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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPuzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story. Puzzle/JRPG - Now on Kickstarter!
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zircon
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« on: June 05, 2019, 07:56:48 AM »

July 22, 2020 - Our Kickstarter is Live! Please check it out.





Hello! Back in 2016, I started a little untitled roguelike project right here on TIGSource. That became a full-fledged game called Tangledeep, which launched on PC in 2018 and Switch on 2019. It turned out to be a modest success, enough so that we're now working on a second game in the same universe. It's at the point where I'd love to share what it's all about and talk about development.

Puzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story combines falling block puzzle gameplay with an ATB-style JRPG battle system, plus other unique puzzle and town-building gameplay. There is a full story with lovely sprite and anime-style art, along with a fantastic soundtrack. With multiple difficulty settings, you can choose a more story-driven experience OR push your puzzle and tactical skills to the limits.

Sign up to our newsletter to hear the latest news about the game!

LATEST Playable Builds

These are still EARLY ALPHA builds, so please keep that in mind! The full story is nowhere near done and many features are not implemented yet.

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

Exciting Puzzle Battles

Puzzle Explorers has real-time combat where you (and eventually, your party) face off against up to 3 monsters at once. While monsters and your allies take turns attacking and using special abilities, the main character - Mirai - controls the flow of battle on the puzzle board.

By clearing lines, you'll deal damage to a monster with a regular attack. Clear multiple lines at once for much more powerful blows. Some monsters may use charge attacks which can be interrupted with these strikes, which makes it important to weigh the state of your puzzle with the battle scenario.



There are plenty of other battle features as well that become unlocked over time. For example, monster attacks often mess with your puzzle board by removing blocks, swapping your tiles, speeding up the game, and more! But you can also strike back harder by connecting link crystals in blocks, which can be cleared for combo multipliers.

It's a ton of fun!

Solving Puzzles in the Ancient Ruins

In contrast to the high-energy battles, you'll also come across ruins which can be rebuilt for rewards. To do this, you must drop the right blocks in the right locations. Though these puzzles start out easy, they can be quite tricky... and equally satisfying to solve!



Mining for Resources

Your home base in Puzzle Explorers is the town of New Riverstone. Here is where you'll meet a host of charming characters, buy items, and go on quests. A big part of the game is building and upgrading the town, which involves both fighting battles and seeking resources.

To gather resources, you'll talk to Hagan the Miner and play in Mining Mode. This is a sort of arcade-style, time-attack puzzle where you have 2 minutes to get all the resources you can.



To get resources, you must clear lines with those resources. Clearing lines also increases the Resource (blue) gauge. When it fills up, Hagan will throw more resource blocks on to the map. The faster (and more) you clear, the faster you'll find more resources. You might even find some special treasure chests.

New Riverstone



You can move freely through town like a 2D platformer, which is a big change from the original Tangledeep's turn-based movement!



But the more interesting thing to discuss here are the Town Upgrades. As you gather resources and defeat bosses, you'll collect dozens of resource types and key items which can be used to purchase items or equipment, as well as build up the town and progress the story.

Several NPCs have their own role in town, and by giving them the resources they need, they'll be able to expand. It's not all about combat!



The Flowstone

Unlike other falling block-style games, you have the ability to choose what pieces are in your "bag" using the power of the Flowstone. You must have 8 different pieces, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

For example, small 3-piece blocks may be convenient, but they are slower than larger 5 and 6-piece blocks which may work against you in Battles. Also, some blocks contain link crystals which help you deal huge damage in battle when combined carefully.



Elemental Blocks

You start out by only dropping "Flow" blocks, which deal straightforward damage. You will later find: Fire blocks that deal damage-over-time, and are a better use of small clears; Ice blocks that freeze an enemy and prevent them from acting; and Lightning blocks that scale even higher with bigger clears, and can deal AOE damage.

Monsters can also have elemental strengths and weaknesses, so using the right element at the right time is really important.

Character Progression

As you defeat monsters, you'll gain XP and eventually level up, allowing you to boost your Health, Attack, or Defense (your choice each level.) But there are other ways to power up as well. Consumables can be purchased in the shop - things like Food that restore Health in battle, Bombs that break enemy armor, and Shields that absorb attacks will all come in handy.

There's also a Magic Flask that transforms your current piece into a super powerful 5x1 block - great for getting out of a tough spot or dealing a battle-ending finisher. Beyond that, you'll also be able to get equipment for your eventual allies, helping them be even more effective in battle.

Story and Characters

We don't want to give away too much about the story just yet, and we're still working on it. What we can say is that it's very character-driven. Whether it's our hero, NPCs, party members, or antagonists, we want each one to be memorable, expressive, and interesting.

