SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
Another month, another alpha. With apologies to "Spinal Tap", this one goes to 11!

This release is entirely about bug-fixing. As it turns out, supporting multible avatars across network duels has the little critters multiply like crazy. Even though most of them aren't of the game-breaking kind, they do distract and annoy.

We should now have eliminated most of them, but are still tracking an especially annoying one that involves invisibility. This release has some debugging code baked in to help us get a better cross section of debug info. Note that we can't access this info ourselves. It always requires your active and willing participation to get that data to us. Should you contact us with a bug report, we might therefore ask you to copy and paste that data into an email to us.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
Ok, so we were a bit optimistic about how long we'd take to bring multiple avatars to networking. And yes, there's still the aberrant optical glitch occasionally when you blink in network play (although we think it's specific to some graphics hardware).

Anyway, you now can take on your favorite avatar to unleash the fury of your spells on some hapless denizen of the internet.

Other changes are minor tweaks to the way the sound is mixed (which should cut down on the clicking noise some of you may have experienced), and a complete re-build of the internal messaging engne that was causing some performance bottlenecks during scene switching.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
This is a big update (and not just by download size). Alpha 9 brings a host of improvements:

  • Player-selectable avatars:
    Until today, you always played as 'Aria', the hooded wizard (the one you also faced off in the Shield tutorial and one of the Solo Duels). Now, you can choose between five different Avatars, Aria among them (the others being: Zediuk, Fionna, Kas'Danel and Artemis. Let's see if you can match the names correctly to the Avatras). Note that we need to tweak the individual avatar joint bending routines. We are currently using a general reverse-kinetic routine that works for all skeletons, but since all Avatars have slightly different skeletons, the currently might look strange for certain movements or if your height doesn't fit that of our testers.

  • Solo Level multi-avatar support
    All the Solo levels (but not the networked) now support the new multi-avatar system. This only applies to those levels that originally supported an avatar, e.g. channeling and invisibility tutorials, and the Shokkrange. Other solo levels (e.g. thsi missile or shield tutorial) remain avatar-less

  • Avatar Chamer with Vanity-inducing Mirrors
    You need a way to change into the other avatars, and we built a brand new special room just for that purpose. We then added functioning mirrors (!) to this room, so you can spend hours there, gazing into the mirror, admiring yourself. This new chanmber is accessible from the "home" room.

  • Three new audio tracks
    The network level 'Breach', and solo levels "Invisibility tutorial" and "Avatar Chamber" all have received brand new audio tracks

  • More vanity in the Library
    The Solo Library has received a mirror. It's been delivered, but still requires correct placement. It's currently stowed behind the leather comfy chair.

  • Mac Parity
    This release brings full Mac parity to all visual effects. Please note that the OSX implementation of VR still lags in performance behind Windows by a significant margin (30%-50%). On full settings we get stutters using a Vive Pro an an AMD Vega 64 - which does not happen in Windows on the same machine (using BootCamp). This needs to be looked at by Apple, there is nothing we can do.

  • Other changes
    We continue to tweak the visual f/x. Ambent Occlusion and Anti-Aliasing still aren't where we want them to be, but it's getting much better.

Enjoy!
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
As you probably have noticed, there was no January update – the reason for that being that we took a long-overdue break after spending the last two weeks of the Year battling the (still on-going) hack attempts on our site, and celebrating various superstition-based events.

We returned mid-January to work with renewed zeal on SpellShokked. This (and the next) release will feature improved graphics. Since we got our long-overdue graphics hardware update, we were able to finally test the update to the graphics that underly the 'I want even more pretty stuff' preference. The graphics tune-up is on a by-scene basis, as we must hand-tune each scene individually.
For each scene, we individually calibrated color saturation, contrast, and hue. We also provide (in some scenes) a subtle sub-pixel sharpening. The last update is causing is some headache (luckily not literally, just a figure of speech), as whenever display text (as in the Aftermagic display), the sharpen render effect produces some artifacts.

We have added the new, improved visuals to the following scenes:
- Splash / Welcome
- Intro (Blink Tutorial)
- Home
- Library
- Tutorials (Missile, Shield, Fireball/Meteor Strike, Ice Shard, Shokk Range, Channeling (Shield, Lightning, Guided Missile, Invisibility)
- Duel Selector
- Solo Fights (Skeleton Rush, Necromancer, Cliffs, Darkness)

In other words: all tutorial- and solo levels have been updated, the network levels are planned to be updated for the next release.

There have been some other changes under the hood, but they are mostly minor. And of course there are lots of minor bugs and annoyances that we (hopefully) removed permanently.

On a negative side, this release is PC-only, as we still need to macOS-proof the grphics update (which, given the Mac's poor performance even with a Vega64 graphics GPU, will only a few people notice). The macOS support for increase eye-candy will follow in four weeks at latest.

