Deleveled - jpnance
Wow! What can we even say? PAX was absolutely amazing for us and we're so, so grateful that we were able to be a part of this year's PAX 10. A huge thanks to the more-than-500 (!) of you who came over and played our demo, as well as to everyone who just heard out our pitch or took a card! Everybody was so incredibly nice and it was a ton of fun talking with all of you!

Our big announcement for PAX was that Deleveled will now also be coming out on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, in addition to Steam and Switch. The added publicity we knew would come from our PAX 10 selection motivated us to take another look at the other platforms and we decided it'd be worth it to port ourselves over there, too. We're thrilled to have what, in 2019, is considered a full coverage launch, especially with everything being on track for a simultaneous release.

Over the last month, our efforts have been divided between polishing and playtesting the levels we've got, improving the overall visual polish of the game, and, of course, preparing ourselves for PAX. Level-wise, we're about two-thirds of the way through polishing everything up and the vast majority of the levels do, at least, exist at this point. There's still a ton of work to do there but it's humming along at a good clip. Visuals-wise, we've been experimenting with some new background art (some screenshots of which you can see on Twitter) and also iterating on some small details that improve the overall feel of the game. We're hoping to have much more to come on this in the next monthly update.

In September, our aim is to have every single level in the game polished, playtested, and ready to go, as well as have the soundtrack in a more-or-less finalized state. We also hope to have the major things surrounding game flow ironed out: the main menu, a "you finished the level!" screen, etc. These are the things that will really make Deleveled start feeling much more like a video game and less like a cool demo.

Again, thank you so, so much for stopping by our booth and checking us out! If you want all of the latest news, give @DeleveledGame a follow. You can see what Kyle's up to figuratively at @toasterfuel and literally at his Twitch stream. If you're interested in--let's be honest--my baseball takes, follow me over at @jpnance. As always, please consider adding us to your wishlist and sharing this post with your friends who might be interested!

Patrick
Aug 13
Deleveled - jpnance
"The last mile" is a phrase used in a variety of contexts but, generally, it refers to the final connection made between product and user. A grid of power lines in a city isn't very useful unless it's actually wired up to apartments and houses. A well considered set of bus stops doesn't have much value unless people who want to use the bus will be able to get to them. For the Deleveled team, the alpha build we've taken to shows for feedback is great but it's not much of a video game you feel like you should pay for if it doesn't have some menus and a soundtrack. So, over the last month, we've tried to focus largely on that last mile that Deleveled still needs to travel before we really start feeling like it can be released.

For Kyle, this meant designing and implementing our basic user interface. Although, during gameplay, we're trying our very best to avoid any notion of permanent UI, we still need, for instance, a level select screen. For that, we've decided to use a paradigm that we both first saw in a fun game called Golf Peaks: the main menu and level select screen will be combined into one. We're still very much iterating on the looks of things but the functionality is coming together nicely.

On my side, it was high time for me to focus on music. Over the lifecycle of Deleveled, I've been jotting down musical ideas (using the excellent FamiTracker) but haven't, until now, really sat down to focus on fleshing any of them out. We're ambitiously shooting for a unique track to accompany each of ten worlds, in addition to having separate music for the menu, the credits, and a couple of other miscellaneous situations. In total, our soundtrack could very well end up being an entire album's worth of tracks. The good news is that I now have a totally reasonable set of music to polish up and make ready for production; the bad news is that that totally reasonable set of music still, in fact, needs to be polished up and made ready for production. That'll happen over the next month or two and, by the time we get to the next monthly update, I should have a SoundCloud link to share with everyone.

Some other assorted things we've been working on include but are not limited to: 1) actually nailing down all the text that's going to be in the game so we can get it translated into nearly twenty other languages; 2) implementing a "metric of mastery" into the game so there's a difference between just beating a level and perfecting it; and 3) polishing up every single existing level so that it's actually (hopefully) fun to play. If you're thinking #3 on that list sounds like a bit more than just an "assorted thing you've been working on", have I got a paragraph for you!

