It’s here ! After 12 months (!!) of level building, bug fixing and polishing, the Def mega-update is ready for public release. I think it works pretty well, but there will always be something I’ve overlooked – hence a short beta period where it can get some broader testing and feedback.
You can get it now on itch.io for just $0.99 (or more !) before the beta period ends and the price goes up.
But wait, I hear you say … isn’t Def is already out on OUYA – how can it suddenly be back in beta ? Well, over the past year I’ve added 15 new levels, modding support and a bunch of new features – the extra stuff is significant enough to warrant a short beta period for the initial Windows/OSX/Linux release. This update will also come to the OUYA version soon. In simple terms, you could regard the first 15 levels as essentially non-beta, and the last 15 levels as beta.
The whole alpha / beta / “Early Access” thing for games has become pretty murky these days, with games of various levels of completion choosing one of those labels arbitrarily. Personally I subscribe to the Wikipedia definition of beta – a testing phase when the software is “feature complete”. So I consider this new updated and expanded version of Def as feature complete, but in need broader testing to pick up bugs, as well as potentially tweak or refine some level and story elements.
Why sell this stupidly cheap on itch.io ? Well, ideally I’d like the exclusive club of early access players to have some level of commitment and provide constructive feedback … it’s an open beta that you can buy your way into. Nothing huge is going to change at this point, but the difficultly of some levels still might be tweaked and new story branches might be added (along with fixing any serious bugs, spelling errors, etc). If you truly can’t afford a dollar (or more !), contact me and I’ll probably send you a key. My past experience suggests if I throw up a free beta somewhere I’ll get a bunch of downloads and zero feedback. I’m hoping those that buy this version of Def will also “put their mouth where their money is” and send me feedback and bug reports by whatever channel they prefer (suggested channels above). I intend to release Def on other delivery platforms in the future – particularly Desura, the Humble Store, maybe even Steam via Greenlight if it’s popular enough (no promises). If/when that happens I’ll provide keys for any of these platforms where Def is available to buyers on itch.io (as long as it’s possible without incurring significant extra cost).
Here’s the next post in my series detailing new features coming to Def for the PC / Mac / Linux (and OUYA !) release. Todays feature is: speedup !
Okay, I’ll admit that’s a little underwhelming as a major feature, given that most tower defence and RTS games have a way of speeding up time to zip through any lull in the action. But it’s significant since it’s a feature the version of Def currently out on OUYA doesn’t have. Most levels in Def are designed so that there shouldn’t be many moments where you are idle enough to need a speedup feature, but it does happen occasionally. My initial attempt at implementing this before the OUYA release hit some bugs I couldn’t solve, and I opted to release rather than have this one non-essential feature hold everything back. That said, it’s a nice feature to have, so I devoted a little more time to get it working, and now it’s coming !
In my last progress report on the “Def mega update“, I teased that I was going to be a doucebag-indie-marketing-guru-wannabe and reveal some of the new features coming to Def piece-wise, spread over several dedicated posts. This is the first of those posts :)
Back when I began designing some of the later levels for the “Def mega update“, I started to feel that I needed something extra to shake things up – I guess it’s inevitable when the initial design was based around ‘minimalism’. I wanted something that would make the levels feel more multi-staged, so that new areas would open up as the level progressed. The solution was to add destructible BARRIERS.
So Def has been out on OUYA for a a little over six months now and it’s been great to get feedback from the people playing it, with a few Let’sPlays and some reviews popping up. But I know not everyone has an OUYA. Fear not ! I’m making progress on the PC / Linux / Mac version. An Android touchscreen version might also eventually appear, but there’s a Unity engine bug that impacts enough devices that means this may or may not happen. Why is it taking so long ? Given that Def is built Unity, many people would expect you can just press the big ol’ “Build” button and get a version for any platform. Well, Unity certainly makes multi-platform builds easier, but things are rarely that straightforward or simple (especially if you attempt to build for Windows 8 Store .. but that’s a whole other story).
Def level 25 work-in-progress, part of the mega-update
Early in the jam I had a bunch of different ideas. This is pretty normal. I liked the theme, so much so that it almost gave me too many options for achievable small games I would have enjoyed making. In the end I went for my ‘fallback idea’ – something I’d wanted to try if I could tweak it to fit the theme: a Descent-like game with visuals similar to Zombie Gunship.
What I wanted to achieve was:
1) Set up 6DOF ship controls that felt good. Not necessarily identical to the original Descent, but along those lines.
2) Recreate visuals similar to Zombie Gunship (essentially inverted greyscale, with object highlighting)
3) Incorporate this into a small prototype game, as a sandbox for something bigger.
All image effects applied
I’m happy since I feel like I largely met goals (1) and (2), with some detours, while the gameplay component of (3) isn’t nearly refined enough.