Yup! We currently are busy with some contract work to pay the rent and after that is resumed, it's back to Kinstrife for us :)
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Thanks! That's very encouraging to hear :)
Unfortunately the payment options on itch don't seem to work out for some people, but we'll definitely be on steam in a couple of months! In the mean time, though, there will be a couple more dev logs, though, so we hope you stay tuned :)
We've been considering a discord channel, but we've noticed that our communications are spread out a lot already. We'd like to be able to respond quickly & as in depth as necessary, so we decided that narrowing things down on our forums will likely work best for us for now. If at some point a lot of people ask for an official discord channel, we'll certainly reconsider, though :)
Thanks for the elaborate feedback! It's super helpful and actually the main reason we are making the game available at such an early stage.
That feeling of 'hm, something doesn't add up quite right' yet about the flow of things is something we want to balance out with feedback from the community. As you mentioned some issues with the input system - maybe that could be the 'missing part' that kinda puts you 'out of the flow'? You're also right that there's not a lot in the way of tutorials or introductions - this is something we want to tackle soon. We have not done so, however, because we haven't settled on a control scheme yet. This is a topic we've put a lot of consideration into - one of the things we've decided was that unarmed and armed controls are going to be different. This also ties in with your observation that there only seem to be ~four moves: This is actually due to the fact that there are only really three types of different boxing attacks - straights, upper cuts and hooks. They may target different body targets and be executed with either hand, and their angle may also change slightly. But they are generally limited to pretty narrow angle ranges that also do not really transition very fluidly. This is of course because we for now take grappling, throws, choking, clinching and elbows out of the equation.
Contrast this with weapons combat, where swings can transition fluidly in the upper 240° - which you can actually do with our armed combat. That is one part of the question why we do not adopt the same attack scheme like M&B. Another is - we do not like essentially just 'watching' attacks unfold after the 'charge' was 'released' in M&B. It creates a disconnect between what is happening on the screen and what you actually do/control as the player. Another issue is that it causes a delay to attacks. We instead work with a 'guard' system - think about the 'charged' state in M&B, e. g. a raised arm, ready to strike. Actors would mostly be in a 'guard' state that allows for very quick strikes from that position, but also telegraphs the angle. Strikes from vastly different angles take longer in contrast. It's all very early, but there's been great progress. You can see a gif of it in action here: https://twitter.com/KinstrifeGame/status/1034078220918943744
By the way, have you explored the different attack control schemes (e. g. drag & release etc.) yet? Any thoughts on that?
Regarding footwork - Do you mean general combat movement or how footwork aligns with attacks? The former is actually because we currently do not have proper animations for combat locomotion. You'd be surprised, but the majority of combat locomotion uses crossed feet... Which can be especially fatal with physics based combat and tripping ;) It's very high on our list of graphics-related things we want to get replaced, though!
As for speed - that's a good question and may even be up to personal taste in games. As you said, reactions in real-life are very instinctual - trying to put up one's hands to protect the face is a super important instinct. But also reactions like 'uh oh, I should probably duck now and avoid that hook' are very instict-based - which is not an issue in real-life because that very easily and naturally translates to movement of the body. But with games, it has to go the route of remapping that to a game control scheme and clicking buttons. There's certainly going to be a noticeable delay and it's something we need to keep in mind.
Again, thanks for the elaborate feedback and we're super happy to have discussions like that! But for the sake of posterity & overview, we'd love to bundle discussions like these over on our forums. So it'd be great if we could carry on there :)
EDIT: Woops, just saw you've already signed up and posted there :)
Sorry for having missed your comment :( We're very glad that our dev logs and updates transport the passion and time investment we're putting into this project! We hope you've enjoyed the alpha and will be joining us along for the ride :)
Thanks for the encouraging feedback, it means a lot to us :)
We shipped a lot of performance optimizations in the last update, so things should be running a lot smoother. Combat speed is a tricky thing to balance. We're convinced it needs to be a bit slower than in real life to offset the reaction penalty you have because of the additional input layer (think keyboard & mouse input.) Another thing to consider is that movement has 'weight' in our game, so it's not possible to cancel an attack and immediately blocked. As you said, planning ahead is an important aspect there. However, this poses another difficulty by itself, because with physics, there's very emergent and dynamic gameplay which is even very hard for us as developers to predict and plan ahead for.
All in all, these are things we want to balance based on feedback in the community. We are also in the middle of setting up infrastructure that allows modding, so people can also directly change some of the physics and weapon stats by themselves to see what they like best.