Picture a lush & verdant world that was lost to time for many millenia and only recently re-discovered by denizens far beneath the surface. New frontiers are being explored every day, but much is still unknown. Without great empires and civilizations, towns, clans, and kinships form in unexpected ways.

Although some have banded together to live in harmony - like the town of New Riverstone - others prefer to take the fruits of labor by force. Tales of roving pirates and mighty fleets abound. But nothing is as simple as it seems!



Good-natured and energetic, the portagonist Mirai tries to see the best in everyone. She arrived in New Riverstone a couple years ago with no memory of her past life before that. After finding the Flowstone within ruins on the island, she is able to manifest Flow into physical constructs which allow her to build and modify existing structures, so long as she has enough resources on hand to work with. As her story unfolds, she will come to learn that even with her newfound power, not everything in life that’s broken can be easily put back together.
 


Vivian - A young member of a pirate crew. While prone to hot-headed stubbornness, she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about. Treated as disposable deadweight by some of her crewmates, Vivian has been bullied into participating in activities that their captain would not approve of. Through her interactions with Mirai, Vivian finds the courage to stand up for herself, even if she must stand alone.



Marcus - The military outcast. Marcus serves in a low-ranked position, and is soft-spoken and reserved. He tends to think first before taking action. He joined the military not out of love for country, but for his fascination with Relics, the ancient technology excavated from various underground sites around the world.



Borras Crimm - The infamous pirate captain. As the captain of the Scarlet Tusk, Borras Crimm is the most wanted man in the world. Strong-willed and decisive, he will take any and all measures necessary to secure the wellbeing of his crew. Normally not one to attack innocents despite his reputation, his desperation to save his starving crew sends him on a collision course with Mirai and the people of New Riverstone.



Victoria Cerule: driven, calculating, and possessed with a strong sense of justice. Cerule quickly ascended to the rank of captain at a young age. Despite her reputation as a fierce combatant on the seas, little else is known about her.



The Dev Team

Our team consists of:

Andrew Aversa / zircon (that's me!) - Lead programmer, design + audio contributor
Andrew Luers / OA - Lead artist, designer, composer
Molly - Artist/animator
Scott / FenixDown - Lead writer
Steve / MoonLapse - Designer

There are also several art contractors contributing, since as you can imagine, there is a TON of art in this game from gorgeous pixel backgrounds, to characters and monsters, portraits, sprite FX, etc.

What's Next?

We're continuing to implement more of the story, polish up gameplay, improve UI, and add new mechanics. If this all sounds interesting, please sign up to our mailing list to hear more about Puzzle Explorers development.

Let us know what you think!

Sign up to our newsletter to hear the latest news about the game!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 07:26:16 PM by zircon » Logged
fluffrabbit
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 08:43:05 AM »

Let me see if I understand. The original Tangledeep was #1 on Steam for a time. It was a solo project that took inspiration from Zelda, Final Fantasy, and modern roguelikes, with an emphasis on strategy. Then you got an artist to polish things up before release.

The Tangledeep sequel now has a large enough team to almost be called "III" and is debuting on Tigsource at 30% completion with lots of very polished art.

I think it looks very nice. The Tetris-like combat system looks interesting. The characters are the most interesting part to me. You seem to know your market, and I think that's fantastic.

Quote
Treated as disposable deadweight by some of her crewmates, Vivian has been bullied into participating in activities that their captain would not approve of.
Well, hello there! She's my favorite.
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Oa
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 06:12:28 AM »

Yo- I’m the lead artist on this and have some cool stuff to share- we are progressing towards build 3 and are refining systems as well as adding in new stuff. Here is some of the finalized monster art:








There are currently about 18 monsters complete, maybe 35 in scope for our 1.0 release. We wanted to bring back a lot of fan favorites from the first game but give them an updated look.
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zircon
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2019, 12:44:37 PM »

OK, build 7 is now available!

http://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Tanglepuzzle_b7_win.zip
http://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Tanglepuzzle_b7_osx.zip
http://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Tanglepuzzle_b7_linux.zip

ART/VISUALS
  • Available monsters have had their art updated and improved.
  • New UI components for fire and ice elements.
  • New UI for monsters to have their own super moves.
  • All elements now have their own unique hard drop animation.
  • Glow effect added when power gems are chained together and applying an additional bonus to damage.
  • Cleaned up the orb and power gem blocks artwork to better see the element underneath.
  • Monsters now flash when they attack, letting you know what fool needs to be punished.
  • Background for forest nodes has been added.
  • When building, there is now a puff of dust before the building appears.
  • sprite and portrait art added for NPCs.
  • ”WARNING” text now appears when you are about to be hit with an attack like a piece swap
  • New UI component representing negative temporary effects like “paralysis” or speed up

AUDIO/MUSIC
  • Added another audio queue when a monster is about to use a super attack. Interrupt before the DJ drops the beat!

