We spent the last two weeks asking a bunch of questions. What is the game missing? Is there really ever going to be a cure for male pattern baldness? Was that sandwich that I just ate from the fridge mine? No matter! Youre not interested in our thoughts, youre interested in our progress!
FILEBROWSER: Weve fixed the bug that forgets the last folder you visited. Sorry about that!
LEVEL CREATION: WHHHHHHHAT? Yes. Everyone has started putting their fingers into the pie that is level design over here. We thought, why not you too? We added City 5, and kept the uncompiled version of the file in there for you to mess around with it. Perhaps youll discover something that we havent. If youre afraid of level design, or programming, or the possibility to change the world, then you can just play the level. As is. Without making it more awesome. Thats cool too.
To promote the launch of level creation, were going to give away an extra copy of the game to the first five creators that post a video of their level.
Michael here! This update is filled with things that you guys have been asking for, so I hope youre happy! (When I read that line to myself, the voice is a guilt-tripping grandmother. I really dont mean it like that, though.)
FILEBROWSER: ID3 support. Song duration. Scrollbars. Mouse wheel support. CAN YOU CONTAIN YOURSELF?
NEW MENU: Ive done a quick overhaul of the main menu. Its still a long way from complete, but this should alleviate some of the resolution issues users were having with smaller resolutions. This will be evolving in look and feel over time, but its the start on my thoughts of how Azumi will interact with data before and after her jumps.
BUG FIXES: Weve hopefully fixed some issues with Beatbox and PCG that was breaking level loading for some of you. Try the game out again and let us know if youre back in the action. I also snuck a little optimization in there when Dave and Ichiro werent looking.
With this update, there are no immediate changes to gameplay or level creation. Were planning on hunkering down for the next few weeks to try some different gameplay ideas that weve been cooking up. Many of them are inspired by the amazing conversation thats been going on, so keep on talking to us!
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and what third question I should have finished this post with.
June 10th, 2013 -- Ugly Baby Update -- What Year Is It?!
This is an interesting build! So interesting, we didnt want to hold it from you any longer. There are a *lot* of ideas cooking in here. If youve been following along on the blog, we spent a couple weeks crunching on some ideas. There were a bunch of ups and downs, mostly downs … because were falling... thats a BASE jumping joke guys, we had a great time.
NEW LEVELS: Dave and Ichiro have been working on tying music and level design together (see levels 3-1 and 4), making sure levels change over time so as to allay boredom (see level 3), and have added tutorials (levels 1 and 2).
STORY: Azumi Pentak, 27, Boston Sky. Only daughter of Gertrude Pentak and Azumi Azahi. Punched her musical jury and went into Machine Intelligence. Blind by birth. Hacks her vision.
TWITCH.TV: HOLY MOLY! NEW FANGLED TECHNOLOGY THAT LETS YOU STREAM RIGHT FROM THE GAME! NO EXTRA SOFTWARE NEEDED! We even put a neat catchphrase on the setup screen for them: Sign Up. Login. Broadcast. We should probably charge them for that. Give it a whirl: sign up with them at http://twitch.tv/, and login in the game to give it a try.
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and leave some links of your Twitch streams!
Are you hungry? Amy apparently wants you to be. Whats that, you say? Staying away from the carbs? Well, hopefully this update is just as delicious.
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE: Michael went all crazy with the UI! Brand spanking new graphics to tickle your eyes. Hes a perfectionist, so he says hes not done yet. How do you think its coming along? What can you figure out from it? What doesnt make sense?
GAMEPLAY: A new stunt has joined buzzes and grooves, because they were getting lonely. Meet the NEEDLE! Can you figure out how to do it? Gameplay has changed slightly, so listen closely. Get near anything to buzz an object. Orient the world to your stomach (bottom of the screen), to groove. If you hit things, you damage your sensor. If your sensors damaged, you cant do stunts! As your sensor detects stuff, you build up a score multiplier, so keep doing stunts!
VISUALIZER: Daves research continues to pay off. Play level one with some fast/heavy music. Dubstep, Rock, Death Metal, EDM. Thats all Im sayin.
Wed like to personally call out, the progress bar feature in this recent update was due in part to a user suggesting it. Im an awful person and cant remember who did originally, so if it was you, thank you, keep em coming!
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and where you think Michaels running off to next week. He wont tell us.
April 26th, 2013 Ugly Baby Update -- 011110100110000101110000011001000110111101110100
Michael here, with some more updatey goodness to share with all of you. Check it out:
GAMEPLAY: Stunts have slightly changed. Buzzes now happen whenever you get close enough to any object, exactly how kisses worked in AAAAA! Grooves are now only rewarded if you pass by something on your stomach. Rotate with your mouse buttons and orient yourself before you... disorient yourself.
