Hey, Levelheads! This week we have some WEIRD AND WILD stuff coming down the game development... er... tube? We took another look at Exposure bucks, wiggled some colors around, and began our work on updating the New Player Experience. Read on!
Training Presentations featuring the voice talent of Aimee Smith!
We've been quietly working on a suite of Presentations for the campaign that give Levelhead a greater sense of story, more worldly context, and, of course, more dumb jokes. FIVE of these presentations are now available in the Bureau of Shipping's training program, covering everything from what **L.E.V.E.L. ** stands for to why all those Bug parts are floating around out there.
We also knew that just one voice wasn't going to be enough for these presentations, so we contacted Aimee Smith about playing the role of M.A.Y.A., the Bureau of Shipping's Artificial Intelligence. She wowed us with her exuberance and fantastic Aussie accent to such an extent that we rewrote a chunk of the presentations to give her more words to say. You can take a sneak peak with this SUPER SECRET YOUTUBE VID.
Follow Aimee on twitter, and JUST HOLD YOUR HORSES for the remaining 13 presentations, which we'll have finished up in time for the 1.0!
Our vision for the Tower was that it would be a place where you could go to find good levels, and where good levels could get the appreciation -- and players -- they deserve. However, there are a couple aspects of the Tower that have put some roadblocks in that path. So this patch, we started to address those issues.
New Front Page!
The first thing you'll probably notice in the Tower Library is the new front page of "Featured" levels!
Featured levels are levels that have a high level of player engagement -- meaning, people tend to enjoy them and stick around -- but a low number of players for how good the level is. In other words, these are the levels that a lot of people should probably see and play, but not many have yet. As a Featured level gets more players, it will slide down the Featured list over time, making room for other great, but underplayed, levels. The "Featured" section is compatible with all other search filters, so you can, for example, find all Featured "Kaizo" or "Beginner-Friendly" tagged levels, or find Featured "Adventure" difficulty levels. Whatever you want, we have a Featured list for it!
One caveat, though, is that this list won't be churning too fast at the moment. But we anticipate that at launch, this thing will be churning LIKE A HOT TUB WITH JETS ON!
Our intent with the Featured list is to build up the reputation of the Tower as the place where you should be able to just pop in and find some really good stuff that you might not have seen before. We don't want it to be the case that when a level graduates from the Marketing Department, that it just slides into obscurity if it's a really good level. Hopefully, this Featured list does that!
However, having a great bunch of levels in the Tower doesn't necessarily mean people will go there. Because there's one other issue we had to solve...
Exposure bucks... IN THE TOWER?
The Marketing Department is a nice tool. It gives you a way to see all the great new levels, and it gives you a way to get your levels seen and played, via the Exposure Bucks system. However, the Marketing Department has, to date, been essentially a black hole of player attention and playtime. Because the only way to get Exposure Bucks was the Marketing Department, players would tend to feel like they were missing out if they played levels in the Tower. Sure, the Tower Trial is cool, but if you spend an hour running it, that's a bunch of Exposure Bucks you just missed out on! And yeah, you can sort and filter the Tower to find the precise kinds of levels you want, but why would you, if you can't get exposure bucks there?
So we stepped back and asked... What would happen if you did get exposure bucks by playing levels in the Tower? The more we thought about it, the more sense it made. The purpose of exposure bucks is to allow you to trade your playtime on other people's levels with playtime on your own levels. It seems that this change will continue to meet that purpose!
So now, you will earn exposure bucks in the tower! This means you can enjoy the new "Featured" front page and play tons of great Tower levels, or any other kinds of levels you want, and get those exposure bucks anyways!
For now, the Tower will net you exposure bucks at half the rate of Marketing Department levels, because we do want the Marketing Department to still be front and center. Still, it's possible that even if the Tower earned Exposure Bucks at the normal rate, the Marketing Department would still be where most people spend their time. But most importantly, this is an experiment, so we'll be keeping an eye on the impact of this change and adjusting if need be!
GR-18 Animation Update: Phase 1!
As we approach the end of Early Access, we want to make sure our trailers and gameplay footage really POP! So we took another look at GR-18 to find some spots where we could polish up the feel and movement animations, and we noticed a few things that could definitely be improved. So we now have a new animation for falling while sprinting!