BALANCE
  • Several power gems removed from larger pieces, and added to smaller pieces.
  • Lightning damage reduced, always applies AOE. However, it still only interrupts your selected target.
  • Heroic difficulty level added (Hardcore to come).
  • Line clears now immediately interrupt monster attacks rather than waiting until your animation completes.

BUGS
  • Fire stacks now correctly refresh and display.
  • Frozen enemy animation now correctly displays all 90 frames.
  • Ghost pieces now show correctly on all areas of the puzzle field, high or low.
  • Lots of other misc fixes

CONTENT/GAMEPLAY
  • 2x2 block is now rotatable
  • Added the arena, where there is a gauntlet of 12 battles to try out.
  • Special BIG BOI blocks added. These are blocks that are twice as big, that when cleared, break into 4 smaller chunks. We have a lot of cool plans for these now that they work! You’ll see Craggans using them for now.
  • There are now NPCs in town you can talk to, they will definitely have more to say throughout the game.
  • Numerous new monsters and nefarious puzzle-based attacks! For example, the Bonecrab now has an attack that “paralyzes” you (disallows rotation) for a brief time. Craggans now throw solid 2x2 boulders that must be cleared twice to fully remove.
  • Monsters can now have Super Armor, where they can only be damaged by Red Orbs! This will be used for certain special boss encounters.
  • Monsters can also have Bark/Ice Armor (name TBD) where damage OTHER than Fire is reduced. Red Orbs also work fine against these monsters.

QUALITY OF LIFE
  • Ghost pieces now show much more accurately where they will fall vertically.
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 10:49:25 AM »

We've been working very hard on story & cutscenes right now. I created a custom cutscene scripting system allowing the designers and writers to put together just about anything; combined with the excellent background artwork, it's looking really good.





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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2019, 09:54:31 AM »

Phew, we've been working hard since the last post on finishing the entire intro sequence (with tutorial puzzles) and setting the stage for the rest of the game. Various UIs have been redone, new characters added to town, and backend systems have been improved.

Most recently, we've adjusted the feel of the puzzle mechanics, adding input buffers so that when a piece collides with something below it, there is a window where you can still shift it left and right before it locks. It's a bit hard to explain: just try it for yourself. It should feel much better now.

We're also working on a redo of how the battle field looks (the monster + player sprites) to be more dynamic, with pans, zooms, and other cool effects. More on that soon.

Finally, new builds have been updated in the original post. You should be able to play through the whole intro, then check out various puzzles, battles, and even the Arena. There isn't any story beyond the introduction, but we're working hard on that too.
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2019, 11:59:27 AM »

Yo- I’m the lead artist on this and have some cool stuff to share- we are progressing towards build 3 and are refining systems as well as adding in new stuff. Here is some of the finalized monster art:








There are currently about 18 monsters complete, maybe 35 in scope for our 1.0 release. We wanted to bring back a lot of fan favorites from the first game but give them an updated look.

oh heck these monster designs are so good!!!!!
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2019, 01:57:38 PM »

Yo thanks for the feedback! Here is more detailed build notes that show off what's new:

ART/VISUALS
  • Improved fire animation
  • New build, story quest,  and panic emote icons
  • By impossibly unanimous demand, the Potion is now Cheese
  • Added “VICTORY!” or “LOSE!” text depending on if you win or lose a battle
  • The town’s size has been doubled! What will you do with all that space? Might be a good place to put buildings?
  • Mirai has learned to take it easier sometimes, and now has a walk animation, as well as a few other moves.
  • Added several new UI animations to the map
  • New location background art for plains and hill nodes
  • town NPCs all over the place, as well as animations for them

AUDIO/MUSIC
  • positional audio added to some town elements
  • town theme added
  • plains gather song added
  • hills gather song added
  • cave theme added
  • flow theme added
  • panic theme added
  • adventure theme added
  • a lot of environmental SFX added

BALANCE
  • Lightning element damage is now slightly higher, but with multiple targets the damage is split between those targets
  • When using FLOW pieces, damage from link crystals is increased by about 25%
  • Fire damage increased by about 60% per tick
  • Dirtbeak now takes damage from link crystals AND red orbs, but not any other effects

BUGS
  • Fixes for various weird behavior with 2x2 solid blocks thrown by Craggans
  • The interface for building upgrade (materials) no longer appears on some puzzle dialogue windows
  • Freeze effect should freeze a monster, even if that monster is about to swing
  • Attempted fix for softlock that could happen with 200+ pieces on the board
  • Fixed bug where link tiles, orbs (etc) could show up visually on tiles such as your Flask block, or blocks thrown by enemies

CONTENT/GAMEPLAY
  • Added a title screen with New Game/Continue functionality and 3 save slots
  • There is now a JOB SYSTEM! Every job has one Passive ability and one Active. Passive abilities vary in how they are triggered, while Active abilities are charged up with each piece dropped. When your “SPECIAL” meter is full, you can use your Active ability by pressing R.