INPUT: Weve changed how rotation works and feels in the game. Hows it feel to you now?
LEVELS: Dave updated levels 2, 4, 5 and 6. Hes created a new algorithm that blends the patterns that are created based on the stress of the music. This means that similar sections of a song should look similar within the game. Check these levels out again, youll find theyre quite a new experience now.
Lastly, we think we have fixed the decompression issue a small percentage of users were having. Those who were affected previously, and could not seem to decompress any music, please let us know if this resolves your issue.
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and what other awesome indie games we should be playing this weekend.
Howdy! PAX and GDC were fantastic and we loved the opportunity to meet with many of our beautiful fans. While the past two weeks were busy, we managed to whip up something for everyone. Dropping the deets:
* PERFORMANCE: We had a few users that needed to kick their resolution down, otherwise the game would stop generating the level at some point in the song. There have been a few important changes that should let you kick the game up a notch. If this previously affected you, please let us know how the game is playing now -- we now consistently hit 60FPS on Dave's AMD Turion II X2 M500/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570.
* FILE BROWSER: Michael got this amazing idea: let players browse their folders on their drives to get to their music, rather than force you to copy into a folder we specify. So, thats in.
* VISUALS: We made some visualizer updates and tweaks for PAX, you now have those in the cities.
* ANALYSIS: Andy was able to make another improvement to BeatBox, our song analysis tech. This means songs that weve previously cached the analysis, the game will need to re-run it. This update helps us *much* more accurately detect beats for slower/less stressful music.
* FRIENDS: We've been including music from indie studios Fire Hose Games, 82 Apps, Part 12, Hybrid Mind, and more. What do you like, and who else do you want to hear?
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and your favorite way to eat potatoes.
Weve been continuing to integrate your feedback into the game. Here's the latest:
GAMEPLAY: Weve taken two of our levels, and put you in control via the Genetics Lab. When you unlock cities Five and Six, youre able to control the level's DNA via three variables: FATNESS, SPREAD and SALT. Take some screenshots or videos of what your levels look like; were looking forward to what you guys come up with.
FEEDBACK: Weve temporarily replaced the proximity sensor (the big circle on the screen) with some pretty awesome particle effects that show up when you get close to stuff. We also added some popups to show you when and where youve done some stunts. How does it look?
VISUALS: Michael just finished laying the groundwork for a new background visualizer. At its very basic level, it allows us to easily animate the background color of the world as youre flying through it. It also will let us create some animated and awesome background imagery to further enhance your experience. If you have any ideas for visualizers, please feel free to share them.
ANALYSIS: There was a last minute improvement to BeatBox, our song analysis tech. This update helps us *much* more accurately detect beats for EDM and bass-heavy songs.
One last thing: were playing with the idea of letting you rotate yourself within the world. Press the mouse buttons to rotate left or right. How does it feel? Do you think thatd be a fun addition for gameplay? Weve got a few ideas were going to keep under our collective hats right now. Did you notice that Dave was wearing a hat in our video? He always does that.. whats he hiding under there?
As always, tell us what you love, what you hate, and what youre doing this weekend. (Well be at PAX East!) =============================================================
March 1st, 2013
Update Name: The Fattest Baby is the Cutest
Some gritty details of our work:
- Stunts! Nine of them! Build up a huge combo, but be careful to not risk it all! - A level select, and three different levels for you to play in. Tell us what you like about each of them, and which ones you like most. - Performance improvements to balance out the crazy colors that we've been throwing into the game. - You can take screenshots now, just hit F12 at any time. They'll be in the "Screenshots" folder in the game directory. - A proximity sensor. A segmented circle shows up where nearby things are to you, and how close you're getting to them. - Caching for some of our level loading stuff, so you should be seeing faster load times. - Three new songs! (Two from Morgan Packard, and another one from Hybrid Mind Studios)
The feedback from you guys has been absolutely awesome so far, development continues to move along. We decided to take a chunk of time and dedicate February to really refining where we want the gameplay to go. This build should show a great base for where we're going.
Previously we had you collect two different types of pickups. One for Signal, which increases your multiplier and beautifies the level, and another simply for points. Some of you mentioned wanting to do more than that, so we took that feedback and folded it into a brand-new stunt system!
It builds off of some gameplay reminiscient to Aaaaa! If you pass by an object quickly, you get a buzz. If you pass alongside an object for an extended amount of time, you get a groove. As you build combinations and perturbations of these movements, you'll be able to discover up to eight different stunts we've thrown in, AS A START.
We're pretty excited about this whole thing, we think it's going to open up a whole new way for you to re-experience and explore your music. Tell us what you think.
