There Will Be Ink is a tactical action game for 1-4 players. Play solo or with friends in battles between stick figure armies drawn on a paper notepad, just like you used to draw in class instead of paying attention!

TWBI is a difficult game, where charging forward into the fray will rarely win a battle. Tactical thinking is essential. Assessing the battlefield, taking cover as needed, keeping an eye on troops positions: all of these are essential for winning the day. Or, if that sounds like a chore, switch to “arcade mode” and run & gun at will!

Features:

  • Fast-paced action gameplay with strategic elements
  • Take control of any friendly unit on the battlefield
  • Unlock new recruit types as you play, including assault infantry, snipers, medics, RPG troops, heavy machine gunners, and engineers
  • Full featured map editor – lay out a battlefield and jump straight into the action
  • Join a battle in progress for 4 player local co-op or vs. modes
  • Navigate dynamic battlefields, wading across rivers, taking cover behind trees, rocks, sandbags, and craters left behind in the chaos
  • Compensate for weather effects like rain, wind, and smoke rising from burning buildings and trees
  • Earn training credits, even when a battle is lost, to assign new abilities to your troops
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Hello there!

I’ve got a new build of There Will Be Ink ready. First up, here is a new trailer featuring a new music track:



My goal with the previous (and first) public release of TWBI, alpha 4, was to get some general feedback about the game, and to that extent it was a success. I thank those who took the time to check out the game and give me thoughtful feedback.

During the testing process I thought a lot about the current campaign and game progression and where to take things in those areas. This new release, Alpha 5.0, is an evolution of sorts of the previous release, focusing on a lot of smaller changes and additions, while I’m planning for the next release to be larger in scope. Before getting ahead of myself, let’s cover what’s new in Alpha 5.0.

Prettying Things Up

A lot of small graphical changes were made since the last release. To start, I prettied up the old player GUI, changing the background and layout, adding health and stamina numbers, and displaying how many rounds have been fired as well as how many remain:

playerGUIAlpha4vs Alpha 4.0:playerGUIAlpha5


For weapons that can hold over 100 rounds, such as the HMG with the “Magazine Hyperexpansion” ability, any rounds over 100 will be displayed in gold. Gold bullets! Livin’ large. The GUI in the center of the screen showing the weather, wind, and timer has been updated as well. I’ve also fancied up the background behind the notepad, with this woody new look:

woodback2


It is a little nicer to look at than the old solid brown background, and I plan to add more backgrounds in the future. Battle objects will no longer be drawn outside of the notepad now as well (that includes the three holes on the top). Other such fancifications include more visible and colour-coordinated bullets, new rank icons (and five rank levels instead of 4), mission titles at the beginning of a battle, bullets splashing in water instead of bringing up dust, a new additional rock sprite (slightly smaller, slightly less cover), a new alternate crater sprite, and a new grenade aim/throw animation.

Accessibility

Aside from filling out the “Controls” page, I’ve also added random gameplay tips that show up on the main menu screen. These tips are meant to bring the player’s attention to some of the less obvious aspects of the game. There are only a few in place so far, but more will be added, along with the ability to disable them for those pro players out there. I’ve also made the second mission a little easier by reducing the number of units, so that new players don’t get discouraged too quickly.

Sounds of Battle

No longer will soldiers go out in silence, as I’ve recorded (and pitch shifted) ten “death cries” for when a unit is killed. I’ve also added some powerup sounds (for “high tech” abilities) and of course the new music track, “Battle a Comin'”.

New Unit: Engineer + Building Damage

I’ve wanted to add the Engineer for some time now. The Engineer is a mostly non-combat unit that can build and repair buildings and perform other support tasks. That’s right, buildings now have health! Instead of a single grenade, it now takes a few explosions to destroy a building. Not only can engineers repair damaged buildings, but they can also restore destroyed buildings, making the engineer a very powerful unit indeed. I’ve also added “blueprint” versions of the Barracks and HQ to the map editor, so unconstructed buildings can be placed on new maps. I plan to add new, unlockable abilities for the Engineer, such as laying mines, buildings sandbags, and so forth.

Airstrikes

One good way to weaken a building or clear out a cluster of troops is via the new Airstrike unlockable HQ ability. Airstrikes still need a little tweaking but already are fairly satisfying to deploy.

Sidearms

Previously all units were equipped with a trusty sidearm pistol. All sidearms are now unit ability unlocks. I’ve separated them to go with each unit both to reward players for using a specific unit type but also because it allows me to create unique sidearms for different units. For instance, I’ve added a new shotgun as the unlockable sidearm for the Assault Infantry. The shotgun can be quite effective at close range.

