Hey, Levelheads! Seth the Game Programmer here, bringing you another week of SEISMIC CHANGES!
As we've been lurking around the community, listening to player feedback, and hoovering up player reports like a supercharged Roomba, our focus shifted this week to some of the broader game systems, integrating them together better, and building out new web features. Let's get in there!
The Daily Build
The HOT NEW FEATURE coming down the pipe today is the DAILY BUILD!
The Daily Build is a recurring event where our wild internet robot picks 5-9 random items as the "Featured Items" of the day. When you create a Daily Build level, you can use only the featured items, plus a default set of level elements. The featured items will be usable in the Daily Build even if you haven't unlocked them in the campaign.
The Daily Build is a fun exercise for veteran level builders to operate under a new set of constraints, and it also allows newer players to toy around with level elements they may not have unlocked yet. It's a win for everyone!
Take it easy!
One of the ways musicians learn to play new songs is to simply slow the song down and practice it at a more manageable pace.
Playing Levelhead is a lot like playing an instrument. There are a lot of nuances to learn over time, and you have to develop muscle memory to get really good at it. But for a lot of people, playing the song at full speed right out of the gate might not be feasible. We need to slow the song down a bit. So we added two tiers of accessibility modes!
Now, you can slow the game speed down by 10% or 20% if you need a little extra edge to get past a particularly daunting level or chunk of a level. You can even do this on player-made levels!
Bear in mind, though, that even though you can slow the gameplay down, the score timer will continue to run at normal speed. Just as how you wouldn't play a concert at 20% reduced speed, you won't be competitive for Scoreboards and Speed Boards with the game slowed down.
When you publish a level, after it has been played a bit in the Marketing Department, it graduates to The Tower. We originally envisioned the Tower as the place where you can find and search for high-quality levels of all kinds. It would be a place where you can always find the kinds of levels you want to play -- a sort of permanent archive of our players' Greatest Hits.
Our original design used "difficulty" as the primary categorization between levels. We divided levels up into "Floors" of the tower, and as you went up each floor, you found higher and higher difficulty of levels. This created one major problem: it became very hard to find what you wanted.
What if you want to find weird contraptions? Do you care what the difficulty rating is? Probably not! What if you want to find 2-player levels? Again, you may not care what the difficulty rating is. You may just want to see all of the 2-player levels, and shop around from there. Or maybe you want interesting levels that are built around the use of bombs, or a certain powerup. If you can only look at "Easy Bomb Levels" or "Hard Bomb Levels", but not just "Bomb Levels", then you're going to miss all kinds of great stuff!
In other words, our "divide up the levels by difficulty" concept was making the Tower almost useless. So we went back to the drawing board!
Now, when you visit the Tower, you will see all levels in the Tower by default (except unbeaten ones, which still have their own area). From there, you can choose to filter them down by difficulty, or by tags, or by number of players, or however else you want! You can also sort them by "Newest" or "Most Played", so you can look at the fresh stuff, or the greatest hits!
Overall, this should make the Tower far more useful, and the levels that live in the Tower should get a lot more attention.
Life is Good
Aside from the above, we packed in a bunch of quality of life improvements that we've been wanting to do for a long time. Here are the top three!
Have I beaten this level before?
This one has been requested many times over, and with good reason. People want to be able to glance at a list of levels and know which ones they've beaten, so they can focus their efforts on the ones they haven't. This is a fair request, and we only put it off this long because... Well, people play a lot of levels. Storing thousands and thousands of levels that each player has beaten could turn out to be a huge problem for the game's stability. But, we thought, maybe there's a middle ground! We don't need to store every level you've beaten. Just the ones that matter right now!
So now, we store up to 200 of your most-recently-beaten levels, and we show this on the play button of the levels you're looking at.
We wanted to make it easier for creators with lots of subscribers to get their levels played. SO WE DID!
Now, when one of your Favorite Creators publishes a level, your profile icon will flash on the main menu. When you go to the Feed inside your profile, all the new levels from your Favorite Creators will have a glowy, purple border around them, as if to say, "Hey, buddy... Hey... I'm fresh. I'm exciting. Look. Look at my purple border. LOOK AT IT."
"How do I unlock that?"
