Super Raft Boat Together developers Chris West and Jason Gertner, chat with the BYG QA team about their favorite strategies and whether Helveti really is the only human left in the world… 👀
What inspired y’all to make a multiplayer sequel to Super Raft Boat Classic?
Chris West: Super Raft Boat Classic started off as a game jam game made in Gamemaker. When we released it for free, everyone wanted multiplayer, but that was impossible without remaking the whole game. So we remade the whole game.
How long did it take you to remake everything?
Chris: The initial basic prototype was like two months.
Jason Gertner: Two months of nonstop work.
BYG Dakota Bosman-Kennedy: That’s impressive.
BYG Alexa Schiess: Right? And everything is brand new. The art is new. The infrastructure of the game is new.
Jason: One of the biggest visual changes was based on feedback from PAX. A lot of people didn’t understand Chauncy’s breathing status. So we added the bubble on his head to show he’s not draining yet. And then once the bubble pops, he starts draining breath.
BYG Alexa: I do love his his little helmet. I think it’s very cute.
Is all the music in SRBT new?
Jason: Every song is new. The only exceptions are Clear Skies and the title song, which were still remade as new songs, but they use some of the music and theming from the original game. Everything else is completely new.
Chris: A lot of the songs in Super Raft Boat Classic were very heavy on the use of the raft boat motif. So there weren’t as many differences between tracks. It’s more diverse now, but we wanted to keep that motif intact when it came clear skies and the title music.
BYG Alexa: We’ve spent a lot of time in the last month and a half doubling down on testing and I have not once muted the music for this game. Usually after a certain point I’m like, enough is enough, but it’s good music.
Chris: It’s funny, in a lot of cases unless you’re looping and taking a while to clear waves, there’s almost too much music where you don’t really get to hear the tracks all the way through.
Chris: So when you get deep into a run and you hear like the whole track, it’s like, woah, it goes there? Who knew?
BYG Alexa: Even more reason to loop!
Chris: When it comes to favorite tracks, the Swarm boss theme always catches me off guard. It goes crazy hard.
BYG Alexa: It does go very, very hard.
Chris: All of the boss themes share some aspects, but the swarm one goes crazy.
When did you add super rafts?
Chris: I think month one or two after we signed with Brace Yourself Publishing.
Jason: We came up with abilities and super rafts very early on in development as the big plus ones for what players can do. Before all you could do was shoot and build, but now you’ve got a bunch of options.
Chris: They were partially inspired by a problem we had in Super Raft Boat Classic. Shoot was left click and build was right click, but you could do both at all times. And it wasn’t always a good idea to constantly shoot and build because you couldn’t stock up multiple rafts without the big pocket trinket.
If you weren’t always building, you wasted raft efficiency. So you’d hold down left and right click the whole time and it wasn’t engaging. So we made players swap between build mode and shoot mode, which freed the right click up for super rafts and abilities.
BYG Dakota: That’s awesome.
Jason: It also gives characters more personality, because in the original game, weapons were locked to each character.
Chris: Putting those extra attributes on each character is what allowed us to say, oh yeah, you can use this weapon, because the characters still matter without the weapon. Whereas in Super Raft Boat Classic, it was kind of all you had except for like, your passive.
What characters do y’all like to play?
Jason: I like Chauncy and Beta.
Chris: I’ve become a Beta fan recently. In Super Raft Boat Classic I played almost exclusively Roboto with the laser rifle. But now, with the ability to have other weapons on other characters, I find myself using Helveti with the laser rifle fairly often with. I don’t play too much Chauncy, but otherwise I go back and forth.
BYG Alexa: I’m pretty bad at Chauncy.
Chris: Chauncy is consistently the hardest character.
BYG Alexa: He’s an acquired taste.
BYG Dakota: Absolutely. It is very satisfying when you get good big chomps though.
Chris: It’s funny because we always think of Chauncy as the hardest character. Which technically makes him the worst character in a way, but in Super Raft Boat Classic, we had some very dedicated Chauncy mains that would just tear up the leaderboards on the daily.
BYG Alexa: I find that’s typically the case with really hard to play characters in games. If you can master them, they’re probably the best character, right?
Chris: I really want to see what people can do with Beta. Ideally you can get infinite movement if you’re moving between your rafts. That was our design logic behind Beta. He’s the slowest character but generally safe in water. He won’t die, but he can float away, which causes damage. But if you can get a handle on the dashes, he’s very good.
Jason—why is Beta one of your favorites?
