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Gafgar  [developer] Aug 6, 2014 @ 12:37pm
Game Mechanics Change Beta
Just like I tried to explain in the title, we are testing around with some changes to the games mechanics and trying to make everything better for everyone, new and experienced players alike.

We have had some changes in mind for a pretty long time, but have only just recently got time to implement them and have only been try them out for a day or two. Now we want to get everyone else in on it as well. We want your feedback and make sure we are doing the right decisions!

We have now opened up a beta branch named “gameplay_test(current build number is: 348241)(you might have to restart steam for the branch to be visible in the drop-down list). In this beta branch all leaderboards are disabled, as we don’t want them to break because of any changes we do there that might have unforeseen consequences or potential bugs, but feel free to opt in and play as much as you want.

The current build include some changes to the player’s controls and mechanics as well as some enemy mechanics. (We still have a couple of changes more that we want to do, but we didn’t want to hold off on the beta just for some smaller features)

A lot of the new stuff might still sue placeholder assets or similar, so please keep that in mind.

We will not in the current state detail any of these changes for you, as we want everyone to just play the game with the new changes and give us their thought on how the game works, and not focus too much on the specific changes. We will talk more and detail them a little later.

The beta also includes a new mouse system that will now use raw mouse input, so OS settings will no longer affect the game. Later on we will allow you to choose between the new raw system and the old OS driven system, but right now it’s only RAW input that’s supported, so you might have to mess around a little bit with the sensitivity. There are still a few things we will improve with the mouse input, or at least double check and look over, but please let us know if you notice any difference with what we have now.

There are also some optimizations include in the build, so we hope that game will run smoother for everyone (though probably most noticeable on the more demanding levels). Please let us know if you experience any improvement or not.

We want everyone’s feedback, top players, players that feel the game is too hard, players that feel the game is boring, players that only just started playing, or anyone. Any feedback in general are appreciated, especially if it’s related to any of the topics I’ve mention here, but if you have other similar things you want to let us know about, please tell us.

(To all the “top players”, we do not intend for any of these changes to affect any high scores, and your potential best time should stay almost identical. If you can, please help us verify this, and give us your thoughts on the matter)

Hope you have fun testing it out and thanks for reading!
Last edited by Gafgar; Aug 6, 2014 @ 12:38pm
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Showing 1-15 of 73 comments
RaneFire Aug 6, 2014 @ 1:52pm 
Your raw input implementation works 100x better now.

Upon starting the beta, I thought I may have been imagining things when I could not make the measurements differ from left-to-right across fps drops, with a ruler and home-engineered mouse-holder, so I unloaded the beta and tested the original version as a triple-check, only to find huge distance variations when crossing areas with low fps (like ~20 degrees at a time).

What I mean by low FPS is sub-20 when the screen also starts to shudder as though struggling to render. I played with 30 fps limit before to try and alleviate some of the problem by forcing a low framerate all the time. It wasn't a fix, but a considerable compensation.

Thank you very much. I can now raise my frame limiter without affecting my mouse movement. I thought I'd explain the difference just to establish what kind of problem I was having before.
Last edited by RaneFire; Aug 6, 2014 @ 1:59pm
Colors Aug 6, 2014 @ 5:03pm 
I'll put in comments on specific things (like enemy changes) when you're ready to hear those, but general notes:

Haven't really noticed any mouse changes, but that's probably due to how I configure things. I don't run into low FPS issues very often so I don't know about the mouse issues there either.

Performance is massively improved for me on My Source and My Inspiration, although there's still a few trouble spots. Much better than the sludge-fest I used to have to deal with though, so I'm very happy. It never made much sense to me as to why I had issues on those levels with a GTX 670, so I can assume it's some CPU thing I guess. I can safely say that this is the first time I've noticed a significant performance increase.

Movement and transitions (off of walls, onto walls with boosts, etc.) seem to be more fluid, but because I can't exactly pinpoint what's changed it could just be placebo. Things feel more responsive overall, but again, can't pinpoint why.

