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Below is the development log for Squillamorph. It is GIF heavy and it might take a while to load them all.
Hello everyone, over the last week I've been busy working on new features and improvements for the next update. I estimate that this update will not be ready for another week at least, but I'm working hard to get it out before Christmas!
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In other news, Squillamorph and I have been featured by UCA in an article on their website. This also led to an appearance in a local newspaper, which means I am now officially a 'gaming guru'!
Until now, I've been relatively content with the quality of gameplay. However, I got some feedback on the game that made me seriously think about the current state of the game. It made me realise how unfinished the existing content is and that there is a distinct lack of variety. So I played the game through again, looking for things to improve when I noticed something that I have been overlooking in the Flop Shark levels. The combat felt uncontrollable, unclear, and nonsensical. The worst thing was that I didn't know why. I hadn't noticed this before and just couldn't put my finger on it. I took a step back from the game to think about what could be fundamentally wrong with it.
After thinking it through, I realised that it was mostly the combat at fault, but more specifically combat involving the Flop Sharks. The pace at which they swarm and attack the player is just unfair. Even if you get the hang of their irregular movement, it is still difficult to control a fight when completely surrounded and pushed around. After several waves, this can get to the point where it feels chaotic and unenjoyable. As the first main enemy encountered after the tutorial, it is incredibly important that the sharks feel good to fight and control. Otherwise, players will quickly become infuriated with the game and stop playing, which is perfectly understandable. For a game focused on combat, this is unacceptable. So, the next question I had was how to improve it?
The solution is to rework the combat, which in hindsight wasn't that great to begin with. To start with, I have reduced the amount the number of enemies spawned each wave increases by. That should help prevent players being overwhelmed too quickly. The original idea for the Flop Sharks was to have them constantly swarm the player, but this might not be such a good idea. To reduce the swarming mosh-pit tendencies, all player attacks now have some knockback. To improve the combat skill requirement, I have also made the 'skill' attacks more skill based. They now require consecutive hits on an enemy to trigger the more damaging third attack. I am still working on this and I am also considering a possible damage multiplier as a reward for sequential hits.
In summary, I am working to improve the combat and make it much clearer, more satisfying and logical. I am also looking into ways to add some variety to the gameplay, perhaps in the form of waves with special enemies or environmental changes.
(Side note: The GIF above shows a great example of how the brief invulnerability after ejecting, added in the latest update, has prevented unfair deaths)
The Kragon has needed improvement since EGX. I have not yet finished its fight but I have had the chance to think about it and start adding to it last week. Now it has a new ability to use against the player, which is designed to make it harder for the player to hide behind environmental objects without fear of the boss. It can shoot a volley of 3 non damaging grenades, just like the Kobold's but with a larger blast radius. I'm still working on the force of the blast; this GIF showcases grenades that are more powerful than what the final result will be. I think this will only happen when it isn't attacking but I'll have to test it.
The other stages of the Kragon will involve using the Kobolds to deal damage to it, in the same way the Flop Sharks are used in the Flopalodon fight. It will also involve a freezing effect similar to the one applied to the player when they come into contact with cold pipes. I hope to work on this boss again this week, but I am not sure how much will get done as I am currently prioritising the combat improvements.
I did manage to start on the mutagen improvements last week too! I have created a functional menu system for them but it currently has no effect on gameplay. The GIF shows the menu at half the size it actually is in game. My current idea is that the game will slow down time or maybe completely pause while this menu is open, to allow for switching mutagens on the fly. Just like the Kragon boss, I would like to work further on this but it is not the largest priority right now.
Let me know what you think about the changes I'm making to the combat, Kragon boss, and the mutagen system! My priorities for the next week are:
- Combat improvements
- The Kragon boss fight progress
- New Mutagen system implementation
I hope you enjoyed today's post! Thanks for reading!
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I'm the game developer for Squillamorph! I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.
I'm currently looking at an Early Access release very soon. Stay tuned for updates!