Each active ability has a different charge threshold. One “turn” (t) in this case means one block dropped.

PALADIN
Passive: 10% chance to generate a Green Orb in any spawned piece, heals +25 HP when cleared
Active (20t charge): Instantly interrupts + stuns all enemies for 5 seconds, resetting their turn as well

BRIGAND
Passive: Every 8 pieces, adds a Red Orb to the next piece that adds +100 damage when cleared
Active (15t charge): Replaces active piece with a 2x2 Fire square w/ 2 Link tiles

EDGE THANE
Passive: Deal +1.5% damage per max height on the board (i.e. highest tile is at row 10 = +10% damage)
Active (20t charge): Increases all damage by 20% for 30 seconds
  • Added ruins puzzle types to each node in-game. Ruins are puzzles where you have a limited number of pieces to replicate a shape on the field.
  • The first tier of town-building has been added, with the bridge and storehouse being available to complete.
  • player’s drop speed is increased by 2x
  • left and right piece movement has been increased.

ENGINE
  • Game now runs when minimized or out of focus for any reason

QUALITY OF LIFE
  • Added a title screen and the ability to create and manage up to 3 save file slots


WRITING
  • The game intro cutscenes are now enabled - see how Mirai gets her incredible block powers as you learn about the different puzzle modes.



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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2019, 08:25:22 AM »

The game now has pirates that need to be battled!

Regular mobs


Mid Bosses




And the Pirate King himself
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2020, 07:19:27 PM »



Pirates have a base camp now!
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2020, 12:39:56 PM »

Hello all! Today is a huge update - our first public build in nearly 5 months - and it shows. We've revamped the UI completely, changed around lots of mechanics, implemented new graphics and music, introduced more story, and overall we're really excited.

Check the original post for updated playable build links and a description of all the major game elements so far.

Also, if this project sounds cool, consider signing up for our newsletter! We'll keep you up-to-date on major game news.

https://tangledeep.com/newsletter.html
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2020, 05:20:07 PM »

Build 11 is up today!

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

ART/VISUALS
* Toned down screenshake when building structures in town

AUDIO
* New piece drop/lock SFX.

BALANCE
* Removed shields and bombs from the shop, for now
* Decreased paralyze time from Bonecrabs
* Craggan’s block toss now has a 1 turn charge (but can’t be interrupted)
* In Ruins puzzles, game speed is always set to Hold so you can take your time solving the puzzle

BUGS
* Fixed incorrect gold display when first opening shop
* Leveling up Defense now actually works (previously, it was boosting your attack more)
* Display notifications (e.g. quest flag icons) should now immediately refresh when you finish a quest
* Fixed visual bug with Flowstone UI where if you canceled back to the main navigation, your last selected piece would stay apparently selected
* Fixed Arena so it is actually completable, and works on all difficulties.
* Attempted fix for bug where, after completing Campsite & Storehouse then talking to Pari, there would be extraneous screenshake at cutscene start
* Fixed bug where, after completing the dual pirate boss battle, leaving town would send you back to town right away
* Various fixes for bad stair behavior in Riverstone
* PS4 dualshock’s left input should work correctly now
* Fixed incorrect failure dialog for Ruins maps
* Fixed incorrect music playing for Ruins maps
* When defeating a monster using a charging move, the warning text will now clear properly

QUALITY OF LIFE
* Items in the shop now have descriptions
* Monster attacks are now titled above the board in yellow if they’re avoidable (interruptible), red if they’re not
* Added control notification at the bottom of world map UI
* Added a red flashing low health indicator and SFX beep when you are at 25% health or below
* Added game save indicator (also, game no longer saves every time you enter a map; only when leaving maps, e.g. leaving town or beating/failing a puzzle)
* The game now saves at three points during the intro (entering cave for the first time, prior to fixing the bridge, and when arriving back in town) - if you leave the game during these times, even by alt+F4ing the game, you will resume at that cutscene later
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 05:35:13 PM by zircon » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2020, 05:48:31 PM »

We're continuing to gather feedback about the game and flow of things. One of our big upcoming moves is to rework the intro somewhat to get you into the gameplay sooner. We don't want to take away from the story, but rather work in some sequences (probably via "flash forwards") to hook the player and introduce the key battle/puzzle mechanics early on. You can expect this in build 13, most likely.