One thing that I don't want to wait to talk about (I'll spoiler it anyway) is that you added Horizontal -> Vertical and Vertical -> Horizontal wallrun transitions! That's a really neat change, and it seems like it could be very useful, but right now I believe that it's too difficult to transition between the phases. I can easily use 80% or more of fuel before the game detects that I'm trying to start a vertical wallrun after a horizontal one, even with severe camera angles. I love the idea though and it could potentially make many things easier and more intuitive for newer players. Players with more experience will likely do what they've been doing, IE jumping off the wall and then restarting with a boost in the direction they want.

I believe that all of the changes are headed in the correct direction, and I haven't come across any situation where I now had trouble executing combos. If anything, it got easier. I don't think these changes will affect any times in any significant way, and they shouldn't screw up top players at all. So overall, I think you've made some awesome changes with this beta.

Last edited by Colors; Aug 6, 2014 @ 6:26pm
Wobs23 Aug 6, 2014 @ 5:38pm 
Here's a quick summary of my initial impressions

Enemies: I adore the new enemy design, not because it will help me in any meaningful way, but because it seems significanlty more fair to newer players. I think you should be rewarded for successfully suprising an enemy, and now you are :)

You can kill drone Hives... I don't even know what to say... I hate those damn things...

Optimization: The optimizations aren't very noticable on most levels since my system can usually run the game just fine at around 120fps, however specifically on My Source you can tell the difference. Instead of lagging through the entire level I really only hit one major lag spike, after that it's smooth sailing.

This is spoiled because Zanaris did it so I feel like I should spoil it as well.
Vertical - > Horizontal Movement & Vise Versa: This is an excellent idea that I think will make the game feel much more fluid to beginning players. However right now I have to agree with Zanaris in saying that it is to slow to respond, sometimes taking an entire second of my camera being pointed straight up or straight along the wall. While I would be cautious about making it to sensitive I do think some adjustments still need to be made to this mechanic.

Misc: I can't quite pin down what makes these things true (Maybe my imagination?). The whole game feels very... quick/decisive/smooth. I find things like jumping off walls and executing boost jumps to be much easier, though I honestly can't tell why. Just for testing purposes I did a recording of 10 boost jumps with the beta and without and I can see the ones in the beta tend to go higher and farther. Please tell me if I'm just crazy.

Overall my impression is very positive. The changes being made make a lot of sense and should help to take some of the steepness out of the learning curve. While the SPOILER still needs some work, I adore this beta. :)
Last edited by Wobs23; Aug 6, 2014 @ 5:38pm
Bmon2 Aug 6, 2014 @ 9:36pm 
I tried out the test branch, and I really like most of the new changes.

Optimization: The optimization is way better on levels like My Source and Clarity. I have a GTX 680 and i5-2500k CPU, and My Source lags quite a bit on the main branch, but it plays very smooth on the test branch. Also I have not noticed any major slowdowns in areas with a lot of enemies on the test branch, though I will have to check this more.

Mouse: Did you add native mouse input? Because the mouse input doesn't seem to hiccup when there is lag. Not that I have gotten the game to lag much on the test branch.

Enemies: The enemies feel fair now, especially for newer players. I really like how drone hives have a purple column of light on them, and how they can now be killed. My one complaint so far is with the invincible hunter-seekers. You can now kill most enemies to give yourself time to explore new routes or scout ahead, but you still can't stop to scout the level when you are being followed by an invincible enemy. Perhaps replace the yellow shield with a blue shield which you can drop with a blue shot so that you can kill the hunter-seekers.

Mechanics: I do not know whether they are better or worse. Some of my jumps on My Source seem off; as if I no longer jump as high or as far. Perhaps that is just because I have never played the level without lag before. On the other hand, I was able to make Kalifen's short-cut on My Inspiration which got him such a good time. I've never been able to do that before on the main branch, and it feels easier to get frame perfect jumps on levels other than My Source.

Spoiler mechanic:
Being able to transition between a wall run and a wall climb is really nice. It works best at angles where the game used to make you pause on the wall while it decided whether to climb or run. However, it seems slow to change between wall running and wall climbing if you start at a perfectly horizontal or vertical angle.

Overall most things seem great, but I am not quite sure about the mechanics. I'll test it out more and give my thoughts again later. Until then, really great work!

