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Alpha 0.5 - The Passive Auras Build - Patch Notes Sticky

A topic by benedictfritz created 335 days ago Views: 291 Replies: 29
Viewing posts 1 to 9
Developer

Another big changeset this week! Probably the biggest one for a while as we've sort of run out of stuff that we were still working on at the start of the alpha but didn't put in builds. Really looking forward to hearing thoughts!

BIG CHANGES:

  • Passive Auras

Auras are a system we've been messing with for some time now, and we thought now would be a good time to unleash it upon the alpha-playing masses.

Auras work in the same way that the teleporter orbs do -- they're a thing that you hold on to, and if you get damaged you drop it. Instead of unlocking teleporters, auras give you a passive effect. Right now we have 17 passive effects in the game. Thanks to Jamie on the forums for helping us brainstorm some of these! If you have ideas, definitely post them on this thread!

Right now you get auras from a room in the camps between biomes (not including the basecamp). I've been having a blast seeing how the different auras affect my item decisions, and playstyles as I move up the mountain, and we're all really curious to hear what you think! I've started a thread for discussion here.

  • Enemy Spawning

Over the last several days I've reworked enemy spawn weights, and selection. One of our goals is to give each biomes a unique feel and gameplay challenge. We hadn't reviewed our spawning numbers in a long time, and things felt a little out of date since adding new enemies, etc. This may make the game feel easier, it may make it feel harder. These are some of the hardest changes to adjust to emotionally since your perception of the quality of a run is forced to change.

  • Gem Economy Tweaks

After reading/discussing in a thread, I decided to experiment with some gem economy tweaks. The goals of these tweaks are to encourage killing higher-health enemies, and bring more decision-making to the economy. Changes include

  1. 1 HP enemies always drop 1 crystal
  2. 2 HP enemies drop 3 crystals 66% of the time, 5 crystals 33% of the time
  3. 3 HP enemies drop 4 crystals 66% of the time, 7 crystals 33% of the time
  4. Post-jungle camp shop prices are increased 50%
  5. Post-desert camp shop prices are increased 100%

I've been having a ton of fun with these changes, so I'm curious to hear what everyone else's experience is

  • Small Changes

As always there are so many small things we want to tweak -- since I was working on auras most of the week I only got around to a few of them.

  1. Add timeout to enemy homing shots so they don't follow you forever
  2. Add shrapnel description to homing seed (thanks clangmuir!)
  3. Changed fly enemy sound
  4. Spawner enemies spawn a maximum number of enemies. Slowed down the spawn rate. Those spawned enemies now drop crystals.
  5. Made small non-follow spider sfx quieter than the large pink follow spider sfx so they can be distinguished
  6. Appearing shooter health reduced to 1
  7. Remove vertical laser as a pre-planted plot in the world
  8. Add new post-jungle camp music
  9. Increase avalanche cost
  10. Added music for summit boss
  11. Added pre-summit boss camp with friendly seed who will help tell you what to do
  • Bug Fixes
  1. Fixed the bug where the seed would get launched into a camp and you couldn't move the vine up! Thank you to everyone who reported this issue including jamie, clangmuir, and geraldkelley on the forums!
  2. Rotating lasers respect invisibility (thanks clangmuir!)
  3. Mortar enemies respect invisibility (thanks clangmuir!)
  4. Fixed bug where getting hit in a camp while carrying an aura broke the game (thanks hartlaboratories!)
  5. Fixed bug where enemy spawners could never spawn more than the number of eggs they have


First impression? Wow, that's a lot more enemies.

Developer

Yeah I was just playing and was like, hmmm, maybe went overboard in the forest lol

Is seed plot density changed? The desert feels super barren now.

Developer

No that density should be the same -- there are probably more enemies now, though. Having fewer plots and having it feel "barren" like a desert is somewhat intentional

I'm finding it quite a bit tougher, especially the desert. Haven't made it past it once.

Still haven't made it past desert in this build. Part of that is bad luck, but I find the desert basically impossible with reflect seed. Maybe if the aimed projectiles moved a touch slower? Or if they took a little longer to reload? Or both?

I find I'm often on a screen with three aiming projectile enemies, and because you tend to just barely dodge their projectiles, the projectiles tend to take out any thorns you might have before you reach the enemy.

Having projectiles not hit thorns would also make them quite a bit less punishing.

