If you’re like me, you love podcasts. Well one of my dreams is to be asked onto a podcast, you know, like a big star. The next best thing I guess is to search out a podcast and invite myself on. Would that still make me famous? No?
Well, Michael and Phillip at the Basketball Guyaries are super cool. They put together a brainy, fresh spin on basketball history each week. They do research, stay organized, and keep it fun to listen to. I was thrilled when they accepted my offer to have us on the show.
Honestly, they took a risk having us on. After all, we could have made a bunch of mistakes, like spending way too long describing our game, having a constant giddy laugh, comparing NBA 2K to Creed, or breaking into a lecture on resolution… oh wait.
Anyway, you should really check them out. If you are a Celtics fan, you have to check out the one on Kevin Garnett or the Larry Bird Trilogy- but you can really join in at any point. We had a blast with it. Hope you enjoy!
P.S. Josh did awesome. The mistakes were really all mine.
Within our first week alone, we’ve received several requests to use a different font in Basketball Classics. Not sure who designed that original font, but I’ll bet he is super cool, laid back, and doesn’t take reviews like that personally at all.
This article is for all you font fiends out there who really care about the nitty gritty of typefaces. The ones who relate to the designer Erik Spiekermann when he says, “I’m obviously a typeomaniac… I can’t explain it. I just get a total kick out of (fonts): they are my friends.”
So let’s take a look at some of my friends…
First, I’d like to make a quick study of some retro game fonts. Take a look at the season schedule for the masterpiece, Tecmo Super Bowl. It is wall to wall text.
This font was clearly a NES default, used all over. It’s built on a 7px grid. Now look at the scoreboard displayed at the end of each match.
The information really is beautifully laid out here. There just isn’t much room for data rich stats. You end up with a good summary, but you really can’t dig into how each player performed at all.
Looking at how some other games used typography, we can see how the on-screen real estate was often compromised. Did you remember Double Dribble using only 2/3 of the screen for the actual court? Maybe Ninja Gaiden was forced to over-use the “…” because dialogue was too cumbersome? Or did you really understand all that information at the top of the in-game screen?
You can tell that using strict resolution, we simply wouldn’t have been able to display all the indicators and information that we felt was necessary for Basketball Classics. That is one major advantage that sports games today have over their predecessors. The ability to display more, and finer text information on screen. Here’s how some modern games use text:
Being able to read player attributes on-the-fly is obviously a big deal in action sports, especially basketball. It was important to us to see at all times how good a player is at shooting for example, or if they are really the right person to chase down a fast break.
Using strict resolution is also vital to us though. One quick example of this is a zooming camera. Josh had spent hours getting the camera to zoom in on the ball during a shot, only to realize something felt off. We opted to leave it out because it breaks the retro resolution in an unnecessary way. With that said, we have had to make some exceptions. I mean, how would it look to have the indicators from 2K18 pasted onto the resolution of an NES game? A mess. That’s what it looks like.
Now onto our original typefaces.
The Namo Gamo Font
This is used on our company logo and only sparingly in the game. It’s typically used in ALL CAPS.
We used it sparingly mostly because it breaks the pixel grid structure with its rounded corners. It shows up on the Match Settings Screen and the Jumbotron. It is also used with the on-court player indicators, including the symbols. Like our name, it was inspired by a bunch of different retro gaming fonts. Mostly from the NES.
The Original Basketball Classics Font (BC1)
This is a pixel grid font. It is built on a 3px W x 6px H grid. We wanted to make a font that was small enough to fit into our true pixel structure (resolution), but still make it unique and legible. Then I decided to make it a little taller. You know, more of an Abdul-Jabbar type thing. Wilt the Stilt sort of style. A Nowitzki vibe.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be more of a Shawn Bradley type font if the reviews are any indication. Finally, bring on…
The Updated Basketball Classics Font
In an effort to make the font more readable, the pixel grid was opened up to a 4px W x 6px H size, with a 5px W exception for complicated letters and numbers.
We hope that this change will improve the legibility while still maintaining the retro feel.
We had a super time making this video for a 7 player, single-elimination tournament of Basketball Classics. Couldn’t be happier with how well this game lends itself to an event like this. Within an hour, we got through an entire bracket. Tons of drama as well, as you can tell from Danny’s face.
