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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[2022.03 demo released] Shardpunk: Verminfall (xcom/darkest dungeon/steampunk)
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Author Topic: [2022.03 demo released] Shardpunk: Verminfall (xcom/darkest dungeon/steampunk)  (Read 40702 times)
bryku
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« Reply #300 on: January 28, 2022, 10:41:44 AM »

Before we get started, here's an invitation: I'm gonna be doing some live streaming on Tuesday, February the 1st:



I'll be covering all the changes I've implemented in Shardpunk in the last few monthts. Do jump in if you want to get some insight on this stuff, ask some questions or just hang out with a cool game developer Wink

Now, back to the devlog entry.

I've probably already mentioned that recently I'm spending some time adjusting the visuals of the game - and even though I am not done with this part, there's something I already want to share.

One of the issues I had with the game was that gifs/screenshots were often looking too similar.

Take a look at these two gifs:





They are representing different level types. The top one is located in the "industrial streets" level type, and the bottom one is located in the sewers.

Now, you can see that they are kinda different, but it's far from what could be achieved here.

The main problem here was that there were no "theme" colors assigned to each of the level types. As for now, there are the following level types in Shardpunk:

a) industrial streets,
b) sewers,
c) industrial buildings,
d) caves/mines.

By using different theme colors with every level type, we've achieved a nice variety. So:

Industrial streets are now warmer, with red bricks and yellow light sources:



Sewers have the greenish vibe going on:


Industrial buildings have a colder, more sterile look:

(how could she not land that shot?)

Caves have that blue glow from the crystal shards:


Combination of post-process effects and some fiddlling with lights and color palletes did the job. There will be still some adjustments being made, but in general I believe the level types have become visually distinct.

That's it for this entry. I hope you enjoyed it! And don't forget to check out the Discord server!

Take care, and we'll see each other on the stream!
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Ramos
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« Reply #301 on: January 29, 2022, 05:14:48 AM »



Your presentations are getting more and more professional & consistent bryku, congratulations!

On another note, I like the new cave environment and the color palette you have on that, it gives a strong Lovecraftian/retro vibe.
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Alain
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« Reply #302 on: February 01, 2022, 12:28:48 AM »

This is the first time I see the caves, the lighting is great. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the stream!
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bryku
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« Reply #303 on: February 11, 2022, 01:09:23 AM »



Your presentations are getting more and more professional & consistent bryku, congratulations!

On another note, I like the new cave environment and the color palette you have on that, it gives a strong Lovecraftian/retro vibe.

Thanks! Yeah, I also fancy the way that blue crystal glow looks. It seems that having correct lighting in the game does significantly increase the quality of visuals.
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« Reply #304 on: February 11, 2022, 01:54:30 PM »

Hi again!

Let's take a bigger look at these blue-ish caves that represent a new level type in the game.



As you progress through the map, certain events get unlocked that can make your life more miserable. For instance, enemies might become armored, or your squad could become more vulnerable to stress:



The player is able to counter some of these events by completing a special mission type, indicated by a rat head on the map:



This mission is optional; however, completing it removes one of the negative events for good.

Now, this mission type is about visiting a mine. Rats have dug underground tunnels (that's how they managed to attack the Capitol) and reached the surface through the mines.



Right now, the vermin are busy stealing crystal shards. They store them in big piles inside the mines. As you might know, these shards are carrying quite a punch, so they can be used to sabotage enemy progress.



The player can use a Fusion Core to light up the pile.



And again, if there's no Fusion Core available, an automaton has a skill that can be used for the same purpose. Still, the player will have to wait for a number of turns for the skill to work.



After that, the player has a limited number of turns to escape. The pile is getting more and more unstable.



If all goes well, the character ends up in the shelter, and one negative event gets removed.

That's all for today. Have a great weekend! And do join the Discord server!


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Alain
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« Reply #305 on: February 14, 2022, 01:06:26 AM »

That was a cool visual walk-through, the caves are the levels that intrigue me the most so far!
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bryku
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« Reply #306 on: February 25, 2022, 01:46:12 PM »

The general gameplay goal in Shardpunk is to escape the sieged Capitol along with an experimental automaton unit, which is equipped with a powerful energy source. Depending on the type of automaton the player will choose at the beginning of a game, the combat tactics might be completely different.

The first automaton that I already wrote about in one of my previous entries was the support one.



It had some skills that were increasing the aim of characters, doing some weapon auto-reload stuff and it had some means of crowd control.



Now, the second automaton that I want to write about today is a medical unit.



It won't be a surprise for you if I mention that this unit has a healing ability. What is more, this healing effect affects multiple tiles and does not generate Stress for your characters. Also, this action does not require a stimpak, but it does have a cooldown timer.



Additionally, the automaton can be upgraded so that it can buff units in its area, increasing their movement range (and replenishing their Action Points, if the skill is fully upgraded).