Edit: I tried it out more this morning. So far I've also been able to do ChezDa's emptiness skip, the intro ruins skip, and the large construction skip in addition to the My Inspiration skip. As far as I know, these are the most difficult skips in the game. Since they are unaffected by the test branch, I believe the test branch will likely not adversely affect the top scores. Plus the new mechanics feel very fluid. I do not know exactly why, but movement just seems to work slightly better on the test branch.
Last edited by Bmon2; Aug 7, 2014 @ 6:08am
Gafgar  [developer] Aug 7, 2014 @ 7:05am 
Thanks for the feedback so far ^^ and I'm glad you seem to like it.

I will do one change to the shielding behavior for the Arachtoids and a small adjustment for the Drone Hive.

I plan on also adding a optional feature for the camera that will be for beginners, but don't know if it will be done today. I will be back with more info once the update is live.

Concerning the wall running thing you've all marked as spoiler, you all seemed to agree that it was too hard to transition between them. It's easy to make it easier, and it actually was easier before, but we made it harder so it would never happen by mistake in any situation. As we don't want anyone that played the game for a long time already to get unexpected transition by mistake while doing something they usually could do before.

That was maybe not explain in the best way, but, I can definitely make it easier if you want :)

I would really like to hear all your input on if you want it to be easier to transition, and if possible a little indication of how much easier. And is it the same case for vertical to horizontal, and horizontal to vertical? (I personally find the vertical to horizontal (V->H might be a good short term for it? o.o) to be pretty easy as long as you are boosting, but without boost it's hard to transition if you didn't plan for it from the beginning)

But about the energy consumption. It costs almost identically as much energy to run straight up in a horizontal wallrun as in vertical one , so even if you were to transition faster, it would not give you any addition height. I tried a wall to start running horizontal at the base and strive upward all the time until I transitioned and by the end I gained the same height when my energy ran out as I did if I started in vertical and went as far as I could.

(I also tried zigzagging up the wall with multiple horizontal and vertical wallruns and gain almost the exact same height as well… so I think it’s balanced, but I might maybe be wrong if you get other results in your tests?)

(As vertical wallruns costs more energy/sec than a horizontal wallrun, I had to adjust the energy cost in the horizontal wallruns if you started to go too straight up with them. Before I did that you could gain almost 60% extra height by zigzagging up the wall)
Last edited by Gafgar; Aug 7, 2014 @ 4:59pm
Ogam Aug 8, 2014 @ 2:52am 
I noticed you regen with a charged shot as fast as standing still that's pretty convienient.

When trying to deploy a checkpoint you can't cancel by moving anymore, only by jumps. ( I just liked spamming it when there was nothing to do D: ).

Not sure if this build made loading times and my source playable without 50 fps drop at specific places or reformating today.
Last edited by Ogam; Aug 8, 2014 @ 4:32pm
LeoAegisMaximus Aug 8, 2014 @ 4:07am 
This is amazing you made the game way more accessable to those having trouble while maintaining the complexity of the controls, allowing those who mastered the game to continue unhidered.
Gafgar  [developer] Aug 8, 2014 @ 3:56pm 
Thanks for the feedback : )

I was supposed to have a new build live now with a few changes, but I apparently missed a file, so it don't work >_<; will make it live tomorrow morning.

I will also try to detail most changes we have made with the Beta, and it would then be great to hear your thoughts on it before we make decisions of what to keep.

Wobs23, that is actually nothing new with this beta, if you go over a edge like that in too high speed, you have always gained airtime. Maybe you are doing it a little more often now due to the FPS or the new mouse controls, but no code regarding that has been changed at all.

The best alternative there would be to either try to extend the jump a little further so that you can land in the slope directly, or if you hold back just a little bit so you lose just a little more speed before going over the edge. We could change it in the level so that the slope change is not that steep, but that would e the only way to go around it if you want to use that high speed.

If anyone have any suggestions, feel free to tell us, and we might get the chance to test it out this weekend, if it's not too large. :)
Wobs23 Aug 8, 2014 @ 6:52pm 
Originally posted by Gafgar:
Wobs23, that is actually nothing new with this beta, if you go over a edge like that in too high speed, you have always gained airtime. Maybe you are doing it a little more often now due to the FPS or the new mouse controls, but no code regarding that has been changed at all.

