Acid Wizard Studio is 3 young people (and a dog) from Warsaw, Poland. We make games.
Contact us at wassup@acidwizardstudio.com. If you dare.

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Darkwood Alpha 4

13 March 2015 by Acid Wizard

alpha4_01_nastronke

Alpha 4 is finally here!

THE NIGHT

Night gameplay is now controlled by a scenario & event system, which makes a lot of weird, awesome stuff happen. Some of that is stuff is random, some is a consequence to what you have done previously (or during the night). Some are basic and common, but there are also complex and unique ones. There are a limited number of events currently, but you can expect more in the future.

Shadow creatures have been completely revamped. The “you need to be in the light after sundown or you die” mechanic has been scrapped (it sucked, sorry about that). You will still be visited by those creatures, but they’re very different now.

The Banshee has also been revamped, but I’m not going to spoil that for you.

Mutated mushrooms no longer spawn in and around your hideout every night. They’re not completely removed, but they’re a bit different and much more rare.

The noise you make now plays a lesser role. You can still attract attention when running around at night a lot and dragging heavy things, but it’s much less dangerous now.

There are a few other changes, but you need to find them yourself!

TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS

Memory management has been vastly improved. We’ve also added a dynamic texture load / unload system, so out of memory crashes should be gone now!

You can now turn on windowed mode from the main menu.

There is new a alternate control scheme, where movement is relative to the mouse cursor. You can switch it on in the control options.

Performance optimization, and fixes to late-game fps drops.

Written text (like the one during dialogue) no longer jumps to a new line mid-word, making reading it less troublesome.

uzytek_z_grzybow_01

NEW STUFF:
- A new enemy type.
- If you have more than one item selected (under your cursor), you can cycle through them (default “E” key). This is indicated by a arrow icon next to your cursor.
- Your character now respawns in a small location after dying. Check your map after you get up to know where you are.
- New stuff added to some of the locations.
- Lots of new sounds!

CHANGES:
- Large amount of minor improvements and fixes to AI.
- Modified and improved combat behaviour for all characters.
- Time flows slower, so you have a bit more time to explore.
- Also, the day now always lasts from 8 am to 8pm (as shown by the watch).
- Poisonous mushrooms in the meadow are less plentiful. They can also be selected with the cursor (but not interacted with).
- Roads are safer.
- Minor loot rebalance. The loot system needs to be redone from scratch in the future though.
- Rebalanced enemy and object spawns in biomes.

FIXES:
This update has seen the biggest bug hunt yet, and it would take quite a while to write down all the squashed bugs. Here are the most annoying ones:
- Fixed discovered mini locations not being marked on the map, making navigation much harder.
- Generator usage was broken (sometimes it would consume 2x the amount it should). It’s fixed now, and also rebalanced.
- Fixed camera shake being relative to FPS (making it too long or too short depending on your machine).
- Changing resolution ingame will not break some menus anymore.
- Fixed sometimes waking up in the same spot where you died (right next to the thing that killed you), instead of somewhere in the woods.
- Fixed beartraps and poisonous plants being too concealed.
- Enemies can no longer push you around when you’re jumping.
- Fixed disappearing enemies.
- Fixed enemies reappearing in front of (or behind) you…
- Fixed a few instances of walking through a black void.
- Fixed crashing the game when mashing the escape button when the dream transition video was playing.

 

Alpha 3 broke the night gameplay for some of you, and we believe this update not only fixes these issues, but makes them really interesting. There’s still more stuff to come for the nights though, but we think we’re close to our vision.

The new event system makes way for other things to happen during the day too! We’re not sure if it will be the focus of the next update yet, as there are some serious issues with how the world is generated right now (the border areas are completely empty) which need to be fixed first.

I truly hope that this will be the last time I need to do any big changes related to some very technical stuff like memory management… These take up A LOT of time. A new version of the engine we’re using (Unity 5) is out, and it brings significant performance improvements. If there are no major issues with the initial Alpha 4 update, I will probably start working on bringing Darkwood to the new engine version.

The Acid Wizard

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Global Game Jam 2015

06 February 2015 by Acid Wizard

Guess what! We’ve been game jamming recently, making a game called After The Credits! You can play it here, in your browser.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Global Game Jam is a yearly event, where people all around the world gather in different places (called sites), and make a game in 48 hours on a given subject. Our site in Warsaw was PolyJam!

Less than a hundred people cramped in a room for 48 hours. Can you just smell the work in the air?

Less than a hundred people cramped in a room for 48 hours. Can you just smell the work in the air?

Here’s the full coverage:

Friday

4:58 PM
We arrive at the site. One of the sponsors (a bank) is having a presentation. About loans. Some time after that, this year’s keynotes are played. One of them was pretty trippy . The theme is announced, and it’s a question : “What do we do now?“.

