Hey everyone! It’s only been a matter of weeks but it feels like forever since I’ve written an update. Like I said in my last post, I had a really busy couple of weeks between work, school and just living my life in general. But that doesn’t mean Deep has suffered! I’ve revised and refined a good portion of the game and implemented a lot of new stuff, to the point where I feel like the game I left you with a few weeks ago is totally different to the one I’m working on right now as I type this. So in today’s update I’d like to catch you all up on a few of my favourite additions and upgrades!
It’s maybe hard to tell in a screenshot but this revamped title screen is fully animated.
Let’s start with the look. Over the break, I completely restructured the graphics engine. That means three main things:
First of all the world looks a lot more interesting now, with random variations and details added to make the levels look less like a grid of tiles and more earthy, natural and detailed.
Secondly, the game is rendered with different layers of depth. See how the robot and the drill are going through the blocks now instead of just in front of them? This depth rendering also makes moving through water and lava a lot more colourful and attractive.
Finally, I have a lot more freedom with the few parts of the game that aren’t randomly generated. Specifically, boss arenas:
It’s just a preview, but it’s much nicer looking than the version I showed off in the Bosses update at the start of this Blog, right?
And while this isn’t really a part of the same engine overhaul, projectiles also have trail effects now. They need tweaking but I’m pretty content with them for now.
That’s enough graphical stuff though, let’s talk about gameplay:
That Bumper attack you start with is a little different now. That bar at the bottom automatically charges over time, and the strength of your Bumper increases with it.
It’s actually quite potent if you let it charge fully! This makes the Bumper a useful tool throughout the whole game rather than just the start, and overall makes the combat more interesting and strategic.
Naturally I’ve added Microchips to the game that expand on and work with this new mechanic. That’s what Deep’s all about after all.
Oh and the world map has been remade! I’ve taken a few cues from Metroid in how this works.
In a previous update I mentioned that you won’t have a world map until you access a Terminal for the first time in that area. Now you’ll start with the one shown above. Yeah, it’s blank.
But see as you progress, it gets automatically drawn for you, so you can see where you’ve gone and keep track of the layout. This change came after extensive playtesting, I found that trying to explore new areas was too frustrating without any sort of map, but this new system solves that problem.
You’ll still get Map data when you access a Terminal for the first time in any given area though.
You’ll acquire that particular environment’s entire map, so you can see all there is to explore! The map still automatically keeps track of where you’ve already been though, it gets highlighted in orange, while unexplored areas are that dark red colour.
Enemies have changed a lot since I last updated too. I felt like I wasn’t achieving what I needed to with their design, so I played a lot of older games where the focus was on clever enemy design. Special mention goes to the original Zelda, which I’d never played through to the end until very recently. I have to say I was very inspired by the amount of thought that clearly went into the enemies in this game.
Above is a Cite, one of the MANY new enemies I’ve added to the game in this big design overhaul.
I’ve also completely replaced the old AI system with a new one, that allows creatures to have more dynamic reactions to what is going on around them. I’ve even stumbled upon two Spiles so furious with each other that I could just let them fight each other to the death and sneak by unharmed. I saw a Taal pop up and shoot a seed at an Oxy, who promptly flew away as fast and as far as possible. It’s the kind of stuff I can’t show in a screenshot but it really makes the game feel that much more organic and constantly fresh.
I have so much to show with this game but I have to be careful to not spoil much of it so that there’ll still be surprises for you when you play the game. I guess I’ll give you this one last screenshot… But I’m not going to explain what it means just yet!