This is just a quick update to let you know that Invisigun Heroes will be at three events within the next week, so if you’re in the area or know anyone who’d be interested in checking it out, it would be great to see you there!
Also, thanks to all who have been testing out the online alpha and jumping in the Discord channel to discuss it and arrange matches. Your bug reporting has been tremendously helpful and I’m squashing them as fast as I can. Happy Halloween, and see you at the next update!
Hi everyone! September was by far the busiest and most productive month for Invisigun Heroes so far. We had a booth at both PAX West in Seattle and the XPO Game Festival in Tulsa, and both were amazing! It was a pleasure to meet a bunch of you out there in person – including some familiar faces from PAX South and the Kickstarter earlier this year, and some new friends as well. The booth was packed for both shows, and it was so satisfying to see groups of friends come back again and again to get some more matches in.
Thanks to all who stopped by, all who picked up the current alpha on itch.io, all who helped spread the word, and my friends who worked tirelessly to keep the booth running smoothly. James took a lot of photos, videos, and timelapses at XPO, so enjoy this quick montage!
Development on the game obviously slowed a bit during the conventions out of necessity, but I actually managed to fix a lot of issues during PAX West. Some of them were fundamental things that have been bugging me for a long time (pun intended). I’d like to especially thank Derek of Game Introspection. As a fellow developer, we had lengthy technical chats at the booth in Seattle and talked through possible solutions to some of the bugs and network timing issues.
I’ve been focused almost 100% on online functionality for quite a while. Although I had hoped to have basic online play ready for backers and alpha testers by the end of July, it has taken a little longer than anticipated. After a bunch of technical hurdles, the last few weeks have been spent wrapping up some final testing, and I’m super excited to say that the first drop with online multiplayer is now live! Check your Steam and/or Itch library for the update, and be sure to read the alpha notes regarding the first phase of online play in the game or on the forum. Once again, the entire changelog is always available to view here (and within the game), and you can see how lengthy the list is for the latest patch.
If you don’t have the alpha, just a reminder that it’s available for $14.99. This technically gets you two copies right now, since you’ll receive the DRM-free version on itch.io, as well as a bonus Steam key. You can keep both copies, or give one to a friend if you’d like. Once the game has officially launched, itch.io purchases will no longer come with an extra Steam key and they’ll be sold separately.
As a quick rundown of the roadmap leading up to launch, the game is pretty much locked down in feature-set, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I’ll be working around the clock until the end of this year, primarily focused on:
Public match listing & joining for online games
Network latency improvements
2 new heroes
The new planet, Craterus
Rounding out the official map count to 50
Contacting Cartographer backers to schedule Skype sessions to design ~25 extra maps
One last thing – I’m super proud to announce that Invisigun Heroes has been selected as part of the Made With Unity showcase for Unite Los Angeles 2016, running from November 1st – 3rd at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. This will be a great opportunity to meet other developer teams, some of the Unity staff, and other game industry professionals.
Just a quick reminder to come check out and play Invisigun Heroes at the XPO Game Festival this weekend, September 23rd – 25th, 2016! We’ll be at the booth all weekend and would love to meet some of you there. :)
PAX West is nearly upon us, and there’s absolutely nothing better than an external deadline to help turn on the afterburners. I’ve been working at a feverish pace for the past few weeks, adding a ton of new content, refinements, and going on a bug-squashing rampage. I’m relieved to see that some of my development lists are actually shrinking for the first time. I’ll be in Seattle for the week surrounding PAX, so updates will be slower (or nonexistent) for a short period of time. If you’re going to be attending the expo, please stop by booth 6014 and say hello!
In other big news, alpha access to Invisigun Heroes is now open to the public! This is sort of a trial run to see how this goes, but it should at least be available through September. If all goes smoothly, alpha and beta access will be open to the public until release. The game is purchasable through itch.io, with some very clear alpha disclaimers (not feature complete, online coming soon, etc). If you know anyone that missed out on the Kickstarter and is interested, please let them know!
I was never fully satisfied with placeholder sprites and aesthetics for some of the newer worlds, so I took some time to give them a much-needed facelift. In particular, Arx-515 has updated boundaries that fall more in line with the cute-cyberpunk feel that was originally intended, and pulls some of the distracting neon signs out of the levels where they were seemingly important. Glaciarii also has reskinned boundaries, and players finally look appropriately frozen by the Yeti. Arenae has some global value adjustments so that objects (rugs, shifting walls, etc) don’t stand out so much and feel more at home within the temple walls.
