Hu Newgrounds! River returning here after toooo long for an update on Glitcheon's progress so far since our last devlog. We've been a little silent on this side of things, but rest assured the cogs of development are turning in the background.
Before I dive into the details, I do have an off topic announcement to make! My wife (Brianna) and I (River) are expecting a baby in October. Brianna actually did the voice acting for Glitcheon's "database administrator" in the demo.
Future family portrait
Okay, here we go with Q&A.
River's Imaginary Fan, via Imagination Land
At this point we're feeling pretty comfortable with the level design tools we talked about last time. Bonicle has been working on planning/blocking out a totally new game world to play in which we anticipate will be somewhere between 10-20x larger than the full play area of the demo.
We're playing to have at least 5 distinct thematic areas in the new world, each composed of multiple levels. Some of the details of exactly how they'll be split up are to be determined, but we want to introduce a new ability in each area.
For abilities, we've already talked about some major changes to the existing abilities through modifications that can be unlocked and toggled on and off, but we're also planning on adding two new abilities to the game. The details of those abilities are still a secret, even to us, as we are still debating and pitching ideas for those.
So, if you have awesome ability ideas for Glitcheon that you'd like to share with us, now's the last chance that we may consider it. Check out our Design Pillars for abilities below. We're using these as checks to make sure that new abilities are up to our standards and would fit into the game well. We're looking forward to reading any ideas you might have and that we could get inspired by!
All new ability designs should fulfill these 10 requirements to be considered for addition into Glitcheon
In terms of story progress, we've been focusing on some world building and character building exercises and brainstorming sessions and are now at a point where we feel we've planned enough and need to cut me loose. Next steps here will be a plot outline and then actual dialogue! Usually once I write the dialogue for a certain area of the story, Yaen then goes in and turns it into a sort of screen play format with details of how we want to engage the user visually during those sequences.
River's Imaginary Fan, via Imagination Land
For sure! In terms of new stuff we could showcase right now, some things that come to mind are changes to the health bar/health system, and some of the new ad unblocker ability modifications!
We've been feeling for a while like the health system was a bit too rigid, and didn't allow us to have as much granular control on the individual player's experience and progression as we wanted. In the demo we had an integer based health system where you could start with 1, 3, or 4 health depending on your difficulty setting. Players who were up for a challenge had the opportunity to find 3 more hidden health upgrades, for a maximum of 7 health on normal mode.
The new health pack graphics
Taking damage was always instant death or just one point of damage, and gaining health was always a full restore or just gaining 1 health.
At this point we have totally updated this to replace the old health bar with a totally new aesthetic that allows us to comfortably play with the max health settings and fine tune things better. At the moment, we are experimenting with a starting health of 200 instead of 4, and having enemies deal 50 damage by default instead of 1.
Glitcheon's new health bar comes with a numerical display and a bar or stackable segments that fill vertically with 100HP each.
Those numbers mean basically that the balance is the same for what I described. However, it allows us to play around with new damage types and scenarios. For instance, difficulty settings no longer change your maximum health, but instead change how much damage you take from different sources, and how much health you gain from others!
We intend to leverage this new health system in lots of ways for the full game. Things like damage over time, temporary damage reduction and such are not off the table and we'll be ideating on how to take advantage of the new features for a bit.
The overhaul of the health system also comes with a new look for health related items. How do you like our new heart graphic?
High Security Ads
One of the ability modifications we've added is about "High Security" ads. When these ads are blocked, instead of a hologram you see a solid wall, sometimes with floors on top. They come in all shapes and sizes.
This makes them function in some ways opposite to how traditional ads work in the game. With a traditional ad when they're not active you can pass through them unharmed. With a high security ad, you can't pass through it at all when they're not active. In most cases you can only pass through high security ads with the required modifier after the ad activates and then an enemy spawns.
The high security ad graphics can come in various different shapes and sizes, hiding all sorts of malicious scam-ads behind their locks.
Another of the ability modifications we've added allows ads to stay open for a longer period before releasing enemies, but it also has the negative side effect that the advertisements become much more distracting. We're employing all sorts of audiovisual effects to make this immersive and cool… and distracting.
Distracting ads will talk to you, play sounds that make it harder to hear critical audio queues about enemies, and obscure more of your screen at times, making it a little harder to navigate.
As a reminder, ability modifiers will be able to be toggled on and off rapidly during gameplay, so in any given level you get to pick your poison on what you want on or off, and what consequences/negative side effects you're willing to deal with.
Tipu, via Discord
Absolutely yes. I mean, no promises. Seriously though, we have not discussed removing difficulty options. We do want to improve how they work of course!
I view difficulty options as critical to ensure that people can play how they want to play. We hope to have an appeal to players who are drawn in by the story and by the gameplay challenges, and we want people to be able to have at least some control over the difficulty so they can enjoy it how they want.
As mentioned above for Health Systems, we are changing how difficulty settings work and how they adjust gameplay. One of the things we employed beyond health adjustments in the demo was enabling and disabling hazards and enemies for different difficulty settings, and we'll likely preserve that in some form as well.
We'll likely stick with the three difficulty setting situation where the default is normal, which is also the "easiest." We want to design the game where the default difficulty setting has the broadest appeal and is well balanced, and allow people who have tried it or are into that sort of thing to up the challenge from there.
If you have suggestions for things to tweak depending on difficulty, definitely let us know!
Difficulty options available in Glitcheon
The HeadQuarters, via Discord
I think this might have been a joke question but it sparked my interest. Glitcheon DID walk backwards if you did the inputs in a weird way in at least some versions of the demo. I'm not sure if that's the case anymore, but I used to use this little trick in speed runs so he could walk backwards so I could get a faster/easier glitch pulse push for long jumps.
We even had a custom face animation for the weird backwards walking glitch back then!
Due to not having provided a dev log for a little while, we've got a lot to say, and a lot of questions to answer! I wasn't able to get to everything today, so if we didn't get to your question yet this time around it doesn't mean we missed it. Definitely expect more questions answered next time!