What have we been up to this week?
Hey! Isn't that the 40th ScourgeBringer open development issue? Yep, it is! Pfooo, 40 already? And on our way to at least 60 more!
Previously on ScourgeBringer: Florian has been back full time on ScourgeBringer and we moved forward with our publishing opportunities and the production team composition. We also resumed our work on adding more enemies to our prototype.
Last week, a lot of things happened! These are not quite ScourgeBringer related, but here's a few news:
- The secret Nintendo Switch port I've been working on lately has been announced on the Kinda Funny showcase! And yes, it's "Bury me, my Love"! I actually did the Nintendo Switch and the PC port, which will both release on January 10. 🎉
- NeuroVoider was in this month's Humble Monthly Bundle! This is quite huge, NeuroVoider now has more than 150 000 players on Steam alone!
- Physical edition of NeuroVoider on PS Vita will release very early next year!
- NeuroVoider is now available to all PlayStation Now subscribers on both PC and PlayStation 4!
We're always very amazed by the longevity of NeuroVoider, and the game still have unannounced surprises to offer in 2019. I guess we have the best community there is. ❤
Now to last week.
Now that Florian is back and that we are both working full time on the game, it was time to move forward and think hard about the direction of the game to fill the gaps in its current design.
Here's what's still missing from the prototype to call it a vertical slice:
- Long range combat with the drone: for now, the drone is dull and using it is not satisfying nor useful. We need to come up with a system that encourage both short and long range combat while not impairing any play style. This has to done according to the game manifesto requiring to have a combat system that encourages you to always push forward and never back off;
- More varied and complex enemies: in order to grasp the relevancy of the long/short range combat system, we have to design enemies with more varied behaviors. These are going to be a validation framework for our design decisions;
- A fully designed and playable boss: we have all the tools to do that, but fully designing our first boss is going to be challenging. It needs to be compelling, and the pinnacle of all the gameplay systems. The counter attacks (e.g. the smash) and the short/long range combat have to be used to their full extent. Hence, we have to first work on the combat system before really tackling boss design.
Once we will have all of this designed and validated through gameplay, we will have a relevant enough base to consider building a full game around this.
So what do we do now? The most obvious next step is to work on the long range combat and its synergy with the current short range system. Our initial design was to use the enemy design to promote different play style. For instance, we would have enemies more sensitive to drone attacks, an other to sword slashes. But we feel that it makes enemy design to be too important and that the whole gameplay would rely too much on how well we design enemies. It could perfectly works, but we don't want every enemy to be a challenge on its own to design. We prefer to have a solid proposal independent of what the enemies are and use enemies as a gameplay variation instead of a core design.
Florian designed most of the new proposal by itself and scratched his head several days to test stuff and come up with a simple solution (simplicity is also an important manifesto key point, we want players to understand the game quickly and get straight into the action).
The idea is to make ranged weapon very useful (e.g. for crowd control or shielding) and/or powerful (e.g. to rapidly clean unwanted enemies), but also very limited. For that, we're going to introduce an ammunition system, but not quite one with items to pick up. To promote synergies with sword attacks, the drone will work in combination with a "fury" meter (the blue bar on the mockup) which refills only when slashing enemies with the sword. That fury can then be spent to fully reload the drone. We hope that this simple system will remove the complexity of managing ammunition while creating a synergy between the drone and the sword. You could for instance start a combo with a dash, then slash a few times to build some fury and exterminate the enemy with a huge blast of the drone.
We also have several other ideas regarding this fury meter, like super attacks and other skills that would bring more options to how you'd like to use your power. For now, and for the purpose of playtesting it, we're keeping everything simple.
We are currently implementing all of this as well as designing the user interface of the game. So far so good, it really makes the combat dynamic. It may look and sound simple, but it's the whole purpose: having straightforward systems that are easy to understand, but open a broad range of options to play with.
Stay tuned for more and for gameplay, see you next week!