Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc

Hello.

Normally this is about the time we'd be announcing our next work stream.

During the last few weeks since the previous patch, we've been working on some highly technical stuff, and we're not convinced it would make for a very interesting stream. So this month, we made the difficult decision to skip the stream in favor of a more traditional progress update, complete with some yet-to-be-released predator pixel sprite gifs to show off our work on Salt Mines 2.0.

Don't worry, we're still doing a post-patch #13 stream with our QA team the Monday after the next patch goes live. More details on that next week.

So... here's an update on the two features we've been focusing on most in addition to Story Mode:

Overhauled AI
This is incredibly important, since it's the backbone of our single-player/co-op content. We're well aware that even on the easiest difficulty settings, the current AI is still giving people a hard time. That's why we're tuning it up. Soon the rebuilt herdmind will be ready to test your might, or be your sandbag (your choice, it's a robot, it exists to serve).

Also part of the new AI update is the option to choose your preferred level of AI intensity before you begin Arcade Mode. You won't have to set it in the options menu beforehand anymore!

Salt Mines 2.0
The current salt mines is a solid proof-of-concept, but it certainly needs more. On the road to 1.0, we'll be fleshing it out with goal of increasing replay value. That update will include:
  • More tightly-tuned progression so accessory rewards are unlocked at a more reasonable pace.​
  • Predators will spawn in the dark places of the overworld (caves, and such), not just explicitly in the salt mines. Fight against them to win introductory levels of salt for an alternative entry method into the actual mines.​
  • Temporary power-ups that enhance your stats and capabilities.​
  • Ending "boss" event that triggers at a specific time, ending your run and dishing out salt rewards based on how far you got.​
  • "Hat" merchant with a rotating stock with whom to spend your hard-earned salt (and only salt).​

There will be unique sprites for all four predators and all six shadow versions of the champions. Now you know what you'll be up against when you see something charging towards you. Here's a preview!!!



I hope you're ready, cuz predators will gain the ability to teleport around the map. NOWHERE IS SAFE.


Early Access Patch #13 will be released within two weeks (approximately April 11th), and will contain bugfixes, more Velvet FX updates, the new AI system, and the return of Arizona's pixel lobby! We needed to close it down for awhile to upgrade it to the new tileset. Not much will be different about the layout, but now it will match the assets we're using for Story Mode.

Salt Mines 2.0 will be released later, in Early Access Patch #14, which will be sometime in the first half of May.

That's all I have for tonight. There's still some ultra-awesome news coming down the pipe which we will be allowed to share soon. Stay tuned, my friends.


Aaron Stavely
Production Manager, Mane6
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc

Early Access Hotpatch 03/15/19 is now live on steam so if you haven't yet, restart your games to receive it. Verify your files to get the update instantly.

Just a bit of general dusting off of some issues that popped up with the last update, particularly involving the recent backdash + blocking change. Things should be much more consistent now!


Gameplay

General
  • Instant blocking should now properly reduce maximum knockback while midscreen
  • Fixed an issue causing inconsistencies with blocking during jump startup after backdashing
  • Fixed invalid combo counter inaccuracy when throwing an opponent directly out of rolls
Velvet
  • 214(atk)+(atk) (Frostbite)'s frost slowdown effect no longer affects the opponent's throws
Oleander
  • Fixed Cross Canter not costing the correct amount of meter
Tianhuo
  • Fixed being unable to do 236A (Volcanic Ash) during Ran Shao Feng
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


Curious about the details behind our new patch? Oreo from our QA team will be hosting a post-patch stream today at 3PM PST/6PM EST! Come on by, chat, hang out, ask questions! We'll be discussing everything from system mechanics to character balance - Please join us and say hello at https://www.twitch.tv/manesix
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc

Early Access Patch #12 03/08/19 is now live on steam so if you haven't yet, restart your games and pixel lobby servers to receive it. Verify your files to get the update instantly.

As we get closer to 1.0, you're gonna start seeing some big pushes for polish while we continue to work on story mode. This patch brings some much-desired combat HUD enhancements as well as further animation/balance updates.

