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A brand new and original game for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, to be released on cartridge in winter 2017
A brand new and original game for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, to be released on cartridge in 2018
A brand new and original game for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, to be released on cartridge in 2018
892 backers pledged £54,830 to help bring this project to life.

TANGLEWOOD Alpha Update

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Make a fresh cup of tea, we've got a lot to talk about!

TANGLEWOOD has reached Alpha!

This is a huge milestone for the project; the whole game is now playable from start to finish, on real hardware, with all mechanics, puzzles and level transitions working, and all cutscenes, menus and credits in place. There are a few placeholder assets still to replace, some sound effects missing, some small extras to squeeze in, and a whole lot of bugs to fix, but there's light at the end of the tunnel!

With all 29 acts now playable in one session, we have a better idea as to the length of the game. For a seasoned pro who is familiar with all of the puzzles, the game can be finished in around 1 hour 40 mins, which is quite long for a platformer of the era! We reckon that players new to the game will take between 2 and 3 hours to figure out the puzzles and boss fights.

Another benefit to hitting this milestone is that we can see the bigger picture. Being able to play the game from start to finish has allowed us to note parts that don't fit, sections that overstay their welcome, steep difficulty curves and poor segues between areas. We've got some changes in mind to smooth out the rough bits, liven up the boring bits, and make sure there's a level of consistency throughout.

Some big boxes have started to arrive

We have an office full of equipment, cartridge cases, test print work and prototype shells, and it's starting to get very exciting. We've received the proofs for our custom moulded cartridges, a small batch of finalised PCBs which we're very happy with, the final cover artwork, test prints of the game manual, and various parts for the Collector's Edition boxes. Nerves are now calm regarding the manufacturing stage, and we think it's going to be a lot smoother than we anticipated!

We're going to be a little late, and we're sorry

You may have noticed that November is fast approaching, and unfortunately we're not going to be able to fix up the remaining bugs and have the cartridge PCBs manufactured in time to make the original release window. This is all on me. I made some large-scale changes following our last demo release - which required a batch of new assets and animations authoring - as well as letting some problems with the development tools fester until they bit us back. These problems led to difficulty fitting the game onto cartridge, performance issues, and a few big unexpected bugs. Rest assured, everything's now been resolved, and the final stages of development are running full steam ahead, but it's set us back a little bit.

Taking into account the rest of the changes I'd like to make (see below), the remaining bugs that need fixing, the testing cycle, and the lead time for PCB manufacture and cartridge assembly, we expect to release TANGLEWOOD in spring 2018.

We only get one shot at burning the game to cartridge - we can't patch it like a modern title - so we hope you'll understand that we need to have the game in a 100% releasable state before we send a build to the factory. We'd love for TANGLEWOOD to be remembered as being a great game, one that is both fun to play, and of an exceptional quality, and to achieve that we need a little more time.

This will also affect the timescale of opening up pre-orders to the public. More news on this as we work it out.

We'd like to make some changes

After playing the Alpha build and collating feedback from testers, we think the game could benefit from a few additional extras to turn it from a good game into a fantastic game. Considering we've already overrun our original time budget, we're being very careful about this. We've weighed up the pros and cons of each idea, with regards to time and cost to implement vs. reward, and we think we have the best "bang for buck" list ready to go:

Critter enemies to fill open spaces

The vista parts of the game in-between puzzles are beautiful to look at, but could benefit from a little extra danger. I'm sure you're already familiar with the Djakk monsters from Chapter 1, the Elders from Chapter 3, and those following our Twitter account might know about Borgus from Chapter 4 - the disgusting swamp monster designed by one of our Kickstarter backers. We've got some other boss enemies in the game that we won't be revealing until release, but otherwise the only other hazards to Nymn are environmental.

We'd like to add some critters. Small in size, small in memory, small in cost and time to implement, but if placed in the right areas of the game could provide a big payoff to the overall experience. We would need to add a way for Nymn to kill these little pests, but we think it'll be worth it.

Transitional cutscenes

We have a brand new cutscene system! We've been using it for small director cutscenes to highlight hazards and introduce enemies, but we'd like to add some transitions between levels to show how Nymn got from place to place. The new system makes it fast and easy to build cutscenes from existing in-game assets and animations, and it's tried and tested, so this will be a low risk high reward addition to the game.

Password save system

Originally we planned to leave traditional save systems out of the game, since lives aren't limited and each level contains multiple checkpoints, but considering the final length of the game compared to others in the genre, we think some players might like to take a break. Our cartridge PCBs don't have the capability to hold save data, so we'll be adding a password feature so you can continue where you left off.

We're very proud of what we've achieved so far, and we think you're going to love the game. Just hang in a little while longer while we get it polished up and perfected!

Matt <3

juliendorra, EpicWolverine, and 33 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      David Howland on October 29

      We only get one chance at this cart. I'd rather have a great game a bit later than to compromise and have have it early.

    2. Lord Arse! on October 28

      Unlike today's games, cartridge games HAVE to be perfect on release. Take as long as you need, we all know the score and are excited for a 100% (okay, 99.9% ;-) ) perfect game in our hands.
      Certainly liking what I've seen so far!

    3. Matt Phillips Creator on October 27

      @Robert Beard - Dreamcast version will use VMU for saves, and will hopefully use the VMU for more things, too. I reckon Fuzzls will look adorable on the thing...

    4. Missing avatar

      Robert Beard on October 27

      Great news, take all the time you need. If it means getting a more polished game then q2 2018 is fine. Will the Dreamcast version have save points via VMU? Or will it use passwords also?

    5. James Hall on October 27

      By all means take as long as you need. Can't patch a cartridge with bug fixes or new features, after all. I'm rooting for you guys!

    6. Ruben van Ophuizen on October 27

      I'm glad with the decision to add a password feature. Aside from not having to start over every time, it's nice to be able to replay specific parts of the game sometimes.