We have a name. I feel more industrious now. Officially ‘incorporated’. :)
I’m really excited about making the Mac & Linux versions. Once we get the first PC release up and running, they’re next on the list now. Just a matter of time. :) Also trying to figure out a way to get that Mod support for Steam Workshop in here somehow. Would be great to open up PixelJunk Inc. for the realz. :)
We might do more of these teaser trailers as the year rolls on. For this first outing though, we wanted to show off the co-op base building and soup pipeline management. Enjoy! And looking forward to chatting with everyone during the week at GDC. :D
We’ve been busy leading up to GDC next week! PixelJunk 4am was nominated for an IGF Award for “Excellence in Audio”, so I’m heading over to San Francisco from Japan for the Award ceremony. We’ll also be showing off 4am in the IGF Pavilion from Wednesday to Friday alongside all the other awesome IGF Finalists. :D Feel free to come and chat to me about PixelJunk 1-6, 4am, or any of the other PixelJunk titles. Or just come say “Hi” if you’re around GDC. :D
I’ll also be handing out these cute robot cards we made just for GDC to anyone that asks for one. You can fold them into cool little robots, and there’s a nice surprise on the reverse-side. :)
So I’ve been speaking of some new reveals recently.. ..keep your eyes on GameSpot later today as they release the first coverage! I’ll update with a link here when it goes up. :)
Part of our visual evolution recently included the lasers. They’re much nicer to look at now than the debug raycast we had. :) All players start with the same mining laser that has a primary and alternate fire (ignore that he currently shoots straight from his chest. We haven’t done his mining laser art yet. :P)
Dematterising Laser: Primary fire of the standard mining laser everyone starts with. It disintegrates anything you point it at into usable ‘matter’. Good for drilling the environment and destroying unwanted buildings and blueprints.
Matterising Laser: The alternate fire is a matteriser, adding nano-particles of matter to whatever you point it at. Can be used to build blueprints, repair buildings and create dirt, all from the matter reserves you’re carrying.
GDC is getting really close now.. ..looking forward to chatting with people about PixelJunk 1-6! :D
Tubes are cool. Specifically, late 19th century pneumatic tube messaging systems. :)
The tubes that went in this week can deliver ANYTHING you place into them from point A to point B. Simple as that. :D We felt that setting up farms was taking a bit of space, and often built our factories in a slightly removed location closer to the power generators. Tubes mean now we can just mail all our harvest right next to the factory and someone can collect it at that end for soup production.
The next step is to have robots deposit the ingredients in the tubes FOR us.. and collect them.. and process the soup. :D Only then can we humans sit back and marvel at our robot automated soup making empire! …until something comes to destroy our base…
The deconstructor has taken on some personality! It looks kind of ominous now.. can’t wait to give it some animation. Deconstructors will disintegrate ANYTHING you drop into them and pump out ‘matter’ that you can use wherever you want. They’re hand operated, so no power is required. Om nom nom. :D
On a side note, our visual style has been evolving internally over the last few weeks. We’re still letting the dust settle before revealing too much :P, but we’ve become quite fond of this outline now. It adds nice definition to edges so you know where to jump from, grab ledges, etc and it looks just plain cool. As we’re using all vector data, we can also zoom in as much as we like without losing any fidelity! :D Some nicely timed zooms linked to gameplay when pulling levers, interacting with buildings, etc could be cool.
We’re already VERY busy in the lead up to GDC. I’m sure there’ll be even more for everyone to see very soon. :)
Lots of gameplay & price balancing happened this week. A combination of the new natural mushroom growth system, clones (lives) costing money and the new buildings going in meant some balancing has been needed for about a week. Using the matter conversion rate of dirt as a base, Tier 1 buildings are now achievable with some early exploration and deconstruction of things. :)
The only problem has been, I’ll sit down and start playing.. then suddenly 2 hours are gone and it’s lunchtime. o.O Cultivating and then defending my mushroom farm is pretty addictive at the moment.