Our previous design didn't do a good job of letting players know precisely what they have to do to unlock certain things in the campaign. Sometimes you just have to beat a level, while other times you have to get all the coins. Sometimes you have to 100% multiple levels to unlock a thing. But if we aren't telling you that you have to do those things, you have to resort to just doing everything and hoping that one of those things unlocks that new item.
Well... NO MORE! At least, for the most part.
We've added SPACE LOCKS to the Badges that require something extra before they become available. Now, for any item you can see on your campaign map, you should have a much better sense of what is needed to get it. There are still plenty of secrets scattered around to keep things fresh, but this should help alleviate much of the confusion in the campaign.
But wait! There's more!
We've got a WHOOOOLE bunch of changes, but I don't want to get carpal tunnel going through ALL of them. I've got a game to program! So check out the patch notes below, and we'll see you next week!
v0.4.2 Patchnotes (Changes since 0.3.3)
See the full patchnotes.
- Added "Daily Builds Completed" stat to player profiles.
- There is now a setting that allows you to slow the game speed down to 80% or 90% of normal, for those who have difficulty with fast-twitch gameplay. Score times will still progress at normal speed, however, so if you want to be competitive on leaderboards, you will need to play at full speed.
- We now store which levels you have beaten, and show this by displaying a check mark on the play button of the level. We store the 200 most recently-beaten levels, and we also infer which levels you have beaten if you are on the speed board or score board for those levels, or if you are the creator of the level. So there may be scenarios where you see a level that you beat a long time ago (over 200 beaten levels ago) that appears unbeaten, but that is only because it has fallen off your list and you don't hold any records on it. We can only store SO MUCH DATA! But this is a good start.
- The main menu UI will now do a better job of letting you know when new levels have been created by people you have subscribed to. When creators you are subscribed to make new levels, your profile button will flash on and off, letting you know that there's new stuff in your profile page. When you visit your feed, new levels that weren't there the last time you saw your feed will have a slight purple glow around them.
- There is a new setting that allows you to disable the default behavior of paths spawning a Flyblock at their starting node. (thanks to QuantumAnomaly)
- You can now use sharps for the Boomboxes. For those less acquainted with music, this means moving the note's pitch up a little bit, instead of all the way up to the next note. Bear in mind that not every note can be sharped, so a few of the notes will sound the same when you "sharp" them. The boombox will display a sharp symbol on it if the note is being sharped.
- Campaign nodes that require you to earn 100% Jems, collect the GR-17, or collect all the bug pieces before they unlock, will now display this fact inside a housing that wraps around the locked node. The housing shows icons representing the things you need to obtain from the connected levels. Previously, we only had "purple paths" which indicated that you needed Jems, GR-17, or bug pieces, but it wasn't clear what combination of those things you needed. Now, it should be quite obvious!
- There is a new experimental feature in the Workshop called the Daily Build! Once per day, a small number of items are selected to be featured for the Daily Build. Creating a Daily Build level will restrict you to a set of basic items, plus the featured items of the day, for that level. You can use the featured items even if you have not unlocked them in the campaign. The goal of this system is to allow level-building veterans a chance to flex their creative muscles under a new set of constraints, and to allow new players to tinker with items that they may be a little ways off from unlocking yet.
- When you go to the Daily Build page, you will see a list of the most recent levels published for today's Daily Build.
- Levels published as part of the Daily Build will have a "Daily Build" icon permanently stamped on the level's card.
- The Daily Build featured items reset every day at 8AM UTC.
- Kronkrete Legend now has an additional checkpoint after the spikechainer farm (thanks to Beekie Boppaboop)
- Ice Therapy, Pow Pow Magic, and That's a New Crisis have been given a single piece of armor.
- Updated path colors in the campaign to make less confusing -- most notable, the "Red" path that stays red even after you've unlocked it.
- Several of the very early levels of the campaign have been tweaked to be more instructional and to reduce the chance of brand-new player getting lost.
- Added words to the Name Combobulator: Battle, Enemy, What.
- Dramatically improved performance in the editor when using a large number of coins and/or portals.
- Optimized saving of item properties in the editor, cutting down processing time by over 95% in most cases.
- Updated "Town" tag to "Shop", and added "Explore" tag.
