Explore the depths below a remote mountain town in this procedurally-generated Adventure Platformer. Taking inspiration from hack 'n slash dungeon crawlers and Metroidvania-style platformers, Chasm will immerse you in a fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and abundant secrets.
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Release Date: TBA

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August 8

August Update

Hello again everyone! While everyone has hopefully been out and enjoying the sun, we've been hard at work shaping Chasm into a fun and challenging experience. We still have a lot to do before we hit Beta, but we're getting closer every day! Here's an update on just a few of the things that we've been focused on lately.

DUNGEON GENERATOR IMPROVEMENTS


The Overworld tool that let's us set up dungeons and connect them together.

The dungeon generator is the secret sauce of the game, but we really haven't touched it too much since the Alpha. It's been working great, but, as with most things, it was still ripe for improvement and optimization. A wishlist of additional features and improvements had been building for the past year, and back in June we decided it was finally time to start working away on the last major revisions to it. Some of the changes were very straight-forward, like having the generator favor long horizontal hallways (where all the action happens) over the tall vertical rooms (meant more for connecting paths together).

Other changes, however, took quite a bit more effort. One of the things we've wanted to do for a long time is to save your world layout so it won't have to be re-generated every time you boot up the game. It sounds like a simple enough addition at first glance, but it was anything but trivial. The rooms are populated with items and enemies after generation, so new loading and saving routines had to be written to handle all the dynamic elements of the game. In addition to much quicker load times, this change also fixes a big problem a lot of Alpha testers ran into: getting your save games trashed when we pushed out an update to the dungeon generator.


An in-game example of the dungeons shown above in the editor.

One other noteworthy improvement is the new and improved dungeon branching. We realized we made a big mistake cutting the branches outright during the Alpha phase. They were kind of a pain then since they were too long, and usually lead to an unsatisfying conclusion like passages you couldn't traverse yet. After more experimentation, we realized they're still needed occasionally to make the dungeons feel less linear, but they should be shorter, and should always lead to a great reward like an item or gold stash. With all these changes completed the dungeons are feeling better than ever!

BALANCING FIRST PASS


Comparison between June and July - note that the Levels and Enemies killed no longer hit large plateaus

Another of our top priorities once we got everything together was doing a first pass on the balancing for the full game. This primarily comes down to adjusting item and monster stats, but also includes other things like dungeon lengths, drop rates, trap and hazard damage, and much more.

Enemies, however, are where the bulk of the work has been so far. In the Rough Cut build we announced back in June, the enemies were all essentially Level 1 (making it a pretty easy playthrough!). This is because we develop enemies in an isolated test room, and numbers are the last thing on our minds then. Our focus at that point is on the AI behaviors, visual design, and fun factor. (if you'd like to know more about the enemy creation process in the future, please let us know in the comments!).


An example of the master enemy CSV that contains all their stat data.

This meant we had roughly 80 enemies in the game to go through and figure out stats for like Level, XP, HP, and Attack damage. I also used this opportunity to tweak enemy attributes like movement speed, attack tell timings, animation playback speeds, as well as just generally polishing them up a bit. This first balancing pass is still far from perfect, but it's a big first step towards getting things to where they need to be.

SOUNDTRACK MASTERING

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_tDGk8tmC4

You may remember that we announced last fall that production on the soundtrack had wrapped. We decided then to hold off on doing the final masters since we weren't sure if we'd need any more tracks or want to change anything once we had the full experience together. Now that we're finally there, we've had the opportunity to finally see first hand how the soundtrack fits together over the course of the entire game, and figure out any unaccounted for situations we might need music for.

Having time to digest things and let them sit for a while has been a huge benefit. We're now able to come back to it fresh ears and figure out any possible improvements or final tweaks that could be made. Jimi also took the opportunity to add even more instrumentation to the tracks and significantly improve the mixing. A couple of the 20 tracks we just weren't happy with though, and we decided to go back to the drawing board for them. We're in the process of wrapping those new tracks up now, while simultaneously working through the final masters for everything else. We're really excited for you to experience the full soundtrack, but in the meantime, check out the final mastered track for the Mines area!

WHATS NEXT?

Even with all the progress that's been made over the past two months, we still have quite a bit of work left until we hit Beta. Some of the things next moving into our focus are:

  • Core Map Revisions: Last month a second pass was completed for the maps in the first half of the game, but the second half of the game still needs some attention.
  • Boss Revisions: We've had some time to play the boss fights over and over and figure out what we like and don't. Powerups have also been shuffled around leaving some bosses expecting you to have abilities you don't. A big list of changes has been made, we just need to start working through it.
  • Improve spawning system: We're not totally satisfied with how enemies are placed in maps, and would like to possibly improve things and add some additional features like definable groups of enemies that work well together.
  • NPCs and Side-quests: We still have a little design work left nailing down the final list of town NPCs you will rescue, as well as their side-quests. Once that is complete we can start programming them.
  • Cut-scenes: There's only a handful in the game, but we are in the process of planning out the scenes and figuring out what new assets we need before they're scripted in-game.

And one last update: for those of you going to PAX Prime in Seattle next month, please be sure to come by and say hi!

I know I say this every monthly update, but I wanted again to express my gratitude to all the backers and fans who have been patiently looking forward to playing Chasm. Everything’s coming together far better than I ever had any right to hope for. Thanks again for helping us make this happen!

