After long deliberation, this package has been renamed to PATCHMAN VS. RED CIRCLES (again!) and most likely won't be updated with further episodes. Why? Because we are making the second episode right now, PATCHMAN VS. BLUE SQUARES and have to release it separately. Reasoning below, but first, an apology:
If I do disappoint you with this move, I'm really sorry!! Just know I had to decide for a long time, a painful decision, and am making what I can out of a tough situation. I'll break it down in two parts why it's the best course of action: First, survival/financial/marketing reasons. If I only add the new episode to this package, it is 99.9% likely die a lonely death that no one will know about it except the owners, who are very few. Yeah, this game didn't sell well, AT ALL. Like if you even KNOW about this game's existence, you are in a very exclusive club. So for survival reasons I have to release a second episode separately on Steam to (hopefully) get any awareness.
Technically, It's The Only Way...
Second: technical reasons. I could keep this package as the full game, but with another separate package for episode two, then I'll have to update two packages at once, PLUS I'll have to create a third package for Episode One which is basically a duplicate of this one! Come on! That's three packages to build and maintain!! I can't even... so it makes more sense to "freeze" this package and focus my efforts on one new package. I've updated all three OS builds with a new splash screen and will fix any bugs that creep in. Any major new improvements like lighting/gameplay will be backported here too. And one day hopefully make my dream come true of the full game as a full package - and as I hinted above, maybe that will be this package? Will have to see... it's too far in the future... I could be homeless by then...
Free Keys For You!
Bottom line: EVERYONE who bought this game will get FREE KEYS to the upcoming episode and any future ones. Trust me, it's THE LAST thing I want to do to rip anyone off, or break promises, I'm NOT like that. To get a free key to the next game, you have to do a bit of work. First, beat level 2 or higher so that your Steam account is posted on the leaderboard. Second, email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your Steam name shown on the board. That's it! You'll be put on a secret special mailing list for future free keys... ooo!
Patchman will be back before you know it with a BRAND NEW DEMO, an upcoming Steam wishlist page, and a little Kickstarter for episode two! We are super-stoked about the new episode demo, and can't wait to share it with you! :)
Do you want a unique coffee mug proclaiming how GREAT you are? And how you're not even Patchman? Well, you have until the end of December to log your score on our leaderboards.
CLAIMING TOP SPOT
We currently have 14 eligible top slots to claim, at least two of which are *completely* blank! That means no other competition for those slots (Fastest Time, Level 7/8). There are even some boards that have only a single entry or very few entries. So your chances of placing are quite high right now, as compared to say a year from now when the boards will potentially be more clogged up!
Full menu, story, comic book, and level name translations (basically everything important in the game) have been added to our game. With the help of many friends, who just happen to be fluent in these languages, the game was translated.
One caveat: the store pages and title images were not translated, but everything in the game past the splash screen is! And even the splash screen provides the translation for that art.
These are all the languages supported. If it has a thought bubble that means fully supported, otherwise it's just translated for menus.
Don't be Patchman? But you ARE Patchman! So how do you stop being him? We can think of one way...
We've built, played, battered, and finalized the first episode of the game. Twenty Steam Achievements are ready to be collected, we're running a Leaderboard contest, you can start collecting the comic book, and begin figuring out the mystery of why YOU shouldn't be Patchman. Who? Well, come along with us and find out. We have so much to show you... epic plot twists, mind-blowing theme, and all that.
Later, when we add more episodes, this Steam package will contain them for FREE! I must apologize as the budget behind this game is tiny and as such the technical visual quality isn't as amazing as your average game is expected to be these days. But what we lack in tech we made up for in clever gameplay and unique story!
You can enter our leaderboard contest to win a coffee mug just by playing on Steam, but we'll have one more never-done-before contest announced next week. It should be a doozy!
At the end of the year we'll be sending out Championship Coffee Mugs to the top players on our Steam leaderboards! We'll take a snapshot of the best scores at the end of each year, post them, and if you're on it you'll just need to contact us to claim your mug by sending us your mailing address. We hope to run the same contest every year.
For the best scores, and to be logged on Fastest Time boards, we advise playing on HARD difficulty mode.
You can see full information about the contest here:
We've added 6 trading cards to the game! The first five feature Patchman fighting one of the bosses in the game, while the final card is a special rare victory card showing Patchman on top of a pile of broken drones. In this card Patchman has all the power, as he holds the hoe, the most useful gardening tool, and in the other hand he holds the comic book, so he knows the truth...
We want to show them off but then that would spoil the fun of collecting them!
After a lot of debate, we've made a significant change to our game mechanics. The hoe, shovel, and axe have all been modified and placed in different levels. Why? Part of the reason is that the hoe was always supposed to be the most powerful tool, the goto for Patchman, but it turned out the shovel became by far the best tool to take with you from the shack.
OLD TOOL POWERS:
Hoe - Removes low plants from the ground/soil Shovel - Digs new soil Axe - Removes larger plants from the ground/soil
NEW TOOL POWERS:
Axe - Removes most plants and bushes Hoe - Creates new soil from grassy tiles Shovel - Digs near water and rivers to expand them
This new setup gives a broader range of actions Patchman can do!
The unfortunate part is that now you get the Axe first, and that seems a bit out of place, not getting the Hoe until the Sheeple Rush level. Also, the Axe is misleading because players tend to think it can be used to attack Drones or Sheeple... but it's really not meant to do that. So we may even at some point replace the Axe with a less "offensive" tool.