- Added "Raceway" and "Town" tags for levels, inspired by the player levels "Traveler Town Trial" and "Ramshackle Race Way", which pushed the game in interesting new directions. (thanks to QuantumAnomaly, RetrophileTV)
- Updated the Daily Build UI to be able to accommodate any number of items without having them go off the sides of the screen.
- Added rainbow color cycling visuals to the filigree surrounding the header in the tower.
- Added a sine wave animation to the Jems embedded in the Tower.
- Collapsed all floors of the tower into one room. It was too hard to find the levels you wanted, since they were split across all floors of the tower. Now, you just click on "The Tower" instead of the individual floor you want. While inside, you can filter by difficulty if you like, or you can look at levels of all difficulties, and then filter them down by tags, number of players, etc... This change should make it far easier to find levels of a certain type once they have graduated to the tower. This change also necessitated the removal of the "Best" sorting mechanism in the Tower, because it biased toward harder levels. Instead, levels are now sorted by "Most Played" in the Tower by default (which means play time generated), and you can also choose to sort by "Newest."
- Updated the name of "Parallax Backgrounds" in the settings page to "High Quality Backgrounds", to better convey what the setting is doing.
- Added a note at the bottom of the Feedback page explaining that your default HTML viewer should be set to your browser to report feedback.
- Updated the message displayed by the searcher on the Daily Build page if it returns no results.
- Updated the icon for play history to look like a history icon instead of a "Refresh" icon.
- Removed some redundant web calls. Should reduce the number of saves per minute and web requests per minute.
- You now inherit the horizontal speed of Flingos if you fling yourself up or down off a Flingo that is on a moving path. This should make the level Nope Cart far more manageable. (thanks to Misery)
- Updated sound of armor being picked up, to have its own unique sound instead of just re-using the "Select Armor in Editor" sound effect.
- Increased the volume on enemy damage sounds, so you can hear the enemies' unique vocals when they take damage or are defeated.
- Bombs now have a much more obvious visual state change when they are about to blow up.
- Fixed a crash caused by the changes to the tower.
- Levels can no longer have negative favorites.
- Fixed an issue that would cause the game to not download the daily build on time.
- Cleaned up some syncing logic for tracking new subscriber levels.
- Added some extra double checking layers to the daily build download, to ensure it gets downloaded properly and updated properly.
- Updated some spacing in the Marketing Department and the tower to keep text from overlapping with other things.
- The slug for the most recent level you played will now properly display a glowing border in all UI scales.
- Temporarily deactivated glowing levelcard borders in full-bodied UI mode, since they're broken!
- Expanded the widths of the hitbox of the Package and Throw Blocks by 2 pixels. This should help in situations where you drop a box down a hole and want to hit a horizontal pressure plate.
- Your armor now gets purged when you beat a level, so you don't end up with armor stuck in front of your face while going through the victory sequence.
- The cooldown for re-entering the same blaster has been dramatically reduced, so it is possible to bounce off of a bumper that is 2 grid spaces from a blaster and go right back into the same blaster, instead of passing through it.
- Blaster behavior has been improved for when you have clusters of blasters next to each other. Shooting out of a blaster should no longer put you into another blaster that is off to the side or behind (but still touching) your current one.
- If you bounce from a bumper into a blaster and then got launched, this would sometimes kill your speed while flying. This should now be fixed. (thanks to Inept)
- Boomboxes should now properly play their sharped notes during gameplay.
- Fixed an issue where the Waylay would charge shorter distances on the ground in certain circumstances.
- Your grappler will now properly respond to your input direction after being flung out of a blaster. (thanks to cprice)
- It should no longer be possible to get stuck between two doors that close simultaneously by ending up in the 1-pixel border between them when they close. From now on, this situation will cause you to die. (thanks to one dead saint)
- Fixed an issue where in some cases, depending on the slope and loop of a path, objects on a path would end up in the wrong position at the start of a level. (thanks to Joe Ah Oh)
- Fixed an issue where springs could get stuck in walls if you kicked them JUUUST right. (thanks to jajdp)
- Bumpers no longer try to knock enemies around while inside the editor.
- If you use the "Insert Path Node" tool on a closed path, but after the "End Node" of the path, it will now add nodes to the end of the path, rather than weirdly inserting nodes before the last one.
- The trash button should now properly toggle "Delete" mode in the editor. (thanks to QuantumAnomaly)
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