New Game Mechanic: Vengeance

Now, when any unit kills a player-controlled unit, the unit making the kill is marked with a skull & crossbones icon above them in the colour of the player they destroyed. Any player-controlled unit who then kills a marked unit will get full health, ammo, stamina, and grenades. I’ve only tested this very briefly, but already it is satisfying to be able to see “who killed ya” (or your comrades) and be rewarded for avenging a comrade’s death.

Aside from the items above, several small additions, changes, and enhancements were made as well, and most (if not all) known bugs should be fixed, though I may have introduced a few new one as well, who’s to say. I also reworked and optimized the dynamic unit death system once again and spent a bit of time optimizing the game’s code, with more of that to come.

Beta 1

Going forward, my plan is to update the unit AI and introduce behaviour states, which should allow for much greater variability in missions. Right now units are kind of dumb. Well, they are alright at taking cover when needed, using grenades, resupplying, etc. But their main behaviour is to just charge at the enemy and attack. I’d like to give them other behaviours, like “defend”, where they’ll pursue their attackers but return to their original position, or “stand ground”, where they will hold their position but attack anyone who comes in range.

I’m also planning to add text at the start of missions to add a light story element, and from there I plan to redo the current campaign, more or less from scratch. This may be the last free version of the game before I put a price on it, though I will likely include a demo version in the future (and of course those who have already donated to the cause will get access to all future builds). Aside from adding behaviour states and a new campaign, I’d like to flesh out the terrain variety and continue to add more sounds, music, and abilities and to polish things up. From there I hope to add a campaign editor so that player’s can string together missions they’ve created into their own campaigns.

Thanks everyone for your support and feedback so far!

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There Will Be Ink Alpha 5.0 - Standalone (Windows)

There Will Be Ink Alpha 5.0 - Standalone (Windows)

Demo

This is an early build of There Will Be Ink. The game is likely in need of balance and may contain bugs. Feedback, including constructive criticism, is...

There Will Be Ink Alpha 4.0 - Standalone (Windows)

There Will Be Ink Alpha 4.0 - Standalone (Windows)

Demo

This is an early build of There Will Be Ink. The game is likely in need of balance and may contain bugs. Feedback, including constructive criticism, is...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 22)
Guest
Guest

Stuck on level 2... am i just bad or am i missing something? very frustrating when you're stuck

Would like to see it play like "totally accurate battle simulator" where you decide how many /what type of characters / where to place, and rewards for using less resources.

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Hello there! Thank you for the feedback. It is indeed a pretty challenging game. I've since added tips that show up on the main screen (for the next build) to help players out. Hiding behind cover can be very helpful, and so can running and rolling. For instance, for level 2, one strategy is to charge forward and taking cover behind a boulder, then fall back as needed. That being said, I may reduce the number of enemy troops on the second mission. You can also level up your unit's abilities from the 'Barracks' page. Even when you lose a battle, you get points for any units defeated.

I like your idea about choosing what type of units. I've thought of implementing something along those lines at the start of a mission and may yet do so. There are also barracks beyond level 2 that spawn new units.

Thanks again for the feedback, and I hope that helps!

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Oh yeah! I get it now. I agree about being able to recruit units with some sort of currency you earn at the end of a scenario, as well as keeping the infinite spawning barracks. I disagree about where to place, though. I think they should just be clumped together in some spawn zone, since such a change would make this more of a battle simulator than a tactical action game. You know what this makes me think of?

Stealth missions. The AI, if set, will only attack those in say, a certain range. This makes for some interesting stealth scenarios and makes the player focus less resources on units. Making the AI also call for help might be useful, too. I don't think this could be that hard to implement in, perhaps version 0.9.0 or something. I'll let you work at your own pace but will definitely pick up any more updates that come our way :D

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ResExsention
ResExsention

It seems like you've got the attack script quite polished already, too. I think your code is somewhere along the lines of "go in range of enemy and shoot" and "if enemy is close enough use grenades". I think you could use the "go to" part to make the AI follow the player as well if set, instead of being omniscient sometimes.

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Stealth missions are a great idea. I've been having similar thoughts as I plan out AI behaviour states and the possibilities those might provide. I'm excited to get to work on the new campaign, once I get there, and for what sorts of levels players might make, if I can get anyone playing, hah.

That is pretty well the AI behaviour, yeah, along with taking cover when fired at (or just when attacking, for ranked troops), resupplying, etc. Units will follow their current target, but they refresh their target fairly often as well, which makes them easily distracted I suppose. The new AI states should make it easy to have sentries, and I'm hoping for some level of calling for help as well (eg for nearby units to notice if their comrades are under attack).