We brainstorm for an hour or so about what we want to create. Very quickly we get the idea we like: Let’s make a game about a video game character (in this case, Bill from Contra) returning to normal life, after he has defeated the final boss. The twist is, he can only use the same set of skills he has acquired during his previous adventures!

We talk about some other ideas, but since we’re satisfied with the one we have, we leave the site to get our hardware.

9:23 PM
It took way longer than we expected, but we’re back and ready to work! Well, not exactly. Artur’s computer is not working. He and Kuba need to go to his apartment and get his laptop. The day is almost over and we haven’t done anything yet, and the atmosphere is becoming tense.

11:03PM
The guys are back. It turns out, Artur forgot a cable to connect his tablet to the laptop, so he can’t work well. We can’t really get the internet to work, so working together will be pretty hard. It wouldn’t be so bad, but we’re having second thoughts about the game we want to make, and having these technical difficulties pile up like this, it really hits our morale. We go back to brainstorming.

1:10AM
We decide to stick with the original idea, as we can’t think of anything better at the moment, but most of the team is unconvinced and can’t really focus. We’re also pretty tired.

3:32AM
I made some prototypes for movement, but we haven’t done anything besides that. This sucks. We call it a night.

Saturday

 11:02AM
We were supposed to meet at 10:00 AM, but I overslept. Now we’re completely unsure of what we want to make. We’re not convinced about the art style (which will need to be consistent with Contra), the gameplay (which will be extremely simple, as we will only have time to make a few gags), and only scratching the surface of the subject because of the limited controls and time frame. We brainstorm again.

Kuba is showing us his work. As you can tell from our facial expression, it wasn't very good.

THINGS ARE NOT GOING VERY WELL

1:30 PM
Success! We’re now sure what we want to make and have no doubts about the project. We didn’t alter the idea, but we needed to convince ourselves about what’s good (and bad) about it, and just go with it.

In a horizontal company structure like ours, where the fun of creating something and the game itself is a major motivation, being confident about the project you are making is extremely important.  If someone from the team is unsure about anything, the game will end up a disaster.

4:30 AM
Nothing out of the ordinary happens during the whole day. We’re jamming, which means we work hard, eat pizza and have fun! We’ve got a (somewhat) working game. We’re aware that it will look like shit until it’s finished, so we don’t stress about the current state of the game.

Sunday

4:00PM
Work is going well and we make it just in time for the presentation, unfortunately Artur didn’t feel too well and had to go home. The presentation goes well and After The Credits grabs 1st place! 

Lots of other crazy games have been made there by talented people, you can check them out here!

Find the Wizards!

A group photo after the event. Find the Wizards!

Overall, even though the atmosphere was pretty bad because of our technical (and creative) difficulties, the event was great, thanks to great organization and fellow jammers!

The 2 weeks after the jam, however, were not very fortunate for us – after Artur’s PC refused to cooperate, Kuba’s hard drive died a few days later. What’s worse is that last week, he suddenly felt very bad and was taken to the hospital. He gave us a bit of a scare when his pulse dropped to 35. Luckily it looks like he will have to go through a few procedures and all will be fine, and today he’s back in work!

In the meantime, we’re returning to work on Darkwood. Right now we’re working on a behind the scenes system which will dynamically change the game (especially night time) based on your current actions / situation. You can expect a basic version of it in the next update!

Gustaw

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Alpha 3

19 December 2014 by Acid Wizard

alpha3_02a
Alpha 3 is out! The major changes are:

Consequences of death

From now on, dying means: dropping your inventory at the place you have been killed, and waking up somewhere in the biome where your current hideout is. This may sound easy, but in the later biomes returning to the place where you have died is sometimes very tricky.

Extracting essence

Mushrooms in the woods are more plentiful, but only certain rare kinds can be cooked for essence. This allows for bigger “trap” areas with a reward for successfully navigating them.

Things that can be cooked will rot after a certain amount of time after they have been picked up. Where do you find essence, you ask? Well…

The night
alpha3_a

During the night, you will not only see creatures, but also mutated plants. You will need to be on the lookout for them if you want to harvest their essence!

Light now plays a bigger role, as staying in the shadows for too long will be a bad idea, so better fill up your generator before it gets dark!

Sound

You will need to pay much more attention to the sound you generate from now on. This means interacting with doors, moving objects, barricading etc. will bring attention to your location. This will be very important during the night, as you do not want to alert anyone to your presence.

AI changes

Stealth is harder and easier at the same time. If you are reckless, you will easily get spotted. But if you keep a low profile, you will be able to sneak through areas. Enemies will also be more forgiving in letting you know if they are alerted to your presence.

