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Chasm is a 2D Fantasy ARPG Platformer featuring procedurally generated Metroid-like dungeons and authentic pixel art.
Chasm is a 2D Platform Adventure featuring procedurally generated Metroid-like dungeons and authentic pixel art.
Chasm is a 2D Platform Adventure featuring procedurally generated Metroid-like dungeons and authentic pixel art.
6,938 backers pledged $191,897 to help bring this project to life.

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Development Plan from here to Gold

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Time flies! Between the holidays and cranking away at our task list, I just realized it’s been 2 months since our last update. Lots of progress has been made, so here’s where we are right now.

Working on my cannonball in the Gardens.
Working on my cannonball in the Gardens.

 As I described several months ago, the entire team was given a couple weeks to play through the full build and write up all of our comments, required features, bugs, etc. The agreement we had as a team is that we would synthesize all of that, discuss what’s really important, and put together our final task list out of that. No new features were to be added beyond that list. We went through that exercise back in August and have been working off of that list ever since.   

I’m happy to say we’re ticking tasks off of that list at a very steady pace, and we’ve been disciplined about not adding anything new. Just to recap the progress that’s been made, here’s a partial list of what we’ve completed since going through that exercise:  

  • Improved backtracking and world traversal system
  • Implemented a system for players to upgrade their Spells 
  • Implemented auto-formatting text system for multi-lingual support
  • Programmed and animated the final boss battle
  • Animated all boss intros and deaths
  • Animated custom deaths for most enemies
  • Reworked and improved Minibosses
  • Sound FX for all bosses (except the final) and half of the enemies
  • Improved Visual FX
  • Improved scripted scenes
  • Polished the Map Screen and other UI elements
  • Improved pacing by interspersing some “breather” rooms with less challenge and more resources, as well as balancing combat, platforming, and puzzle rooms throughout the game 

There’s also a ton of other work - a lot of which took even longer to complete than those features listed here - that we got done in that time, but some of it just wouldn’t make sense as a feature in a list. Suffice it to say, those improvements make the game feel a lot tighter and encourage players to continue exploring the world.  

The final background art for the Save Rooms.
The final background art for the Save Rooms.

We’re now about 50% of the way through that final list. We have a date in mind that we think the game will be done and ready to ship, but I’m going to hold off on saying it here just in case my estimate isn’t accurate. Here are some of the remaining tasks:  

  • Replacing all remaining placeholder animations and background art
  • Improving the enemy spawn system to make sure that every enemy type shows up in every game, as well as maintaining a healthy variety
  • Sound FX for the enemies in the second half of game, the final boss, as well as environmental sounds
  • Beefing up secondary quests 
  • More Items & Weapon system improvements 
  • Additional variation in environmental art & Landmarks
  • Populate secrets in all areas 
  • Polish NPC dialog and sidequests 
  • Main Menu art
  • Economy improvements 
  • Difficulty balancing (this will be one of the last things we do)

Again, there are some other tasks on our list that probably only make sense to us, so I’m leaving them off this list for now. Whereas we often felt like the more progress we made the further the finish line pulled away, we’re now seeing it get closer and closer. 

As we cross off each of these tasks as we complete them, the list keeps getting shorter. As always, thanks for your ongoing support and patience. We’re getting close and I’m hoping you’ll feel that the wait has been worth it!

End of Year Production Update, PSX 2017

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Hello once again Chasm fans! We've had a very busy fall and have quite a few things to show off in this update, so let's not waste any time and dive right in.

Battling a Phantom in the dark.
Battling a Phantom in the dark.

In the last update I mentioned Glauber was working on death animations for all of the existing enemies. He wrapped those up in the early part of November, and then we began working on the final set of enemies that would fill in some of the sections you backtrack to later in the game. I'm proud to say we now have 90 fully animated creatures (including bosses) in the game for you to battle! With the enemy animations completed, Glauber will now turn his attention to animating the final boss battle, as well as some lower priority stuff like the boss intro and death sequences.

Getting pwned in the Arena by a Gelatinous Cube.
Getting pwned in the Arena by a Gelatinous Cube.

