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So this week, there hasn't been much additional content added or tweaked this week. I've mainly been polishing and debugging the game ready for release on August 14th. I had foolishly believed the game was ready on Monday so I created all the packages and started work on generating all the footage for the new trailer only to find an embarrassing number of bugs. That'll teach me!
One thing to mention is that I got the Android version running on my tablet. Here's a short video of it running. As you'll see the normal mapping shadows run well and I'm very happy with the frame rate.
I had some feedback from a fellow developer which have helped me a lot so I'll share them here:
"Looking at the latest video, the game currently contains a lot of walking around looting rooms. It seems quite repetitive to me and might not encourage multiple replays. One way to change this would be to have most of the cells open, and contain fewer loot-able objects. Instead increase the likelihood that the player find something when objects are looted."
I agree each play-through will be similar, essentially each one has the same objective: find the escape pod and repair it. I am confident the hack system and the crime type add enough variety to change how you play through each run. One thing I am considering is to unlock all the crimes from the start, rather than unlocking them by completing a run. This would instantly give the player 5 different abilities to play through the game with and could encourage more play throughs when the player is still new to the game.
I'm reluctant to change the looting system as I actually think it works quite well as you get further in the game. I play with an intensive looting bias, but you don't have to play it this way, there is nothing stopping the player searching through the map to find a more useful section.
"Also, having an AI or two walking around in each area makes the game more intense. Now the player can see and avoid them. Have them stay away from rooms that connects to other areas to ensure that the player can travel around without too much trouble."
I totally agree with this and I've already increased the number of A.I. generated in each map.
"I don't know if you are already planning to change this. Some walls are colored black, although I would assume that the character is able to see at least part of them since they are close and in the same room. This looks a bit weird to me. Showing them to the player would make the game a little less black without spoiling anything."
This is on my beta-four list already. I felt the wall and object visibility code needed a complete re-think before I attempted to fix it. I have a few ideas, but I want to roll them around my head before I start messing with the code.
"Your 2nd death in the video shows the AI killing the player from outside of the screen. This isn't exactly fair to the player in my opinion. In most top down games like these the AI cannot detect the player until they are quite close, unless the player uses a weapon. You could also add in a sneak walk to allow the player to move even closer without detection."
Stealth was an element of the game I had already implemented. I just hadn't balanced it until now so the A.I. was "hearing" the player from the other side of the map. The stealth system still needs tweaking and I'm planning on introducing a stealth suit 'hack' and crime into the next beta to expand on this system.
I've also adjusted when NPCs shoot the player. Previously the sprite just had to be on screen, even by a pixel, but now I've adjusted it so the enemy has to be further onto the screen until firing.
Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available for free via itch.io. Beta three will be available here from Friday 14th August.
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