Dev Transmission (November 2023)
Hi everyone, for those that celebrated Thanks Giving I hope you had an enjoyable one! Here’s what we’ve been doing in November:
There have been two big areas we’ve focused on this month; the first is continued work on the Navigator part of the game which is one of three layers that comprise our campaign.
A lot of this has been improving the messaging for your actions, which gives a much greater sense of feedback. We’ve also been adding a sense of ceremony for when you commence a run or end it (either by successfully escaping or your vessel being destroyed), which is a nice way to bookend your escape runs.
We’ve also been fleshing out the functionality in this mode, so there are additional pickups to replenish crew, derelict ships to collect new unlockables and an additional ‘chaser’. This is a mechanic that provides an increased sense of impetus to your flight – and while we’ve had homing missiles for a while now, we’ve added a variant which is a high powered enemy strike force on a boarding torpedo.
During Early Access we’ll have a lot of fun adding even more content to this layer!
Upgrades (again) plus Status Effects!
The second big focus for us this month has been upgrades.
One thing that was especially clear from the Next Fest feedback was how much everyone enjoyed the sense of power that was felt while playing. When we were reviewing how we’d previously implemented our upgrade system, we realized that this wasn’t something the early part of the campaign was delivering – and while upgrading weapons would get you to that same level of power, we felt this was a misstep on our part and made for a weaker first impression.
We therefore felt it important to have a rework of our upgrades. Now, when you unlock weapons their lowest level is what you’d experience in the demo – and we build up from there.
Looking back, we probably got caught up making something clever but lost sight of providing the right sense of enjoyment… an easy trap to fall into with first pass designs. Our new system now certainly leans into the fun more, which after all is why we’re here 🙂
As part of this, we’ve added a status effect system. Often the top tier upgrades provide some additional twist that makes your weapons and deployables even more effective. Here they are demonstrated by our (un)willing volunteer:
From left-to-right: poison, shock, burn, slow and bleed status effects. The latter is hard to capture in static form because it doesn’t drain health, but performs a ‘stab’ every X seconds so is a bit more explosive/aggressive compared to the others.
While we’ve only got round to applying these to the player’s weapons and deployables, at some point we’ll be giving the enemy these for some payback!
Upgrade Menu (again)!
Along the same theme, our previously implemented upgrade menu just wasn’t intuitive to use. We saw how well demo players responded to the Loadout menu and wanted to ensure it was of equal quality.
We’re part-way through that rework, so a bit will blend into December – but it’ll certainly be worth it as it’s much, much better.
Oh, and for those that are curious, every weapon, deployable and ability that you unlock is persistent to your profile. That means the more escape runs you play through, the more you’ll unlock and have available to choose from the beginning of subsequent runs. Conversely, each upgrade is reset at the start of a run, so you can choose what you invest your resources into upgrading during that run. This provides a nice sense of meta-progression as well as progression within a run.
We love it when you speak to us! We try to respond to every post – but if we don’t please be assured we always read them and take note of feedback and comments! You can reach us on these platforms:
Reworking big systems like the Upgrades and the Upgrade menu is time consuming – but hopefully it helps demonstrate how important it is to the team that we make all aspects of SENTRY awesome.
December is a weird month in that we’ll be taking some time off for the holidays, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress.
Thanks for the support, and see you next time…