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Looking back on 2022

Hey girls and boys!

Hah, you thought there would be no blog post this year, didn’t you? Guess again! Yes, we’re still here. No, your favorite vaporware beat ’em up is still not dead. It’s actually more alive than ever! 😎

Rick and Chai! Two of the Zabu heroes

First, we’ve changed our game’s title to Zabu. We wanted to simplify it as people had trouble remember or writing Zabuyaki. Internally, we were already calling the game Zabu since the beginning, so that came naturally.

The different names also serve as a way to differentiate the new version from the old version of the game. Zabuyaki is our now abandoned beat ’em for modern platforms made with LÖVE, and Zabu is our new beat ’em up for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis written with the SGDK.

No more Yaki!

And we’re now the Zabu Team. Zabu made by the Zabu Team. It could hardly be any simpler, right? And along with our new game title comes new URLs to match.

Before → after:

Note that we won’t renew the domain, so it’ll stop working a year from now.

So, now… How’s the development going? This year, we’ve been busy reimplementing and redrawing everything. Naturally, we are still far from having caught up with Zabuyaki, as we had been working on it for 5 years, while we’ve been working on Zabu since May of this year, that is to say for 7 months now. However, we’re making much faster progress than before, thanks to the experience we’ve accumulated over the past few years.

Anyway, to summarize our progress, we’ve now got:

  • A working combat engine. Just the basics: hit boxes, hurt boxes, collisions. In other words, hitting people until they die. No grabs, no weapons, no objects, no items yet.
  • Up to 36 animations per character, as I write this, for all of the basic active and passive states (standing, walking, running, jumping, all kinds of attacks, getting hit, falling, getting up, etc…)
  • A nice HUD to show the lifebars of players and enemies.
  • A sweet player select screen that still needs work to make it prettier. Two playable characters: our boys Rick and Chai.
  • The ability to load stage maps with enemies, and make the screen scroll (and with a parallax scrolling effect, while we’re there).
  • A nice way to autogenerate character sprite sheets and configurations (including hit boxes and hurt boxes). We had no such tooling before, and this saves us a lot of time. It also indirectly makes it possible to let players select the color palette of theirs characters, which is pretty cool.

Alright, so what does the game look like now?

Well, here are two recent videos:

2022–12–17, Chai beating up gopniks
2022–12–22, Zabu running on real hardware

In closing, I’m really glad and excited that Zabu is now running on the Mega Drive / Genesis. It just feels right, and the way it should have been in the first place. It also naturally solves many headaches we had, like how to handle different controller types, resolutions, fullscreen mode, video filters, netplay, etc. Of course, it also introduces new challenges such as limitations regarding sprites, background layers, colors and memory, but we can manage!

Expect a little demo soon…



Beat ’em up in development for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

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