Otherwise, here's build 12! More town upgrades, UI improvements, and a non-placeholder job system (even though there's just 1 job in this build. More in 13 for sure.)

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

Build 12

ART/VISUALS
* New particle effect for link crystals - more clear/obvious!
* 3 New monsters added
* New effects for Mirai’s basic attack, Snewt’s fire breath
* Various cutscene edits and tweaks

AUDIO
* New “Ruins Completion” SFX when you get the final block in the right place
* Updated “Buy Item” sound, rotate piece sound
* Game Over theme added

BALANCE
* Completing a Ruins node now awards 50 Flow Essence & XP
* Material cost of Campfire, Storeroom and the Mine have been reduced

BUGS
* (Probably) fixed bug with 2x2 thrown block attacks (like Craggan)
* Fixed incorrect art for the Campsite upgrade
* Link crystals now show in the Flowstone tab again
* When fighting frogs (or other enemies with piece swap attacks), your flask is disabled shortly before - and during - the enemy swap.
* Fixed Ruin 13 and Ruin 17 issues
* Fixed Upgrades screen not displaying character names when you completed all their available quests
* Green and Red orbs added to S-blocks work correctly when rotated now (instead of disappearing)

CONTENT/FEATURES
* Hagan now periodically throws 2x2 blocks full of stuff - but watch out, you have to crack them first!
* “Materials” menu option replaced with “Inventory”, which now lets you see all items you own
* You can now build Hagan’s Mine after the pirate battle! Once complete, Hagan will now throw an additional block when he finds resources.
* You can now build Eric’s Garden after the pirate battle! Once complete, you can hand over all your Soil and Seeds to harvest Snacks. What are Snacks used for? Well…
* You can now switch jobs properly at the Frog Spirits in town (unlocked after Garden). Feed your current Frog Spirit from the Inventory → Snacks UI to level up your job! Job levels increase the power of Red Orbs and Link Crystals, and at level 5 you’ll unlock your job’s Special Technique. (Removed job convo from Amara.)
* You can now Fast Travel while in town to certain NPCs you’ve talked with. Access this from the menu.

ENGINE
* Town upgrade/building data can now be read dynamically from Google-exported spreadsheets!

QUALITY OF LIFE
* Added numbers for your current XP, level, and XP to next level on the Status page
* Speed of movement on stairs increased
* Text and grammar improvements to the introduction
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2020, 10:25:09 AM »

This build is yet more fixes, QOL, and the addition of the Budoka job (Frog Spirit). This one is a very offense-oriented playstyle; it gets bonus Link Crystals which can lead to some big combos. Its special power drops 3 1x1 blocks in a row which each have a Link Crystal, allowing you to create some truly huge damage bursts.

We also unlocked all 5 jobs for this build (mainly for testing purposes)... let us know what you think!

Next on the list is continuing to improve the intro sequence; tightening up dialogue, getting to action faster, that sort of thing.

Build 17 (4/21/20)

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

ART/VISUAL
* Screenshake now looks better, probably

AUDIO
* New SFX played when building upgrades in town

BUGS
* Fixed game error when talking to Alasdair in town.
* Fixed visual spacing in popup boxes when body text exceeded 1 line
* Fixed display bugs in level up UI (+10 health instead of +15 when first opened, didn’t show health added)
* If you completely finish a node (battles/ruins), you should no longer see the node pop up when you go back to the world map
Fixed certain SFX not routing through SFX volume correctly (ambient town FX, certain puzzle ones)
* “Back to Map” menu option works again
* Fast travel on stairs no longer breaks the game
* Adjusted screen shake code so the camera doesn’t go completely nuts now
* Fixed bug with post-bridge repair cutscene in the intro having messed up dialogue
* In “Hold” mode, pieces should no longer auto-lock if touching the bottom. You have to hold down OR instant drop them to lock.
* Possibly fixed bug where alt+tabbing before a puzzle led to an immediate instant drop
* Damage and healing text from orbs no longer appears off the board sometimes
* Fixed visual bug in the settings script; rows were too squashed
* Settings rows now look correct and properly spaced at all resolutions. Probably..
* Settings on title screen no longer has a “Gather Puzzle Difficulty” option, and also fixed various bugs with the cursor/ button selection
* Fixed another rotation issue with orbs on reverse S blocks
* Sihd no longer slides across the bridge after you repair it
* Attempted fix at cutscene screenshake not working correctly in some regions
* It should no longer be possible to mega spam the Pause button in puzzle mode to cause UI issues
* Fixed bad behavior that occurred when stacking pieces to max height and causing a game over (you could still do some inputs)
* Probably fixed bug with inventory script throwing a NullReferenceException sometimes
* Fixed some strange bugs related to instant drops when not in Hold mode. This broke the game.
* Another pass at making the buffer time after an Instant Drop the same on all speeds.