We're also working on an entirely new animation frame for kicking objects downward, and we're adding a new flip animation to Sprinting. Because it's just not fair that GR-18 stops doing flips just because he's running fast. But... those will have to wait until next time!
Vacrats are yellow now!
Well, the small ones, anyway. The big ones are... intimidating.
We're buckling down to fully revamp and build up the New Player Experience, so that when the game launches, new players are more effectively onboarded. The current game does a good job of dropping players into the campaign, but it doesn't do much else. Our goal with the next update is to get more players logging in, publishing levels, and playing other people's levels, because that's where the core experience of the game is, and that's where it gets really interesting. We have a lot of work to do to get there, so it's unclear whether we'll have a patch next week, but if not, we'll have a dev blog with progress updates!
In the meantime, enjoy some PIPING HOT PATCH NOTES!
0.72.1 Patchnotes (since 0.67.1)
See the full patchnotes.
- The first 5 presentations are now available for players to view on the Training path- The Workshop, Maya, Bugs, Flapjacks, and the Tiptow. The rest of the presentations will be added for the 1.0 launch.
- You can now summon the game's Credits page through the "Data" tab of the Settings page off the main menu.
- Swapped the location of the jump & grab buttons on touchscreen controls, to make it far less likely that you accidentally "slide" out the home menu on Android and then press it.
- Reduced the maximum zoom-out in the editor on mobile, to compensate for the screen being quite tiny.
- Touchscreen controls should now default to be larger.
- Removed the Bookmarks tab in Notifications. (thanks to TimConceivable)
- You can now drag level cards in your workshop by clicking on their titles, instead of that weird crosshair thing in the bottom right corner -- which has been DESTROYED.
- Steam is now the first option on the Login page.
- You can no longer favorite your own levels, because... come on.
- All of GR-18's variants now have the new sprint-falling frame.
- Vacsteaks are now recolored.
- There were too many gray things in the game, so Vacrats have had a visual update to be... YELLOW! Except for the large ones, which are something else.
- Updated GR-18's falling sprint frame.
- There is now a heart icon for the Sign. (thanks to Crushnoil Varkzapee)
- When you first entered the Editor, the camera would always start centered on GR-18. This would get weird if GR-18 was close to the edge of the level, because the camera would start with much of the screen being nothingness. The camera will now start inset into the level's area more in these scenarios.
- You can now horizontally flip the icons on Signs.
- Break Grumble and Grin will no longer murder players who bop a particular vacrat in the thorn maze.
- Deliver the Package has been lightly updated.
- Thorn Cloud Delivery has been lightly updated.
- Package Jump Temple has been lightly updated.
- Mad Vacrat's boss fight music no longer stops randomly after the boss is defeated.
- Storm of Regret's goal no longer tricks you into leaping to your death sometimes, and it has been renamed to Flapjack Encounter.
- Pressure Point is now more beautiful and less annoying.
- Be Sneaky GR-18 has been lightly updated for better Tiptow teaching.
- Too Hot, Too Bad's final couple of fireballs are now swinging instead of twirling.
- Dang Sky Wiggler is now prettier, includes a GR-17, and teaches players how to push against the wiiiiind.
- GR-18 in the Machine is now enjoyable as a 2-player experience, and has an On-Time Delivery benchmark of 37s instead of 50.
- Howl of the Lizumi has been thoroughly updated to tell more of a story and have more secrets.
- The Way is Through has been updated to be, y'know, better.
- The initial Training path has been updated to be almost completely linear, to be less overwhelming to newer players.
- When you die, if your respawn location is on-screen and there is no camera anchor controlling the camera, the camera will no longer snap to your respawn spot. Instead, it will slide to that location. This should make respawns less jarring near respawn locations.
- The Tower's Library page has been updated. The "Hidden Gems" category has been replaced with a category called "Featured," which is now the default category of the Tower. Featured levels are levels that are Spicy but have few players for how spicy they are. This creates a self-balancing "Curated Front Page" of the tower: as featured levels get played more, they move down the list, making room for other spicy levels to get plays. In addition, the default time frame in the Tower is "All Time," instead of "Past Month." We believe that in conjunction with the change to the Tower now giving exposure bucks, this should begin to alleviate the issue of high-quality levels feeling like they get lost after graduating to the Tower.