Hmm... Really? I never ran into an issue like that before. Maybe I've just gotten faster :)
Gafgar  [developer] Aug 9, 2014 @ 7:00am 
Originally posted by Wobs23:
Originally posted by Gafgar:
Wobs23, that is actually nothing new with this beta, if you go over a edge like that in too high speed, you have always gained airtime. Maybe you are doing it a little more often now due to the FPS or the new mouse controls, but no code regarding that has been changed at all.

Hmm... Really? I never ran into an issue like that before. Maybe I've just gotten faster :)

XD yeah, that is probably the case ;)
Ogam Aug 9, 2014 @ 9:44am 
Wow lag spike from My source is gone from today's build. Super Sexy
Gafgar  [developer] Aug 9, 2014 @ 10:42am 
Okay, all people that has written any feedback here is top level players, so we have not had that much feedback from beginners, but I have managed to do some quick test plays IRL with some people that have not played the game at all before. So I still have some data to go on.

We have just uploaded a patch for the beta that includes some tweaks to the Drone Hive, the Arachtoids, as well as the shields of the Hunters, but I never got around to tweak the difficulty of going between the different wallruns, as I was not sure on how much easier we should make it (But I have a better understanding now after watching some first time players).

What the beta now includes:

I think it’s time that I detailed what the beta really includes in terms of gameplay changes, and the goal of the changes.

We have tried to in general leave as much of the player code as unchanged as possible, but we have changed around some of the wall running code. There are some other smaller changes to the player as well but lets toch on that a little alter. But mostly that is the only player related code that has been changed so far. Any other effects that you have noticed is most likely due to a change in FPS, the “improved” mouse input, or just placebo. Some placebo effect is bound to happen when we don’t explain what is changed, and that is nothing wrong with that. Rather, it as expected, I bet it would happen me as well if I were in a similar situation : )

The player:
The changes we done to the wall running includes better control over movement speed while on the wall, and the ability to slow down and even change direction on a horizontal wall run. That input is camera angle dependent, but as long as the given input is within 50ish degreed of straight forward, you will run at the maximum amount of speed, so you don’t have to be all that precise to keep you max speed (one other option is to not press any directional input while wall running, and you will keep the max speed as well). If you press 90 degress out from the wall you will slow down significantly, but to completely stop or change direction you will have to press a little more backwards. This will more intuitively slow down the running speed when you prepare for a 90 degree jump of the wall, but I bet it can have some negative effect if you are not aware of it, though the slowdown is not instant, so if you only press outwards right before the jump, you will won’t slow down. None of you commented on it so I hope it was nothing too severe. It’s not a too large change compared to how it was before, it’s just that we allow you to slow down more, and to run on walls in a lower speed now than what we used to allow, and the input has a little more direct effect.

One other aspect we changed, or rather added (and you all commented on), and it’s the wallrun transitions. The rely on speed, input direction and a little on the camera angle, to make sure it don’t happen when you intend to do a normal wallrun, but it’s probably hard to make it right in all situations. If this is done right, I think it can make the game much more intuitive, and approachable for a lot of players, but as it is right now it might be a little too hard to execute, just like most of you seemed to think as well. The goal was to make it not too hard to execute intuitively, but never have it interfere with the wallruns, to achieve that we had to make it require quite decisive input, but we might have to change that to really achieve the goal of making it intuitive. But I am afraid that can mess with some of your habits you might have while wallrunning. I am therefore considering to add a control option to keep the current settings that require a decisive input (maybe make it a little easier), or to use even more “loose” input. I figure it will be much easier and more intuitive for beginners to use a looser input style, but if you really want to take your wall running to the top levels even in the more tricky situations, it might be worth keeping the more strict input.

What are your thoughts on that? And what do you think about the wall running controls if you test them out now with this in mind?

I had a talk with another top level player about adding a small energy penalty to the transitions. Right now there is a small speed penalty to go between the wallruns, and if you intend for a horizontal wallrun but get a vertical initially, you will lose almost all of your forward momentum. So it’s already not good to rely on the transitions, but would more of you also want to see an energy penalty/cost?