BALANCE
* Green (healing) orbs can now appear if you are at 75% of max health or lower (previously was 60 health, non-% based.) As a reminder, orbs appear when you defeat an enemy, or bring one to 50% of max health.
* When you attack an enemy, ALL enemies - not just the one you attacked - have their charge bars frozen for the duration of the hit animation.

CONTENT/FEATURES
* The Budoka job has been added to the game! Also, we have unlocked all 5 jobs by default for now. (HuSyn, Edge Thane, Brigand, Budoka, Paladin)

ENGINE
* Refactored how the piece bag/queue works under the hood. Shouldn’t affect players too much, but it does make maintenance and updates a lot easier.

QUALITY OF LIFE
* Improved post-battle / post-ruins UI giving you the ability to view progress and play the next map if possible
* When viewing save data, you will now see the # of battles vs. ruins cleared. (Tracking for this is only enabled as of this patch though, sorry!!)
* When triggering multiple orbs on the puzzle board (e.g. 2+ red orbs), the numbers are combined and scaled up rather than overlapping each other messily
* The time period after an instant drop but before your next piece spawns should be exactly the same in all circumstances now.

STORY
* Streamlined and tightened some dialogue in the intro, removed the first scene outside the cave.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 07:05:25 AM by zircon » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2020, 05:11:06 PM »

The last few days have been all about getting lost in the weeds with bug fixes... sometimes, concurrent behaviors related to game piece "gravity", input, and UI can cause unexpected problems. tl;dr - Don't rely too much on Unity monobehaviors running Start() in the order you want (among other things.)

We're also taking another look at the balance of how line clears multiply damage. Early on, your damage increased substantially for each line cleared. Then a few months ago, we changed it so that a 4 clear simply dealt 4x the damage of a 1-clear. In other words, there is no *major* incentive to clear multiple lines at once, aside from just keeping the board cleaner (and getting better Link Crystal effects.)

In this build (b18) we're ramping up the damage from 2, 3, 4, and 5-clears. This does make battles easier overall as we're not changing monster HP. But it should feel more rewarding, especially if you are a skilled player. Let us know what you think.

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

BALANCE
* Increased the damage of multi-line clears. Previously, damage per clear scaled by the number of lines cleared as follows: 4/8/12/16/30x attack damage. Damage is now 4/9/15/21/38.

BUGS
* Attempted fix for bug where after beating a Mining map, an error could occur softlocking the game
* Fixed bug where Mining maps could softlock for other reasons
* Restored the arena (b16 bug)
* Fixing missing portrait for Mirai in intro sequence (b17 bug)
* Fixed dialogue error in post-1st boss cutscene
* Fixed bug that occurred when feeding your Frog Spirit all food from your inventory
* Fixed game error that occurred when going from battles to the inventory screen
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2020, 01:06:40 PM »

(Further description coming shortly)

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

BALANCE
* Elemental clears are now determined by the piece that you complete the clear with.
* Bombs now destroy a 3x3 area around where they fall, and have different move mechanics. If they destroy a solid block, they will deal 100 dmg for every solid block destroyed.

BUGS
* Fix for menu/shop UI sometimes flashing on screen briefly while the map loads
* Pressing cancel during difficulty/speed selection on main menu no longer softlocks
* Attempted fix for issues where, if you hit “Retry” during various attacks or animations, the game could be put into a bad state during battle or mining mode
* Fixed bug where fast travel tutorial would appear during the transition to mining w/ Hagan. That conversation will now appear after (if relevant)
* Fixed Mirai’s animation stuttering if you hit “Confirm” (enter) in town while moving
* Fixed minor tab UI inconsistencies on Settings page for selected / highlighted states
* Fixed bug where running in town and releasing the directional button while opening a conversation would send you ice skating through town
* Fast travel tutorial should seriously not pop up anymore when starting your first Mining map
* Minor visual fixes to title screen menu button states during navigation
* Fixed issue where mining could get messed up if a map ended during a block toss
* Fixed issue with menu navigation
* Fixed bug with Eric seed planting UI looking mismatched sometimes

CONTENT/FEATURES
* The game story continues! Follow the quest flags in town for more cutscenes, events, and battles.
* Party members in battle are now implemented (again) - unlocked at certain points of the story, other party members will attack all on their own, and divert some enemy attention too!
* Accessories have been split into three categories/slots - rings, necklaces, gloves
* Bombs re-implemented.