Also, this is the only mechanical unit that can revive characters who are bleeding out.



As with any other automaton unit, this one also can spend Action Points to increase its movement range in the next turn. You can upgrade it so that it can self-heal itself, although this skill has a limited number of usages in combat - otherwise, it would be too powerful.





Now, there's a lot of playtesting and balancing that will need to be done now that such a powerful healer unit type is present in the game. I played a number of test runs with the new medical bot and I can see that its presence - and the availability of free mass healing actions - pushed me to a different approach in combat. I was able to become more aggressive and take more risks due to the fact that I knew I'd be able to heal my units more.

That being said, one must remember that Hit Points that become lost during combat need to be manually healed in the shelter phase anyway - so the "healing" done during combat is temporary (that's why I am rendering such "healed" HPs in a different color). This means that I cannot go full suicidal with my units.

That's it for this entry. I hope that you are all staying safe. Take care!

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« Reply #307 on: February 26, 2022, 03:14:56 AM »



As you progress through the map, certain events get unlocked that can make your life more miserable. For instance, enemies might become armored, or your squad could become more vulnerable to stress:


Very good update

Are these events fixed or random or based on player choice?

If they are random or based on player choice this concept is an awesome addition to the gameplay, adding a lot of value to re-playability. They can still be nice if they are fixed but won't have the same impact.

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Alain
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« Reply #308 on: February 28, 2022, 12:40:06 AM »

The new automation looks great and is an interesting addition. As you say, such a powerful healer on the team will change player's decision making quite a bit, but it is great if players can go for different styles depending on their composition.
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bryku
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« Reply #309 on: March 11, 2022, 02:06:49 PM »


Are these events fixed or random or based on player choice?

If they are random or based on player choice this concept is an awesome addition to the gameplay, adding a lot of value to re-playability. They can still be nice if they are fixed but won't have the same impact.


Yes, they're random. I am aiming for the game to have lots of replayability. I play on playing it myself and I don't want to become bored.
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« Reply #310 on: March 11, 2022, 02:07:25 PM »

Man, things really started to suck in this part of world. Yet again, my piece of advice regarding indie game development I gave on Reddit the other day ("there's never a good time to start - just go") has proven to be true.

There's war at the other side of the border; more than 1 million migrants from Ukraine have come to Poland so far, and basically everyone is involved in helping them, in one way or the other.

As if the pandemic was not enough. Damn.

In the midst of all that, I am working on preparing a new demo of Shardpunk. I can't say too much about the release date, but the fact is that the QA process has already started.

Besides that, I'm working on adding the third automaton type to the game - a combat unit. I'm gonna write more about it after it's done, and for now grab these gifs.

Take care everyone.



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« Reply #311 on: March 14, 2022, 07:36:29 AM »

Your reddit post was a great read, thanks for sharing.
The situation in the Ukraine is terrible. In Poland you are very close to it and must be feeling the effects quite directly. I wish you the best!
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bryku
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« Reply #312 on: March 17, 2022, 11:43:55 PM »

Your reddit post was a great read, thanks for sharing.

Yeah, it's a little old, but I was super hyped to actually have some experience that I could share. Speaking of which, I should create another post soon, describing some more in-depth aspects of indie game development.

The situation in the Ukraine is terrible. In Poland you are very close to it and must be feeling the effects quite directly. I wish you the best!

Thanks for that. I believe you always have to find some good things about situations you're in, right? For me it's that the drastic gas price increases did not affect me that much, as I am not driving to an office - as my office is located in my bedroom Wink
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« Reply #313 on: March 21, 2022, 01:27:54 AM »

The situation in the Ukraine is terrible. In Poland you are very close to it and must be feeling the effects quite directly. I wish you the best!

Thanks for that. I believe you always have to find some good things about situations you're in, right? For me it's that the drastic gas price increases did not affect me that much, as I am not driving to an office - as my office is located in my bedroom Wink

It is good to hear that is not too drastic for you with regards to the price increase and that you are staying positive!
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bryku
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« Reply #314 on: March 25, 2022, 01:21:46 PM »

Howdy!

There's been a separate piece of news about it on Steam already, but here I am to inform you that the latest demo of Shardpunk is available for you to play. I hope that you will have a blast playing it.

I'm posting a few gifs from my gameplay session as well.

Take care!





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« Reply #315 on: March 26, 2022, 11:40:52 AM »

Awesome! I just played the demo, here are my random thoughts, in case you are interested Wink

I loved that you drop the player into a mission right away. The soundscape and music are wonderfully atmospheric and as a fan of the X-Com series it was very easy for me to get into the mechanics. I think the environmental hazards (lightning bolds) are a great addition to the formula and so is the overheat mechanic. Nice job on the camera work, I love the zooming. I had tons of fun playing with the special abilities and felt like a total badass when I used the speed/charge ability to rush a rat that I could not have killed otherwise. Unfortunately I used my grenades a bit too early on the first pack of rats, so the second wave was quite tough. I made great use of a fusion core because I thought hey, this is the demo and I might not need it as a ressource later on. The rats using poison gas clouds to control space are also a nice touch.

