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Play as scoundrels attempting to escape ever-shifting dungeons in a stylish physics-based Action RPG: PC Mac Linux iOS Android OUYA
Play as scoundrels attempting to escape ever-shifting dungeons in a stylish physics-based Action RPG: PC Mac Linux iOS Android OUYA
4,534 backers pledged $150,745 to help bring this project to life.

New Build 0.6.2 - with Weapons!

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Aaaaaaand at long last, the much-anticipated weapons build is finished!

Go download version 0.6.2 “Arms Race” from your local Humble Library now!

We definitely appreciate all of your patience during the massive gulf of time it took us to get this build out. We have been adding some new systems, and made some pretty extensive technical changes… but more on that later. With several bonus features (you can throw things!!!), we hope the wait will have been worth it.

What’s changed?

Obviously there are now lots of weapons! To tell the truth, there is really only a small batch of what’s to come in the future, as we add zones and additional content. But the full feature set is in place, and we can make weapons of just about any length, speed, and attack pattern for a huge amount of variety.

For a long-winded explanation of the new and changed features, please see the full Build Notes on the forum: http://forums.pixelscopic.com/alpha/arms-race-v0-6-1

But for the rest of you, here’s the short version:

Feature Overview

  • LOOT! — Weapons randomly drop from breakable objects and chests.
  • WEAPONS! — New weapon types, with more coming each build.
  • INVENTORY! — Equip up to 6 weapons to your inventory (5 sub-slots and 1 primary slot).
  • ITEM JUGGLING! — Swap your equipped weapon on the fly, for use in your primary slot.
  • CHARGED ATTACKS! — Hold down the attack button to charge the attack for a higher critical hit rate.
  • BARE-FISTED ATTACKS! — No weapon? No problem! Punch your way out.
  • LIFT! — Pick up and carry objects - jars, crates, torches are all portable! Use it as a shield or...
  • THROW IT! — Anything you can pick up becomes a projectile weapon.
  • DEGRADATION! — They can’t all be positive, can they? Weapons and items have decreasing uses, depending on your selected class’s proficiency with that weapon type. Primary weapon types for each class have infinite uses.

New Controls

The first thing you need to know before you jump in is the new control scheme:

The big things to remember are:

  • Use the Interact button to pick up food and weapons, as well as to open the jail doors and flip switches.
  • To use a weapon, you must swap it into your primary slot (on the right side), before it can be used!
  • Weapons uses degrade, so watch the numeric counter on your items. If the counter displays “---” this weapon is infinite use for your class.

Weapons System

This build took a very veeeeery long time… trust us, we felt the pain as much as all of you. So why all the work and was it worth it?

We think so. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Delver’s Drop has one of the more complex weapon systems on the market. Take a look and judge for yourself based on what we can do with the system. In other words, allow us geek out on technical details:

  • VARIABLE SPEED — Weapon speed is a major factor in gameplay — the faster you can strike, the more effective you’ll be. We can customize the speed down to hundredths of a second and weapon speeds can be unique to the three 3 stages of an attack.
  • REPEAT STRIKES — Some weapons can do repeat hits in a single attack, such as a knife stabbing 2 or 3 times in quick succession each time you use it.
  • RANGES — Weapons can have variable lengths / ranges, from the character’s bare fists to the full length of the screen.
  • BARE FISTS — Yes, bare-fisted combat is possible for the masochists among you. Expect achievements for game completion without using a weapon!
  • KNOCKBACK — Enemies are knocked back (and stunned) to greater or lesser degrees based on the weapon type.
  • RECOIL — There is also recoil on your character when some weapons are used. This is undesirable in low-tier weapons, but will cause incredible hijinx when you eventually find a shotgun that shoots you across the room (and possibly across pits) with its recoil burst.
  • USER DAMAGE — Some weapons will hurt you. Yes, this kinda sucks. But if it’s between having no weapon and a low-tier weapon with such a splintered grip that it hurts your hands to use… maybe the weapon is worth it. Or maybe you like the idea of a cursed vampiric weapon that slowly steals your life in exchange for increased damage to enemies.
  • THROWING — If a weapon is unusable, or so poor that you don’t even want to equip it to your inventory, it has a secondary use when you THROW IT IN AN EMEMY’S FACE. It will cause as much damage as before, without the hassle of putting it in your pack.
  • WEAPON COMPONENTS — Each weapon consists of between 4-6 parts that have unique visuals and each part can be swapped via randomization (coming soon!)
  • TONS OF PROPERTIES — There are approximately 100 different scriptable properties that go into determining how each weapons looks and plays. This means that we can create an almost limitless number of unique weapons.