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June 28

Rough Cut Update, Trade Show Season

Last month Dan announced that we hit a major milestone. Rough cut 1 is complete! What that means is that Chasm is fully playable from beginning to end. That might not seem like much, but it’s a huge milestone for us and one definitely worth celebrating!

Chasm is a bit of a weird game. On the one hand, there’s a storyline to it – a storyline we’ve kept pretty quiet about. On the other, because of the procedurally generated world maps, each player’s playthrough can be quite different from anyone else’s. The entire team has spent the last month playing from beginning to end and identifying what needs to be fixed. The good news is that, aside from quirks here and there, the game is performing as expected. No one is getting to a point where they’re blocked from moving forward, and everyone is able to get to the end. In addition, we've began analyzing the mechanics, enemies, area layouts, dungeon generation, music, and much more to figure out what is working and what still needs to be improved.


Example player data from the first two areas of the game.

We've also begun the hard task of tuning of the game, which consists of setting enemy stat data (like Level, XP, HP, attack ratings, etc), dungeon lengths and difficulty, player leveling rate, amount of gold and items received, amount of enemy spawns, and much more. In order to facilitate this difficult and time consuming work, Tim has been developing a metrics component for the game that records player data and uploads it to our server for analysis. Using custom data views, we can easily spot trouble areas and then correct them. For example, the graph above shows some play data from the first couple areas of the game. You can see that the Level line flattens out around the 1 hour mark, so we know at that part of the game the enemy data needs fixed. It won't be a quick process to get things perfectly tuned, but we're already making great progress towards it.


Creating a custom path for Basden to follow in our editor Apparatus.


Basden following the path in-game.

We've also been working on a lot of the secondary systems, as well as advanced scripting tools. We'll have some more updates next month on some changes for the play systems, but today we'd like to show you one of the newer features we've added that allows NPCs to navigate difficult terrain. The example above shows one of our tests rooms with a path we drew out for Basden to reach the top block. The path functionality makes it possible for us to create scripted sequences that require NPCs to do more complex tasks than just run in a straight line.


A prototype of a secret nook. Crates aren't too exciting, but chests will be!

We’ve also got the fun task ahead of us of putting in lots of secrets throughout the game. Above you can see a prototype we created for what we call secret nooks. These secret areas are hand placed into the rooms by us, and when a new game is started it's randomized which ones are used and which are blocked off. The curious player may find extra treasure chests, elixirs or even unlockables like extra profile icons in these secret areas.

On a broader level, right now pretty much every room is required to get to the end, but my favorite aspect of Metroidvania’s is the reward for exploring and finding the hidden stuff. The team is sick of me talking about the example of the Holy Glasses in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. If you explore and find the gold ring and the silver ring (neither of which are required, and require even more items to obtain), you can get the Holy Glasses. (SPOILER WARNING!) When you fight the “final” boss (Richter) while wearing the Holy Glasses, it turns out that he’s just being possessed. Discovering that secret reveals an entirely new mode to the game. Now that the core of the game is done, albeit in need of some more testing and balancing, we’re all talking about ideas of what kind of special things we can add to encourage that additional level of exploration. After all, the whole point of Chasm is for the biggest fans to be able to play an entirely new world every time they start up a new game, so we want to make sure there’s lots of good reasons to explore!

Trade Show Season
Basically March through September is trade show season. Starting with GDC in March, followed by PAX East, the season continues with shows like E3, PAX Prime, and dozens more. Fortunately, Dan’s been jetting around the country attending many of these shows on the team’s behalf, so we’re able to maintain a presence without taking too much time away from development. At E3, Devolver and the Indie Megabooth folks were kind enough to include us in the Indie Megatrailer:



We were able to block off some time and invite press to come by and check out the demo. Dan also did a video stream, but due to technical difficulties, it’s not entirely clear whether anyone saw it! Dan assures us he was brilliant.

In a couple months we’ll be at PAX in Seattle again. Because PAX is all about the fans, I think it’s important that not only Dan, but Tim and I also go out there. We’ll have more details next month about where exactly to find us, but if you’re a backer (or even if you’re reading this and you’re not a backer) we’d love if you stopped by and said hi. Your support is what’s keeping all of us going!

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About This Game

When a small mining community falls silent, a young soldier named Daltyn is sent to investigate. Upon arriving in the remote mountain town of Karthas, he discovers that paranormal forces have sealed the town off from the outside world. Now trapped, he's left with no option but to explore the mines below the town and uncover the source of the disturbances.

Six huge procedurally-generated areas await, each lovingly crafted in a retro pixel art style. Help Daltyn gain new abilities and equipment, evade dangerous traps, and defeat hordes of deadly enemies in order to save Karthas - and possibly the world!

Key Features

  • Explore six massive procedurally-assembled areas from hand-crafted rooms
  • Enjoy challenging retro gameplay and authentic pixel art (384x216 native res.)
  • Battle massive bosses and discover new abilities to reach previously inaccessible areas
  • Customize your character by equipping armor, weapons, and spells
  • Windows, Mac, & Linux versions with Gamepad support

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP + Service Pack 3
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8, 32/64-bit
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: glibc 2.15+, 32/64-bit. S3TC support is NOT required.
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
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