Deepvelopment Monthly #5 {July 2015} – To Die For

This Deepvelopment Monthly post will cover my work on Deep throughout July 2015. Lots to cover this month, I was extra productive!

Weapon Fire Effects -Visual
After honestly too long, weapons now have a powerful looking smoke shockwave effect on firing, the size and shape of which matches the weapon you’re firing. The recoil that comes with firing more powerful weapons is actually a pretty significant part of combat in Deep. This new smoke effect paired with the recoil really gives firing each weapon a uniquely powerful feel to it. Here are just a few examples:
gun1 gun3 gun4 gun2

Progress Report? -Content
After doing some tweaking to the way enemies spawn (especially in the early areas of the game) and which enemies are allowed to spawn in the first couple of levels, I’m happy to say that Deep is essentially completely playable from the start of the game right through to the second major boss! This is a pretty solid chunk of gameplay. It’s definitely not as polished as I want it to be for the final release but the fact that I can open the game, start a save file, and play for that amount of time without any bugs or incomplete feeling areas feels like a pretty huge achievement! More importantly I’m really having a blast playing it. The combat aspects of the game are coming together in ways I’m just super proud of and the random generation nature of the game means I’m constantly encountering new situations where I have to use the robot’s unique abilities in creative ways to progress.

Microchips -Content -Visual
THIS is what’s up. This is a feature I’ve been excited to work on since I started Deep and it’s SO exciting that it’s finally coming to life. Obviously the most important mechanic in Deep is the Microchip Installation System. It’s what makes your robot your own. If you haven’t been following the blog for long, here’s a quick refresher:
1. You play as a robot (it’s quite cute but it can’t do much):
robot
2. You collect Microchips (there’s over 100!):
microchip
3. Microchips let your robot do cool things (and change the way it looks):
different

As of this month though, Microchips you have equipped will actually integrate onto your screen as part of your Heads Up Display. This provides useful information about how and what the chip is doing, and frankly just looks really cool! Let me show you what I mean. In the following screenshot I’ve equipped a Microchip called the Regeneration Cycler. It’s the little white and red med-kit looking attachment behind the robot’s head.
regen1
As you might expect it slowly but gradually restores your health. The attachment itself on the robot even emits little heart-shaped particles while it works! Meanwhile, you can see that the Microchip has plugged itself into your health bar and is filling it up as time goes by:
regencycle
The Regen Cycler has to restart the cycle if your robot gets hurt, and it will only fill up one full heart’s worth of health before stopping. So having things like this bar on screen where you can see this all play out makes it easier to understand the more intricate mechanics of the various Microchips in the game.
Ultra Friction’s game-screen integration is another one I think is especially cool:
ultfrict
Since every player will be provided with a different set of Microchips to use throughout the game (and even two players who earn all the same Microchips probably won’t end up using the same ones), your game screen will become more and more unique as you progress through the game and reflect what kind of robot you’ve developed!

Death Animation! -Visual
Previously when you died in Deep, the game just sort of blacked out and sent you back to your last checkpoint. Now…
death
…Now the robot tragically and dramatically falls off to one side and lays there for a while before the fade out animation plays. It’s a little depressing honestly! Don’t let the robot die!

Map Generation Issues -Glitches -Programming
This isn’t one huge thing but a lot of smaller things that really add up. Basically I spent some time cleaning up weird corner-case issues where things like sloped terrain and spikes would interact in weird ways if the game wanted to generate a map that used both of them. Or hazards being generated in ways that were essentially impossible to bypass. It was a few days of work on this aspect of the game and not much else but it really paid off. I’m pretty much ready to call the random terrain generation aspect of the game essentially complete at this point, which is really exciting since it’s a huge chunk of the game I just don’t have to worry about anymore. Progress!

Cracking Animation -Visual
When I first introduced Deep a lot of people were asking me about comparisons to Minecraft, Terraria, and other sandbox-y games, probably because of the blocky tile-based terrain. In Deep though you don’t really do much brick breaking or relocating. There is one type of block you can destroy once you acquire the Drill Microchip though, and now the blocks will actually slowly crack and then shatter as you attack them, rather than just falling apart all at once.
crumble

Brighter! Higher Contrast! -Visual
You might also have noticed that the game is a fair bit brighter in these demonstration screenshots than it has been previously! This decision came after I tested the game on a few different monitors and found that some (especially those with higher resolution) made the game look excessively grainy and dark because of the unique static aesthetic the game employs. I hope you like it!

I hope you enjoyed today’s update (even if it was a few hours late!). I actually got even more done this last month, but to talk about it would be to delve into spoiler territory… That jungle themed boss I mentioned last update is finalized now for starters! And while I was working on all those Microchip-related features I couldn’t help but add a few new ones in of course. See you next month!

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