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).
As the end of October loomed, and I realized I hadn’t made my #1GAM yet. I’d been digging back through very old projects looking for something I might be able to finish, and I found this old ‘tunnelrun’ game I’d made in Python (with overkill ODE physics !).
I decided that the original code wasn’t worth salvaging, and that I’d remake it in Unity as a quick ‘roguelike’ (which is apparently anything with procedurally generated levels and permadeath these days).
I had been working on implementing cellular automata for cavern generation during the month, so I pulled that code into the project and tweaked it for purpose. I ‘wasted’ a lot of time optimising this to prevent major framerate drops as levels are progressively generated in realtime, and dealt with some annoying room & exit placement bugs. I pulled in a spacecraft prefab I made almost 12 months ago for another as-yet-unreleased game. Generated a sky-sphere using some space assets I bought on sale a while back. Fired up Audacity, got on the mic, made some breathing sounds. Made some item pickup sounds with Ableton Live. Made a simple ‘generic item’ model in Blender – I need to practise it more and at least modelling something simple will mean those neurones remain active.
I had already decided that a core mechanic would be searching for ‘oxygen’, which would deplete over time, ultimately resulting in death. I also knew that I wanted to play with visibility, and use that to indicate oxygen levels, along with breathing sounds. Then I went searching for Public Domain literature written about space or the ocean, looking for some text to use as inspiration (or wholesale steal). I ended up reading this - A Hundred Years Hence : The Expectations Of An Optimist by T. Baron Russell, 1906, (Chapter 6: UTILISING THE SEA). Russell’s vision of the future and the challenges we might face with resources and continued human expansion set the direction for this game, and everything fell into place. I knew what I needed to do with this. It still blows my mind that this was written in 1906 ! I tweaked the colour to be ocean-like, so as to intentionally make it ambiguous as to whether the setting is space or the ocean floor. I tweaked the level generation to embrace the idea of increasing scarcity, incorporated Russell’s text as short random snippets, and left the player to fill in the gaps. I think it mostly works as intended – a short experience that I hope will make players pause to think for a moment.
TLDR; Inspired by some literature, I ended up dropping all plans for combat and made some sort of art-game roguelike.
See that little word up on the top left corner .. “ALPHA”.
In the mood for some playtesting ? Take a look at the first public alpha build of Def, the tower defense / RTS hybrid made by aliens, for aliens. No slick video promo, no Kickstarter sales pitch with promises made to be broken. Just a game. An actual game. It’s not quite done yet, but the first 80 % is there, and I’d really like some feedback – too hard, too easy, too buggy, too much fun ? (I wish) :)
Be sure to read the release notes on IndieDB, and send any feedback my way (comment here, there, or email perry at omgwtfgames.com). Games only get good through playtesting, so it’s difficult to over emphasise how important this feedback will be in shaping the final game.
It’s essentially an on-rails score attack shooter. It can be finished (without giving away too much, in under 10 minutes play time), but it gets hard. It appears that as of the time of writing (10-Apr-2013), no one has beaten the last sector yet.
I decided early in the project this would be my first experiment with Kongregate. Could a simple but (hopefully) amusing Unity game without a massive art asset budget capture the attention of players enough to make some ad revenue ? Like ANY ad revenue ? Continue reading…