Hey, Levelheads! This week we have some WEIRD AND WILD stuff coming down the game development... er... tube? We took another look at Exposure bucks, wiggled some colors around, and began our work on updating the New Player Experience. Read on!
Training Presentations featuring the voice talent of Aimee Smith!
We've been quietly working on a suite of Presentations for the campaign that give Levelhead a greater sense of story, more worldly context, and, of course, more dumb jokes. FIVE of these presentations are now available in the Bureau of Shipping's training program, covering everything from what *L.E.V.E.L. * stands for to why all those Bug parts are floating around out there.
We also knew that just one voice wasn't going to be enough for these presentations, so we contacted Aimee Smith about playing the role of M.A.Y.A., the Bureau of Shipping's Artificial Intelligence. She wowed us with her exuberance and fantastic Aussie accent to such an extent that we rewrote a chunk of the presentations to give her more words to say. You can take a sneak peak with this SUPER SECRET YOUTUBE VID.
Follow Aimee on twitter, and JUST HOLD YOUR HORSES for the remaining 13 presentations, which we'll have finished up in time for the 1.0!
Our vision for the Tower was that it would be a place where you could go to find good levels, and where good levels could get the appreciation -- and players -- they deserve. However, there are a couple aspects of the Tower that have put some roadblocks in that path. So this patch, we started to address those issues.
New Front Page!
The first thing you'll probably notice in the Tower Library is the new front page of "Featured" levels!
Featured levels are levels that have a high level of player engagement -- meaning, people tend to enjoy them and stick around -- but a low number of players for how good the level is. In other words, these are the levels that a lot of people should probably see and play, but not many have yet. As a Featured level gets more players, it will slide down the Featured list over time, making room for other great, but underplayed, levels. The "Featured" section is compatible with all other search filters, so you can, for example, find all Featured "Kaizo" or "Beginner-Friendly" tagged levels, or find Featured "Adventure" difficulty levels. Whatever you want, we have a Featured list for it!
One caveat, though, is that this list won't be churning too fast at the moment. But we anticipate that at launch, this thing will be churning LIKE A HOT TUB WITH JETS ON!
Our intent with the Featured list is to build up the reputation of the Tower as the place where you should be able to just pop in and find some really good stuff that you might not have seen before. We don't want it to be the case that when a level graduates from the Marketing Department, that it just slides into obscurity if it's a really good level. Hopefully, this Featured list does that!
However, having a great bunch of levels in the Tower doesn't necessarily mean people will go there. Because there's one other issue we had to solve...
Exposure bucks... IN THE TOWER?
The Marketing Department is a nice tool. It gives you a way to see all the great new levels, and it gives you a way to get your levels seen and played, via the Exposure Bucks system. However, the Marketing Department has, to date, been essentially a black hole of player attention and playtime. Because the only way to get Exposure Bucks was the Marketing Department, players would tend to feel like they were missing out if they played levels in the Tower. Sure, the Tower Trial is cool, but if you spend an hour running it, that's a bunch of Exposure Bucks you just missed out on! And yeah, you can sort and filter the Tower to find the precise kinds of levels you want, but why would you, if you can't get exposure bucks there?
So we stepped back and asked... What would happen if you did get exposure bucks by playing levels in the Tower? The more we thought about it, the more sense it made. The purpose of exposure bucks is to allow you to trade your playtime on other people's levels with playtime on your own levels. It seems that this change will continue to meet that purpose!
So now, you will earn exposure bucks in the tower! This means you can enjoy the new "Featured" front page and play tons of great Tower levels, or any other kinds of levels you want, and get those exposure bucks anyways!
For now, the Tower will net you exposure bucks at half the rate of Marketing Department levels, because we do want the Marketing Department to still be front and center. Still, it's possible that even if the Tower earned Exposure Bucks at the normal rate, the Marketing Department would still be where most people spend their time. But most importantly, this is an experiment, so we'll be keeping an eye on the impact of this change and adjusting if need be!
GR-18 Animation Update: Phase 1!
As we approach the end of Early Access, we want to make sure our trailers and gameplay footage really POP! So we took another look at GR-18 to find some spots where we could polish up the feel and movement animations, and we noticed a few things that could definitely be improved. So we now have a new animation for falling while sprinting!
We're also working on an entirely new animation frame for kicking objects downward, and we're adding a new flip animation to Sprinting. Because it's just not fair that GR-18 stops doing flips just because he's running fast. But... those will have to wait until next time!
Vacrats are yellow now!
Well, the small ones, anyway. The big ones are... intimidating.
We're buckling down to fully revamp and build up the New Player Experience, so that when the game launches, new players are more effectively onboarded. The current game does a good job of dropping players into the campaign, but it doesn't do much else. Our goal with the next update is to get more players logging in, publishing levels, and playing other people's levels, because that's where the core experience of the game is, and that's where it gets really interesting. We have a lot of work to do to get there, so it's unclear whether we'll have a patch next week, but if not, we'll have a dev blog with progress updates!
In the meantime, enjoy some PIPING HOT PATCH NOTES!
Want to see the TINIEST DETAILS of today's patch notes? CHECK IT OUT BELOW!
See the full patchnotes.