Jason: He’s got the slide. He’s got the penguin high five. He’s got all the explosive weapons.
Chris: The grenade launcher is very fun to use. Speaking of acquired taste, the rocket launcher does the most damage and will proc effects the most out of any weapon, but is very hard to hit with.
BYG Dakota: I do enjoy using the rocket launcher sometimes.
Jason: I’m more big on the grenade launcher. My brother really likes the rocket launcher though.
Chris: The rocket launcher was originally Beta’s starting weapon, but we realized it was hard to use.
BYG Alexa: There’s something to be said about Helveti and a machine gun.
Chris: Helveti is definitely the builder’s choice. Very basic, don’t have to worry about your weapon being too quirky, it just works. Also, metal rafts are sleeper OP.
BYG Dakota: I almost exclusively play Roboto. His super rafts are really satisfying to build, charge up then have a bunch of enemies dive on to them and… “handle themselves.”
Chris: I’ve seen that a lot of testers are big Roboto fans because he was definitely bit too strong for a while.
BYG Dakota: The ability to shoot over water is like-
BYG Alexa: Ridiculous.
Chris: Back before we had super rafts or abilities, that was Roboto’s one gimmick and it made him really good.
Do y’all have any non-default matchups that you’re into? Like character weapon on a different character?
Jason: I like a machine gun on Chauncy.
Chris: Laser rifle on Helveti. Roboto can be funny with a shotgun, because you can get very up in people’s faces.
What are y’all’s favorite trinkets as devs? What strats do you go for?
Chris: I always go for attack speed. Smelly sea pickle is ridiculous. We’ve tried to nerf it many times, but it remains really good. I’m a big fan of YV’s Blessing. That is the one trinket we’re not allowed to nerf. We know it’s too good but if we nerf it, everyone will complain. It just feels so good.
BYG Dakota: It really does.
BYG Alexa: But you’d also be going against the spirit of YV.
Chris: This is true.
Jason: I usually go with build trinkets, but it really depends on the flow of trinkets. Like even if I’m Chauncy I’ll get more build trinkets, and go against what I should do.
What trinkets work best with Chauncy?
Chris: Ideally Chauncy doesn’t need much build. He’s better as using trinkets like lonely bindle. He’s also better on his own, far away from other players. Another item I go for often is blood bag. Those extra heart drops are very useful.
Jason: I usually get random trinkets.
BYG Alexa: Random trinkets are fun because you just have to work with what you get. And I really like that you can see all your group’s trinkets being at the bottom.
Any trinkets you’d recommend for first time players?
Chris: Building trinkets definitely come to mind, blood bag, plastic fangs—anything that helps survivability. Staying alive in general seems to be the struggle with new players.
Also, we definitely encourage the player to keep swapping, because your raft meter builds faster when you have your gun out. So you’re very much encouraged to build up all of your rafts and then just spin them all out at once.
BYG Dakota: Oh! I didn’t know that the meter fills faster with the gun out.
Chris: It’s a very subtle change.
BYG Alexa: It’s nice though.
Chris: I always try to mention it if I see someone just standing somewhere where they want to build, but they’re waiting for the meter to go up. It’s like, yeah, if you take your gun out, your will be better off.
How many new trinkets did you add between in SRBT?
Jason: Classic had 13 trinkets. This game has over 50 trinkets.
BYG Alexa: Wow. That’s quite an upgrade.
BYG Dakota: For real.
BYG Alexa: And they all feel really unique too.
Chris: Also, in Super Raft Boat Classic, trinkets did not stack and trinket rarities didn’t exist.
BYG Alexa: That’s interesting to hear they didn’t stack before because that’s one of my favorite things about trinkets, that you can make some really ridiculous builds by stacking certain things.
Chris: Not only did they not stack, you only got a maximum of usually four trinkets in the whole room because you would just get one per biome on the first loop.
Is there any lore you can reveal behind the characters?
Chris: There’s quite a lot of lore.
Jason: I don’t know what we can reveal now because there are still things in the works.
Chris: There are content updates to be made.
BYG Alexa: I’m looking forward to those. There’s something about a fun little world like this, where it’s like, why are we on rafts, why is Helveti the only human and what else is going on?
Jason: Here’s a fun fact. The sailor is a human. So there may be some humans left. But all the mercenaries are half breed, like half human, half bird people or half human, half fish, man.
Chris: Those kinds of people are pretty rare to see. And kind of outcasts, hence why they’re mercenaries.
BYG Alexa: I’m excited to find out more.