Greetings! We’ve spent the last several months in a long and steady process of reorganizing how we handle development for 800 North projects. For several years we worked pretty much exclusively on whatever game project we wanted to. This includes Dino D-Day and Grappledrome as well as some other projects.
Following the Early Access release of Grappledome – which didn’t exactly set the world on fire – we decided to return to our former careers and pursue game development on the side. If you’ve followed us for a while you may know that we previously worked in television production before embarking on Dino D-Day. The primary reason for this change is the new Steam store front. When Dino D-Day was launched the risk of financial failure on Steam was low. You could make a game, get front page, main capsule exposure for a week or two and feel confident that you’d at least make most of your money back. With the ongoing flood of games onto the Steam platform the risk equation is dramatically worse for developers. It’s quite difficult to get meaningful exposure on the platform without an existing title that is hugely successful (or a large, expensive marketing effort). Dino D-Day is a successful title for us but it was never a mega-hit.
In short, it’s too risky for us to hang our careers on game development alone. The times they are a-changing.
Let me take a minute to answer a few questions you may have:
Will you finish Grappledrome?
Yes, once we get this preamble out of the way we’ll lay out the plan for Grappledrome.
Sounds like Grappledrome didn’t work out. Can you even fund development?
Yes. Early Access release was never meant to be a funding mechanism for us. Money is nice of course and we hoped for a better response to the game but it's not a deal breaker.
You said you'd release the game in 4-6 months. What gives?
The plan has changed. More explanation at the bottom but pushing forward with a multiplayer-only title of this type from a small studio would almost cerainly end in failure. The Steam marketplace has changed dramatically, especially for developers of our size.
Why not make more Dino D-Day?
Good point. If the only thing we cared about was having a successful game development studio it would make sense to keep pumping out Dino D-Day content. For us though, we’re doing this primarily to work on projects we find fun and creatively challenging. While we love Dino D-Day, and always will, we put nearly 10 years of our lives into it and we’re looking for new challenges.
The Road Ahead for Grappledrome
We could have pushed forward with a multiplayer release for Grappledrome. As we thought about it though we felt that it was almost a certainty that it would simply disappear into Steam and be washed down the river. Competition for multiplayer players was always tough for small developers and it’s only gotten more difficult. With that in mind, we decided to pursue what has always been goal of ours: a singleplayer campaign.
We feel that adding a singleplayer campaign to the game will add a lot of value. It will also allow us to release Grappledrome on more platforms and ease our dependence on Steam as our sole source of revenue. We think players will be much more inclined to take a risk on a small game that has a great singleplayer campaign than a multiplayer-only title from a relatively unknown development studio.
We’ve got a lot of great ideas for a campaign and storytelling in general remains our primary creative passion. We’re excited by the storytelling possibilities Grappledrome brings to the table and we think we can put something together that will be really great.
Our work on the singleplayer side will feed into the multiplayer as well. So new maps, new weapons, etc. will be added to multiplayer as they are completed. Visual design ideas that we flesh out in singleplayer can, and likely will, influence maps in multiplayer.
Here is some visual development that our concept and environment artist Brandon Richard has been working on:
We're playing with a lot of ideas for the spaces you'll see in singleplayer. There are more experiments we'll show as development progresses. We want to kick the visual design of Grappledrome up a notch…move away from the Tron aesthetic and find something a little more distinct.
We’ve also done some work on NPCs. Look for video to pop up in the next few weeks with some explanation of what we’re playing with on that end.
Now that regular work is being done we will have more updates. Look for concept art, environment art when we have it, videos of prototypes and experiments, etc. Even if it’s not much we’ll try and get something out to you on a regular basis. When aspects of singleplayer are playable we will ship them so you can check them out. We will keep full singleplayer levels under wraps until they're nearing completion so you can experience the story. The first major development goal for Grappledrome singleplayer is a vertical slice of the first 30 minutes or so of the game. We’re focusing heavily on the beginning of the game as a means of refining the visual aesthetic and working out some of the systems we’ll need for the rest of the game. We won’t do much aside from writing on the rest of the campaign until we’re happy with the introduction.
That about covers it. Thanks for your interest in our games. More to come!
Golden Krone Hotel now has an original soundtrack by Christopher Loza! You might know Christopher from the KeeperRL soundtrack, but he also made our delightful chiptune title track and trailer music. We've been working on redoing all the game's music for a few months and it's finally done.
