The time has come for the last Early Access version of The Adventures of Elena Temple! Next up is the final release of the game on March 15th 2018. Unless something really bad happens, which I hope it won't. So here's what's new:
- 11 new dungeon rooms, for a total of 49
- 3 new game mechanics: on/off spikes, spikes wheel and pressure triggered platforms
- same room respawns, for when the last thing you collected is in another room
- bullets indicator, shown when shooting or collecting bullets
- new music loop for the spiked wheel and on/off spikes
- new sounds for spikes on, spikes off and spiked wheel rolling
New mechanics and dungeon screens
As you're probably used to from the last updates, this new version has three new mechanics. The on/off spikes are timed obstacles, showing their sharp selves and then hiding back in after a while - you need to time your moves accordingly to avoid a spiky death! The spiked wheels spin back and forth, sometimes on the ground, other times through wall channels. You can only jump over them or use the environment to get past them, because if they'd have a mouth, they'd laugh at your puny bullets. Finally, the pressure platforms move when you stand on them. They can go both ways or just one way, meaning they automatically go back after you step off them. There are also call buttons for some of them, making them move in one direction or the other - a very useful contraption for solving puzzles.
There are 11 new dungeon rooms using these mechanics. The GIF above shows the design process of one of these rooms - there are a couple of extra tweaks I've made after recording the footage. There are now 49 rooms in the game, including the secret ones and everything. There will be an addition 6 rooms in the final version of the game, for a total of 55 dungeon rooms.
Same room respawns
Based on the feedback I got from various players, I finally decided to add respawn points in the same dungeon room you're currently in. Up until now, you'd respawn at the last thing you collected, be it coin, bullet or gem. This led to a lot of situations where you'd die in a room and respawn a couple of rooms away, meaning you'd have to repeat the previous path over and over until you progressed past whatever nasty contraption was giving you trouble. While I kind of sadistically liked the pressure this put on the player and how it gave them another reason to avoid dying, watching people try out the game cemented my doubt that this was negatively affecting the flow and enjoyment of the game, especially since you're likely to die a lot in The Adventures of Elena Temple!
So, the system is now this: when you enter a room, a respawn point will be activated somewhere in the vicinity of where you entered from. If you die, you'll respawn there. If you collect something in that room, the respawn point moves to where that collectible was located, similar to how it was before this update. While it does make the game a bit easier, it also makes it flow a lot better, which is what matters most to me.
Another feedback I received many times was the lack of some indicator to show how many bullets you have. While you can see the current amount in the pause screen, people wanted a faster way, something on screen, but this went against my "no GUI while you play" mantra. The middle ground I found was to show a little indicator consisting of two squares when you shoot your pistol or when you collect bullets. Each square is either full or empty inside based on your current amount of bullets. You can see the bullets indicator in the screenshot below:
Indie Garden Assembly 2018
As I was telling you in the last progress post, The Adventures of Elena Temple was at Indie Garden Assembly in Valenciennes, France. It was a great experience to interact with players in person, to watch their reactions as they play the game and I gathered valuable feedback from them. As a result, besides the two major changes above, I also made a bunch of other tweaks to the game, especially on the level design side. In the picture below you can see people trying out the game and the perfect location to showcase it: between two displays with retro consoles! As a bonus for going to IGA, I made the mandatory trip to Paris, which was awesome, but also a trip to Dunkirk - and I have to tell you, sitting on that huge beach was one of the most relaxing experiences I had recently!
Now that the next step is the final release of the game, here's what's left to add:
- 4 final rooms with old mechanics combined in new ways
- 2 ending rooms
- exit dialog in the virtual museum and changing the exit from the game to take you to the museum
- Steam achievements
The game should be live on Steam on March 15th and, of course, also on itch.io. If you haven't already, you can wishlist the game. Seeing that the final price will be higher than the current Early Access price, you should also consider purchasing the game now on itch.io, as it will also grant you a Steam key after the game is live there.
As a closing note I'd like to sincerely thank all of you who have supported me this far in creating The Adventures of Elena Temple. I'll see you all at the finish line, in less than a month!
And thank you for reading my silly posts!