Indeed, level polish has been a huge undertaking. Frankly, even though we've pushed back the release date and changed the scope of this game several times since January, level polish is the first time that I personally feel like I've just drastically underestimated how much time something would take. For every single one of the hundred-plus levels we've created, in addition to documenting its solution as well as any alternative solutions that I know of, I'm affording myself a little time to just sort of goof around with it. "What if this switch were over there?" "What if these exits were actually switches and those switches were exits?" "Can you even hit these two switches together?" "Is this level too ugly?" The time it takes to answer each of those questions is hugely variable and what I thought would take a week (two, tops, no problem!) is easily going to fill three and possibly four. By the next update, I've got my fingers crossed that the book on level design will, once and for all, be closed.

Finally, with PAX coming up (and, in case you missed it, we'll be featured among this year's PAX 10 showcase!), we've spent a chunk of time making sure we're ready to go for what will easily be Deleveled's biggest show. We've created a big banner to hang up, made a new run of business cards, and even got some T-shirts for the occasion. (I can't remember who I heard this from but somebody once said, very roughly, "Your game is just so much more official if it's got a T-shirt.") We're excited, stressed, eager, and anxious, all at the same time. If you'll be at PAX this year, come visit and calm us down!

Though we've been a little more off-the-grid lately, rest assured, Kyle will still rarely tweet and regularly stream very soon. I, on the other hand, am still regularly tweeting (about baseball) and never streaming. Collectively, all of the latest screenshots, GIFs, and cat pictures can be found at @DeleveledGame.

Patrick
Deleveled - jpnance
If there's anything I've learned about writing monthly video game updates, it's that there always ends up being a lede at risk of being buried. So, as usual, let there be no mistake as to what the big news of the day is:

DELEVELED WILL BE FEATURED IN THIS YEAR'S PAX 10 LINEUP.

As you might guess from the uppercase letters, we're REALLY excited about this. PAX 10 is a showcase of ten hand-picked indie games at PAX West. We applied on a lark a couple of months ago and were absolutely over the moon to learn that we'd been selected by the judges. It certainly doesn't hurt that, for us, PAX West is local. So, if you'll be there this year, we'll be demoing all day, all four days. Come by, say hi, and move some squares around!

Less exciting but just as meaningful, a few weeks ago, we released an alpha version of Deleveled to a handful of our friends so we could get some broad feedback on gameplay mechanics and feel. The notes we've been able to take have been incredibly helpful and will play a big part in making sure Deleveled is the best it can be upon release. Generally speaking, people seem to like the game, which, you know, is a very good thing. They're a little more mixed about some mechanics we're experimenting with, which is also a good thing because it gives us some data points to work with when we make final decisions on what to include in the game.

As of this past Monday, we officially have a full set of game levels in the books (which is really exciting for me because it means I can take a little break from level design and work on something else). There's still a ton of playtesting and polish that needs to happen on them but we're on track to meet our clearly stated and well defined goal of "tons" of levels. That is, depending on how much you think a level weighs. In any case, we're shooting for a lot.

In the coming weeks, I'll be focusing much more closely on audio, filling in some missing sound effects as well as composing the soundtrack. Kyle has been working hard on the various menus and flow that the game will need when it releases and he'll be tightening up the gameplay and iterating on our visuals very soon.

If you want the latest breaking Deleveled news, go give @DeleveledGame a follow. If you're more interested in Kyle, he's at @ToasterFuel; if I'm more your style, I'm at @jpnance. Also, drop by one of Kyle's gamedev streams on Twitch and scrutinize his code. (That's probably the meanest thing that I could say to a fellow programmer. I already regret it.)

Patrick
Jun 10
Deleveled - jpnance
Every month is a busy month nowadays but May felt particularly jam-packed for us. Kyle started out the Deleveled road show by taking our demo to the iFEST Indie Game Showcase where he got a ton of good feedback from real players. We followed that up a week later by working a table at PocketGamer Connects Seattle, which is much more of an industry trade show. There, we participated in a game-pitch event and ended up placing second, earning us a nice chunk of gift certificate to use for advertising later on. (That means our advertising budget is now officially more than $0! Our publisher is very proud of us!) We wrapped up the month by heading down to Renton City Retro, a small but very well attended retrogaming expo. There, we had a ton of fun connecting with more players as well as several other developers in the Seattle Indies community.