Dan has been working away on the last of the large backdrop pieces, and I'm happy to announce that the Arena has been completed! I mentioned it briefly in a previous update, but rather than make the Arena an additional mode, we decided to make it an optional challenge in the main game. If you want to work your way up to Grand Champion and win the grand prize, you'll have to battle through waves of beefed up enemies, as well as a couple unique creatures. The only remaining crowdfunding feature that hasn't been completed yet is the Crafting stretch goal, which we plan to tackle after the new year when we revisit the weapons and items.

The final look of the Map screen.
The final look of the Map screen.

In addition to all the new content we've been adding in, we've also been doing final revisions to various UI elements like the Map screen. It received a bit of a visual overhaul making it more compact and easier to read, while also getting a couple new features. One in particular we're excited about is items or journals that you may have missed or couldn't reach are now marked on the map with a dot ala Super Metroid.

Translation friendly bubbles, signs and journal entries.
Translation friendly bubbles, signs and journal entries.

One other slightly less glamorous thing we've been working on is full support for other languages. Many of the in-game text interfaces like the conversation bubbles, journal entries and signs were being manually formatted for display while we figured things out, but now that all the designs are finalized Tim began adding pre-processing routines to automatically format text for each of them. This mostly entailed adding automatic line breaking and key term highlighting, alignment options, and scrolling support. Now it should be fairly trivial to support any Latin-based language!

PSX 2017

Our final convention for the year will be at the PlayStation Experience 2017 in Anaheim next week. Chasm biz guy Dan Adelman and sound guru James Stevulak will be there manning the booth on December 9 and 10, so be sure to stop by and say hi!

Wrap Up

Well, that's it for this year. We'll be continuing to crunch towards the finish line throughout the holidays, but we'll be back in touch in January to let you know how things are progressing. Thank you once again for your patience and support while we strive to make Chasm the game we know it can be. Have a great holiday season, and we'll see you in 2018!

October Production Update

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Hello again everyone! I hope this update finds you well. Last month we were working on several large tasks, most of which we can't really show you without spoiling things (backgrounds for the final boss, level design for late-game sections, etc) so I decided to just hold off on the update until this month.

Various improved FX
Various improved FX

 A few exciting things have been in the works though. When we analyzed the game back over the summer and made our final list of improvements, one of the things we realized we really needed to improve was the visual FX. This meant going back through everything and beefing up FX for various things like hits, deaths, breaking props, picking up items, leveling up, etc. Check out the GIF above for a preview of this work (please note it doesn't look as smooth as the real thing since it's running at half the framerate).

Right now the team is mainly focused on finishing up the core content. Dan is working on various pieces of background art for late-game rooms, Jimi is working on boss and enemy sound effects, Glauber is working on enemy death animations, Tim is optimizing engine code and tackling the remaining programming tasks, and I'm going through the main path of the game with a fine-toothed comb to find all the stuff we missed and wrap up work on the areas.

A new platforming challenge in the Gardens
A new platforming challenge in the Gardens

I know everyone is anxious for us to reach Beta, but we still have a little further to go. Once this core stuff is done we will focus on the secondary content tasks like beefing up the backtracking and adding more weapons, items, and secrets to find. Lastly, once all the content is completed, we'll turn our attention to the final polish tasks like balancing, text cleanup, UI polishing, and of course testing.

Well, that's it for now! We'll be in touch again this fall to let you know how things are progressing as we steadily march towards the finish line. Thanks again for your support and patience!

End of Summer Production Update

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Hello again everyone! As summer comes to an end we're working hard to complete our first month-long sprint of Beta tasks. There's a lot of general cleanup, polish, and bug fixing to do, but we've also been tackling a number of improvements identified from our testing.

The 3 levels of the Knife spell.
The 3 levels of the Knife spell.

A new feature we're pretty excited about is upgradeable spells. Each spell can now be upgraded twice to improve its effectiveness. Above is an example of the Knife spell where the second and third levels add more projectiles and magical FX. When you reach the third level of a Spell you're also given the option of using a screen-filling Spell Crash that consumes half of your magic meter. We're still working on the visuals for the crashes and upgrade menus, but we'll show them off in a future update.