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Highly replayable because of the map editor, and the campaign is definitely something. Problem is, there are no definite instructions on how to create maps, specifically how to change the team of a unit.

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Hello, thanks very much for the feedback!
You're right that the map editor needs some work. Adding instructions is on my to-do list (I'm thinking maybe an overlay at the bottom of the screen), but I completely overlooked the fact that changing teams cannot be intuitively figured out.

To cycle between teams, press "TAB". Buildings can also be selected to enable which units spawn (though they need to be unlocked in campaign). Also, when playing, left-click/'A' on gamepad joins the black team while right-click/'B' on gamepad joins the blue team.

Thanks again for the feedback. I get too accustomed to things while working on the game, so outside perspectives are much appreciated.

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Of course. It would also be nice if the campaign told a story, since as of right now, it's just a set of pre-made missions. Maybe, the campaign you already have could be slimmed down to become a sort of tutorial campaign, and there would be another campaign that would tell a story. Online multiplayer support would be nice, too. Maybe through Steam?

But still, overall, I like the idea of this and would love to see more!

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

I like the idea of a tutorial campaign, or at least having a tutorial element to the first few missions. I've been back and forth about whether to add a story element and to what extent. On the one hand I like leaving the story up to the player's imagination, but on the other hand I think adding even a bit of story would give the game more personality. I've also structured the game so that it would be pretty easy to implement a campaign editor (where players could string together their own maps), so I'll need to balance out the complexity of adding new features vs. the ease and accessibility of making campaigns. Still, I would like to add a bit more complexity.
The game would be well suited for online multiplayer in terms of gameplay, but alas, I only have plans for local coop in order to keep the scope reasonable for a one person project.
Thanks again for the feedback!

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Yep, and I look forward to seeing more! I want to see how you use the potential this game has, because I think it could become quite a masterpiece. I know it's still in alpha and now I want to see what a full version would have.

Keep at it, and good luck!

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Oh geez, for some reason I only saw your review today (are there no notification settings in IndieDB? I'm new to the system). There is a lot of great feedback there. Thanks very much for the in-depth review.

I'm presently addressing some of the things you mentioned (more rivers/water variations and other editor options are definitely needed) as well as the editor bug and a few others. I'm also trying out a light "story mode", likely just in the form of text displayed on a page before each mission.

More AI behaviour control is definitely something I've thought about. I'll see about adding basic behaviours, if not in the current build I'm working on then in the next.

I would also love to see scenarios created by other users, and being able to share maps (and campaigns) is something I'd like to make easier. Community forums are a great idea. In the meantime I'd love to check any user maps sent to hi@summitfevergames.com

Alpha 5 is coming along nicely, with a new unit (Engineer), airstrikes, building health, more terrain variation, a more helpful UI, visual improvements, and a few others things already implemented.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and review.

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Wow, great! Glad the development is still active. I'd love to see what comes next.

About the engineer, it can create stuff in the field, right (mobile cover, ammo boxes, etc)?

I think airstrikes would be a nice support, however though it might become too overpowered, since you could just take out the enemies' barracks right away. I think you might have to find a way to balance the airstrike between usefulness and mediocrity. Would like to see what you come up with.

Yes, I do think the UI could use some improvement, as well as the visuals, but I really do think the art is fine, especially since this is a genre of which is quite rare.

May I suggest a grenadier unit? I personally really like to spam grenades and what I was thinking was that the grenadier would carry 5 grenades but do less rifle damage and carry one less bullet than a rifleman.

Anyway, I'll be sure to check out whatever update you release next!

P.S. Just curious, what software did you use to make the art? Aseprite?

P.P.S. I really like the way the rockets whiz, but I don't think they have an explosion sound. Perhaps you could try using something like BFXR to quickly throw together an explosion sound?

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

The engineer is in the early stages; so far it can only repair buildings and build new buildings (or rebuild destroyed buildings), but I do have plans for building cover (sandbags), laying mines, buildings bridges, etc. I had the same concerns about airstrikes being OP, but adding health to buildings and engineers to repair them should balance things out. Airstrikes also have a pretty slow refresh time at present, though that will all likely need balancing. I posted a gif highlighting airstrikes, building health, and engineers to Twitter, here: Twitter.com

I like your idea for a grenadier, or at least a "demolitionist" of some sort. The RPG is almost along those lines, but grenades are somehow more satisfying. I'm focusing on some other aspects of the game before adding more units, but I'll add the grenadier idea to the list. The thought takes me back to the original C&C. What a classic.

