Jumpman Forever Updates!
Wow, time flies! OK, so if you want to see part of what slowed us the heck down on Jumpman Forever, take a quick look at Crucible's most recent Kickstarter update - simply put, it ate our lives. However, that doesn't mean we're not continuing on with Jumpman Forever, we're just moving a little more slowly than we planned on! But, we've got some good reasons to keep going forward :-)
I'll save you the drama of re-hashing all the problems with Crucible (it's definitely been interesting, and heart-breaking at times), and focus just on Jumpman Forever.
First, we've got a huge chunk of the next level set ready. We also found a much better way to deal with one of the greatest complaints about the game: how sticky the ladders are at the bottom of a climb. Many people will rejoice over that one.
In the middle of selecting a new engine for Crucible, a publisher contacted us - they're interested in picking up Jumpman Forever's distribution for Android, iOS, PC, and Mac. So, there's an even bigger stress on us fix every little nitpicky detail before the next release. But, we're going to get really weird with things: we may change engines after this update.
Part of the goal for the games we want to do (Jumpman Forever, Crucible, P3/V3, etc.) is standardize on a single game engine. That way, it reduces headaches considerable for stuff like art pipelines, etc. We're having to move Crucible to a new engine. We've done a couple of test runs of the concept: we'd have to re-do some programming (but, not as bad as you might expect!), and some artwork (another pass at that wouldn't be a bad thing - there's still stuff I'm not happy with. Some backgrounds, for instance), but levels can import fairly well (except the scripted stuff - we'd have to re-think some of our scripting.)
After this next update, and after Crucible, we'll be exploring it even deeper. There's a lot of upsides, too - there's a good number of level designs that got cut due to performance issues. With the EU4 engine, I don't think we're going to have nearly the issue with it, based on our testing. This opens up even bigger levels as an option, a whole lot of level effects we wanted to do suddenly already exist as an option inside the engine (having full shader support is wonderful - something lacking from the previous engine.) Oh, and we don't have to keep fixing our OUYA support when updates to the current engine break it - if we go that direction. It's still a pretty big deal, even if we've found some great shortcuts.
This does provide one un-shipped problem: we're not going to ship full Android and iOS releases until we decide if we're changing engines for certain or not.
Now, what about that updates for two years thing? That doesn't start until iOS and Android (not OUYA), then we begin the quarterly updates.
As for the level editor: the engine change obviously would affect that greatly. :-)
What's our release schedule for the next update and level pack? We're hoping for about 2 - 3 weeks. But, don't hold us to that - we're making sure everything is as solid as possible since we're potentially going to end up with a much wider distribution base.
What's in it? That's a surprise. Some new specials, of course. For the first two level packs, we concentrated on the core enemies: gravity and the Alienator smart-bullets (and smart-bullet 2.0) For the second set, we kept the Jumpman levels similar to the first set (though, more complex), and introduced the whole liquid nitrogen challenge for Red's levels. With these upcoming packs, each one will end up with some extras to it - but, more often than not, it's going to center around one new game element (for instance, Red will be facing acceleration / gravity as part of the next pack's challenge) or enemy concept. But, we're always going to be just a little tight-lipped about it. There's no telling when something will or won't make the cut - we actually produce too many levels, then trim back based on "fun", etc. :-)
We're also going to be adding an extra game mode, and a beginner's level pack. We've got the tutorial pack, but we need something in between for those who aren't quite ready for the full-bore meanness that is Jumpman Forever! (Seriously - we got requests for something just a little more toned down for people who are just starting out.)