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Beat Hazard Ultra: Powered by Your Music, Written in My Bedroom

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Beat Hazard Ultra: Powered by Your Music, Written in My Bedroom

My name is Steve Hunt and I’m excited to talk about my PSN game Beat Hazard Ultra, which hits the PS3 this September. I wrote the game from scratch on my own, in my bedroom!

About the Game

Beat Hazard Ultra is a twin stick arcade shooter that is entirely powered by YOUR music! Just copy some music on to your PS3 hard drive, or use the built-in songs, choose a track, and be dazzled by the eye-bleeding visuals as you blast away at enemy ships to the sound of your favorite pumping tunes.

Everything you see in the game is dictated by the music in some way, from the firepower of your ship to the number and patterns of enemies coming at you. Each track produces a unique (but, most importantly, repeatable) level.

In addition to Standard play, Ultra has plenty of cool gameplay features to keep you busy, including Boss Rush and Survival modes, 23 perks to unlock and 42 in-game challenges that award 14 trophies. There are also three awesome tactical weapons: Micro Missiles, Reflect Shield and Ultra Beam to unlock & upgrade, turning you into a mean music-driven badass.

Beat Hazard

Beat Hazard Ultra is designed to be a real ‘in yo face’ experience. It doesn’t pull any punches as the visuals pump and pulse to the music. However, you‘ll be glad to know you can turn this down if you need too. But if you’re in the party mood you can turn the visuals up to 200% for the most intense action you can get.

And if you’re feeling like a challenge, you can jump online and play either co-op or head to head. Online play is crazy! Watching two powered-up ships on Suicidal mode with 200% visuals is completely mental.

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About me and the Development for PS3

This game was written from scratch by just me, in my bedroom. I started writing games when I was 14 back in the 8-bit days. After graduating from university, I spent 15 years working as a designer and programmer for bigger studios such as D.I.D, Rage Games and, most recently, Juice Games and THQ. Although I enjoyed working with the big guys I always wanted to go back to bedroom coding and working for myself. I got the push I needed to go indie two years ago when I was made redundant. That was when Beat Hazard was born and, due to its success, I’ve not looked back since.

I’ve always been a massive PlayStation fanboy (I even had a Net Yaroze back in the day, anyone remember that?). I was ecstatic when Sony approved Beat Hazard Ultra for release on PSN last year. Once I’d finished jumping around and started to think of the challenge ahead, I suddenly realized I might have bitten off more than I could chew. Attempting to write a console game from scratch is a huge challenge and I knew I had a lot of work ahead.

And a massive challenge it was! However, as with any big project, I just broke it down and took it a day at a time. With the help of the awesome support guys at Sony, six months later here it is – Beat Hazard Ultra running on the PS3! I can’t tell you how rewarding that feels! In that time I’ve learned many new skills, from writing a renderer on the PS3, to coding a Digital Signal Processor which runs asynchronously on the PlayStation SPUs and is used to analyze the music in real time.

I get many emails from budding game designers and programmers asking about going indie. Well here you go – even one guy can write a game for PSN, and it’s all there for you if you have the time and dedication to go for it. I hope Beat Hazard inspires more Indie guys out there.

Beat Hazard Ultra should be out this September. I really hope you enjoy the game. I’ll be hanging out here on the blog to answer any question about Ultra or its development process. You can also email me here, or follow me on Twitter here. Join the Ultra Facebook fan page here or check out my website here.

Comments are closed.

54 Comments

  • Is this going to be a US only title or will we see it in Europe as well?

    Have to say this really appeals to me – not quite Jeff Minter but I will be picking this up

  • SIRST!

  • This is definitely my type of game and I’m glad you put in the time to make it so I can play it :)

  • Bluejays20012

    i don’t no if i like this game

  • i have this game on my 360 and i highly recommend that you get this game.

  • Cyb3rfr34k-iso

    you r a GOD in a bedroom!

  • BlindsideDork

    Does it matter the format of songs on the HDD?

  • Hey Steve welcome to the PS Blog!

    BHU looks very cool. I am glad you chose PlayStation, as I’d be jealous if the other console had this as an exclusive. As someone above noted, this has a “Minter-esq” vibe, and thats awesome :)

    I see a lot of influences in the video ranging from Asteroids/Sinstar to Robotron and the fact that it uses your music (MP3, I assume) is particularly cool.

    Looking fwd to seeing more.

  • Ok this looks amazing! Any word on the pricing yet?

    I’m hoping to get into game development myself soon so knowing that you could do this all by yourself and get it onto PSN gives me hope that I won’t crash and burn lol.

    Anyhow, can’t wait to blast some enemies away while listening to Portishead :).

  • BOSTONJOHN32

    nice visuals and great partnership w/ music.. head to head and co-op? got my attention, looks fun

  • johnjeff311

    this is what a true gamer does in the bedroom :)

  • This looks great!!! Day one purchase for me. Gotta support a Bedroom Coder :)

  • This game looks effing awesome! But i just have one question; Is there any local multiplayer support? These kinds of games always are fun with a couch buddy!

  • This game has been out on PC for quite a while. For more information about file formats, local co-op, etc. I would check its listing on Steam. I’m assuming most if not all features will be kept in the PSN version:

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/49600

    – Go Head to Head in local 2 player mode
    – Or play local 2 player Co-op
    – File types supported: mp3/wav/aiff/ogg/mwa/flac

  • burningwind

    Not sure if I am glad or a little scared I listen to metal for this game haha. Could make my job easier or harder based on how you describe it.

  • I already have this on PC (Yay for Steam sales!), but I’m definitely interested in playing the PSN version, so I can utilize my home theater system. On this note: any idea what type of sound support the game will have?

