Dev Blog

SYNERGY: SPIKY DEATH VORTEX

 
 

1.6.2019 - SYNERGY: SPIKY DEATH VORTEX

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)

ERMAGERD, SO MUCH STUFF!

 
 

11.25.2018 - ERMAGERD, SO MUCH STUFF!

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.

  5. RULE THE PLANET

PAX, HERE WE COME!

 
 

8.16.2018  -  PAX, HERE WE COME!

We're very excited to be at the Indie Megabooth at PAX West this year!  If you are out there, please swing by and check us out!  In honor of this, we put some new gameplay footage online to show off more tilesets, creatures, and powers we've been working on - enjoy!

Welcome to...Gone Viral!!

LET'S GET PHYSICAL!

 
 

8.10.2018  -  LET'S GET PHYSICAL!

SO. MUCH. GREAT. STUFF!

Tons going on!  Two of the things we really enjoy in Gone Viral are:

  1. Physics!  We want it to feel good pushing/smashing/knocking stuff around, whether it be baddies, boulders, or bouncy balls.
  2. Slaughtering players!  Especially with traps.  And, of course, letting smart players kill enemies with traps then dropping in goodies to reward such stylish kills!

So we've been really doubling down with spinning rooms full of rolling spikeballs and tuning the physics behind knocking lit barrels into baddies.  We've been making a ton of new content as well, including pushing, spinning, jumping, breaking stuff type rooms as occasional breathers from combat or, on deeper levels, with deadly combat in them as well!

Physics - just one of many ways to kill or be killed.

As part of all that, we've been improving how stylish moves work.  You'll notice some new call-outs when you pull off cool moves, and new rewards being delivered as the audience gets excited!

Another great thing:  We'll be at PAX West in Seattle on August 31st and September 1st, partnered with the Indie Megabooth!

Our main goal is to try to get hundreds of people playing the game, ask 'em tons of questions about what they like and don't, and take endless notes!  It's always fun getting folks who aren't your literal friends and family in the game, and this will be the first time we've done that for Gone Viral - we're SO EXCITED!

And SO BUSY!  Crunch time is on so we can have as much polish as possible in by then.  So a special thanks to the aforementioned friends and family for helping us test in advance of PAX!

We're having a great time working on Gone Viral and can't for y'all to get a chance to play it yourselves.  Thanks for reading!

MULTISHOT'S GOT SOUL

 
 

6.18.2018  -  MULTISHOT'S GOT SOUL

Lots of progress in the last few weeks!

The creature train continues with Chris and Doug moving all sorts of new baddies in, and I've been neck-deep in the tutorial system.  As those of you in game development know, it always takes a ton of tweaking and custom code to do a tutorial well.

And of course, we continue with new rooms and content.  We thought we'd highlight a recent improvement to Multishot in particular.

Walloping enemies around is basically another way to do long range damage for us.  The viewers love it when you rack up pinball hits and kills by smashing baddies into other baddies and so our mutations (passive improvements to your combat abilities) will often affect what happens when you wallop creatures as well as when you shoot projectiles.

With multishot we got to thinking - "Boy, it is cool when you start firing around a bunch of projectiles, but what impact should it have on melee?"  After all, other mutations like Bomber affect both.  Well, what if it let you smack creatures so hard it knocks their soul right out of em and into other creatures for more damage?  The result:

Multishot working in melee as well as projectile combat

We're still cranking away and gearing up for the next round of testing, so thanks for keeping an eye on us!