Developer (Edited 1 time)

We had a big discussion today about how non-dev players don't seem to be branching out to other seed types as much as us (which is really what makes the desert and later feasible for us). Maybe it's the aiming mechanics are too weird right now? I basically don't use thorns except for specific situations where I'm dealing with certain enemies that follow me past the jungle. Definitely something for us to chew on. hartlaboratories was talking about their strategies here which seems to express similar sentiment.

I used to make it through the desert at least sometimes. The problem with the desert now is that there are so many projectile throwers and hardly any seed plots around them to do anything against them.

But I agree with the linked post. Shields are a must grab. Mostly because of how effective projectiles are. Cloak works too but truths the desert into a race. Challenging, but doable.

Oh, and yes, the aiming mechanics are super weird.

Is there anything in this build that would make you recommend clearing your save?

Developer

Not that I can think of. Aura stuff is pretty detached from save state.

Multiple hit point enemies took some getting used to, but with them regularly dropping more gems than hit points, they feel hard but worth it.

Why the shop prices should increase. If the player has the gems, why not let them buy the stuff?

Developer

i'm right in the middle on this and ultimately tend to agree with you. this balance is largely for expert players and trying to make later choice interesting (when you have like 40+ crystals in later camps) but i do think it's possible for everyone else it's so restrictive on what you can buy it makes progressing feel somewhat moot in terms of gaining extrinsic power.

so yea! keeping our eye on this for sure.

Also, I gotta be honest, the new density of enemies is really hurting my fun. I'm regularly presented with situations that are orders of magnitude harder than the previous density. And while I used to consistently make it to the desert, I regularly die in the Jungle because of yet an other cluster of three purple homing monster spawners and haven't gotten anything that can handle them well. Or, if I do make it to the desert, there are 3+ aiming projectile throwers. And while I can do the forest with ease, I can't imagine how a new player would feel trying to navigate that. Lots of seed plots to be sure, but certainly a similar density of dangers to avoid as any future biome.

Developer

i think we over corrected on this, but compared to what jungle/desert used to be this is closer to what we had earlier. i do think forest is my main issue given how goofy it can be currently. we were talking earlier about how we need to kind of replace these changes with more polished enemy (maybe harder) behavior. quality over quantity, but quantity for now is an easy 2m tweak so that's sort of the reasoning behind that.

Things I think you should consider not having in the Forest Biome:

- Pink Spiders
- Hole Jumping Squids
- More than one purple flying follower at a time

I think it's okay for the Jungle to be a bit difficulty spike. New players are still trying to learn how to roll back and forth. Having them contest with a large number of enemies, some of them chasing and having multiple hit points makes it quite a bit harder to learn and experiment.

On that note, I kinda wish you started the forest with one random room. That means players will get a chance to explore a variety of mechanics (assuming they hit the 2nd random room at the half-way point) in the relatively safe space that is the Forest.

Developer

right on, forest is a toughie because we still have fun with the forest and also want new players to have fun too. it's important for experts to enjoy the forest in certain ways even if they are playing a more "maximize efficiency" game. so that's one reason pink spiders are in there, esp now with the recent economy changes.

re: the random start room. i'd love this too, but it's tough because we feel it would incentivize quick restarts to re-roll until you got what you wanted. exploring powers/mechanics is something we really need to find a way to offer. right now we're talking about extending the height of the crystal/random rooms and throwing some dummies up above with a few preplanted versions of each suit offered to be able to practice in that way.

I've been thinking about this. The game isn't really interesting to me until I get a different seed from the starting ones, and also a good starting seed can be the difference between a game winning run and a waste of time. For instance, if I get Thomp in the first biome, I'm almost guaranteed a boss run, regardless of what else shows up.

Why not just let players just pick a non-standard seed to start? Maybe not unlock it right away, like maybe not until you've beat the Forest, or Jungle, or Desert, or Arctic (there are good arguments for any of these). This would let players have a bit more ownership over their own play style, but still maintain the randomness (you only get to pick one) and would let players safely explore how seeds work without feeling like they're wasting their chance at a good run.

Developer

right on, i like the idea of leaning into it. maybe there's something there with earning that ability or something through a quest(s)... or we just give you the choice after X runs etc. it's worth toying with for sure!

Developer

or yeah maybe if you come across the seed type in a run then it becomes available to the beginning of the game selection.

This is tough cause I feel like I personally have an optimal strategy or specific seeds that I feel in combination are a bit overpowered, especially towards the top of the mountain. Maybe it's a matter of balancing those abilities, but yeah I do like having to deal with what your dealt, and I wonder if that gets lost when letting players just choose the starting seeds.