  • Now I can upgrade to seizures on a HDTV instead of my laptop! :D

  • O SHI- I’d forgotten any word of a PSN version. Any headway on getting Ultra to the XBLA? Either case, might have to pick this up on my console-o’-choice, considering a DualShock is a bit more dual-stick on my mouse & keyboard.

  • tonydamiani

    Very Very Nice

  • Impressive.

  • There are some excellent you tube videos out there featuring this game set to different music. Check it out. Beat Hazard Ultra + Slayer = My Brain is on Fire!!!!

  • Have this freaking awesome game from steam and looking forward to this on the PS3. Might be a reason to load the HDD with music.

    For all those curious about the format of the music, I know that the game, on the pc, supported wma and mp3. There was also an add-on that would also used unlocked aac files. Don’t know about the aac part but I would have a hard time believing that the game would only use mp3.

  • Wow this game looks insane like Super Stardust HD and you coded this by yourself?!

    Its great to see more developers actually incorporating custom music into their games. I hope this game sells well and makes getting fired the best thing to happen for you.

  • Wooot! Want it!

  • How much will this game be?

  • Its like old times with the arcade machine,but modern games the have improve with special powers

  • Looks sick.
    What would the main difference be in-game between something like a classical music track compared to a dubstep music track?

  • hmm so if I put on some Jazz or or Justin Bieber I should cruz throw the stage with no problem

  • @26, there is a HUGE difference Dubstep will have more bosses likely, and have faster moving enemies (unless that is one epic classical music track). There are also changes in color scheme based on what the tone of the music is.

    I’m sure Starg can fill you in on it better than I can.

    Everyone should check out the demo on Steam if your PC can handle it! I’m thinking of getting this just because the PS3 will run it with silky smooth graphics.

  • @27, Jazz is a bit different… there can be some hightempo and crazy stuff going on with the musicians. The game doesn’t just get easy because it’s not playing dubstep or metal.

  • Finally a reason to have music on my ps3!!!! I definitely need a bigger hard drive now.

  • Thanks alot, now I need a 1TB hard drive even more.

    Going to get this because it sounds/looks awesome.

  • So I can use all my own music? I don’t have to rebuy it?

    So i get all my heavy metal shooting fix on with whatever band I choose?

  • Hey, new guy! Welcome, another nerd-makes-good story. You gotta love it. Best wishes to you.

    I’m not sure about this genre for me, so a demo would be most helpful, please.

  • I want to know any chance for a Vita version? Plus the game looks great. So I will have to keep an eye on this game.

  • Awesome! I play this all the time in the car on my Macbook. I always feel bad for not actually buying it because of how fun it was, but i don’t play PC/Mac games that much and never really got into buying from Steam. I heard a while back that Microsoft didn’t approve it for the XBLA and i was like “wuttttt?”. Its so fun lol.

    Definitely gonna buy it for PS3 though lol. Online play too? AWESOMEEEEE =D

  • Great, thats pretty cool that you developed the game in your bedroom…..kind of inspiring. Just a thought here: You should make a version for the PSVita, Sony is going to want a strong launch line up for the device, after seeing what happened to Nintendo’s 3DS.

  • How does this work for online? Are you limited to the included songs or can you still play with your own tracks? Does your opponent need to have the song on their PS3 as well, or is the song streamed for the 2nd user?

    This definitely looks interesting, but I’d love to see some more details before I commit.

  • Hi Steve, congratulations BHU looks very good!, can we have a mode that works like a music visualizer?, I mean the game looks fun, but when we want to listen only music, having the DSP producing effects in the background and pulsing to the music, would be awesome… (and if we can have a style selector,, ) hehe well just asking…

    I hope something like the milkdrop music visualizer (featured in winamp) would come on PSN with 3d display..
    but that’s another story..

    Thank you,.

  • Congrats, Steve, that looks fantastic and I will be very interested to check it out when it is released. Great story and best success to you. Thanks for sharing.

  • @38, the game checks the music library of both players to see if their music matches (by ID5 tags or something technical), it lets you play whatever music you both have on your hard drives. They can’t send music over PSN due to copyright reasons, so you both need the music.

    @39, there IS visualizer, you’re in luck. Unless this version is different from the PC version, there is definitely a visualizer (no gaming required).

    I urge everyone to go and try the demo on Steam!

  • The_Assassin03

    Cool trailer and all, but that music is just loud and obnoxious.

  • @ 42 Look it up on Youtube and watch it with different music. I just did and now I’m hooked.

    This game looks full of win. Congratulations, Steve! You’ve got my support.

  • This looks great… it’ll be interesting to see how the game reacts to my eclectic music library… (Iron Maiden, AFI, James Brown, Jamiroquai, etc.) Any word on when in September, or the price?

  • this is AWESOME…by the Gods I need this game.

  • SideEffect23

    Would you be willing to share the trophy list to us PS3 gamers? and the price also?

  • crashsmash01

    when this comes out hopefully ill have money by then to get it.
    sounds amazing 8D knowing me and my friends we love every music out there so this WILL be a blast. any chance you could give out some voucher codes for the game when it comes out??? that would be nice :3

  • Awesome! Now time to use the music on my HDD for things other than Life with Playstation and the occasional KZ2 matches :)

  • eClunibusTractum

    Any chance for being able to get it for free if i’ve got a pc version? :(

  • BOSTONJOHN32

    Ok one more thing, can this be released sooner by any chance? would be a perfect time considering the swarm of new releases that are heading our way.. can only imagine it would work out best for all parties.. i am having cravings for new games and a few weeks until the next one on my list comes out and then it will be another couple weeks and so on and im hoping this game doesnt get caught up w/ all the anticipated games that to launch soon.

    @ eClunibus tractum how is the p.c. version?

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