Turnover’s closed beta build #3 has been pushed to Steam and is available to testers.
This build is a pretty significant update from beta #2. Nearly everything has been touched on. Audio design, difficulty, animation, bugs, gameplay, and usability have all been addressed in some way.
I’m currently accepting more beta testers into the fold. You can sign up here: Turnovergame.net. Sign ups will be open for couple more weeks.
I want to give a shout out to all the testers who have provided feedback so far. Thank you, everyone!
Here are some details on the major changes & additions in Beta #3.
Difficulty Adjustments & Gameplay Fixes
The most significant piece of feedback I have received from testers is that Turnover difficulty was leaning into frustrating territory. Turnover was always meant to be challenging, but the idea that it was frustrating concerned me.
In response, I have addressed the core difficulty as a whole.
- Enemy and player mechanics have been addressed to balance the game. This should decrease frustration and unfairness, as well as make enemy interaction more robust.
A few players variables have been changed to make getting around more forgiving. Mostly, the player’s fatigue level has been reduced and certain cool down times have been lowered.
- Sentinels, the core patrols in Turnover, have received the most attention. A number of their timing variables have been adjusted. For example, they won’t be so quick on the draw, giving you a bit more leeway to escape when spotted.
- Attack Dogs are bark at you more directly, alerting enemies more precisely you they can better find your location.
- Shock Troopers have been improved by way of bug fixes, making them much more effective. In addition, their lunge speed has been slowed down and they are less threatening if they have a harder time getting to you.
- Firemen can no longer been snuck up on when they are on alert, but they have the shortest alert status of any enemy now.
- Sergeants can no longer be distracted and will home in on the player tightly. But, they have been balanced so they aren’t so frustratingly difficult to handle.
- Attack Dog mechanics have been revamped for the better.
The new mechanics of the Attack Dog have changed him in three major ways:
- When the player is mauled, they will have a better chance of fighting the dog off, as a delay has been added before the player is in any danger.
- The delay causes the dog to hold the player stationary for a minimum time, giving alerted enemies a better chance to engage.
- His running routine has been rewritten, resulting in smoother pathing and better tracking
All of this results in a more effective and balanced tracking enemy.
- Noise generating actors (debris, etc) have all been revamped.
In addition to a new noise actor, the creaky swivel chair, noises in general all have a greater sound radius. This means enemies have a better chance at detecting your noises. This also means that enemies can be distracted easier.
- Dispenser mechanics have been changed
Previously, a dispenser had a certain number of items to dispense. You could dispense each object rapidly, giving yourself a pile of things to throw around.
This presented two distinct problems. One, limited stock means if you used them all up, you would be stuck if you needed to distract an enemy. Two, rapid dispensing means you could dispense a bunch of items quickly and use them to get out of some situations a little too easily.
To address this, dispensers now have unlimited stock. But, the more you use the dispenser, the longer it will take to restock. This discourages snap dispensing and prevents players from becoming stuck in an area.
If the GIF above, you can see the dispenser slowly fade in as it is restocking, then a HUD alert popping up when it is ready to go.
- Fire as been coupled with more NPC interactivity.
Fire had major issues in beta #2. There were bugs that would cause enemies to become fixated on fire. Also, friendly NPCs could be called into it, burning them to death. That has all changed, as I have completely rewritten the mechanics of fire, fixing all known bugs.
Here are some points about fire in beta #3:
- Fire no longer blocks enemy vision. They will spot and shoot through it.
- Enemies should now correctly path around fire. If they can walk around it, they will. If it blocks their path to you, they will return to their patrol or stand watch until it is extinguished or goes out.
- Workers & Rent a Cop are now cautious around fire. If they can walk around it, they will. But, if you try to call them into fire, or they can’t walk around it, they will dismiss themselves. The above GIF shows a Rent a Cop running around fire, but stopping when being called around fire that is too close for comfort.
With this, fire now works as I had originally envisioned.
- Levels have been balanced.
I made some common sense changes to various levels to give the player more chances to hide, make certain areas more dangerous, and fix pathing and hunting issues. Nearly every level has been revised in one way or another.
Turnover also has a new end game scenario involving a “boss fight”. I’ve also cut out one level that just wasn’t working. Altogether, the flow of the game should be much improved.
Music & Sound
Also, beta #3 has a brand new sound mix. This means I went through the game and calibrated the overall dynamic range of the sounds, to ensure nothing was too quiet or too loud, and that everything was spatially correct.
I’ve made various other changes that should improve Turnover as a whole, both for gameplay and user interactivity.
- Window focusing & Steam Overlay interaction is far more forgiving.
If a window steals focus from Turnover, the game should now “halt” and give the focus to the demanding window. So, if you get a Skype call or something, the game should yield to it gracefully.
You can now also alt+tab and the game will pause fine. The Steam Overlay should now also halt the game.
- Getting back to game will be quicker.
The level intro is quicker and can be skipped. You won’t have to wait so long after dying to get back to it.
- There are more HUD contexts hints.
This mostly affects the end game levels, which have specific objectives. A HUD hint will pop up when an objective is complete, and will inform the player how many objectives remain.
I’ve added a small hint to the pause screen to show when you are in a level that has a hidden unlockable perk. I originally wanted the perks to be completely hidden so the player would have to search for them, but I eventually came to the decision that a hint was needed.
- And more…
In addition to what I have detailed –
- A number of enemy bugs have been addressed. Their ability to detect threats and react correctly has been improved.
- Theater mode has been added so unlocked cutscenes can be viewed.
- A new command line switch has been added: skipintro. It lets you skip all of the opening splashes and takes you straight to the title menu.
- The ambient light level of the game has been increased, some sprites have been recreated, and some levels portions have been redecorated.
- Some enemies have had their animations tweaked. There are also a few new animations for Sentinels and the Sergeants.
And the list goes on.
So what’s next?
Now, I’ll wait for some more feedback from testers. I have an internal release date set and I am working diligently towards finishing the game.
I think Beta #3 might be the last major beta milestone. Everything I wanted to be included in the game is now in. Addressing issues and improving things further will be my focus from here until release.