Much of the focus for the past few weeks was trying to get as much of the planned final content in. This means the latest update has tons of new maps (and refinements to existing ones), new and exciting powerups (Ability Recharge, Split Shot, Diagonal Shot), a handy Field Guide to serve as in-game reference for new and studious cadets, mastered music tracks, and most importantly – a fundamental gameplay adjustment with ability cool downs. If you don’t spam your abilities, you shouldn’t notice that last one. If you DO, you’ll find that constantly activating your ability will incur longer and longer cool down periods (during which you are visible). It is very easy to stay away from this, but this solves a number of situations where abilities could be abused, and also creates an extremely useful tool for balancing them.
I know that a lot of you are eagerly anticipating online-play, and it’s still a top development priority. I’ve made a lot of headway and am constantly chipping away at edge cases and synchronization issues. From a development perspective, the annoying thing is that I can’t release it for testing until all the loose ends that I’m aware of are cleared up. You can’t play a networked game if it only partially works, like you can with a local game; if something is broken locally, everyone is at least still on the same page. I just want to let everyone know that online play is moving along, even though it’s taking longer than expected. Thanks for your patience, and see you at PAX West!
Hey everyone, hope you’re having a great summer so far! It’s been around 105°F here in Pasadena, which is just a few degrees above “pleasant.” As a reminder, if you haven’t received your download keys or your physical rewards, please message me on Kickstarter (or here) and we’ll get it squared away. Almost everything should have been delivered by now, barring the soundtrack and some late surveyors.
Along with plenty of bug fixes, the latest alpha update (v0.8.98a live on Itch and Steam) has bots enabled. The foundation for the bots was in place for a while, but they have a lot of logic now to react to the environment, search for opponents, and try and follow game mode objectives. Their logic will be improved with every update to address any feedback, but feel free to try them out!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made serious headway into online play. I ran into a few stumbling blocks and it’s definitely not going to drop as early as I’d previously hoped, but most of the major technical barriers are out of the way. I’m focusing on the basics, starting with being able to connect via IP address. Currently connections, disconnections, player selection, game setup synchronization, and basic in-progress match actions are synced correctly.
In all honesty, this foundation was one of the biggest hurdles and technical challenges, so it’s a relief that most of the issues have been resolved. It’s based on a new and not-so-battle-tested networking system in Unity, so it’s been somewhat painful for most early-adopter developers. We spend a lot of our dev cycles in networking forums, trying to figure out if bugs are on our end or theirs, helping each other, and trying to decipher incorrect documentation. There are lots of edge cases I need to find and tackle before turning the feature on, and after that, it will be more fixes and progress on public and private match listings.
While the focus was definitely 95% on network play, I managed to sneak in a couple of new Nemoris maps for testing, and I worked on some content lists for the final stretch. There is less time for experimentation at this point, though the game is by no means feature-locked (still alpha). I will still work with the Heroes to design new characters, and I’m still planning out the Cartographer details for the backer maps.
Ali and I have completed the soundtrack and the first final mix / mastering pass is complete! The updated tracks will be in the next update, though some of them still won’t be heard until their associated planets (Craterus and Arenae) are released. Stay tuned for crispy-sounding tracks in the next drop. Once all the final audio assets are in place, the game will go through an entire mix pass before release as well. And of course, those of you who backed the project at the Composer tier or higher will receive download codes for the soundtrack once it’s ready.
My time at the moment is divided between development and all the logistics for the upcoming conventions. We’ll have a booth (#6014) at PAX West from September 2-5, and also at XPO Tulsa from September 23-25. There’s a ton that goes into planning these, involving extra help, flights, hotels, shipping gear, arranging on-site resources, preparing promo materials, and of course, finalizing the convention game build. I want to thank you all again for supporting this campaign, as part of the funds were definitely reserved for this, and it’s because of you that we’ll have a presence there!
If you’ll be at any of the conventions, please stop by! I’d love to meet you in person, and I’ll have more expo details as the dates approach. This does mean that Invisigun development will slow down in September, though I’ll have the middle of the month for progress on that front.
That’s it for now, please enjoy the updates and while I can’t promise when, I hope to have network play via IP address turned on soonish!
A 4-player single-screen stealth battle arena. Everyone's invisible and you must rely on environmental clues for victory!