Aside from the engineer/airstrikes/etc and some polish/enhancements, my plan is to work on the AI, adding different behaviour states for units (eg. "Aggressive", "Defensive", "Hold Position") and then to re-do the campaign from scratch with a bit of a story element. The AI states will be configurable from the map editor, and I'd like to implement a campaign editor to string missions together. I may release another build first (Alpha 4.5 or 5 or what have you) before moving on to the AI and campaign stuff. I've got a lot of feedback at present to work with, which was my goal with the public alpha, but it wouldn't hurt having a slightly more polished version out there.

The game is made in Game Maker Studio, and I did a lot of the art straight out of there, but when that didn't cut it I turned to Aseprite and Photoshop.

Hm, there should be a sound for rocket explosions, the same as for grenades. Is it maybe being drowned out by other battle sounds? I'll double check though. I think I did in fact make the explosion sound using BFXR :D

Tally ho!

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Wow, thanks! What you have in mind sounds awesome! I personally use Piskel and GIMP when making art, since open source seems to really suit me.

I agree that making a rocket sound could kind of drown out the other battle sounds, but I think you should still add it anyway,

I saw your GIF, with the Engineer and airstrike demo. Created an account just so I could follow you, and other people I might need to keep up to date with. I think the Engineer might need a bit more rebalancing, because the speed of which it repairs doesn't feel right, I'm not sure. Maybe it's okay for now.

Tally ho! (oof)

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

I haven't used Piskel before, but it looks pretty cool. I like the idea of GIMP, but I've grown pretty accustomed to PhotoShop over the years.

I will pm you to clarify about the rocket sound, as it should be working.

Thanks for the follow! :D I set the Engineer repair rate (and building health levels) somewhat arbitrarily and haven't tested things much yet, so some balancing will likely be needed. Did you find the repair too slow or too fast?

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Seems a bit too slow. How many seconds is the cooldown? At that rate, the engineer becomes kind of obsolete. If you have enemies constantly opening fire on an FOB (Forward Operating Base) with only limited defenders, the Engineer won't be able to repair the buildings fast enough. Maybe you should decrease the cooldown by 1 or two seconds. Also you should allow multiple engineers to repair a building at once, so that the speed of one engineer repairing doesn't become mediocre.

The damage done by the airstrike is great. Depending on the bomb, 3 of them won't be able to destroy a building. If they were high explosive bombs, that makes sense, but with the bombs you have they fit in accurately.

I like the building health you set, too. I think you should completely overhaul the "destroy buildings with one grenade" thing and instead replace that with the ability to set explosive charges (for most units), since grenades can't really destroy buildings IRL.

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Cool. Any number of engineers can repair a building at present. I don't want them to be able to repair too quickly or buildings might be too hard to destroy, though of course that could be handled by the player by attacking engineers before buildings (and the AI already does this).

The "destroy buildings with one grenade" issue has been addressed by adding building health, but I do like the idea of setting charges. I will probably hold on to grenades' ability to destroy buildings, but it might be worth trying out grenades as unit-destroying only to see how it plays.

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Oh, strange that I haven't mentioned this before but I really liked the trailer. The music is so satisfying, too. Did you compose it yourself? I really like it.

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summitfever Creator
summitfever

Oh thanks! I did compose that track. I've since added three little "jingles", for battle start, battle loss, and battle victory, but I really need to make some more proper music tracks. If not in the next alpha, they will be in beta 1 for sure. I'm thinking I ought to show off a few of the actual features of the game in the next trailer instead of just random clips, fun as those may be.

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ResExsention
ResExsention

Well, you got the revival already set in the trailer, and the music compliments that perfectly. I think you should create a separate music track for battle and another short one for the menu. To make things easier, you can set them up so they loop, too.

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There Will Be Ink
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Windows
Creator
summitfever
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Style
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War
Players
Single Player
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Twitter

Latest tweets from @summitfever

Devlog with the latest build details: Summitfevergames.com #indiedev #indiegames #IndieGameDev #twbi #gamedev

May 23 2019

Release day! Well, I've got a new song for a new trailer for a new build (Alpha 5.0), anyhow. Check it out:… T.co

May 22 2019

It was about time I prettied (or woodied?) up the background #indiedev #indiegames #twbi #gamedev #ilikewood T.co

May 7 2019

Three new features in the works: airstrikes, building health, and an engineer unit. (Oh and also a small boulder. S… T.co

May 2 2019

Prettying up the player GUI: T.co

Apr 25 2019

Here is a trailer for the current (alpha) build of There Will Be Ink: Youtu.be

Apr 24 2019

Hello there! Summit Fever is a game studio (presently solo) working on a game called There Will Be Ink. Find out mo… T.co

Apr 24 2019

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