Minor:

New stuff:
- Added a popup notifying you about entering a biome.
- [Experimental] If you are inside a location, you will be able to see it marked on the map.
- You can pick up dropped items from the ground if you are inside your inventory.
- When quitting the game, you will get notified about the time of the last save.

Changes:
- Player will no longer receive damage when waking up.
- Changed balance of gasoline for generators.
- The mushrooms you get after drinking from the well depend on what hideout you are currenly in.
- Health / stamina potions have been removed (in favour of skills). This is temporary, as we need to find other ways to upgrade these stats.

Fixes:
- Loot no longer respawns after time in some locations.
- Electronic game is now properly added to journal.
- Inventory icons no longer disappear.
- Fixed having multiple items selected on hotbar after  death.
- Fixed desynchronizing aim indicator.
- It’s no longer possible to appear outside of a underground location when travelling to it.
- Fixed bug causing the pathfinding grid to get corrupted after loading.
- Fixed issues with reloading the game after dying in a underground location.
- Fixed several issues with mimics.
- Fixed weird behaviour with Wolf when traveling to Doctor’s house again.
- Fixed ambient music sometimes cutting off.
- Fixed map and poison overlays intersecting each other.
- Fixed the fog in a few locations.
- Fixed disappearing enemies in front of the player.
- Added missing sounds to some furniture.
- Fixed not getting reward after dream if your inventory was full.
- Fixed rabbits being blind sometimes.
- Fixed generator not emitting light if it was previously drained from fuel.
- Fixed a gap in the trees at the Doctor’s house, enabling the player to leave the location’s bounds into the void.
- Fixed being able to drink from the well even though it was day.
- Fixed some issues with loading underground locations.
- Optimized loading meshes.
- Fixed information popup appearing in main menu.

We’re very happy with this update, as it fixes some major issues with how leveling / dying worked before, and lays a foundation for really cool nights. It also introduces some new issues in the long run (like gasoline being a limited resource), but nothing that can’t be mended with future updates.

This will probably be one of the last updates containing major changes to gameplay mechanics. After we fix a few more big things that we’re unhappy with, we can finally move on to adding more content and polishing existing mechanics, yay!

The Acid Wizard

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What’s coming in Alpha 3?

09 December 2014 by Acid Wizard

Greetings!

Alpha 3′s main focus will be making nights exciting again! To do so, we had to make some big changes to other mechanics.

Consequences of death

Dying in normal mode means losing some of your skills, your currently held mutated items, and damaging all of the other items in your inventory. This sucks, as the mutated plants which you use to level up don’t grow back, which can be quite frustrating when you lose a few perks and can’t really regain them after some time. We could of course make them grow back after some time, but that would encourage boring grind.

So, in Alpha 3, dying means: dropping your inventory at the place you have been killed, and waking up somewhere in the wilderness at the beginning of the next day. You lose your belongings, but can regain them if you get back to the spot where you have died. Sound too easy? Not quite, as the time skip ties to the other mechanics:

Extracting essence

Mushrooms in the woods are more plentiful, but only certain rare kinds can be cooked for essence. This allows for bigger “trap” areas with a reward for successfully navigating them.

Things that can be cooked will rot after a certain amount of time after they have been picked up. Where do you find essence, you ask? Well…

The night

Currently, nights can be very intense at the beginning, but the excitement fades as you figure out how to defend yourself with no risks (like hiding in a corner behind a wardrobe). We have been experimenting quite a lot on how to overcome this, and came up with a solution that we think is pretty cool, and lets you play your way.

From now on, mutated flora and fauna will start appearing in the night, in different form. You will need to be on the lookout for them if you want to harvest their essence. You can still hide behind that wardrobe if you’re scared, but you will be missing out on some precious essence!

Image by Sir Smide II

Light now plays a bigger role, as staying in the shadows for too long will be a bad idea, so better fill up your generator before it gets dark!

We have also did some adjustments for the nights to be more fair, making them less random and based more on your actions, which leads us to…

Sound

You will need to pay much more attention to the sound you generate from now on. This means interacting with doors, moving objects, barricading etc. will bring attention to your location. This will be very important during the night, as you do not want to alert anyone to your presence.

AI changes

Stealth is harder and easier at the same time. If you are reckless, you will easily get spotted. But if you keep a low profile, you will be able to sneak through areas. Enemies will also be more forgiving in letting you know if they are alerted to your presence.

 

We will be entering the testing phase as soon as we balance out some of the new features, which should be this week. This update will probably be one of the last major alphas to bring big changes to mechanics, after which we will finally be able to move on to adding more content!

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