If, however, you want to switch things up or just get nostalgic for the old music (which has a more ambient horror focus), you can toggle back and forth between both soundtracks in the Options menu.
Even if you're not quite ready for the game to get harder, I know you will be eventually. Despair is a new unlockable, unfair, and unforgiving difficulty mode. It comes with its own redone title screen featuring a gnarly remix, blood moon, and custom font. I have to be honest: this is easily the most badass thing in the game.
Stained glass has been toned down and looks less like "unicorn puke." Menus have been visually reworked and made Fancy!
There's also a good number of bug fixes. Thanks to everyone who reported them!
The game now features an original soundtrack by Christopher Loza. The old soundtrack can be switched in as well.
New difficulty: DESPAIR MODE
The credits menu has been totally reworked into a "crawl" and now displays after a win (also available from Options)
Stained glass no longer looks like "unicorn puke"
Difficulty can now be selected with keyboard (left/right)
Drawing ASCII windows differently depending on their orientation
Debug menu has been made more difficult to accidentally access (now requires '~' + 'debug').
Accessing the debug menu (or running console commands) prevents a run from having a morgue file saved. This should prevent at least one category of "cheat" morgue files from popping up on the leaderboards.
Fixed an issue with sliding on ice diagonally
Fixed a morgue display issue when dying of starvation
Fixed a major bug where reading a book the same turn one dies turns you immortal.
Any unbound commands (which had their keys stolen from another remap) are randomly assigned keys, which should prevent a bug where the game wouldn't start with unbound keys.
Fixed an issue with potion deduction. You should be able to deduce identities more often.
Fixed a game locking bug with Examine mode in the tutorial. Also now easier to escape from menus in the tutorial.
Fixed an issue with MIASMA that wasn't hurting enemies unless they were directly hit.
Fixed an ugly display issue with spell icons on Grimoire menu
Again you will be able to specify a subfolder, i.e. images/imagename.. this will in time be the place where players playing your creations will extract the "gamefiles"
In the current version it now looks for location images first in the user folder and if it cant find any it will then look for images using the location data i.e. 0|0|0|.jpg OR failing that it will load from the project files (in package.nw)
I'd love to automate this process but its tricky. I could write a quick app that copies the files to the folder which you can place in the final game zip. They would then double click this to install the game.
I will also be looking at a menu system that shows games you can play in adlengine (that you have installed) rather than having it load a game at default.
This will tie in eventually with the player_only version of adlengine and will make life a lot easier for using custom files.
- New units : - Helicopters ( Apache : Usarmy / Ka52 : Russian army )
- Canons Artillery
- New units : tractors for both teams ( Main role is for building military bases )
- New units : Workers ( Main role is building military bases )
- New Beginning of the raid
- New Fuel factories
- New Stunning Palms trees
- New animals : Black Dogs
- New amazing Sea & Sea waves
- New weapons for soldiers
- New Rpg rockets
- New M136 bazooka rockets
- New tanks canon rockets
- New : Tanks now shoot bullets in a burst fast shootings after shooting with canon
- New Aircrafts Bombs
- New : Waving Flags on the center of territories
- New building : bunker ( situated on the coasts in order to defend it )
- New obstacles : Wires & tanks wires ( situated on the coasts to lower the speed of enemies )
- New tracers for : Doshka machine gun & M2 machine gun
- New ground : for military bases ( Level 2 : Military Base and for Level 3 : Air Base )
- Barriers around fuel factories are deleted
- The new Fuel factories crash smokes
- New better text fonts in the game
- Credits interface updated
- All bullets speed are increased by 25% :
Machine guns ( M2 / Dshk ) : 1400 -> 1750
Soldiers : 1200 -> 1500
- Combat range of all units is reduced : 725 -> 700 ( closer combat range and to make sure combats are viewed on the screen between units )
- Special forces dont own anymore tnts , its no more supported but they still have increased fire rate to normal infantries and they are able to throw grenade bombs at enemies that are behind buildings
- Palms cannot be destroyed anymore
- Better map design and better placement of palms
- The decharge position of units is near now to the Military base
- Projectiles ( rockets ) can damage houses now when hiting them
- Ai improvements on bots : * Soldiers have as objective to capture a fuel territory if they Fuel = 0 ( Out of fuel ) ( This apply only in medium / hard / expert difficulties ) * Soldiers now can go capture the Little Village n 14 * Soldiers now stay in the center of the zone to capture for a moment from 8 to 16 seconds If the territory is neutralised they need 8 seconds until they capture it If the territory is for the other team they need 16 seconds until they capture it
- Medium difficulty bots have increased chance to have as objective to capture a territory : 40% -> 50%
- The military base provide budget now ( 250 / 1 min ) , its now the official provider of budget !