Finally, this update provides full support for Vive PRO.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
We have just released Alpha 7 to Steam. This is basically a 'Mac Compatibility' release, as the Mac versions had some show-stopping bugs that we had to address first. We also are in the progress of updating our range of test machines, and getting all the graphics cards set up correctly does take some time - especially when dealing with Macs and eGPU (those things may eat some performance, yes, but HECK do they allow you to beef up yourtiny Macs gfx abilities!).

We also continue to be under attack from asocial elements, averaging some 2'000 hack attempts per day, most of them automated, and most of them originating from Russia (that's not to say that the Russians are attacking us, but there sure are a lot of machines located in Russia that are targeting us). This, unfortunately, has also been a drain on our ability to add more levels ans spells to SpellShokked.

Finally, we are looking at a replacement network infrastructure for our current UNet layer, as Unity (the engine we use to develop SpellShokked) has announced that they are discontinuing their service within the next four years. So we thinks it's better to start looking now and migrate within the next 12-18 months, rather than being left behind.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
So there's some good news and some bad.

The good news is that we deliver the November release on schedule. The bad is that we weren't able to add all we wanted, nor in the quality we usually ensure.

The November update is a purely graphics update: we have spent almost two entire months on two major improvements:
- Anti-Aliasing
- Ambient Shadows

Anti-Aliasing is especially important in VR because we move our heads in minute ways, and horizontal or vertical lines that only change slightly begin to shimmer noticeably. Anti-Aliasing technology has matured lately, moving onto GPU and providing decent relief at reasonable performance cost. Unfortunately, traditional Anti-Aliasing doesn't much help in VR, so the newest solutions rely on a relatively new technology called 'Temporal Anti-Aliasing' (or TAA for short). We have started integrating TAA into SpellShokked, and the PC version now can opt to turn on TAA.

Ambient Shadows (or 'Ambient Occlusion', AO) is a technology that improves the scene by implementing something that we all know happens, but isn't currently supported by standard rendering: the fact that shadows in corners are deeper than on normal surfaces. This is because in corners shadows tend to overlap each other. Spellshokked now has optional support for AO.

And here is the bad news: Our SpellShokked domain got attacked and still is under attack from anti-social elements that look for ways to peddle their usual trash: child-porn, pen*s pills, MAGA hats. We had to nuke and reinstall our entire main site, and constantly defend (clean out, improve security, maintain IP blocks) both our main and game site. This took so much time out of our normal schedule that we weren't able to ensure quality on TAA and OA, nor were we able to test it sufficiently with networking.
Furthermore, we know that TAA on the Mac is broken, so please don't turn it on if you are on a Mac. The fix is planned for the December update.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
Today saw the release of Alpha 5, a milestone release that brings a tremendously tactical spell to the duel levels: Invisibility. If you thought that fighting at close quarters was hair-raising enough, you'll definitely lose it when you know that your adversary might be lurking a few yards away, cloaked, and probably grinning.

Alpha 5 also adds a new tutorial level that doubles as a shooting range, and comes with a host of smaller additions. Invisibility is enabled in all network levels, but may require some additional debugging before it fully works as intended. Also, due to the nature of Invisibility, we may need to re-balance some of the duel levels.
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
The new (September) release of SpellShokked is now live on Staem - update now.

This release contains lots of small improvements (bug fixes, additional ambient audio, upgraded graphics for spell casting in solo levels, in-betwen level loading), new achievements, and a completely new network level ("The Bridge", titled 'though shall not pass" for reaons some people might understand). The new network level is adversarial with a new twist: standing close to the center of the bridge will start conjuring allies for your that start attacking the other player's bridge head. Player dynamics are very complex in this game, and we need to properly balance it. Also, there are some lingering bugs on the client side, but it's enough for a first peek.

This build is for Mac and PC

SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
The new release for SpellShokked is live on Steam - update now.

The new release delivers tons of tweaks to the network versions of the channeling spells (as you may have found out, they were a bit erratic). We've also added a new network level, with a new twist: it's co-op. You don't try to off each other, but prevent the skeletons from reaching the door. Yeah, 'hold the door!'.

We've also included an number of quality of life improvements, mostly under the hood, but you'l notice general increase of responsiveness when not in combat.

And if you make your way to the library, you can try out the new glyph generating visuals that we are about to bring to all combat levels. No longer chunky lightnings, but smooth energy flows. The new visuals look absolutely great, but require some performance tweaking, and need to be integrated with network code, which will take some significant changes.
Jul 16, 2018
SpellShokked! - cfx code nut
Alpha 2 has been released with the following enhancements:
  • 3 new spells: guided missile, channeled shield, lightning
    The new spells are available in network (requires more extensive testing), library, and the new ‘darkness’ level
  • 2 new levels: Channeling Tutorial and ‘Darkness’
    The new level and tutorial are available once you complete the ShokkRange, or check the relevant override in the Game Settings menu
  • Additional Audio and animations for spellcasting
  • Numerous bug fixes, enhancments to the tutorials
  • spell mechanics: fire balls can be shot down
  • tweaks to light quality in many levels
The new release is live on steam
...

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