- Unicode song names still doesn't work. =============================================================
February 1st, 2013
Update Name: Task Master
Ichiro says: Our goal was to bump the fun up one notch and get the music-to-level connection up one notch. (We ain't there yet, but we're closer!) We've started looking at individual songs and considering how they should look in the game. For example, we wanted Enya's A Day Without Rain to feel open and free, like a toddler who's simultaneously discovered the twin concepts of nudity and running down the street. So, when the game hears a song that's low-energy, the playing field opens up all big-like, and the obstacles leave.
We're also just now starting to make different songs feel different in other ways. We run what we call a mutator over a level on certain tracks, so if you try a handful of different ones, you should see some variation between them.
Known Issues: - The game still chokes on files with unicode characters. Youll have to rename it in order to play it for now, sorry. - More excuses incoming!
We hope you guys had a great new year. We spent some time chewing on your feedback, drinking far too much eggnog, and stretching our legs with the tools that weve built so far. This update continues to focus on making gameplay more fun, and making visuals feel even more visceral.
- New Mechanics! Collecting signal truly plays into the visual feel of the game now, and affects the multiplier of our brand-spanking-new secondary point pickup. Max out your signal and grab as many points as you can. Point multiplier from 1x to 3x depending on your signal %. (Twist: Signal drains slowly during normal gameplay.) - The level constricts and expands depending on the feel of the song you're listening to. - Added mousewheel scrolling to the filebrowser - No less than 537 optimizations. The game should run beautifully and smoothly on your toaster. - Added a crosshair, and tweaked the movement and camera angle a good bit. (Protip: Weve added three different crosshairs. Press F1 to toggle between all of them. Tell us which one is your favorite.)
- The game still chokes on files with unicode characters. Youll have to rename it in order to play it for now, sorry. - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a convincing complaint about all the Reddit spam he's been putting out. The most convincing person will get an alpha key to Drunken Robot Pornography, because why not. - Thats it, were only allowed to have one bug in the game. =============================================================
December 21st, 2012
Update Name: Rabid Wumpus
That's two updates in one month. We are not kidding around here. Our focus at the moment is SPEED. Does the game feel like it's more fun than the first build for its fastness?
We'll make it more fun in other ways as well -- more mechanics, better controls. Maybe WASD or gamepad, as Wuggly says. But right now, think "speed." Thanks for reading.
Changelog: - Fixed FileBrowser Bugs (see previous thread) - Speed Improvements for slower systems. - Signal Level is displayed on the screen UI during gameplay. - More visual feedback when you level your signal up. - Gameplay speed moves 3x faster. - Added two new sub pattern types (Doom Hoops and Death Elbows!) - Stopped signal pickups from moving. - Don't allow signal pickups outside of bass tube. - Slowed flower pieces movement speed and amount. - Increased amount of initial signal to pickup when game starts. - Reduced number of pieces in outside bass tube. - Reduced amount and size of debris field type patterns. - Reduced size of star field patterns. - Spicy Mountain Lion - Other misc balancing tweaks to the level to adjust for faster gameplay speed.
Ladies and gents, may I present you with the first playable Steam pre-release build in about 50 billion years.
- Lots of research on Procedural Content Generation (PCG). - We re-wrote the game from the ground up in Unity. It's now all in Unity + Python, making it moddable and wonderful. - There's a new music analysis engine called BeatBox, which Andy Eiche created. We're just beginning to make use of this. - The guys from fellow Boston indie studios Zapdot (Michael Carriere) and Hybrid Mind Studios (Dave Evans) are working with us full time now. Michael's focused on Unity, and Dave and I are focused on the PCG side of things. - In the past year and a half, we've tested dozens of mechanics. What you're seeing is the very first Unity build we're releasing to the wild. Let us know what you think. NOTE: We're trying a few new things out in this build. Some will be awesome; some, we'll want to change. Let us know what you like and feel we could improve.
So! After many 4am nights of not getting the freakin' music-to-level algorithm right, I've decided to go back to basics. What's a simple, yet utterly satisfying twitch experience that should be at the game's core? What should the game even look like?
My friends, the early answer to these is in a new city. Play the game, and select the city with the big question mark on it. That's what I'm working on now. Try it out, and tell me (yanno, Facebook or Twitter) if it's fun, and if it syncs with your music. I think we're making progress.
Day one. Missed call. Partied all night with that platinum midget fellow and Urbano. I want to decide who lives and who dies. No, forget that. Just forget it all. What does the rest of it all mean? Not just life, but the universe as well. When will I find true love? What's the melody that holds the key to my heart? What do uplifts care, anyway?