...and, boy, are our arms tired!

The hits kept on coming last week, though, as our publisher sent out a press release to officially announce to the games press that Deleveled: 1) exists; and 2) will be coming to both Steam and Nintendo Switch this autumn! Along with that announcement, we finally released our first trailer, which you can watch either on our store page or over on YouTube. We're very happy with it and hope you will be, too! (Not so secretly, also very happy to be working on other things now.)

In addition to the road show and the super-official publicity, we've submitted Deleveled to both the Seattle Indies Expo and PAX 10 and we're very hopeful that, one way or another, we'll be able to share the game with the PAX crowd this summer. Besides those events, though, we have no plans to be anywhere else, which allows us to stay focused on our very precise autumn 2019 release "date".

For the immediate future, Kyle and I are both working to release a small alpha build to some of our friends this week. If you're interested in being a part of that group, please do get in touch however is most convenient and we'll let you know what we're looking for! Longer-term, we're planning on launching a beta somewhere in the next four-to-six weeks that we hope will much more closely resemble the look and feel of a final product. Our to-do list has, roughly, one million things on it so we'll be plenty busy this month.

As always, if you want the latest updates and coolest time-lapse videos, @DeleveledGame is the account to follow. You can also follow Kyle directly at @ToasterFuel and myself at @jpnance. As well, if you want to literally watch Deleveled be developed, hit up Kyle's Twitch stream during business hours on weekdays and fire some Nerf balls at him.

Patrick
Deleveled - jpnance
I'm not going to bury the lede here. Last week, we made the decision to officially team up with Ty Taylor and the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild to bring Deleveled to the Nintendo Switch eShop when it releases later this year. To say the least, this is incredibly exciting news for us. We don't have much else to share on that front right now but we're shooting to show up simultaneously on Steam and Switch so you'll get to pick up our puzzle-platformer on your preferred platform. (Also, I sometimes overdo it with alliteration.)

Since our most recent update, Kyle and I have been working hard to make Deleveled a bit more visually interesting. Our aesthetic for the game has (obviously) been quite minimal up to this point and we don't plan on straying far from that. We have, however, always wanted to explore how the game felt with some cool geometric background art, though, and we've begun mocking up and implementing some of our favorite concepts. We feel good enough about several of them that I went ahead and updated our screenshot gallery on this very store page. We're hoping that every background we end up using will have some level of animation and even responsiveness to what's going on in the game world.

Submissions are open for the Seattle Indies Expo, an annual showcase during PAX West weekend of the best independent games from the Pacific Northwest. Deleveled was originally conceived at last year's Seattle Indies Game Jam and we've gotten a ton of support from our local community since resuming development on it in January. We very much want to show off what will hopefully be an almost-released game at SIX later this year so we're working hard on the main piece of the submission requirements that we don't yet have: a gameplay trailer. Naturally, that trailer will also be posted here once it's done, hopefully within the next week or two.

Finally, Kyle manned the demo table this past weekend at the iFEST Indie Game Festival. He and a ton of other local indie developers showed off their games and got a ton of good feedback that we'll, of course, be taking into account as we continue our work. The long and short of the feedback we got is that "people still seem to like this game", which, you know: whew! Thanks a ton to everybody who stopped by and to iFEST for putting on such a cool event for our community!

As always, if you're interested in seeing more of the day-to-day progress we're making on Deleveled, give @DeleveledGame a follow on Twitter. Find Kyle at @ToasterFuel and me at @jpnance.

Patrick
Deleveled - jpnance
As we continue chipping away at everything on our Deleveled wishlist, I wanted to let everybody in on a little bit of what Kyle and I both have on our near-future plates. We're expecting to have a very limited beta near the end of the month, so we want to be sure to have our game in a state that at least resembles what it would look like at launch.