The following is the list of weapon features that are NOT yet done, but will be coming in future builds:

  • In the next build, we will add a second button so that you can attack with items directly from your inventory, rather than only your primary slot. Two buttons = DUAL WIELDING!
  • Lots of weapons are not ready yet, but should be available soon — bombs, shuriken, crossbows, grapnels, flails… all ready to go, and just waiting on art and scripting!
  • Weapon randomization (prefix / suffix descriptors) is not yet complete. The weapons randomly drop, but do not yet have randomized properties or names. So expect the “Expert Double-Bladed Flaming Maul of Kablooey” soon.
  • We have plans for around 1,000 base weapon instances (before randomization). Some weapon categories only have one weapon type right now. Eventually all weapon types (axes, maces, firearms, whips, etc) will have at least 10 instances.

New Delver Class!

And finally, we announce the presence of the new and improved, and most importantly, playable, BEASTKEEPER!

The most flamboyant Delver of all is ready to tame the Drop with her powerful whip and (coming later) summoned companion monsters!

Bonus Improvements!

Vastly Improved Load Times

We are now loading approximately TWICE as much data (the weapons databases are gigantic), and load times have been improved so that it should take only 10-20% of your previous wait. For reference, our loading times have been around 5 seconds when you drop to a new level.    We would definitely love to hear from you all regarding your load times — it will help us further improve them. Please let us know how the game performs for you here: http://forums.pixelscopic.com/alpha/v0-4-2-load-times/

Cross-Platform Controller Support & Remapping

We now natively support controllers on Windows and Mac (and they will on Linux, too)! You should be able to plug in an XBox 360, PS3, or PS4 controller and play instantly, provided you have the necessary drivers.

Not only that, but we also now support entirely remappable controls for both controllers and keyboard. We will eventually have a menu in that game from which you can do input remapping, but for now remapping must be done in the controllers CSV file. You can make a copy of this Google Doc, make changes to the “Mapping CSV” tab, and download it as a CSV file to replace your local settings. See the “README” tab for more detailed info: https://docs.google.com/a/pixelscopic.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlVTZiRSjNf2dGVDcTBrNU1NRUlFMG00LUVuSEdqUFE&usp=drive_web#gid=8

We also now have a gamepad tester inside of the game, so if you have a gamepad which we have not yet mapped, you can help us add it! Please help us support every controller possible!Theoretically, anything your computer can recognize as a controller should work — which means things like USB adapters for many console converters should be mappable. We’re still waiting for someone to map a Rockband instrument, Dreamcast fishing controller, or ChaCha Amigo maracas. You can find all of the details about adding a new Gamepad to our database in the public Controller Mapping spreadsheet’s Readme tab as well (same link as above).

Build Checker

We also implemented a feature to check whether your build is up to date. Whenever the game launches, it will try to ping our servers to see if a newer version of the game is available. If such a version is, then you will get a very basic message telling you that there is a new build and that you should download it. This network check DOES NOT interfere in any way with the normal operation of the game!

If you don't have an internet connection, the game simply shrugs and moves on. If your build is out of date, you can still play it to your heart's content the game will simply remind you each time you boot up that a newer version is available. We hope that is a convenient way to guarantee that you are up to date without interfering with your ability to play the game immediately, regardless of internet accessibility.

So why’d it take so long?

Databases Databases Databasessssssss….