Smaller changes:
One other change that should not really impact anything is that the player collision is a little tighter when the player is dead now (though dying from light damage can look weird in some cases and we will change that xD), and the throwback state and death state now take slippery floor materials into account (yay for dying in ramps).

We also like Ogam said, changed the behavior of placing down checkpoints, so that the character will lock into the direction you looked in when starting the placement, and you can no longer interrupt the placement by walking. This was made in other for it to be more intuitive, as we noticed a lot of players that didn’t grasp the system and didn’t think they had to wait for the checkpoints to be placed, and either had to dye a couple of times and retry the placement, or never learned it and just thought it was buggy, which is very unnecessary when we could fix that by this change. You can still cancel it by doing any other move like dashing or jumping. Why we chose to use the initial direction is because it was more intuitive to a lot of players, as they started placing down the checkpoint looking in the direction they intend to head afterwards, and then started to use the wait time to look around, which resulted in weird spawning direction. Hope you can live with those changes ^^; (the good news is that you now can view Demi and your skins a little bit more as you can turn the camera around her better xD (though I’ve noticed a bug with the blinking animation that I will fix))

I have also adjusted the directional input for climbing VS jumping of edges when looking over 45 degrees downwards, as I noticed it felt quite weird. There was also an adjustment to the cost of going from wallsticky to wallruns, as it in many cases was impossible to use that move to save yourself if you required a vertical wallrun that costs a lot of energy, as you always exit that wallsticky state with a really low speed wallrun, which in turn will drain the wallrun energy really fast (it’s still almost impossible to save yourself with this state in many situations).

That is about all changes we have done to the player that I can remember, but we also made a little change with how the homing for the weapon works. It is changed in the way that if you aim straightly at an enemy, even if it’s not a valid homing target (stunned Arachtoids and drone hives can’t be targeted by homing), you will be able to shoot them.

Drone Hive:
The change to the drone hive is that you can now kill them, and they have a shield when they are not attacking you or have any active drones. It is also more clearly showing when it’s active and intends to spawn drones, so you can know if it sees you even on a distance. (In the latest patch of the beta they fall over when killed, so you can even push them over edges and watch them fall….. :3 )

Arachtoid :
Arachtoids has a lot more changes. It now requires line of sight (though with a 360 field of view), and will do a better job of finding you if you run behind a wall or something similar when it’s hunting you. They will now heal themselves when taking cover and start walking when reached full health. Making it much clearer that they are not dead/disabled when attacked from a distance. The time it takes for them to put up the shield when patrolling is now a constant time that starts ticking when they get hit the first time, not like before when the timer reset every hit (0.48 sec when damaged in patrol state, 0.54 if already damaged when entering the patrol state). If you are quick you can stun it before the shield gets up.

When returning from cover, they will always enter the patrol state for a short time, making it a little easier to react to that they are capable of attacking you again. The same goes for coming back from the stun state. The stun state is also slightly longer, and it will notify that it’s about to start moving by start moving its legs gradually in the end.
The Arachtoids now attack you a little faster (the time they stand still after and attack is slightly shorter).

They also got a cosmetic change in the form of more walking animations for different directions. Though it’s not perfect, it looks much better than before. Given little more polish and it could get even better though.

Strike Turret:
The Strike Turrets shield behavior has also changed. They no longer puts up a shield when they are about to die while fighting you. They only use the shield as a defense when they don’t know where you are. They now also enter the shielded state as soon as they are out of combat and damaged, and the healing is much faster now. (a heal takes 1.5 sec, and will heal 2HP + 44% of the current damage, resulting in a normal shot requires 2 heal bursts to heal, a green requires 3, and a blue (or almost dead) requires 4, resulting in a max stun time of only 6 sec) (If the numbers seem a bit of from the weapon damage I posted in some other post, it’s because the strike turrets are the only enemies with a small armor absorption of damage, resulting in high damage shots are more effective against them. So they don’t really have that much HP, just a better armor).