For Kyle's part, this largely means continuing to iterate on game mechanic twists that we think could be fun. Not everything will end up making it to the final game but it's important that we try a bunch of stuff to find out what works and what doesn't. The main thing we're excited about right now is the ability to rotate the entire playing field 90 degrees. We've rigged up a couple of simple test levels to explore this mechanic and we think it's going to be a winner.

For my part, I've been going very hard on level design. We're hoping for a lot of levels to be included in our release but, at present, only about half of them actually exist. Similar to experimental mechanics, it's very important that we make way more levels than we can possibly include because not all of them are going to be fun or interesting to play. It's admittedly quite a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks but, ultimately, it'll help us make Deleveled the best that it can be.

Finally, both of us have been making a lot of mock-ups for background artwork. Obviously, the screenshots that we've shown so far all have an essentially identical look to them. We love the color blue but even we get a little fatigued looking at only that one shade for hours and hours. I'll be posting some of our mock-ups on @DeleveledGame later this week but, for now, just trust me when I say that they add a lot of visual flavor to this very simple-looking game.

As always, if you're interested in bite-sized updates of what's going on at Deleveled headquarters, give @DeleveledGame a follow on Twitter. If you're interested in what Kyle or I are doing, point your web browser to @ToasterFuel and @jpnance, respectively. Oh, and if you want to literally watch Kyle work the game, he has a gamedev stream that goes live every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at about 8:30am PT. It's good marketing to have a tease so here's one: on his stream, there's a way for you to fire Nerf balls at him.

Patrick
Mar 29
Deleveled - jpnance
Kyle and I have now fully recovered (I think) from the four days we spent at GDC. We were both GDC first-timers and it was a great experience for us. We had the least expensive pass to get in, which meant we could go to the expo hall but not any of the talks (we're hoping the best talks end up making it to YouTube, of course). Truth be told, during the day, we were mostly just talking with each other about Official Deleveled Business. In the evenings, though, we were busy going to parties and trying to meet as many people as we could.

I still need to sift through all the business cards I snagged but, suffice it to say, there are a lot of incredible people at GDC who are working on some very cool projects. I also had a very "in the industry" moment when I was working on something at a table in the convention hall and a few people sat across from me and were having, like, a real, actual business meeting about contracting out audio for a game. I guess we're game developers now?

Anyway, we've spent this week getting all of our affairs in order so we can be sure we'll be working on the right stuff ahead of our nebulous "summer 2019" release. We still have a bunch of different mechanics to experiment with (gravity modifiers! player-controlled platforms!) and a ton of levels to produce but we're making progress every day. We feel like the response we've gotten from people so far has been very, very positive, so a huge thank you goes out to everyone who's taken the time to play our game, wish-list us on Steam, or tell somebody else about us.

Finally, we've now got an official Deleveled Twitter account: @DeleveledGame. We'll be trying to keep it updated roughly once a day to show off something we've been working on. You can also find Kyle's personal Twitter account at @ToasterFuel and mine at @jpnance.

Patrick
Deleveled - jpnance
First and foremost, Kyle and I would like to give a huge thanks to everybody who played Deleveled at Emerald City Comic Con! It was our first demo to the general public and we're absolutely thrilled at the positive reception we got from all of you. The reception was so promising, in fact, that we've decided to expand the scope of Deleveled a little bit and really try to get something great in everyone's hands and hard drives this summer.

By far, the most common question we were asked was, "Are you planning on releasing this as a mobile game?" Right now, we're staying focused on the PC (hopefully Macs, too!) but we'd be dumb not to at least investigate the ins and outs of a mobile release. I expect to be able to share more details later on this year.

Finally, just two days after ECCC, Kyle and I hopped on a plane down to San Francisco where we're both attending our first GDC. In between rubbing elbows with industry titans (not true) and being hounded by adoring fans (also false), we're mostly trying to meet people and figure out where to go to lunch (that part is definitely correct). In fact, if you're reading this and you happen to be at GDC, it's almost lunchtime...

Patrick
...

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