A huge database conversion unfortunately took a massive amount of time and effort on our end. We effectively rewrote the entire code system for our in-game databases. Not only did the coding take forever, we of course broke several dozen things that had to be fixed and tested.

So why did we do this if it was so time intensive? Well, we didn't exactly want to, but we were reaching a point of no return. We wrote the database system last summer to work with the massive CSVs our designers and scripters use. Unfortunately, as most of you have probably experienced, the load times for the game were getting really, really bad due to the way this information was loaded.

So instead of waiting for the mobile release (for which we knew we would have to redo the databases) and living with awful load times in the meantime, we bit the bullet and redid the whole system. This was one of the most painful months of development for all of us here in the office.

We think that the benefits were quite worth it though: now the game is loading approximately 2x as much data (the weapons databases are gigantic) in under 20% of the previous load times. So you get more weapons, levels, and enemies even faster. It was effectively a win-win-quadruple-win, but it was the single largest factor in delaying the build, and giving us all premature gray hair. Or in Coby’s case, further balding. :D    Besides that, the weapon system did take longer than expected. But we added some features like thrown objects along the way in order to flesh out the item-equipment system event further.

What’s next?

Dungeon Generation 2.0 Build v0.6.2 is going to be the last major build using the legacy dungeon generation scheme. In other words, if you like the current rooms in the game, enjoy them now, because everything related to the dungeon is getting a makeover. As we mentioned late last year, the new dungeon generation scheme should accomplish the following goals:

  • More flexibility in room design and greater variability within room components.
  • More cohesive and interesting layout of each dungeon level.
  • Better support for puzzle mechanics both in rooms and throughout a dungeon level.
  • New drop mechanics, less backtracking, and more pronounced progression.
  • Integration with thematic elements

We’ve spent a lot of time planning out how to accomplish these goals in order to maximize fun, reduce repetition and backtracking, and create some unique and interesting generations. The shortcomings of the first generation scheme and the planning for this next iteration has given us a lot of confidence that our Randungeoneration™ (Random Dungeon Generation 2.0) is going to be awesome. And if it’s not, we will cry. And then redo it again.

Boatloads of Content

New content will be raining down from here on out. Random Dungeon Generation 2.0 has been a bottleneck for us regarding adding in the new zones, but now that we are moving forward with the new generation system, new zones will get easier and easier to build. With the weapon system finalized, we are also able to rapidly generate the remaining base weapon instances. New enemies, new objects (puzzle and otherwise), and the remaining characters are also all coming into focus now. The next major build will probably look and feel like a different game!

Sneak peak of a basic Zone 2 room:

Sneak peak of the updated Assassin Class:

Where’s my (insert reward here)?

Due to all the database updates and the rush to get content production for additional zones / characters / weapons / etcetera running smoothly, our artists have gotten behind on reward production. We assumed you would still prefer to have cool game updates than a postcard in the mail. But we are beginning to work on them again, and a few are almost ready to print. We’ll send an update as soon as they are in-hand, when we are ready to mail them!

Livestreams!

Don’t forget that we do a livestream on http://twitch.tv/pixelsopic every Wednesday at 3pm CST. We talk about a lot of the upcoming features, show new gameplay footage, and work on in-progress art. If you want to keep up-to-the-minute (or week) on our progress, please tune in! If you miss the live version, you can always watch it in our Twitch archive. We will also be uploading many of them to YouTube.

For now, that's all we have! If you've read this far down, you are a champion among mere mortals. Let us know what you think in the comments, or hit us up at ks@pixelscopic.com!

Matt McGregor, Dan Cuesta, and 19 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Pixelscopic on February 19, 2014

      Definitely! We hope to see you there soon. It's a very nice little community, with lots of productive feedback and discussion :) If you have any problems registering, just email us at support@pixelscopic.com

    2. Creator zacH on February 18, 2014

      Hey, thanks so much for replying to me, and I appreciate a lot of your points. :) I have mostly been keeping track of all my backed games through kickstarter and not utilizing people's forums, as it means fewer passwords for me to create... I would really like to be part of the discussion here, though, and I think I could be of some use to the team? I've been playing the demo all morning and taking a lot of notes, I guess I will create a forum account later and share my findings with everyone. Thanks for inspiring me!