Or maybe you can choose X suits (up to 4) and you incur some kind of debuff like seeds costing more. There's a lot to consider/toy with here!

I think picking more than 1 standard seed would wreck a lot of what makes the game great. I was suggesting just being able to pick one non-standard starting seed. That way combinations of seeds are still a matter of chance, but it means you don't get something that's completely useless for farming in the first biome.

Also, means players have a safe space to experiment with how seeds work (if you die in the first biome trying out a seed, you aren't risking anything).

Developer

i think you sorta nailed it with that last bit about experimenting with how seeds work and i think that's the real problem. it's not that there are only a handful of good seeds (and there is imbalance for sure, but that's easily dealt with), it's more that players aren't comfortable practicing with new seeds to get to the point where they can use each one effectively. the descriptions are partly to blame for this, since they are clear but false in some ways in that it's impossible to accurately describe how they work with text alone. i hope to put together animations of some flavor to remedy this and we're also talking about adding preplanted suits and etc in the crystal rooms to give a place to play with these things. while i'm not sure that's the actual answer either, i do think giving players opportunity to play with seeds of every kind will open up folks to new ways of solving different problems with a number of different seeds.

I've been thinking about enemy interactions. Like, you know how in Spelunky, things in the dungeon can interact with other things in the dungeon? I was thinking about interactions I would expect, but never see. For example:

  • Triggering a spinny laser and watching it shred nearby enemies
  • Baiting a spider into jumping into a hole (Like how you can bait the spring snake into jumping off the pyramid in Q-Bert. Classic and satisfying!)
  • Side lasers killing enemies that pass through it
Which gets me thinking about a more philosophical question: is the game world designed to kill you, or does everything just... exist? Like in Donkey Kong you're being hunted, and in Frogger the world exists, somewhat indifferent to you. The nature-focused look of Tumbleseed gets me thinking it's more the latter than the former, though obviously the game exists somewhere in the middle.

Anyway! I was wondering if y'all have thought about letting enemies kill enemies. I'm almost always disappointed when it doesn't happen.

Also: Purple followers only having 1HP feels good. Was it 2HP before? Anyway: Love the new feel of that.

Developer

yea! this is something we had awhile ago. we even had a whole sort of carnivore/herbivore predator/prey system where the carnivores ate the herbivores and the herbivores ate you. even so, we've tried more general things like you're talking about and it always sort of falls apart because they kill each other and just sitting patiently until they die is nearly always more preferable to interacting with the situation. there is so much danger (holes) all around that even having enemies get killed on spikes can make it so the challenge is removed. i think that's alright some of the time and we might add spikes killing enemies eventually anyhow since they're rare enough but yea...

so right now there are sort of three "classes"

enemies - don't hurt/interact with others, other than spatially, but do hurt/track you.

vineguard - these are the preplanted and planted-by-you weapons/abilities and etc. they can be interacted with by you AND enemies and hurt/heal/help both sides.

tumbleseed - interacts with everything.


so the emergence sort of comes out when enemies and things interact with preplanted weapons/abilities. for instance, if there's a poison laying out there, then an enemy rolls over it, it'll then be infected and possibly infect others, or it could turn invisible, shoot a shotgun, fill holes up all around, cause an avalanche etc.

that's sort of where we like to see that stuff since it can also hurt you, and the vineguard itself then isn't such a part of the player's world but more the space between the tumbleseed and its enemies which we like because the control scheme itself is indirect and you're really the vineguard (the vine you actually control), not the tumbleseed.


that all said, maybe we need to up the amount/quality of preplanted things in the world to get a bit more chaos and interest in the mix. would also help preview a lot of the powers out in the world...

I dig this and tooootally see how the environment could just tear itself apart. There's got to be a good balance between an environment that interacts to certain things, and an environment that exists only to kill the tumbleseed.

The one example that reminded me of a Spelunky-esque moment where you set off a trap and evade it to let it kill enemies:

You know the enemy that hides in a hole and spins its arm around once when you're close? I expected that to hurt nearby enemies. It felt like a trap, and traps seem like they'd be indifferent to the greater world. Can't think of any other examples but that one in particular made me go "awww dang" when it *didn't* kill the enemies I'd lured close to it.

Developer

yea that would be cool since you trigger it, maybe we can style that into a vineguard like element or something! it'd be fun to lure enemies near it and set it off while getting outta the way for sur

Developer

I like this too! Rad idea :]