Dev Blog



8.12.2019 - BOOYA! BETA, BABY!

Well, it’s official - we are now in Closed Beta! No more Friends and Family - though by launch we’ll all be F&F 4eva…sniff.

It’s quite exciting - we’ve added a small test group of folks through the process, and we’ll be doing hundreds more over the next few weeks! In celebration, we’re made a new trailer… woot!

Lots of exciting stuff in the hopper! As usual we’ll do our best to react quickly to any bugs and feedback, and in the interim we’ll also be pumping in a bunch of new content as well. For folks in the beta, please be vocal with feedback on our discord - and for folks NOT in the beta, sign up! There’s a perfectly cromulent link at just BEGGING for you to join us.

Thanks so much!

-Gaff and Doug




Really, really destructible terrain

This monstrosity keeps fights in The Big Show (aka level 4) moving along at a brisk pace - so keep trucking along unless you wanna get shredded! And not in the “hit the gym” way. More like if the gym hit you.

The shredder will eat anything in it’s path, proving just how overboard we went making our destructible terrain, well, destructible.

In recent weeks and patches, we’ve been putting extra effort in to our bug fixes and optimizations because we’re leading up… hitting Closed Beta!

We’re sooooo appreciative of those of you who have spent time helping us over the course of Friends and Family. We really couldn’t do it without you! Lots of folks have been helping us out during these times when we’ve been keeping relatively quiet about the game. But there’s so much game now it’s time to open it up so that we can get EVEN MORE FEEDBACK!*

So good news - the testing pool is going to grow in the near future! We’re working on our final changes before expanding the folks who will be helping test, and once we’re in Closed Beta, we’re looking to ramp up the pace of content additions, fixes, and polish to even greater heights.

Don’t forget to sign up! (

*And bug reports. Not that we’d ever have bugs. We’re too cool for that. But if we did, we’d be thanking you for helping find all those too!



3.31.2019 - THE SHOW

A new patch is up! There’s all sorts of stuff in there:

The 4th floor in particular is worth a look-see. This is The Show - a very different styled level with a single rolling bossfight against a new boss - The Champ.

The Champ is kinda like you…but bigger, tougher, and meaner. He combines a number of powers that should look quite familiar - able to use weapons and mutations very like the ones you might find yourself in the arena!

These are a few things we’d like to double down on in future content. Having radically different level generation algorithms so every floor doesn’t feel same-y as you get deeper is something we’ll experiment with.

Also, the power of how things are designed can let the same synergies you see as a player affect NPCs as well. You can already see some of that with the way that each level has a special ability added to the bad guys (+speed, +armor, etc.) and these add up as you go up levels to the final boss.

After all, hitting level 4 with a boss with 4 attack/movement speed buffs on him is quite different than the same boss with a bunch of Brute style upgrades - crawling around but hitting like a truck!

Additionally in the new patch, you’ll find a number of new mutations, achievements, and smaller features - of course! See the patch notes for full details.

Going forward, we’re working now in a number of other areas - seeking artists to finalize the art on the game in various areas, tuning and tweaking while preparing for full closed beta, and continuing to add rooms, NPCs, and mutations and maintaining some form of sanity in the process. Luckily, that last one isn’t prioritized as highly as the other bits.

Feel free to ask questions in our discord - we’re always happy for feedback!




Mmmmm, Synergies.

Getting an individually interesting mutation might be fun, but there are only so many we can make. Now when they combine with each other - THAT’S the gift that keeps on giving.

Crazy combos that that you’ve never seen before can make a run radically different even when you’ve played a million times before. Cause there are like a billion of ‘em in a good game - if you pick up 20 different mutations/armor/weapon elements on a given run out of a pool of 100, that’s a metric butt-ton of combos (in technical terms*).

If you’ve played roguelikes/roguelites before, you know that these synergies are a key part of what makes the combinatorial games genre so compelling. Whether it’s Nethack’s The Dev Team Thinks of Everything mentality, Binding of Isaac’s Mom’s Knife/Brimstone/Tiny Planet/Soy Milk insanity, or Dead Branch/Corruption letting you lay waste in Slay the Spire, there’s something entrancing about finding near-broken combos that make your run super OP… or that make you die in an insane but new way.

These unexpected combinations of things that mean you can see new stuff even after playing a game for years. So let’s look at what can happen on the first level of a normal run!

Orbit alone

In the first vault room, you might find the Orbit mutation.

Your shots and walloped enemies circle around you, making it a bit tougher to aim. In return, your shots and enemies travel for longer, and you have more “IT” factor - helping with audience reactions, luck, and carnage generation. Also, hitting multiple enemies in one swing can wallop them into each other. Nice!

On its lonesome, Orbit often hurts as much as helps, but in some combos it rocks!

Orbit + Telekinetic Weapon

Next, the fans send a new mutation - Telekinetic Weapon!

Now we can move our sword around separately from our body, letting us cause melee destruction from a distance. We have to learn how to control the game in a new way for the first time though!

And, of course, the things we hit are still affected by Orbit! Tricky - but we’re getting some options…

Orbit, Telekinetic Weapon, and Bubblewand

Oh, the shop had a new weapon - the mighty Bubblewand!

This weapon isn’t very powerful in melee, but holy crap does it pump out a barrage of lightweight laser balls.

Our ability to stay out of the fray and wreak havoc from a distance just went up a bunch, as now we can seek out distant enemies and spam them with a tornado of laser-death.

Orbit, Telekinetic Weapon, Bubblewand, and Spikeball

Finally, the boss dropped Spikeballs!

The Bubblewand still shoots tons of shots, but those have been upgraded to spikeballs which roll around causing damage and can be moved around by melee swings as well.

Our laser whorl is now a spinning spiky death vortex! And of course, that’s just the first level!

We already have very different gameplay than where we stuck with our initial Sword and Harpoons or found a Rocket Launcher, got Multishot, started moving slowly and hitting harder via Brute, or found any of the other synergistic mutations in our current Friends and Family build!

Of course we might find any of those and more on the next level to add to or change our current loadout - that’s the joy of synergies!

Thanks for reading - we’re workin’ hard and enjoying ourselves!

Witness the power of this fully armed and operational battlestation!

* (100!/(20!*80!) if I remember correctly)




Howdy, viralites!

We’ve been busy little Skullbeavers since PAX - tons to cover!

We’ve been adding a ton of new content across the board. We’ve focused first on adding more of the ingredients that gives combat the Special Sauce we enjoy - fast-paced, physical combat that rewards you pulling off a ton of special moves.

So this has meant adding new monsters, tweaking old ones, and adding in new deadly traps that will kill you if you aren’t careful but reward you if you use ‘em on your enemies.

Death by...Bouncywall?

The other thing we’ve focused on is a major UI overhaul - really trying to nail down the feel of being an arena streamer pulling off cool moves for the fans. So we now introduce you via an announcer, start you on the broadcast set (you are after all on the SlaughterStream GONE VIRAL!), and are trying to make it as clear as possible what you need to do to rack up cool fans for cool rewards. (hint - kill stuff in ways that give loads of Carnage!)

And our evil plan continues! With the help of our Friends and Family testers we’re working up towards being able to do Closed Beta (oooh) - with an eventual Early Access (ahhh).

So our focus right now:

  1. Keep iterating the game core loop to be as fun as possible!

  2. Make sure the streamer/modern SmashTVlike feel comes across well

  3. Add more building blocks of traps, room contents, mutations, etc that hamper or help you in fun ways

  4. Generate tons of rooms using those blocks that kill you.