    3. Creator Pixelscopic on February 18, 2014

      @zacH - thanks for all of the input! You would definitely enjoy some of the discussions about controls and player abilities on our forums - http://forums.pixelscopic.com/lively-discourse/ We'd love to have all of the input you can give us!
      But in response to your suggestions, we've weighed a lot of options, and some are up for possible changes /tweaks, but of course some are locked in at this point. Here's some reasoning:
      •• You can easily remap your shield to L Trigger if you'd like, though it will eventually be used for the character's special ability. We've considered this option, and may still make the change at some point. But whatever button the shield is on, the mechanic is mostly locked in - you can't hold up the shield and attack at the same time, etc. We want the game to require manual shield use to make it a little harder and reflex based, rather than letting the shield be automatic. However, it might be a nice bonus for those who have shield pieces to auto-deflect, and if you lose your shield pieces you would no longer deflect. Not sure, though I do know it would be somewhat time-consuming to program. Either way, we have to have a shield button so that you can hold it up when you want to in order to wade through enemies, as well as use it to dash/back-dash
      •• Unfortunately at this point we cannot animate a roll move. However, I think you will find that shield dashing is just as satisfying, and offers more combat options. I do see your point that rolls that leave you vulnerable are an interesting tactical sacrifice, but we can easily build a little more vulnerability into our dash - like a post-dash input delay or delay on being able to use your shield again. But the offensive dash move is one of our games' tenets, so I would have a lot of hesitation removing its offensive capabilities.
      •• I also see your point about using a button to pick up the item, and pressing again to drop it. This would be an easy change to make, but as you mentioned, it creates other problems. The controls for this set of features (pick up, equip, drop, throw) has not been easy to design, to be sure - So while our current solution could possibly be improved, I think it is pretty intuitive nonetheless. We do need 2 options for picking up items - pick up and hold, or put in your inventory. This requires us to do a button tap and a button hold for picking things up. I think it makes a bit more sense for the player to have to hold the button down (giving up their thumb as it were) in order to hold onto a rock, rather than simply tap the button to hold onto a rock and then forcing them to hold down the button in order to equip an item. Other games have done similar approaches maybe, but I think a lot of people would end up tapping the button to pick up and hold a sword when they intended to equip it. And as you said, one huge concept here is the ability to throw items in your hand *and* items out of your inventory. This means that even a weapon whose uses are expended can still be used as a weapon one last time by throwing it. It also factors into how bombs are used - we need an option for dropping a bomb at your feet versus throwing it, as well as an option to drop an *unlit* bomb (unequip it onto the ground). It gets very complicated :D
      • We have talked about keeping all attacks on one button, but I am not sure how you could "dual weild" with a single button unless I suppose you could strike with 2 weapons at once. Unfortunately, the characters' left arms are only set up to hold a shield, so we cannot dual wield in that sense. The goal with having 2 weapon/item buttons (a primary and a secondary inventory slot) is honestly to make it similar to Zelda, which has had 2 action buttons since the first game in the series. I think that options to quickly use 2 buttons to execute sword + bomb or bow + health potion in quick succession will become crucial late in the game.

    4. Creator zacH on February 18, 2014

      Looking at the controls, I had some thoughts... hear me out?