All the tools still need more balancing. The hoe is a bit overpowerful, so we are thinking of ways to tone it down a bit. The overpower doesn't really make the game way easier, just slower. If you can hoe unlimited soil and grow too many plants, the simulation will just slow down. So we want to have a way to limit that, whether it's weeds or grass that overgrow your extra soil, or something else...
I am very proud to announce the release of DON'T BE PATCHMAN: EPISODE ONE.
What is Episode One? There weren't any episodes before! Well, the game has grown too big, so now there are episodes. Each island is an episode. The first island is Episode One, it's the forest island with Red Drones and the Circle Boss, plus Granny and the House Sheeple. It contains four comic book pages to collect, each with it's own music. There are ten levels, some of them are quite complex. The last level, the circle boss level, has a NEW surprise ending when you beat it!
There are a TON of new features in this release. Procedural generation is a big one! Level Nine is a drone factory maze that changes every time you play it. Many of the levels have what I call "partial" procedural generation, the level as a whole "feels" the same every time you play, but a lot of things are moved around each time, creating a unique experience for every player. Other features that are new include story dialogs, effects level setting, shack menu, swarm levels, drone sight scanners, orange prediction power, poster counts, new music and sound, drone garages, destructive beam machines, shovel tool, stomach UI, joystick hints, and more...
We will continue to provide each episode to our Steam players as part of this Early Access package. When all four islands are complete, it will be spun up into one big package and given a full and Final Release! Now that all the systems of the game are in place, we will be able to roll out the next islands quicker than the first one.
Today it has been released for Linux 64 bit. Linux 32 support has been removed due to Steam removal of that platform. Windows will be next, followed by OSX. We are happy to say we *finally* have a working OSX version! It only has a couple graphics glitches and isn't fully integrated into Steam yet, but worse case it won't have the Steam overlay to start, I'm working on it now tho.
NOTE: This is the EARLY ACCESS release of Episode One. Which is basically like a beta version. Once this game transitions to Release, then Episode One is out of beta as well.
This includes a LOT of new content and features, including seven comic book pages and a new main menu. There are still a ton of features waiting to be deployed that are used in later levels.
Patchman is no longer a SteamOS/Linux exclusive. While we were the first to do so, we're no longer the only one. We're passing the torch along to another game, will anyone else take it?
KNOWN ISSUES: - Sometimes the Back button the Comics stops working - Sometimes respawn on Easy/Medium for Level 5 crashes - Hints are a bit quirky or not optimal sometimes We've issued fixes for these but aren't 100% sure they are solved.
LINUX RELEASE NOTES: - If you are on Linux and experience troubles launching after upgrade, please uninstall and reinstall.
It was always a hope to add animated cutscenes into the game. At one point I (developer Dave) had taken inspiration from Super Meat Boy and tried my hand at animating a scene using Synfig (an opensource Flash-like tool). That didn't work out well enough to go forward.
Karly MacDonald was asked to try her hand at a cutscene. She successfully created a test scene and I successfully integrated it into the engine, displaying it before Level 5 (factory boss fight). This scene never shipped with the Early Alpha tho, because I didn't want players to expect more of them until I knew for sure we could commit to them. While Karly did her job, the remaining scenes were canceled due to the looming unaffordable expense. You can see a video of it here:
The cutscene worked, but the effort involved in just this little scene would have to be multiplied many times over to get a real story going.
So... no cutscenes possible, but did we give up? No! Another approach was conjured up! What if we told the story in another fashion, instead of animated, we could have a series of pages and panels?
Ihor and I sat down over a series of meetings and discussed the feasibility of this plan. We decided we could do 10 pages over a course of two months, and thus we started on it. Ihor created an interested test page set to the pace of his own music:
Then Dave started storyboarding, which was far more difficult and agonizing than anticipated. It took a month of on/off sketching to get a semi-acceptable storyboard. Even then, we changed and tweaked the storyboard as we went and decided to add more pages to flesh out the story a bit more. Finally we ended up with a 15 page comic book that we have finished this week!
COLLECTING THE PAGES
As you move Patchman about the game world, you have the opportunity to find each page of the comic book, collect them, and complete the entire set.
PLOT TWISTS AND SHOCKERS
You may be thinking: "But don't I already know the whole story of Patchman? Didn't you write it out?" Yes, you know the gist of it, but not the details, and what's more important, you don't know the source of the whole plan behind the Drones and control of the Sheeple, the origin of Patchman, and more epic plot twists that we won't even hint at here.
As you collect the final pages, the story will tie together, bits and pieces of the game you may have thought were trivial take on relevance, and the full meaning behind the title of the game will make sense.
Furthermore, the comic is only what happened BEFORE the game takes place. So there are more surprises in store as you continue on through the game, including the ending(s).
NO WORDS CAN SAY
And yet through all this there are no words in the game beyond the title screen and some explanatory menu labels. These are all available for translation to Unicode languages. We did experiment with adding captions to the comics, and we'll leave those as an Easter egg that you can enable by entering a secret code. These can also be translated to other languages.
It has been extremely challenging to craft a game and story without using any words or sentences! We even worry if this will impact the game negatively, but it's one of the early artistic choices we made, and think it leaves room for contemplation and interpretation of the events. Also, after testing and receiving feedback for the comic, a fair share of people complained about the poorly written dialog, and a high majority agreed that the words weren't necessary as the pictures were enough to get the plot points across.
We still have a lot of work left to complete levels, bosses, integrate more art, endings, special effects, and sound. But we are getting so close to the end and release! "When exactly" is hard to predict as our lead/sole programmer Dave has limited time to work on this (not by choice). There are countless new features just waited to be shipped and played with...