Also, as a reminder, Oreo of our QA team will be hosting a Post-Patch Stream on Monday March 11 at 3pm PT. Same place as always: https://www.twitch.tv/manesix

Read on...

New Features

Improved JD Bar
The JD Bar now has an animation when filled and changes color as JDG is tightened.
  • Yellow is the beginning of JDG
  • Orange is Average JDG
  • Red is high JDG (Time to wrap up that combo!)
  • Pink is insane JDG (How are you not done yet? CALM DOWN)


Invalid Combo Display
An 'invalid' combo is a combo that could have been teched out of at a certain point.
  • The combo number will change color if at any point your opponent could have teched out of your combo
  • Another number will show up underneath the color change to display on which hit of the current combo the opponent could have gotten out of it
  • Up to 3 failure points can be displayed at once (at which point how and why are they still letting you get away with this? HIT SOME BUTTONS, NEVER GIVE UP)



Reactive Character Portraits in Combat HUD
Expressions are context sensitive, for example "in hitstun", "performing super", "low health", etc.



Character Select Poses
Characters now strike a pose when chosen in character select! These are still a bit of a work in progress. We hope to finalize the animations by next patch. (it's still Early Access, after all)



Training Mode UI Extras
JDG value is now displayed in advanced data. This number is only ever affected after JD is filled



Frame data in Advanced Training mode now display division lines every 5 frames. This was long overdue and we apologize to all the lab monsters out there



New Tutorial Portraits
We've applied a layer of polish to Oleander and Fred's portraits in the tutorial. Fred is now much more pointy



Pixel Lobby
  • The Gas Mask accessory is now a face slot item. It was formerly a head slot item
  • Shadow characters in the Salt Mines now have proper in-fight palettes
  • There is now an icon in the server select menu that tells you which map it's hosting (though only Velvet's lobby is officially supported until next patch)


Gameplay

General
  • Replaced Oleander's Intermediate 5 combo trial
  • You can no longer block during backdash -> jump startup

Arizona
  • Fixed an issue that caused Trample's recovery to prematurely disable counterhit, including on block
  • 6B hurtbox no longer totally clears the average height of an A
  • Running now continues if you pass your opponent
  • Trample animation updated
  • Trample startup no longer slides forward before launching
  • Fixed several cases where Trample could be cancelled into Level 2, even if the opponent has not been hit directly
  • 2C now has a new animation

Velvet
  • Velvet now has several new animations for casting ice missiles and snowballs for air and ground
  • 214A and C have new ice animations. B's ice animation now crumbles
  • 623(ATK) ice animations now crumble
  • 214A and C no longer work strangely when Velvet is under the effects of another Velvet's level 2 frost effect (...finally)

Paprika
  • Teleport C can now properly be counterhit
  • Running now continues if you pass your opponent

Pom
  • Can crouch cancel forward dashes again
  • The first backdash of the match no longer has 1 additional frame of invulnerability (...yep!)

Tianhuo
  • Air normals can no longer be cancelled into specials on whiff
  • B animation updated
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


Tomorrow, on Thursday the 28th, we'll be holding our 19th work stream on Twitch! The stream starts at 3pm PST / 6pm EST so please be sure to stop on by and join the celebration.

It's been one year since Them's Fightin' Herds went into early access, and we're excited to share our progress as we inch ever so closer to the full 1.0 launch!

As always, feel free to hang out, chat, and ask our team questions.

Our stream this month will be focused on pixel art! Jay Wright will be taking us through his process of making sprites for story mode NPCs, and guest star Alco will be hanging out to answer questions about environment tilesets.

We'll also be showing off our next patch, which is to be released next week! Bugfixes, some cool UI improvements, we really think you're going to dig it.

We thank our community for the continued support. You're all awesome.

https://www.twitch.tv/manesix

More info
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


EA PATCH #11.1

Hotpatch time! CC strikes again! (but can now be struck back)

Restart your games and pixel lobby servers to receive the new update. Verify your files to get the update instantly.


