Hey lads and ladies! As of this posting, we are thirty hours away from setting up our station at 2D Con in scenic Bloomington, MN. After that, we’ll spend June 3rd-5th exploring the fun 2D Con has to offer and displaying all that’s new in Fingeance. Here are a few of our proudest offerings:
For the first time, we’ll take our bold new dialogue system for a spin. For months, we’ve been talking up the silly, sulky, or sassy personalities of our main characters. Now, watch them in action. Characters will react to events both splendid and catastrophic, and will pipe up with pithy quips between battles.
All-new Shop Scene
That’s right folks, the Fingeance progression that you know and tolerate has been massively upgraded. Feast your eyes on these changes:
Yeah, yeah, it looks beautiful, but don’t be over-awed by Charles’ jaw-dropping stand-in art. Focus instead on the pleasure of a system that works on so many levels:
First, the new shop slashes analysis paralysis. The old shop presented a huge amount of information on one screen. In the new shop, we break that complexity into two simple choices (pick one special augment, then buy upgrades), one of which is always the same. This results in the same amount of meaningful decision-making, since previously about 50% of all buyable parts were just straight stat increases.
Second, the new shop allows team communication. Let’s say you’re in a four-player game, and you’ve just entered the shop scene. Let’s imagine you’re playing on Hard mode, and you’d like to spend a moment strategizing with your team to plan out the best set of upgrades you can take. In the old shop, this would mean reading all 24 available parts. The new shop cuts this decision space down to 12, and also removes costs, greatly reducing the analysis burden. In the old shop, most players exhibited one of two behaviors: either they spent minutes carefully tuning their own build (something the old shop was pretty good at) or they decided it was all too overwhelming, chose random gear, and bolted out of the shop at top speed. We believe the new shop will be more broadly user friendly and will promote a lot more cross-talk and interaction between players.
Third, the new shop improves readability. This is comparatively minor, but it’s nice for observers to be able to tell — with one glance at a player’s upgrade path — what kind of build they’re going for.
Fourth, the new shop controls weirdness. In the past, we’ve had some buyable upgrades that grant stat upgrades (more health, more damage, etc.) and others that add new abilities (extra explosions when you do this, freezing powers when you do that, etc.). We quickly saw that players who bought all stat upgrades were powerful but very boring, while those who bought extra abilities were wild and unpredictable, with madly fluctuating power. In some ways, this system had its charm, but the best games always happened when players were somewhere in the middle — getting better stats and also picking up a few new powers. The new ship is a strong push toward the middle, and produces more enjoyable results on average.
Fully Rebalanced Characters
Since GlitchCon, we discovered a few math bugs undercutting our game balance and making characters behave in unexpected ways. This doesn’t deserve a big spiel, but expect to see a bigger variety of characters being played (bye bye Sparky/Spike/Dorsa holy trinity). You can also expect less out-of-nowhere deaths from some enemy bullets dealing far more damage than intended.
Of course, not all is roses for the players: we’ll be offering a by-request-only peek at our newly-refurbished Extreme difficulty, soon to rock the socks off of players near you!
Reloaded Gil, Dorsa, and Others
Stephen has written at length about the new workings of Gil and Dorsa, but not about two other characters who’ve seen big shifts over the last month. I’m not at liberty to discuss who, but you’ll see if you pay us a visit at 2D Con.
But Wait! There’s More!
May has been the hottest month for Fingeance on record, and we’re just warming up. Visit us and see all-new augments, experimental enemies, new level chunks, rebalanced bosses, level and campaign results screens, and a bounty of user experience fixes. Shoutout to Hannah Murphy (who seriously needs to call her UX company Modest Murphy Consulting, it’s just too fun to say) for all her UX help.
Hope to see you all at 2D Con!