Hey, Levelheads! It's been two weeks since the last patch, so you know what that means! DEVELOPER BLOG! We've gotten a lot done, but we still have a long way to go before the patch. Things are going to be a bit quiet for the next couple weeks, though, as most of our dev team will be on holiday! Why? Because OUR WHOLE BODIES HURT AND WE JUST NEED A MINUTE. Or in this case, about 20 thousand minutes.

But in the meantime, let's take a face-first dive into what we've done so far!

Icons Galore!

First up is ICONS! Quite a while ago we added a batch of icons to the game. Players could use these icons to represent their levels, and they could also use them as avatars. At the time, we described these as the "starter" batch of icons, and we talked about how eventually, we would add more icons and the ability to unlock those new icons. Well, EVENTUALLY is coming right up!

Over the past couple weeks, we've added over a hundred new icons to the game.

BUT WAIT! Why are so many of them grayed out? That's because we've also added UNLOCKABLE icons. Many of the new icons are unlocked either through the campaign or through achievements. With this patch, you can show off how much you have achieved with your exclusive, beautiful icons!

But we also wanted to make the icons system more visible. After all, what's the point of having all these icons if you can't... you know... see them? So we added them to the Editor:

And to the workshop, too!

We wanted the icons to feel like something special -- a badge of honor that you can use to both express yourself, and market your levels. Our hope is that this next patch nails that!

The Bureau of Shipping Training Program

As you may have heard, Levelhead is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch (the date for which we are still pinning down). That means a huge wave of players will come pouring into the Levelhead division all at once, and we want to make sure they have the best experience we can offer. Unfortunately, most of our efforts throughout Early Access have gone into the web features and the workshop, and we haven't been able to give the campaign (now called Training) the time and attention it deserved. That would be a problem for all these new players, because the Bureau's Training Program is where all new employees start!

So as of the past couple weeks, we've been putting a lot of energy into making sure the campaign is a fantastic experience.

First, we've added new "On-Time Delivery" goals to all of the campaign levels, so you can earn some extra achievements by showing off your speed running skills. After Sam set all the speed targets, the first thing I did was dive into the levels to replay them and try to beat the times. And I have to say, speed running the campaign changes everything about the experience. It's intense!

As I mentioned earlier, we've also added icon unlocks to the campaign, so you can show off once you've beaten some of the harder challenges on offer.

And aside from the On-Time Delivery system, Sam has been hard at work reimagining certain aspects of the campaign so that it hits the targets we laid out when we first started making Levelhead. Our goal with the campaign was to teach players how to play the game and provide some cool challenges, but we also wanted to introduce some characters, expand the lore of the game, and make it feel like you're progressing through the Bureau of Shipping's Training Program. Oh, and we wanted to tell a lot of dumb jokes. We definitely hit that first target, but we haven't put time into the rest. That's all changing now, but that's a really big update, so it may not be done for this patch. But we're working on it!

Interface Polish

Since we're getting ever closer to launch, we took a step back to ensure that we've not left any stones unturned when it comes to making the visual experience of the game smooth and silky.

One of the least smooth and silky parts of the game so far is... the interfaces. More specifically, we've basically ignored many of the game's interfaces since we launched it into Early Access. The Settings page, pause menu, downloads page, and a whole bunch of other interfaces just kind of existed and never really got much love. They did their jobs just fine, but they weren't much to look at. For this patch, we're taking the time to ensure that we cover all of these areas, so the game gets a more consistent look and feel. I'll wait until we're closer to deploying the patch to show any visuals, though, since they're continuing to evolve. I'm pumped to see the response!

What's Next?

The next patch is planned for December 18. As I mentioned above, most of our team will be gone for the next couple weeks, so the next Developer blog will be on December 11, three weeks from now. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank our community for being understanding and treating us like real people, and not giving us any guff about having a vacation. It's been really fantastic having the support of such wonderful people!

You just gotta get in there!

Want to stay tuned with updates in CLOSE TO REAL TIME? Check out our patch notes page to see changes to the game, even before they have hit Steam!

And if you want to get the changes a little earlier than the rest of the folks on Steam, hop into our Discord, where we've got information on getting into the Beta branch.