General
  • CC invulnerability timings are now fixed up for real this time, and should therefore be consistently baitable/punishable across all characters.
  • Fixed infinite install timer UI settings affecting all other modes.
  • Dimensional rifts in caves have been repaired.

Arizona
  • Debris created during Trample no longer slides forward during startup, only back.

Velvet
  • Ice Cyclone now has a proper ending animation for both level 1 and 2.

Known Issues
  • If Velvet gets hit by another Velvet's level 2, some specials may act particularly weird/disappear.
  • 4D into j.A with tianhuo reads out to be 14 frames of startup before earliest possible hit, but it's actually 18.
  • There are some situations where the damage mitigation of pushblock at low health does not kick in properly.
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


Sorry we got... tied up... for a moment there.

Work stream #18 was first mentioned about a week ago in Aaron's announcement video, but here is the dedicated post. This is a bit short notice, but don't worry! You can watch the replay on our YouTube channel or catch next month's if you miss this one.

That's right. Devstreams are happening again, every month, until 1.0 and beyond!

January's stream is Tomorrow, Thursday the 31st. Same time (3PM PT), same channel (https://www.twitch.tv/manesix).

Our number-one goal is to show you some spoiler-free story mode tools and content. Keep in mind that everything's still very much a work in progress. Things will be changed between now the final product. There's still many months of work to be done to get it ready for you to play.

Other than that, the rest is up to you! We'll be around for about two hours total to hang out, talk about the latest patch, and answer questions.

See you there.
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


EA PATCH #11

Early Access Patch 01/29/19 is now live on steam so if you haven't yet, restart your games and pixel lobby servers to receive it. Verify your files to get the update instantly.

This patch introduces a new save file format to fix a previous issue of saves being inconsistent and unreliable. Unfortunately this means that current saves involving target mode will be reset. We tried our best to preserve this data but there wasn't anything we could do. Going forward things will be much more stable.

General

  • Fixed some inconsistent collision boxes for Oleander and Velvet knockdowns
  • Cross Canter attackbox now ends much sooner
  • There is now a proper graphic for item pickups (gifts)

Arizona

  • Trample no longer forces preblock during its long recovery
  • Trample now has a new animation
  • Cleaned up animation for Rebound

Velvet

  • Fixed mistiming of Shatter C which made the recovery slightly faster than intended when the new animation was introduced
  • Ice Tornado is now animated (the final hit(s) will also soon be updated)
  • Fixed some inconsistent collision boxes for knockdowns

Oleander

  • Fixed some inconsistent collision boxes for knockdowns
  • Maximum magic regen from reading has been reduced
  • There is now a UI element for Fred's Summon timer

Paprika

  • There is now a UI element for Picnic's timer
  • There is now a UI element for Picnic's remaining gifts

Pom

  • j.B now causes slightly more hitstop on grounded opponents. This should further ensure Unblockable Protection kicks in consistently

Tianhuo

  • Fixed 4D acting strangely during Ran Shao Feng, it should now more consistently pass through opponents.
  • Volcanic Ash now hits 3 times during Ran Shao Feng, with the third hit causing a groundbounce like before
  • Volcanic Crash now causes hard knockdown during Ran Shao Feng
  • During Volcanic Crash, the flight cancel window is now strictly after the knockdown has been completed. Previously tian was able to let go too soon which would force a soft knockdown
  • Flight Speed reduced in all directions
  • There is now a UI element for Ran Shao Feng's install timer

Known Issues

  • If Velvet gets hit by another Velvet's level 2, some specials may act particularly weird/disappear.
  • 4D into j.A with tianhuo reads out to be 14 frames of startup before earliest possible hit, but it's actually 18.

Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=285Ysrl_lYE
Aaron Stavely is now an official member of Mane6! He has joined forces with us to make more high-quality video tutorials for TFH and also manage the dev team, who was definitely in need of management.


Who is Aaron?
Aaron is an old, long-term friend of the devs who has been helping us solve a variety of challenges with the project on his own time since before we launched into Early Access. He is a bit of a Renaissance man who has worked in the game industry professionally for over 4 years.

