Hey crypt dwellers, a new 0.3.0 update has been published for the ENCHAIN demo on Steam.
As announced, Early Access has been delayed to 2022. To make up for that (and to get feedback) I wanted to release yet another "final" demo update before the new year, with all the core redesigns I've worked on since summer. My goal was to fix all major issues and streamline gameplay to make the experience as pleasant as possible. I'm pretty happy with the state of the demo now, and I should be able to move on to making mostly new content again.
The major changes are grouped into either Combat or Movement below.
Something I definitely wanted to polish up before release was the combat system. This was one of the earliest things I developed in the game, making it a couple years old by now. The roots have been stripped out and redone to be more fun to play with and less awkward.
- Stamina has been refactored to be more consistent and balanced. Expect the combat to feel slightly different. Also including a redesigned stamina bar with stun, knock, and launch thresholds shown as darker colored bars:
- Enemies now always use the full physics system (instead of being stuck to the ground/navmesh) meaning they can get pushed off ledges and generally move around more.
- The enemy attack system has been improved, giving me more tools to make interesting attack patterns.
- Lantern parry is redesigned. Before, you just had to hit an enemy with the lantern at any point during their windup animation to instantly stun them. Now, parries only work during parry-able attack frames, included in certain enemy attacks. There is a visual to indicate this mechanic:
- Lantern melee attack is added, which is automatically triggered when throwing the lantern at close range. It has slightly more damage and knockback than normal lantern hits. Also instantly grabs enemies out of the air.
There were many movement quirks that players have had trouble with that I wanted to address before release. Fixing these really just required a bit more additions to the system, rather than uprooting everything. Except for the grapple hook pull.
- Grapple hook physics have been redesigned.
For the pull, a more simple calculation is made that always pulls the player in the actual direction of the hook, rather than some arbitrary upward direction. Plus, the strength of this pull is tied to the player's movement direction and speed, allowing the pull to be useful in a variety of orientations (also gives some pretty ridiculous speed boosts if you know how to time it).
I also made it so that the hook range is longer when thrown horizontally, but still the same length thrown vertically.
This change to the grapple is a large part of why I wanted to spend time on yet another free demo update. I want to hear what you all think of this new grapple pull, and what still might be able to be improved. So, please try it out.
- A hook stick move has been added to aid platforming. Simply touch the hook while it is embedded in wood. Jump or crouch to get off the hook.
- Kick has finally been moved to a dedicated keybind, "F" by default. I used to think the "hold down" behavior of the Jump key style added something to the game feel, but honestly I now think it just hindered movement in most cases. I feel I found a good balance with the new "F" key style, do try it out. Otherwise, the old style is an option in Settings if you want to keep it that way.
Something you'll notice is that if you're on the ground, tapping the kick key will automatically "hop" you into the air so that you don't have to do a full jump. I hope to make this less overpowered in the future, but for the demo I think it's fine.
- Dive-sliding will only happen when holding down crouch. Otherwise, the player will stop for a moment right at the point of landing.
- Movement on steep slopes has been made to be pretty difficult. Essentially, if the floor is too inclined, jumps will be very weak, movement will be weak, and you'll slide down the surface.
Similarly, wall jumps and kick jumps are harder to exploit on corners.
And now, a few of the minor additions:
New Enemy: Ribble
As teased previously, a new enemy has been in the works called Ribble. It was mainly intended for starter areas to widen the pool of enemy types a bit, so I ended up adding it in to the demo. You'll find a handful of them in the crypt.
They only have one move currently: an aggressive roll towards the player. They're pretty easy to deal with in this state, hopefully in the future they'll get another attack or two.
There are a few fully featured barrels in the demo now. Like coffin doors, they can be knocked around and thrown.
The red ones are completely safe, not explosive or anything.
Chasm and Tutorial Improvements
I'm sure it is clear that the Great Chasm is pretty undercooked compared to the crypt. I had some time to improve it a bit with more relevant challenges and minor layout adjustments. Most notably, I modified a very basic parkour section on the far end to be a brute arena with the key locked away. I do have other major changes I'm planning to make to the chasm in the full release, so stay tuned.
You'll also see a bit more tutorial elements in the Crypt of Descent now. I wanted to have more explicit text shown for the most important mechanics. A couple of rooms are revamped, like the grapple hooking section or the rooms that introduce ribbles. Not really much different in terms of layout or visuals though.
A few technical options have been added as requested. Things like resolution and an fps limit have been added to graphics, as well as an interpolation mode that should smooth out motion on higher refresh rate monitors. Speedrun mode has a quick restart button now, which I'm sure many will appreciate.
I've said it once before, but NOW this should be the last major demo update. Will be focusing on new content for Early Access again from now on.
I'm super appreciative of the understanding you all had with the delay announcement. I don't respond to every comment on here but I do enjoy reading them.
I also want to say it is insane how much the community has grown recently. I really appreciate the engagement and I'm happy that many of you like the demo.
Until the next major announcement, see my Twitter for progress videos and such.
Thank you all for your support, and for your patience on news about the full game.
Full change notes available on Steam Events