      - I think if you hold a button to put up your shield, it should default on a gamepad to L trigger/L2. I've found a shield button being a shoulder button makes it easy to keep moving around and also attack when you want to. Since that button is not mapped to anything right now, maybe this would be a good idea?
      - alternatively you could always have your shield up and have it deflect projectiles when you face the right way, like in Link to the Past... if your battle system is going in a different direction that may not be feasible, though. Would cut down on buttons that need mapping, but it means you can't really use it for blocking melee attacks.
      - I'd rather see a roll than a shield dash, if only because it's interesting to have a move that makes you more mobile but also more vulnerable because of it. Again, probably a tenet of your battle system, so that probably won't change? Rolling would be a pretty intuitive move to map to a right-stick, though, as console diablo has done... maybe the same could be said of a shield dash?
      - Dropping vs throwing an item based on a press and hold+a secondary button seems like it might not be the most elegant approach. Was there a build that tried out the whole zelda "press button to pick up item, same button while moving throws/standing still drops"? Or is that just the nature of the whole being able to throw inventory items? I can see that being a weird distinction, since you can't drop an item and then pick it up to throw it without collecting the item in your inventory again. Not sure about that whole item throwing system. :\

      I have more thoughts in my head, but I'm quite tired... I would say in closing that regarding the idea of dual-wielding, it would probably be better (in terms of dual melee weapons, anyway) to keep it to one button still. If you can give the characters a dual-wield animation with the one button it would be less strategic, but likely much easier for a player simply by having fewer buttons to press at once. I'm excited to see what you come up with no matter what, though!

      Finally, I said all of this without testing the build, but I'm hoping to delve into it tomorrow. Maybe everything I just said was CRAZY! But looking at the moves and their mappings gave me some gut feedback that may be of use to you. Please let me know if it was helpful, I would like to be of service with the testing if I can. Thanks guys!

    5. Creator Kevin Bates on February 17, 2014

      Controller options are awesome. Just tried it with a Hori Fightstick originally made for the 360. DD with an arcade sticky feels like a true retro game, except without the shitty pixel art.

    6. Creator Pixelscopic on February 17, 2014

      Yeah, sorry, just reading in the files is pretty fast - all of our databases combined our under 2 MB (which is a ton of data to be hand crafting but basically nothing for a computer to chew through.) The real issue was how that data is stored and then used. One of the requirements of our system, was to support out of order data - i.e. a designer can change columns around in the database and the game should still be able to process everything. That complicates the serialization of game objects process a good deal (we use a lot of hash tables...) but our current solution is about the best we can do, without adding a true serialization step and loading the data in order as binary. Glad you like the info!

    7. Creator Matthew Baldo on February 17, 2014

      Ok so I think I understand the optimization now. The way it was described sounded more like it was a loading of values issue.

      I'm interested in the sorts of challenges you hit. Thanks for sharing.

    8. Creator Pixelscopic on February 17, 2014

      @David Mertl: Thanks, should be fixed.
      @Matthew Baldo: We actually don't use a traditional database system (although we contemplated it) like SQL/SQLite, but rather CSVs -- we work in Google Docs and export out from there (if you look at the mapping.csv tab from the controllers document linked above, it is in game-ready format.) The primary motivation for this was to be able to quickly change data and see the results in game versus having a process to serialize the data or go through a build process. Live editing, if you will. Of course the problem with plain text anything is both increased file size and load times - but file size is effectively minimal in our case. The real issue for us was how and when the engine read this data in and processed it. Previously we would create all in-game objects from the in-memory data tables. That was a real killer for us in terms of loading unfortunately. The big change we made was to read a single run time instance of every data entry at first load from the data tables, then free the data tables, and load all further instances via internal serialization. So instead of say, a goblin enemy reading a big chunk of key/value pairs when it is created, it instead serializes from a preloaded goblin instance. Does that make sense? Sorry if confusing :/

    9. Creator Matthew Baldo on February 17, 2014

      So what did you move to if you don't mind me asking. Is it SQLite as that seems to be everywhere?

    10. Creator David Mertl on February 17, 2014

      Twitch link should be http://www.twitch.tv/pixelscopic/, missed a "c".

    11. Creator Pixelscopic on February 17, 2014

      @William: We plan on open sourcing our engine (including gamepad stuff) sometime after DDrop is released :)

    12. Creator William on February 17, 2014

      This is a great update! Also that is AWESOME about the controller database.
      Have you considered separating that out of the game and and perhaps making that part open source?