You may have seen him moderating the Steam forums and hanging out in Discord under the tag Infinaron. He also did the effects on Fred’s voice to make him sound all demon-y!


Why is Aaron?
Aaron has been hired to address two specific concerns:

a. It takes a dedicated person to coordinate a team of distributed game developers with unbridled passion to make the best four-legged fighting game ever.

b. We need to start communicating more frequently with you, the community.

Aaron has been with us fulltime since December of last year. By the power of spreadsheets, calendars, and good old-fashioned JFDI, he has already completely revolutionized the way we work.


The Road to 1.0
There is always more work to be done, but we are getting close to the point where we can call the game “version 1.0”. How close? Well, it’s definitely for sure happening this year.

From now on, we are committing to monthly game updates and monthly devstreams. Delays may still happen, but going forward we will make every effort to explain why, and for how long.

The next devsteam is Thurs, Jan 31 @ 3PM PST. We will do our usual Q&A and also show you our tools for Story Mode, which have undergone a complete overhaul since we last talked about them.

Since it's been so long since the last one, here is a link to our stream channel!
https://www.twitch.tv/manesix


Post-Release Content
At 1.0, Story Mode will only include the prologue and chapter one (Arizona). After 1.0, the remaining five base characters’ chapters will be added later on, free of charge. We have plans to expand the roster, starting with goat, with more following. Development of goat will begin after 1.0 releases. No day-one DLC.

As mentioned before, the goat DLC will be free for backers of our indiegogo campaign as a thank you for helping us reach our stretch goals. The standard price for goat and further DLC has not been determined yet and will be revealed alongside actual content.


Video Tutorials
Aaron will be making a dedicated post later this week to fully outline his plans for new video tutorials. We can say that right now he will be focusing more on general gameplay rather than character-specific content until 1.0 is released, since everyone has been rapidly receiving balance changes, new moves, and visual polish with each Early Access patch.

His old videos will remain up on his personal channel for now but will eventually be redone to reflect the current patch and improve clarity. All new videos of his will be posted on the Mane6 YouTube page and website.


Epilogue
That’s all our updates for now. More posts are coming to expand on things. You guys are awesome. Things are moving more quickly and efficiently now. We’ve got some really cool stuff coming your way. Can’t wait to show you.


- M6
Them's Fightin' Herds - Mane6, Inc


EA PATCH #10.1: Fixening some Stuff

Early Access Patch 01/04/19 is now live on steam so if you haven't yet, restart your games and pixel lobby servers to receive it. Verify your files to get the update instantly.

Heya! Hope everyone had some tasty holidays and happy new years! This is a quick patch to clear up issues collected over the holidays with our recent patch, namely a rather sizable one that made Cross Canter almost unpunishable(!!).

To be completely honest, with all of the underlying system changes of last patch, we're surprised many more things didn't fall out from underneath the game. Apologies, regardless! Keep up the bug reports!

Gameplay

General

  • Fixed an issue causing Cross Canter's window of vulnerability to fluctuate during recovery, making it difficult to punish.

Arizona

  • Fixed the coloring of ropes for all palettes
  • Brushed her teeth

Velvet

  • Fixed an issue causing most Victory animations to go to an odd pose after she's done speaking.

UI/Game Fixes​

  • Predators are now less festive
  • Festive hats are no longer defaulted on pixel lobby entry, but no worries, all players will still have one in their inventories!
  • Fixed some layering issues in Velvet's Pixel Lobby and Salt Mines
  • Players that are AFK for too long will be removed from the matchmaking queue. You can manually go back in at any time after
  • Legacy lobbies are more stable, players should be able to invite and start fights once again
  • Fixed a crash related to entering character select after going through certain game modes

Known Issues​

  • If Velvet gets hit by another Velvet's level 2, some specials may act particularly weird/disappear
  • It is still possible for Tianhuo to occasionally lose momentum during some airdash cancels
  • There may be some cases where pushblocking at less than 300 health still occasionally allows damage to pass through

...

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