- If you have under 2 hours of total gameplay, the Tower will default to showing you levels in the "Adventure" difficulty category.
- You now earn Exposure Bucks by playing any player-made levels (other than your own), even if they are in the Tower. Playing levels in the Tower will generate exposure bucks at half the rate of playing levels in the Marketing Department.
- Fixed the message when you quit a Random playlist from inside the level, to be the same message you see when quitting the random playlist from inside the playlist view.
- Fixed a leftover localization tag at the top of the Marketing Department.
- Updated the text of the Quit Playlist confirmation if the playlist is random, to inform you that you will probably never be able to replay it.
- Removed the "Favorite" button on your own levels from other interfaces.
- Fixed a weird black rectangle thing that was present in the backdrop of the Downloads and Creator Browser pages.
- Fixed the background vignette position in the Profiles page.
- While in the editor, the Joystick scroll speed would be faster if you were zoomed out, making it very difficult to pick words in the name combobulator. This is because scroll speed was attached to the width of the main view, instead of the width of the GUI. This has been fixed.
- When beginning to play in Cheese Mode, the camera would do a weird snapping thing. This has been fixed!
- Pressing "Play" in the Editor will now reliably kill all of your camera momentum from the Editor. (thanks to DNin)
- Fixed the 1-pixel gaps on the top and bottom of the right-side Editor Grid Ruler.
- In some cases, multiple players dragging Editor items using multiselect would case one anothers' non-contiguous box highlights to disappear. This should no longer occur.
- If you clicked to select a dropdown menu item in the Editor, the Grid Ruler would display a distance even though that makes no sense. Now it won't! (thanks to TalkGibberish)
- You can now Warp to Presentation nodes in the Training overworld.
- The Training presentations should no longer get out of sync with the audio at lower frame rates.
- It no longer rains inside on Deliver the Package, GR-18! (thanks to TimConceivable)
- Dang Sky Wiggler's cables have been angled to avoid newbies mistaking them for ground tiles (thanks to TimConceivable)
- An assortment of punctuation has been added to the Presentations for proper grammar.
- Tiny white dots should no longer be visible in any presentations.
- The Workshop Presentation now uses the correct anatomical terminology for optic nerve (thanks to TheViralMelon)
- Presentations that come earlier in the campaign will be retroctively marked as "viewed" if you have beaten the level that comes after them.
- There should no longer be a hitch when the VEND-R bots open their mouths.
- The Rumpus spinner will no longer be displayed while you are on the Training overworld.
- Jingleboxes will now definitely not cause the music to stutter during gameplay.
- The main menu music will no longer play during the credits on the settings page.
- Audited and fixed some of the code around changing pitch and volume of music, which may alleviate the rapid vibrating/crackling sound of music after a Jinglebox plays.
- Fixed an issue where players couldn't load levels.
- Device speed and level FPS telemetry will now only be sent by fully compiled versions of the game, for consistency.
- Some levels would report that they had failed to load, even if they actually succeeded. This has been fixed.
- If a level download failed, you would be forever trapped on the loading page. This will no longer be the case.
- Favorites Generated and Likes Generated should once again be displayed in your profile, now that we have fixed how they are counted.
- Further refined the random level finder to make it more reliable.
- The first time you searched for random levels in the Tower in each session, you would get the same levels. This has been fixed.
- When under the effect of Dbot and punching with the Waylay, you would pass right through Cromblers and Lizumis. You should now bounce off of both of them, and Lizumis will now be successfully punched in this scenario. (thanks to Crushnoil Varkzapee)
- Fixed an issue with Keys using too small of a hitbox collision check when hitting doors and switches. (thanks to TalkGibberish)
- If a bomb was parked on top of an item, it used to throw the item vertically. At some point, that broke. Well, now it's fixed, and bombs will once again throw items vertically if the item is close enough to the bomb! (thanks to Intuition?!)
- Blopfush had a 75px wide hitbox, making them larger than a grid space. This prevented them from spawning out of an enemy generator that was in a 1x1 space. This should now be fixed. (thanks to Spekio)
- Battery lightning now should always draw in front of Charge Switches.
- Fixed some Telemetry reporting about device speeds & optimization.
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