Super Meat Boy Dev Reveals Free Level Updates On XBLAPosted on September 9, 2010
We’re awfully excited to get our hands on Super Meat Boy, a quirky platformer that has some crazy characters (including the dastardly Dr. Fetus) and even crazier features. SMB’s programmer recently revealed one of those features, dubbed “Teh Internets,” while dishing out some significant criticisms of Microsoft’s XBLA policies.
On Team Meat’s blog, programmer Tommy Refenes revealed that “Teh Internets” is an XBLA-exclusive feature that will introduce brand new levels into Super Meat Boy, completely free of charge for players. Each new chapter in Teh Internets will contain 20 levels, and Team Meat already has four chapters in development. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the awesomeness of Teh Internets, each chapter can be tailor made to use one of Super Meat Boy’s many unlockable characters, taking advantage of each protagonist’s special abilities.
Team Meat is able to offer the updates for free because it uses Xbox Live’s “Title Managed Storage” service, which allows the developer to add new content without having to certify each update with Microsoft (or charge money for them). As Refenes describes it, it’s a creative use of the system to say the least. “We slipped through a loop hole of awesome. In the end [Microsoft] actually welcomed [using TMS to deliver new content] because they want developers to do anything and everything with their service that makes them stand out. No one has ever done anything like this in the history of XBLA as far as we (and our people at MS) know and it’s seriously the most awesome use of it ever.”
So why is this feature exclusive to the XBLA version? According to Refenes, it had to be. “The Internets was part of our ‘exclusive online content’ deal with MS. Quite literally, if we didn’t have this kind of exclusive content we
wouldn’t have the deal we have now, which means no SMB on XBLA, which would make us very sad.”
Another reason Teh Internets is exclusive to XBLA is because the PC and Mac versions of the game will be getting a level editor, which will allow for the free sharing of that content anyway. Refenes writes that a level editor was planned for the XBLA version, but that it was also hampered by Microsoft’s policies. “…there are legal issues making it nearly impossible for a two man indie team to release unregulated user made content online without a large active team approving each level. Not only that, but it would require us to purchase and maintain our own private servers, which would have to be up to specs with Microsoft’s rules about server configurations,
Team Meat also plans to use Teh Internets to release some user-made levels from the PC and Mac versions of the game on XBLA, so 360 owners won’t miss out on all the fun. It sounds like Team Meat has been able to take Microsoft’s sour grapes and make…some kind of delicious grape drink out of them — but as a fan of user-made content, it’s a little disheartening to hear of all the roadblocks that Microsoft has put in place to hamstring the practice. Perhaps if Super Meat Boy is a success, MS will reconsider its policies.
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