- ( Budget gaining / 1 min ) for little village reduced by 90% : ( 140 / 1 min ) -> ( 12 / 1 min )
- ( Budget gaining / 1 min ) for big village reduced by 90% : ( 240 / 1 min ) -> ( 24 / 1 min )
- ( Fuel gained / 1 min ) for fuel factories reduced by 65% : 140 -> 50
- Starting resources for russia : Budget : 1000 -> 480 , Max population : 20 -> 12
- Starting resources for usa : Budget : 1000 -> 520 , Max population : 20 -> 8
- M60 Tank maximum damage against Uaz reduced by 25 %
- Enemy aircrafts do airstrikes only 2 minutes after the begin of the game
- The enemy ( Usa Team ) call aircrafts only if he get +300 money then the cost of aircraft ( apply only in medium / hard / expert difficulties )
- The enemy ( Russia Team ) call aircrafts only if he get +250 money then the cost of aircraft ( apply only in medium / hard / expert difficulties )
- F15 Missile damage against tanks increased by 25% !
- F15 maximum damage against soldiers increased by 25 % !
- F15 Missile damage against buildings and destructible objects increased by 100 % !
- F15 cost increased : 400 -> 500
Bug Fixes :
- Russian soldiers of waves are not spawn properly ( bug fixed )
- Units now shoot their enemies only if they have a certain angle toward them ( 20 degree )
- First squads sometimes dont capture they first village destination ( bug fixed )
- Soldiers cant be selected now when they are on boats
- You cant now select ( 1 mouse click ) units that are behind the interface
- You cant double click on tanks now if they are already selected
- Units walk behind rocks and bushes ( bug fixed )
- When cursor over enemy units , health bar is not visible ( bug fixed )
- First enemy squads have green health bar ( fixed : enemies have red health bars )
- The army icon stay visible for a while after selecting a military or tank ( bug fixed )
- the army icon stay visible for a while after double clicking on units ( bug fixed )
- M136 rocket is not destroyed after hiting houses ( bug fixed )
- all effects are placed now on layer : effects when spawned ( this layer make all effects visible completely no matter the fog of war darkness )
- Destroyed Tanks and vehicles are behind the units , so they dont pass behind it anymore now
- Fixed crashing smoke on ground position of the Abrams/T72 tanks
- Enemy tanks & vehicles cannot be heard anymore if not visible
- When ordering usa units to attack enemies , they attack them properly now ( its no more buged )
- Insufficient money error is not updated with the new units prices ( bug fixed )
- maximum population error is not updated with the new units populations costs ( bug fixed )
- Errors messages available now when playing with usa team
- Fixed spelling mistakes in the game
- When playing with usa team , the text " wave coming in : x seconds " stay visible after the wave come ( bug fixed )
- Tanks and vehicles positions in minimap stay visible in minimap even if they are invisible ( bug fixed )
- Tanks and vehicles effects ( smoke or burning ) stay visible even if they are invisible ( bug fixed )
- wrong number shown of fuel consumpted when playing with usa team ( bug fixed )
- You can select soldiers that are inside a transport military car ( bug fixed )
- The counter bar showing number soldiers inside transport car ( humvee cars ) not working ( bug fixed )
*** In 3-4 days there will a hotfix V1.31 thought and with bunch of bugs to be fixed ! Also it will make the game performance really better to make sure you have better gameplay experience and stunning firefights and battles !
First off, I know the lack of updates are frustrating. And whilst it may seem like we're not doing much, this really isn't the case.
We are working really hard on the following: -Multiplayer (Bringing it back with less bugs! ) -Ladders. -Tools -Fire mechanics -Water mechanics. -PD and EMS avatar and character controls. -Uniform customisation. -LOTS and LOTS of bug bashing and back end coding.
Creating a game is a long and sometimes slow process. But, it is going at a steady speed. I will try to do an update like this once a week to keep everone in the loop, if you want me too?