Deepvelopment Monthly #8 {October 2015} – Center of Balance

This Deepvelopment Monthly post will cover my work on Deep throughout October 2015.

Not a particularly picture/video heavy update this month since a lot of what I did was mechanical tweaks, but there’s a lot of them!

Microchip Menu Completion -Content, visual
Last month I mentioned that even with all the work I’d done, the Microchip menu still had a little bit to go before it was actually complete. Now however, you can check out the finished product!
I also improved the ‘old screen’ style effect, there’s a faint glow on brighter parts of the screen and it blurs and stretches a little towards the edges. These computers definitely aren’t the latest models available, and they might not have been used in a while!

Collectables (Again!) -Visual
After receiving mixed feedback regarding the new look for the Collectables I worked on last month, I’ve yet again put a little time into improving how they look in the game. Hopefully these new graphics help them look more visually solid! You’ll see they also have little shadows on the ground under them, too.
This is the colour that the collectables appear as in the Ice Caverns environment, by the way.

Further Bandit Boss Fight Work -Balancing
It’s a little hard to go into details here since I’m keeping the exact mechanics of the boss fight a secret until the game has released, but I’ve been continuing to tweak the Bandit boss fight. I’m almost 100% happy with it now, but I still have a few further changes I want to make. It’s really hard to get the balance of ‘clear, understandable mechanics’ so that it doesn’t outweigh ‘challenging and difficult to complete on your first try’, but I’m getting better at it!

Obelisk -Content
What could this be exactly?
I guess you’ll have to play the game to find out! It may not look like much but the mechanics I’ve had to develop to get this thing to work in the game correctly have been a nightmare! It’s been the project I’ve spent most of this month on and I still have a fair bit to do here. It doesn’t have much to do with the Obelisk itself and more to do with the map generation around it!

Archive Hologram -Glitch
The ‘archive hologram’ is that image of your robot that shows you where you last saved the game. I think I accidentally showed this glitch in the last update, but when you used a terminal, the archive hologram would actually warp over to where you accessed the terminal instead of remaining in place at the archive projector (checkpoint) where it belongs!

Gameplay tweaks/balances -Balance
Lots of changes don’t actually start out on a todo list of any sort, but instead come about because I’m simply playing through the game (either to test something or just for fun!) and come across little annoyances or situations that I feel like tweaking. They aren’t individually enough to each be their own bullet point here in the blog post, but they did end up being a pretty sizable chunk of what I worked on this month. Included were:
-Ice is less slippery! You actually discover the frozen caverns very early in your adventure and the platforming challenges caused by the slippery ice were, WAY, too tough for where they were in the game’s difficulty curve.
-Boulders that you shove with your bumper bar do significantly more damage to enemy creatures! I was finding that a lot of the time I’d take damage even after shoving a boulder into a foe because it would shrug off the hit and come for me anyway. When the first part of the game forces you to fight the wildlife this way, it was a little unfair.
-The spikes in the Caves area of the game have been reworked a little. They now appear visually a little taller than they actually are, so you can actually just barely skim across the top of them without suffering a hit. This certainly makes navigating around them a lot less frustrating than I was starting to find it. Again, this especially rang true in early areas of the game.
-Health no longer restores on visiting new areas! It might sound like I’m hell-bent on making the game easier with those three last changes, but this one actually pushes the game’s difficulty in the opposite direction. Actually killing the wildlife in Deep is generally optional because of the wide range of situations you’ll find yourself in, and the wider range of tools that will come into your possession. Naturally of course I have to balance this out by rewarding you for either option. While avoiding enemies is safer, defeating them recovers health. I’ve been having trouble with the game’s balance a little because you’d too regularly take more damage than health gained upon fighting a gang of enemies, but this change has helped a TONNE! Now that passing through to new areas doesn’t restore your health, it constantly feels like you have to be carefully monitoring how much damage you’re taking, and be on the constant lookout for opportunities to regain some of what you’ve lost! A seemingly minor change has done a huge amount to make the risk/reward balance feel a lot more coherent!

Super Smash Flash 2 -Unrelated
As you probably know by now if you follow my work, I’ve left the Super Smash Flash 2 team as of almost a week ago. It’s been in the works for about 6 months now, but I’m leaving on the best terms with all of my fellow McLeodGaming developers. More than anything else, this will mean a lot of extra free time for me to spend working on Deep! You can read my resignation post here, if you haven’t already.

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