QUALITY OF LIFE
* Simplified speed selection at game start.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:02:58 AM by zircon » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2020, 10:37:22 AM »

OK, we are within a week from launching our Kickstarter to help further polish the game, and we've got a brand new public build! This integrates lots and lots of polish and improvements throughout, including what should be full controller support. I've tested with Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PS4 controllers, but it should apply correctly to any XInput device. On-screen key prompts will switch to controller prompts if you have one plugged in.

We've also revamped the intro. You'll get thrown right into the action and immediately begin solving puzzles and fighting monsters. Of course, there's plenty of story there too, but it's not quite as drawn out before you get to some meat.

Too many changes to list in patch notes, so let's just say this is the best build yet. Check it out!

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

June 27 edit - notes so far

ART/VISUALS
* When you deal damage to an enemy, you now see the amount of damage dealt immediately as soon as you clear the line(s), providing better feedback on the quality of your attack
* New particle explosions for clearing lines
* New particle explosions when clearing linked Power Crystals

AUDIO
* Restored SFX for various attacks (plus, many of these FX are new!)

BALANCE
* Power Crystals now deal a base of 25 damage each, multiplied by the number of crystals in the clear. For example, clearing two connected crystals = +100 damage, clearing three = +225 etc.
* This is partially a bug fix - Power Crystals no longer do any damage if they are not connected

BUGS
* Fixed some bugs with cutscene dialogs opening twice

CONTENT/FEATURES
* Experimenting with a new "Mana" meter below the puzzle board. It starts at 50% and builds up as you clear lines. You can use Mana to execute special powers with Spacebar. This replaces the previous Flask power. Cycle through powers using "R" on PC. The elemental powers now infuse the current block with the element selected; this costs only half the bar, while the Flask (5-block) costs the full bar.

TUTORIALS
* The Power Crystal tutorial is now more obvious, showing you a few crystals already on the map
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 04:07:45 PM by zircon » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2020, 01:28:31 PM »

OK! After a lot of feedback on previous builds, we went back and reworked the intro. We trimmed the fat, also introducing mechanics at a faster pace, and giving the player more opportunities for control (with fewer sequential cutscenes). Hopefully, this makes for a better first-experience.

Next, we did some rebalancing. Heroic and Hardcore modes are much harder now, and Adventure mode is a little harder. If you play on the middle or top difficulties, you should have to use all the tools we give you to succeed. Overall, we want to test your ability to think and adapt.

We've also revamped how items and elements work. Elements (Flow to start with, Fire unlocking later in the demo) are now selectable at will in combat. You now have a Mana or Power meter next to the board, filled up when you clear lines. Use your power with Spacebar by default. This drains the power bar but replaces your piece with either a 5-block or an elemental block. Clearing a line with an elemental block will execute that element's effect.

The Bomb item is gone - Fire blocks now have the same effect on solids. And the Flask is gone too, as the Flow power does the same thing. Cheese is still there, replacing where the Flask was on the UI. Still useful for healing yourself!

Download for PC
Download for OSX
Download for Linux

Build 35

ART/VISUALS
* Restored the element selector at the top (still cycled with the same button / R on keyboard by default)
* New mana bar graphics
* Various polish and new VFX
* Cutscene polish - more zooms and detail shown
* Lots of polish for when you completely finish a node

AUDIO
* (b35) SFX volume adjustments (Level up & the “get item” jingle were too loud)
* (b35) New alternate battle theme for half the nodes
* (b35) Added lots of SFX where they were missing before

BALANCE
* Element bar now has a capped value of “40” (4 clears required to fill). All powers (5-block, elements) cost 40.
* Ice power now only affects a single target
* Bomb removed; now Fire has the same effect as Bomb if it touches a solid tile
* Increased the visual speed that enemy-thrown blocks fall
* Mining mode now lasts for 1m40s (down from 2m) and Hagan builds up his meter much faster
* Green (healing) orbs now have a 50% chance to spawn if you have 50% or lower health. At 25% or lower health, they have a 100% chance to spawn.
* Brigand’s passive now requires 20 blocks to charge up (up from 10) - big nerf
* All fights have been made generally a lot harder, requiring more tactics and planning

BUGS
* Fixed bug using bomb on a map edge
* Various minor fixes
* Fixed some typos and color codes
* Fixed Sihd asking you to redo the Gon Rescue on completion
* Fixed more typos and color tags
* The world map ruins tutorial now appears at Tiny Ruins
* Attempted fix for weird error that happened after mining sometimes
* Cleaned up display after you beat the 4th ruins at a node
* Fixed some incorrect button/controller prompts
* (b35) Disabled bombs from being sold in the store (they are pointless now)
* (b35) Fixed missing Gon conversation after bridge completion
* (b35) Fixed bug where closing a dialog too fast in town could prevent your character from moving