Quite frankly, we do not necessarily see it as selling the game at this point, it's more about getting people on board early. We'd like to reward those who stick around with us for the majority of development, after all :)
We certainly are inspired by Mount&Blade! Funnily enough, we met on the game's forums and also modded that game. We have also clocked in dozens of hours in Exanima and are following its development with great interest as well.
On a more serious note:
We're still in the middle of figuring out how to go about this whole public communication thing. We're still very much behind this project (as our response rate may indicate) - we're just having a hard time communicating that progress. Since we've been developing in 'seclusion' for so long, we still need to find a good groove to keep you guys in the loop without diverting too much time from actual development. We first thought streams would be a good idea as well as video dev logs. We then found authoring those too time intensive, considering that we have to, you know, develop a game :P We then scrapped the video production mid-process and decided it's better to keep it for major updates.
We realise we've done a pretty poor job at that since the release, so we've started opening up more to our patreon backers recently, posting less 'filtered'/scripted dev upgrades. We'll round them up and turn them into an official update soon. And cut us some slack, we're still new to this whole PR thing :D
You're quite quick in declaring a project dead ;) First of all, we're still going strong and soon have lots of cool new things to show. Expect a dev log in a couple of days. Second thing, we don't do this full-time, so sometimes things just get in the way of development. That is bound to happen until we can support ourselves from developing the game. Third: We've been working on the game (before going public) for years. We're not just going to throw the towel just because we haven't posted an update in a couple of weeks.
Hey, thanks for the supportive feedback! We're super happy about the comparisons to Exanima - it's been one of our references for how dynamic we want our combat to be. Armed combats is currently being finetuned and we're planning to publish more information during the weekend, so stay tuned!
PS: We also appreciate people getting in touch on our forums because we'd love to get the community involved in the development through discussions and Q&A sessions. So if you're up for it, it'd be great to see you there :)
Thanks pequiq! That's spot on.
As a small update, we're making good progress on that end. For the next release, however, we will focus on improving hand to hand combat (and adding in various options to tweak your experience.) Based on that feedback, we'll polish armed combat further as we want the first impression for that feature to be really good :)
Great to have you on board then! We're currently a team of two, and we've become quite efficient working with this team size. We will soon start doing dev streams for a look behind the scenes for our patreon followers, too.
Due to popular demand we're going to add an early version of armed combat (with some low-level weapons), as well as a more performant brawl scene on high priority. Hopefully this won't last more than a few weeks, but don't pin us down on it!
Hi & thanks for giving the preview a go!
We hadn't anticipated on people trying to play using the trackpad, so everything is tested with a mouse and keyboard. We did include controller support (I will update the ingame cheat sheet), however that is only tested with an Xbox 360 controller so far. You should be able to plug in the controller at any time and control the character with that.
The courtyard is to display your creations so as soon as you create multiple characters, they will all show up in the courtyard. You can also spawn random characters by pressing 'insert' while in the location.
Thanks for the feedback, and good to see you're on board where we want to take this going forward!
I see, ideally, we'd want the game to run @ 1080p on high settings at least at a stable 30 FPS with such a setup. Since Unity (the game engine we use) currently also does a lot of work on optimization, I'm hopeful we can get closer to that goal in the coming months.
But we're very excited to hear you've enjoyed this preview and hope you'll stay tuned for the next updates! If you'd like, you could also drop in on our forums for more feedback & discussion on ideas for features, improvements, etc. Cheers!
Running a lot of physics computations is definitely resource intensive, but to some extent necessary for the interactions that make up physical combat. So, no, it's not really feasible to attempt physics based combat without a framework like PhysX, especially not for a super small team like us.
What we will be doing, however, is trying to utilize the CPU more fully (as in, make better use of multi-core CPUs) and see where we can offload some potentially computationally expensive stuff into more streamlined/simplified versions handled through custom code.
Hi, thanks for the encouraging comment! We do agree that we need to make improvements to performance, especially the courtyard scene has not been thoroughly optimized. This is one of the reasons we're showing this as an alpha preview; we believe it is the first version we can give out to people to show our vision and our work so far, but we're at the same time aware that there's still a lot to be done, including performance optimizations.
Out of curiosity, how do the other parts of the game run for you and what are your system specs?
Hi! Physics in the game are based on the PhysX framework, so essentially simplified/streamlined numeric rigidbody physics. In addition to that we also fine-tune e. g. collision reactions by applying additional forces based on the state of a character, for example to simulate muscle strength and/or constractions.