

Anyway, Ravenworks' free upcoming DS port is a lot more interesting, especially since there's no doubt that Pixel gave his approval and that the project is really in development.
Blogger Shih Tzu said at 5/18/2007 02:20:00 PM:  
I was first approached by Pixel to translate exchanges between him and Variant a couple of years ago, and I've been helping him with that since. Because of this, I've been translator for what I think is all or nearly all of the communication between the two. I don't want to make any comment on the exchanges, though, both because I don't know where I stand legally as volunteer translator for two parties' private communication and (more importantly) because I don't feel it's my place to say anything independently of them. What Pixel or Variant want to say publicly is their business.
Anonymous Michael said at 5/18/2007 05:42:00 PM:  
Thanks for your comment, Shih Tzu. As I said, you're the only one lending any credibility to Variant's plans.

What you said is fair enough, though in one respect it makes things sound worse. If Variant had already been in discussions with Pixel for close to a year before making their public announcement, and soon admitted afterward that there were misunderstandings in the communication that were still being corrected, that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the project. They would have done better to keep things to themselves until they were truly ready to make an announcement.

Regardless of their mistakes, if you and Pixel need help with this, I'd be willing to pay for a contract lawyer proficient in Japanese and English to assist Pixel with the nitty-gritty details that might be tricky to sort out. I believe in you and Pixel. (I wish Variant inspired the same confidence. They can hire their own lawyer to represent their interests.) If this PSP conversion is something Pixel wants, then I want to make sure he gets everything he deserves. Even if he never intended the game to be more than a labor of love shared with the world for free, if a company wants to commercialize it they should take care of him. (And they'd better get this sorted out and to market before the PSP becomes even more irrelevant than it already is. They might do better to switch to DS, hiring Ravenworks to finish his conversion if Pixel and he would agree to that arrangement.)

The above offer for legal help is serious, and you and Pixel are both welcome to get in touch with me at the link attached to my name. Either English or Japanese is fine.
Anonymous NeonPSY said at 5/21/2007 04:57:00 PM:  
Yeah, I left that comment because I was very confused about it for PSP.

I also supported Varient all the way.

And I'm unhappy to say I was wrong to do so.

I REALLY REALLY wish that somebody could prove me wrong.
Blogger Shih Tzu said at 5/21/2007 10:37:00 PM:  
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the offer of support. I'll bring it up with Pixel and see what he thinks.