Also, I’d like to introduce the BANE of your generators if you leave them undefended. These blowfish creatures currently spawn in waves deep underground and seek out your base, eventually arriving to MESS IT UP. They don’t even have any particular programmed motivation to aim specifically for generators, but always seem to destroy them first.. which leaves my towers unpowered. They’re probably attracted to the energy hum.. ..stupid blowfish… -_-
Give it life! Well.. “lives” at least.. We added them this week. Here’s the deal.
Think of a “life” in 1-6 as cloned-data of yourself. As long as you have cloned-data available at a cloning station, whenever you die you’ll be reprinted back there again perfectly. Whichever cloning station you set to be your respawn is where you’ll be printed. There’s a few points to remember though.
-Clones must be purchased with ‘Matter’ as you play. To make sure you never run out of clone stock, you should buy one every now and then. Seeing as they cost ‘Matter’, you could effectively farm them indirectly and setup a clone farm so you never run out!
-Clones are SHARED across all players. Yes… ..yes. :) If anyone anywhere on the server dies, they will use up a clone. Better get that clone farm started. :D
If you die with no clones left, we’re currently considering 2 options:
-Explorer Mode: Respawn as a ‘broken clone-zombie’ until you can collect some ‘Matter’ to purchase a perfect clone.
-Hardcore mode: Game over man. Game over!
And we’ve been playing around with Vine a fair bit at the office this week. Our magnet sets were made for this. :D
This week we nailed a backlog of small usability issues that have been annoying us. Niggly things that don’t stop you playing, but just make it less fun. :( And because they’re not critical they tend to back up.. until we come and clean house! :D
One of the more notable additions was shift+clicking to build multiple buildings of the same type. This is a common control in RTS games and now we have it I’m not sure how we ever got by without it. o.O Just hold down shift and stamp away with the blueprints.
An edge grab has gone in too. Without changing the actual jump height, you can now reach 1 block higher by grabbing the lip and jumping up (or just dropping from the lip to fall safely). It’s made movement in the world just feel easier and more fun (these are good things).
Our final large(ish) change for this week was the launchpad building. This was discussed last week as part of splitting “Money” & “Matter” into 2 currencies. Load up a small amount of goods into the launchpad and BOOM, fire them into space for an anonymous buyer. It’s a cheap option with a lower sale price, until players choose to research a warehouse and upgrade their shipping facilities.
And don’t mind the colours this week. We’re just spamming. :P
Precious metals used to be the primary currency of trade in the galaxy. At a time now long forgotten though, technology was discovered which could ‘deconstruct’ any object into basic matter (the particles which make up the universe). And so it passed that simple matter became the accepted currency in the galaxy.
Certain precious metals though still remain resistant to the deconstruction process, making them even more valuable than historically known. Many establishments of old who deal in produce, manufacturing and higher technology research, still trade today using these metals.
You may have guessed it, we’ve split our currency in two!
‘Matter’ can now be obtained from ANYTHING in the world. Players can deconstruct resources down into their base particles and store them for later use. Matter is used to build new structures, buildings, perform base maintenance, repairs, etc.
‘Money’ is now earned by exporting manufactured goods and selling them to off-world buyers or markets. You can use money to research new technologies, new buildings and upgrades for your base!
We’ve already found this much simpler and easy to understand in play. It gives value to EVERYTHING in everything in the world. You can basically build an empire from dirt! It also makes it impossible to reach a ‘game over’ state as a result of poor financial/resource management. A time investment can recoup your loss!
There’s also something nice about walking through a pile of money and hearing the “bling bli-bling bling” sound as you collect it all! :D The first thing I built was a Scrooge McDuck style money pit!
We implemented local co-op testing this week with a gamepad. It’s not too great though..
..it’s awesome! :)
There’s nothing quite like building & exploring alongside friends. This isn’t new to anyone of course. But it’s our first step towards full blown Steam online play for as many players as we can manage. I’d love to see 20+ players one day tending to a base and defending it all together! ><
We also trialed a kind of “survival mode” this week. You start naked with zero resources and have to just use the environment around you to create safety & wealth. After about an hour of 2P we had a respectable mushroom farm & soup pipeline. Although.. the mushrooms can get a bit out of hand at the moment if you don’t harvest them regularly. ^^;