Draft night in the NBA is a fascinating time. All the scouts and workouts and prayers in the world can’t guarantee that a team makes the right choice. Sometimes, an entire season of tanking has to be endured just for the chance to land a difference maker. Make the wrong choice and you are left watching the player you passed up tear through the league for the next decade.
Basketball Classics will be released in just a few short hours on Steam, early access. We’re starting to feel like this dude…
To me, the most interesting part of the draft is the question- who is this kid, really? Are they going to work hard? Will they be a ball hog or a team player? Bold in the face of adversity or will they wilt like a flower?
We are determined to make Basketball Classics an exceptional game. By purchasing the game on early access, our customers will be taking a chance on us. We are grateful to all those that adopt this early on in its life and promise to make this worth your while. Thanks for your support!
We have some exciting new trailers and screen shots below that we prepared for the release of Basketball Classics on Steam.
5 on 5 Pro Basketball born from the golden era of sports games. This spiritual successor to the 8-bit ballers bridges the gap between retro and today’s simulation games.
Side-scrolling, sweaty arcade action
Simplified 3-button gameplay
Retro vibes galore
Decades of rosters with 160+ teams
800+ players with individualized attributes
Seamless play calling
Sensational cut scenes
1-Player Story Mode unlocks secret teams
Scream-inducing local multiplayer
Side-scrolling, arcade action is paired with on-the-fly strategy. 3 button gameplay is easy to pick up, but it is the dynamic play-calling that elevates this title beyond just long bombs and acrobatics.
Attribute-rich players make up a vast set of rosters. Dig through decades of teams to find your favorite All-Stars and even unlock the “Legends” in an immersive story mode.
This game is a passion project for us indie developers here at Namo Gamo. We hope you can feel the love put into every pixel, the endless adjustments to stat-driven gameplay, and the genuinely retro sound and music.
After months of wraslin with it, we have finally made some decisions about the future of Basketball Classics that you may find interesting.
I. Developed by Namo Gamo / Published by Namo Gamo
Long story short: we actively searched out indie game publishers, spoke with several, but ultimately we decided to go it alone.
Long story long: First, we spent so much time researching publishers with their metacritic scores and whatnot. Then, I swear we read every word written on the internet about advice for indie game developers looking to get published (like this enema of a video, devoid of all fun). We then came up with snappy pitches and easily-digested snippets of our game. We presented trailers and gifs and bullet points, along with a game build that was stable, however unfinished. Then after hundreds of emails, we were watching our inbox and bit.ly’s like Dicken’s Oliver Twist (please sir… won’t you like my game?). I honestly hated being in that position. I’m an American thank you, and I prefer to feel in charge of my own destiny.
I can’t say it was entirely unsuccessful though. We definitely drummed up some interest and spent some quality time with helpful people in the industry. In the end, it was nothing more than a great learning experience. The biggest lesson being that publishers take their own risks by signing on a game. Think about how many examples we have of crap games getting published because they were based on proven properties or developers.
Then on the flip side of that, earth shattering titles like Nidhogg, Super Meat Boy, and even Minecraft were all self-published. I do recognize that Publishers play a vital role to get your game in front of the right people, but does their value warrant a big revenue split?
To quote Kevin Garnett “Timing is everything. Chemistry is something that you don’t just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? For those of you who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all can’t cook, this doesn’t concern you.
II. First Stop, Early Access
It must have been around the time that we said “blocking needs to be harder” or when we said “blocking needs to be easier” or was it “we need to make these faster” or maybe “we need to make these slower”, but at some point we recognized we needed help. We need to hear how this game is received by a larger audience in order to find a true balance.
Early Access on Steam seemed like a great spot for us to release the game at this point, with the understanding that critical features are still in the works. Online multiplayer, 2018 roster, more arenas and a season mode will be done in the coming months. However, the game has a complete story mode and complete system for gameplay as is, so why wait?
Our hope is that Early Access will give our audience a chance to take part in the exciting development process, and allow everyone to adopt the game at a discounted rate.
Lace up those hi-tops because its time for Basketball Classics by Namo Gamo. Throwback 5 on 5 Pro basketball born from an 8-bit obsession and retro trading cards.
Individualized players from different eras with attributes based on real world stats. Select your favorite teams from decades of rosters. Pit contemporary superstars against the legends of old.
Use primitive controls for both slam dunks and long bombs. Try on-the-fly play calling to get an open shot. Engage in endless multiplayer matches locally or online. Or try to unlock a super team in the immersive story mode.