Hunter’s shields has now an energy resource they use and drain over time, so they won’t stay invulnerable forever when hunting you… this is probably the change that I hesitated the longest to make… as they are intended to be a constant pressure if you don’t take time to trick them, but it’s also one for the enemies that we have gotten the worst reaction to when testing ^^;… so we can at least try out a change. There is a little more to it though. As the energy of the shield gets lower, it will shut down now and then for a really short amount of time, so if you are very good with your timing, you will be able to kill it after only about a fourth of the shield time (8 sec after starting the shield, the first flicker happens).

I expect the hunters to still be quite hated and put on a lot of pressure, as 8 sec is quite long, and for many players they won’t be able to kill it for an even longer time.

One other notice that is not probably noticeable that many, is that we have now changed the mouse input to a more high precision data type, so there will be smaller rounding errors on the math related to mouse input and camera angles, but it was not bad before, so the change might not really be noticeable, but we did it just in case, as the raw mouse input might affect things, and we absolutely don’t want any errors in input like that.

That should be all the changes we have made so far. I am currently working on tweaking the wall run transitions, fixing some more animations for the wall running to make it look and feel better when doing these new interactions, and building a camera optional camera system for gamepads that will help with view angles during quick wall interactions (though will make it harder and almost impossible to do rocket jumps/charge jumps from walls, so it will like I said be optional), and will tweak the shield effect for the Hunter and drone hive a little.

If you have any suggestions on other changes, or any feedback on any of this, please let us know. We want to make this as good as possible.

(Sorry for writing too much here maybe >_<; got pretty long)

Last edited by Gafgar; Aug 9, 2014 @ 10:56am
Gafgar  [developer] Aug 9, 2014 @ 10:52am 
Originally posted by Ogam:
Wow lag spike from My source is gone from today's build. Super Sexy
Sometimes I wish there was a way to favorite posts here in steam ;)
Cavalcadence Aug 9, 2014 @ 11:43am 
Originally posted by Gafgar:
Okay, all people that has written any feedback here is top level players, so we have not had that much feedback from beginners
I'm more of an intermediate-level than beginner-level player, but I was planning on taking a look at the beta sometime this weekend. Unfortunately, this weekend has become a lot busier than I had expected, so I might not be able to try out the Cloudbuilt Beta until Sunday or Monday (maybe Tuesday).

I'll try to write up some of my impressions sometime after that, even though I'm not sure how useful they'll be. =)

Just a quick comment for now:

Originally posted by Gafgar:
changed the behavior of placing down checkpoints, so that the character will lock into the direction you looked in when starting the placement, and you can no longer interrupt the placement by walking
I'm not sure if I like this. There's actually a spot on a particular level (I think it was My Regrets) where I've been placing a checkpoint in a semi-dangerous area, which means:

1) Planting the checkpoint as quickly as possible is important (because if you're slow, the nearby enemies will kill you before the checkpoint is complete). Thus, you will not be facing the direction you'll be wanting to go next, when you first start planting the checkpoint.
2) Facing the direction you'll want to go next is extremely useful, because you'll be spawning in a semi-dangerous area, and will want to start moving as quickly as possible.

In short: The change you made sounds like it'd be great if players only used checkpoints in safe locations... but there are times when a player might want to use a checkpoint in a more dangerous location (especially if that location becomes less dangerous when you respawn and the enemies get reset to their initial locations).

Originally posted by Gafgar:
Why we chose to use the initial direction is because it was more intuitive to a lot of players, as they started placing down the checkpoint looking in the direction they intend to head afterwards, and then started to use the wait time to look around, which resulted in weird spawning direction.
Actually, a simple message and countdown could also make it fairly clear to the player. Just have a countdown message like "Checkpoint and spawn position will lock in: 5.00s" or something like that.

Anyway, that's my current impression, though I'll definitely test out that section I was talking about, once I have the time to properly test out the Beta. =)
I don't really like the new enemy mechanics, they feel frustratingly different... And it's just my opinion, but I really hate the new drone hive. The shield looks weird, the purple beacon looks out of place, and when you kill then, they detach from the ground. Couldn't you make them behave more like the strike turrets did? And then I don't like the new strike turrets either. It was oddly satisfying attacking them until they put their sheilds up, then getting behind them. Now they don't do that. And the +es coming off of the shields look weird. I still haven't seen the hunters, so I can't say anything on them.
I like the new movement, though. Much smoother.
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