Infinitroid

Infinitroid Dev Blog: All Posts

Infinitroid history museum

Didn't have much time for game work the last couple weeks unfortunately, but I thought I'd share, for your amusement and horror, some playable archived versions of the game which were up on the server:

  • 0001: Jan 2016. First web build for private playtesters, about a year into development. Confusing weapon system, floaty controls, badly written story that everybody skipped, programmer art, Atari-esque sounds - fun, fun! Still, the rudiments of the game were taking shape. At the time I was deliberately ignoring production value and focusing on gameplay improvements.
  • 0002, 0003, 0004, 0005, 0006, 0007, 0008
  • 0009: Apr 2016. Lots of usability iterations under the belt to help baffled playtesters. "Green" area added, with jump springs and tech cube enemies. Also, secret rooms, and tighter controls.
  • 0010
  • 0011: Jun 2016. Music, basic background art (with help from my Dad), and some major weapon screen dymystification.
  • 0012, 0013, 0014, 0015
  • 0016: Nov 2016. Back to the game after a 3-month freelance project. New sounds, music tracks, and art assets.
  • 0017, 0018, 0019, 0020, 0021
  • 0022: Feb 2017. Major graphics update. Fog, light bloom, and procedurally placed point lights with randomized coloration. Also death screen and a "tile snippets" system for hidden items etc.
  • 0023, 0024
  • 0025: Mar 2017. UI and HUD refinement, title screen, teleporters, electric visual effects.
  • 0026, 0027
  • 0028: Jun 2017. Story orbs, procedural thematic tile placement, control remapping.
  • 0029
  • 0030: Aug 2017. Current version as of this writing.

My reaction to playing these is generally "good lord, I'm glad I fixed that." It's nice to see progress; game development can be dauntingly labor intensive, especially as a solo developer, and I'm almost never making progress as quickly as I want to. So it's nice to look back down the mountain once in a while.

Build 0030 is live

Build 0030 is now live on the play page! Here's what's new:

Guided shot

There's a new Guided Shot modifier, for mid-air projectile control. I was experimenting with making some "lock rooms" that require these, but they ended up being really fiddly to activate:

Experienced players would no doubt figure it out but new ones would probably give it the middle finger.

3 other items

I added some new one-time-use items, which I won't spoil but veterans can probably venture some guesses on:

Gameplay balancing

I made a bunch of balancing tweaks:

  • Nerfed the blue circular guys ('fast lost souls') from 6 health to 4.5 (1 health = 1 vanilla blaster hit). It's nice that they're challenging but the difficulty jump felt too steep.
  • Adjusted many rooms for less possibility of "cheapness" - hard enemies clustered next to entrances, etc.:
  • Reduced missile odds by 30% from sector 3 onward. They seem to accumulate too much late-game.
  • Buffed flamethrower damage (0.6 -> 0.8) to make it better for non-flammable enemies.
  • Buffed Spark Generator to same range as the Blaster (8 tiles), and reduced damage slightly (1.4 -> 1.3). Hopefully less of a letdown finding this weapon. I might eventually change this to an "electric modifier" like Novacat was thinking.
  • Slight higher odds of weapons / items in canisters rather than hidden in walls, which should make new players' lives a little easier (less chance of missing them and ending up underpowered later).

Miscellaneous tweaks

  • Projectile size increases more visually when damage mods are added.
  • Gut tile tweak, no more isolated "L" pieces
  • I considered making the "dropper" enemies trigger when another enemy passes under. Derek Yu (Spelunky's creator) shared a nice article on the design philosophy of the Dark Souls team, and I was thinking this could lead to some "magical moments". Unfortunately if you lure an enemy under there it'll always trigger on you first, so not a big strategic help. It'd also mess up the mechanics of most of the rooms that feature those droppers. So, tabled for now.

Bugfixes

  • Teleport-onto-spikes is fixed.
  • The compass now only reveals the next 5 undiscovered room / secret icons instead of all of them. I also removed compass / map from the 2nd quest onward like Novacat suggested.
  • Item rooms behind missile doors weren't getting the item-specific layouts. Fixed that.

I've got some work obligations the next 1-2 weeks so time will be a little tight (I do freelance web development part-time) but I hope to get some time for game work, and at the very least a blog post. Stay tuned, and let me know if you find anything weird!

New site is launched!

The new Infinitroid site is born! The baby is in stable condition, though the birth was a little messy. There's now a blog, a forum, a better gameplay page, and a bunch of other odds and ends that should make it easier to find out what's new, and to help shape the future direction of the game.

The blog

The blog is the central place for dev progress; I'll try to post at least every two weeks, whether it's a new game version or sharing some behind the scenes stuff. You can subscribe via email; I might also set up a feed in Twitter, Facebook and Reddit for people that prefer those (if that seems helpful let me know).

Big thanks to players & testers who have provided feedback already, including dogman, fordiman, JC, Quicksand-S, buto, Enrik, kkairos and others. If you're interested in reading about past updates check out TigSource and reddit.

The forum

It's still a little lonely in there but if you have any feature requests, bug reports, or random discussion topics, feel free to post them in the forum. I'm happy to answer any questions about the game.

Gameplay page

The game page got a bit of a facelift - it's integrated into the site now, with a loading bar in place of those mysterious byte counts. It handles different screen sizes better, so you can play it on your phone as long as you're OK having no way to control it.

A messy birth

I took a break from the game proper and started building this new site over a month ago; I looked into a few blogging and forum packages but they all seemed overcomplicated and difficult to integrate, so I figured I'd spend a week or so and build my own minimal one in Flask. A blog is just chunks of text in a database, how hard could it be?

Well, famous last words. It's not rocket science but there was a lot to sort out: hierarchical commenting, anonymous users, forgotten-password system, email subscriptions, unsubscribe URLs, visual design, responsive layouts, etc. I got pretty burned out a couple weeks in, thinking I should be done already and back on the game. I finally resorted to some of my long-forgotten project management practices, like detailed estimates and schedule tracking, which gave me a finish date and eased some of the pressure.

Anyway I'm pretty happy with the result. Instead of a bunch of set-top boxes with 4 different remote controls (tumblr, phpbb, disqus, etc.) it's a simple integrated device with parts that I can use on future projects. I don't have to wrestle giant software packages with 200 extraneous features, and the site can evolve to support the game. But I do question sometimes whether my case of NIH syndrome is beneficial or malignant.

Back to the game

So, work resumes on the game proper! The gameplay needs some rebalancing after the last few updates, I think. I've got some new weapon / item ideas I'm excited about, as well as ideas for enemies and bosses in the later worlds. Also some challenges and meta-game elements to make the game more interesting across playthrus.

Stay tuned!

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