My PC crashed when playing the first mission (crash not related to your game, it does that sometimes), so I had to restart the mission. I was positively surprised that the mission was totally different the second time, even the enemies. I had a hard time and lost a member of my group during the first wave. The support mode of my robot was some help, but then another soldier got killed during the second wave. Then another crash of my PC, really frustrating. But the game itself was a great experience. I will come back to it and am looking forward playing it more!

All in all the feeling is very polished already. I am quite sure that I am not telling you something new here: You have a gem of a game here, I just love it. I might be a bit biased because I love X-Com and games inspired by it (Mutant Year Zero especially). I am 100% your target audience and you did not disappoint me. On the contrary, I am hooked by the changes you implemented. Now drive this baby home bryku!

P.S.: The title of this thread still has the old demo release date Wink
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bryku
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« Reply #316 on: April 08, 2022, 01:00:49 PM »

Awesome! I just played the demo, here are my random thoughts, in case you are interested Wink

Thanks for all the feedback! I do hope that the PC crashing thing was not related to the game.

And yeah, I do see that yet again the game seems to be difficult for new players. It's hard to balance that stuff when you're playing tons of the game yourself. Well, that's where the difficulty levels come in, right? And now I know that if there would be a "normal" difficulty level present in Shardpunk, it should feel like "OMG that is TOO easy" for me Wink

P.S.: The title of this thread still has the old demo release date

Good point - I'm on it!
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bryku
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« Reply #317 on: April 08, 2022, 01:02:03 PM »

My main goal right now with Shardpunk development is to make sure that I, well, finish creating the game. That means adding more assets, characters, enemies, and levels. Basically creating more content based on the existing game mechanics.

At least that's how it looks like in theory - because the truth is that new game mechanics (or changes to existing ones) are still being added by me from time to time. I am aware that such behavior results in scope creep; on the other hand, occasionally trying out something different can result in making the game even more fun, right?

One of the most frequent feedback I got from players playing the demo was that the multi-overwatch action of the sniper character is pretty fun, due to the possibility of killing multiple enemies in one turn.

So I tinkered with game rules a little to see what would happen if any character would be able to perform a "multi-overwatch" thing, similar to the rules that the "Gears Tactics" game introduced. Basically, when a character enters overwatch, the number of unspent Action Points would translate to the number of overwatch charges. So if a character does not perform any movement their turn and just enters overwatch, they'll have two overwatch charges available (assuming that the weapon's heat will allow for that, of course).



This worked pretty well. The player can now decide whether to move more or to spend their points on more firepower. And the original "multi-overwatch" skill of the sniper has been altered so that it simply grants even more overwatch charges:



As usual, a single change brought a number of related gameplay changes that I had to introduce to keep the game balanced. The most important change is that attacks are no longer ending the character's turn - meaning that it's not a problem for a character to shoot first, and then move. Or shoot twice.



Now, such behavior was already possible in Shardpunk, but only for revolver weapons. The other types (shotguns, heavy, sniper) were only meant to shoot once per turn in most of the cases. Well, that's gone now.

With this increased amount of attacks per turn that players can take, I've also increased the number of enemies. I've played through several test missions so far, and I do like these experimental changes; I'm pretty sure they will make it to the final game, as they're allowing the player to wipe out a large number of vermin pretty quickly, which always sounds like a good idea.

Other than that, I played with the robotic characters more as well. They now move with the same speed as human characters and I've allowed them to search for loot, which will open up new strategies. I gotta test these changes first though. They make sense, but even I am not sure whether they won't destroy the game's balance. Who would have thought that making - and balancing - a game is that much work, eh?



That's it for today's entry. Take care!
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Alain
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« Reply #318 on: April 10, 2022, 11:51:29 PM »

Thanks for the update! The multi-overwatch for every character sounds interesting. The only issue I can see is that it could encourage using overwatch a lot, which could lead to a less active (shooting within your turn) gameplay and favoring overwatch. But given that is a valid strategy in many games from your genre, maybe that is totally fine.
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bryku
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« Reply #319 on: April 22, 2022, 12:36:22 PM »

Thanks for the update! The multi-overwatch for every character sounds interesting. The only issue I can see is that it could encourage using overwatch a lot, which could lead to a less active (shooting within your turn) gameplay and favoring overwatch. But given that is a valid strategy in many games from your genre, maybe that is totally fine.

Yup, a way to get around it is making sure that the player will be able to perform the same number of regular and "overwatch" shots. Maybe - for some characters - I will be tipping it in favour of one attack type, but in general the balance must remain.
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