Collecting some resources.
Collecting some resources.

One thing we heard a lot in the backer builds was how punishing the platforming was. Not only were pixel perfect jumps everywhere, but most of the drops ended in spikes making things even less forgiving. We also had enemies and traps jam packed into every space - partly a side effect of our early dungeon generator not having a good sense of how to pace things with different kinds of rooms. I went back through the rooms one by one and improved the flow, pacing, and difficulty. A lot of the tall rooms now give you a much needed breather with some light platforming and resource collection after fighting through hallways of deadly enemies.

The Death Knight miniboss.
The Death Knight miniboss.

 Finally, we've also reworked and improved the game's minibosses. A couple just weren't up to snuff and were completely redone (like the Keep's miniboss seen above), while others were just tweaked with some new patterns and improved timing. We also changed our approach to them a bit so they feel more like tough-as-nails enemies versus weak bosses. It may seem like a pointless distinction, but in practice it feels much more organic and varied.

We also want to give everyone a heads up that Chasm will be at PAX West 2017 as part of the Playground! The Playground is a new space to hang out and play games, and we'll be sharing the space with others like Vlambleer, Finji, and Indiebox. Our biz guy Dan Adelman will be running the booth along with Musician James Stevulak and Environment Artist Dan Fessler. So if you'll be there too please stop by Booth #6111, say hi, and play some awesome games!

We'll have more updates on our progress towards the finish line next month. Thank you once again for your support and patience while we refine Chasm into the best experience possible!

Mid-Summer Production Update

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Hello again everyone! We hope you're having a great summer, and staying cool inside playing some games. This month is just a quick update to let you know what's been going on the past few weeks.

First off, we're happy to announce that aside from the Crafting, all the Kickstarter Stretch Goals and Backer Rewards have been designed and programmed. We have just a few pieces of art left to wrap up, and we'll be getting to the Crafting when we revisit the weapons and items in a few weeks. We've also done our best to make the extras part of the main experience where possible. For instance, instead of the Arena being a separate mode it's an actual place in the world you can visit when you want to compete.

Running into Jinx in the Catacombs.
Running into Jinx in the Catacombs.

One of the rewards we thought turned out especially cool is our $2500 Backer's reward. It was listed as "Design your own enemy", but the backer thought a minigame of chance would add some more variety to the experience. Working together with him, we developed the character known as Jinx. For those with a sharp eye, you may recognize Jinx from the box art we had done a while back. Unfortunately, the character was cut after some story changes rendered him unused, but when we heard the backer's idea we thought he would be the perfect match for it. Jinx will appear at several locations throughout the world, and offers players a spin of his wheel for a chance to win a range of things from gold to stat points and items. Careful though, not everything on the wheel is a reward! You also run the risk of losing your hard earned stat points and gold to Jinx.

Before (top) and After (bottom) dungeon generation changes.
Before (top) and After (bottom) dungeon generation changes.

One other thing we're very excited about is some recent improvements to the dungeon generation. As you may remember from our previous updates, we've put a lot of effort into it to make sure the game feels varied and well-paced. One of the major breakthroughs that really helped us achieve that was breaking down the areas into "sub-areas" that consisted of about 10-15 rooms with a save point at either end. This did wonders to get things under control, but on the negative side we were left with a mess of a map that had lines drawn all over connecting these sub-areas together. One of our polish tasks was to hide these seams and make the areas feel like one large, continuous location. The save rooms are also inside the area itself now as normal rooms, so it should feel more like a classic Metroidvania experience than ever before!

Lastly, while we worked on the Kickstarter rewards we were playing the game over and over, fixing things, and building our final Todo list to reach Beta. I believe we have identified the weakest and most problematic areas of the experience, as well as what needs polished or is unfinished, and we now have a solid plan to reach the finish line. I know everyone is excited to hear dates, but we're not quite there yet. There's still a few tricky tasks remaining we want to make sure we don't rush.

As usual, thank you so much for your support and patience. We'll have some more updates next month on our progress to reaching Beta!