CONTENT/STORY
* Completely reworked the intro and tutorial sequence
* Re-enabled job system

QUALITY OF LIFE
* If you lose on a story battle, you now have the option to reduce the difficulty right there and retry
* Made Ruins explanatory text controller/keyboard agnostic and localization-friendly
* Clarified that Ruins give XP
* Save & Quit removed from title screen options menu (pointless anyway!), replaced with “Back to Menu”

WRITING
* (b35) Adjusted names of various enemies to be closer to their Tangledeep counterparts


« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 11:00:47 AM by zircon » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2020, 08:27:22 AM »

We've launched a Kickstarter for Puzzle Explorers!

As we continue to develop the core game, we're turning to Kickstarter to increase the level of polish even further: funds will go toward more animations, portraits, and improved music tracks (more live musicians, pro mastering, etc.) We do NOT need more resources to finish the base game - that's still on course for 2021. But the Kickstarter will help us bring the level of polish as high as we can get it!





You can play the latest build (b36) here, which should have about 1.5 hours of gameplay from the intro of the game up to your second party member and first elemental power. As always, we'd love to hear any and all feedback you might have Smiley

Windows - Build 36
OSX - Build 36
Linux - Build 36
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2020, 05:17:56 PM »

Build 43

https://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Puzzle_Explorers_b43_windows.zip
https://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Puzzle_Explorers_b43_osx.zip
https://tangledeep.com/puzzlebuilds/Puzzle_Explorers_b43_linux.zip

ART/VISUALS
Added screenshake when you get big damage clears / 3x combos or higher

BALANCE
* Modified Van’s ability in his first fight - is now Pocket Sand instead of a solid block toss that you can’t clear yet
* Given the pace of gaining levels, we’ve reduced the effect of stat level-up bonuses. Defense now gives +2.5% damage reduction per point, Health gives +10 (down from +15), and Attack now gives about +5% base damage for clears.
* Attack now influences damage from Link Crystals, but the base value is still the same (so, you’ll only gain more damage as you boost Attack)
* Removed Edge Thane, Hunter, and Paladin jobs for now, so we can examine & tune the balance of Brigand, HuSyn, and Budoka
* XP curve adjusted so you will hit level 2 from the Tiny Ruins

BUGS
* Fixed damage discrepancy between board damage and damage above monsters
* Ruins music no longer resets on restart
* Fixed missing boss/monster names
* Attempted fix for node completion dialog popping up at the wrong times
* Fixed missing portrait sprites
* Fixed a “snewt” gamebreaking error
* Link Crystals that are NOT touching no longer add damage

CONTENT / GAMEPLAY
There is now a ‘consecutive clear’ combo bonus! If you clear a line, then clear another line with the next piece, you get a flat damage bonus, plus a +50% modifier on the 2nd clear, +75% on the 3rd, +100% on the 4th (etc). The max bonus is +150% but you can continue the combo infinitely to maintain that bonus. This resets if you do not get a clear with a piece.

Hold mode is now a turn-based puzzle, in the style of classic turn-based RPGs! The game only moves forward when a piece is locked in place. In other words, you can take as much time as you want to rotate and play a piece or decide on other actions (like using your flask or eating cheese). Monsters will gain a little bit of turn time with each piece dropped. Higher difficulties will give monsters more turn time per drop. We recommend this mode for people that enjoy the puzzle strategy of battles, but don’t want to deal with the fast-paced real-time elements.

Mining with Hagan has been revamped! The core gameplay is the same, but you now have the choice to invest gold up front. Doing so will boost the number of blocks Hagan throws on average, AND the chance of lucky doubles (where 2x resources are collected). Even with no investment, during the last 25% of the mining timer, you now have a higher chance to find chests and get lucky doubles. Finally, when a Mining puzzle ends, you can extend the timer by 30 seconds for a small fee. This keeps all your bonuses!

We have now added PERKS to the game! These are beneficial, passive RPG-style bonuses that you permanently learn when reaching even-numbered XP levels (so level 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.) Our first implementation has 7 perks, and you can choose from 4 at a time for now. Eventually we’ll be putting in a system where you’ll have to pick and choose *which* perks from your pool of learned ones to equip, but for now, enjoy the extra power.

QUALITY OF LIFE
After Hagan moves (once the bridge is complete), if you finish a Mining session, you’ll appear next to him in his new location
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