Reminder:

Make sure your build is at or higher than the latest build posted below. If it's lower, verify the game contents to force an update. It's also important to remember that the sandbox depot is not updated regularly. This depot is only used for confined testing. If you were working with me on one of these confined tests, please remember to opt out of the sandbox depot so you're always receiving the most up-to-date build of the game.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Build: 1366378

Alright, so we've got a fairly big build here. Most of the changes here are surrounding the editor and leaderboard integrity.

Leaderboard Eligibility

Up until now, virtually any level that had an established Workshop ID was eligible for publishing scores to the leaderboards. This means if you uploaded a level, it was eligible for leaderboards. Period.

While this worked for testing that leaderboards worked for individual levels being added to the workshop, it failed to insure that levels couldn't be edited and then played again to submit new scores. Including levels you didn't make yourself.


Now when you open up levels in the editor, if the level has a Workshop ID (identifying it as having been published at some point), you'll receive a warning that editing the level will mark it ineligible for submitting new scores until it's been published again.

So how is this working?

When you save a level, the level will always be marked as "Ineligible to submit scores." The instant you publish the level, the editor will go in and mark the level as eligible and then upload the updated level file. Both the local level file and the workshop level files will be eligible for submitting scores. However if you save the level again, even if it's identical, the level will once again be marked as ineligible until it's been re-published to the workshop.

As an added bonus, this means under no circumstances will you be able to subscribe to and edit a level while still being capable of submitting scores. Your local version of the file will be marked ineligible and trying to re-publish the level will fail since you weren't the original publisher.

Additionally, leaderboards will never be eligible for any level played directly from the editor, regardless of whether it's local file is eligible or not, since the level data for playing the level from within the editor is independent of the local file.

Please note however that because the default state of eligibility in a level file is "Not Eligible", any levels submitted to the workshop prior to this build will not contain the eligibility marker to submit leaderboard scores until they've been re-published and marked eligible.

Updating Levels

When re-publishing a level or "Updating" it, you'll be given a warning that you're updating a level that's already been published and may already have leaderboard scores submitted to it. Since leaderboard scores will carry over between updates, it's important to remember that the integrity of the leaderboard scores are dependant on the scores being submitted are on a fair and level playing ground. Updating a level that would make higher scores impossible to beat would be considered acceptable grounds to have the level reported and removed.

If you're making a large enough change to the level that it affects top scores on the leaderboard, it's technically not the same level anymore and shouldn't be treated as such on the leaderboards.

Updating will remain because under the right circumstances, being able to update your level can be done responsibly. However if this does end up becoming an issue, a more strict solution might be necessary - including but not limited to marking the version of a level scores are submitted, submitting updated scores to a new leaderboard automatically (removing the old one), or removing the update level functionality altogether.

As always, suggestions and feedback are welcome.

Change Notes:

On the topic of updating levels, a new dialog has been added. This dialog will pop up when you click "Publish" on a level that's being updated. Write down any changes you've made and it will appear date and timestamped on the item's workshop page.

This can be used to communicate whether a change to your level could affect submitted scores, which could be used in your defense should the leaderboard integrity been questioned.

Return to Editor:

The ability to return back to the editor from the pause menu when playing your level from the editor, has been fixed.

Updated Workshop Templates:

The templates used for Workshop item previews has been updated. The badge for displaying whether a level is an "Individual" or a "Level Package" have been made smaller and less visually intrusive on what really matters - the level itself.

Final Thoughts:
That's more or less it for this build. A few smaller changes were made under the hood but none of them are really worth mentioning here. Most of them were minor tweaks and adjustments to scripts that could have resulted in unexpected behavior. (See: Bug)

Build: 1366378

Alright, so we've got a fairly big build here. Most of the changes here are surrounding the editor and leaderboard integrity.

Leaderboard Eligibility:

Up until now, virtually any level that had an established Workshop ID was eligible for publishing scores to the leaderboards. This means if you uploaded a level, it was eligible for leaderboards. Period.

While this worked for testing that leaderboards worked for individual levels being added to the workshop, it failed to insure that levels couldn't be edited and then played again to submit new scores. Including levels you didn't make yourself.


Now when you open up levels in the editor, if the level has a Workshop ID (identifying it as having been published at some point), you'll receive a warning that editing the level will mark it ineligible for submitting new scores until it's been published again.

So how is this working?

When you save a level, the level will always be marked as "Ineligible to submit scores." The instant you publish the level, the editor will go in and mark the level as eligible and then upload the updated level file. Both the local level file and the workshop level files will be eligible for submitting scores. However if you save the level again, even if it's identical, the level will once again be marked as ineligible until it's been re-published to the workshop.

As an added bonus, this means under no circumstances will you be able to subscribe to and edit a level while still being capable of submitting scores. Your local version of the file will be marked ineligible and trying to re-publish the level will fail since you weren't the original publisher.

Additionally, leaderboards will never be eligible for any level played directly from the editor, regardless of whether it's local file is eligible or not, since the level data for playing the level from within the editor is independent of the local file.

Please note however that because the default state of eligibility in a level file is "Not Eligible", any levels submitted to the workshop prior to this build will not contain the eligibility marker to submit leaderboard scores until they've been re-published and marked eligible.

Updating Levels:

When re-publishing a level or "Updating" it, you'll be given a warning that you're updating a level that's already been published and may already have leaderboard scores submitted to it. Since leaderboard scores will carry over between updates, it's important to remember that the integrity of the leaderboard scores are dependant on the scores being submitted are on a fair and level playing ground. Updating a level that would make higher scores impossible to beat would be considered acceptable grounds to have the level reported and removed.

If you're making a large enough change to the level that it affects top scores on the leaderboard, it's technically not the same level anymore and shouldn't be treated as such on the leaderboards.

Updating will remain because under the right circumstances, being able to update your level can be done responsibly. However if this does end up becoming an issue, a more strict solution might be necessary - including but not limited to marking the version of a level scores are submitted, submitting updated scores to a new leaderboard automatically (removing the old one), or removing the update level functionality altogether.

As always, suggestions and feedback are welcome.

Change Notes:

On the topic of updating levels, a new dialog has been added. This dialog will pop up when you click "Publish" on a level that's being updated. Write down any changes you've made and it will appear date and timestamped on the item's workshop page.

This can be used to communicate whether a change to your level could affect submitted scores, which could be used in your defense should the leaderboard integrity been questioned.

Return to Editor:

The ability to return back to the editor from the pause menu when playing your level from the editor, has been fixed.

Updated Workshop Templates:

The templates used for Workshop item previews has been updated. The badge for displaying whether a level is an "Individual" or a "Level Package" have been made smaller and less visually intrusive on what really matters - the level itself.

Final Thoughts:
That's more or less it for this build. A few smaller changes were made under the hood but none of them are really worth mentioning here. Most of them were minor tweaks and adjustments to scripts that could have resulted in unexpected behavior. (See: Bug)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Build: 1361566

Feedback:

As the game gets closer to a more release ready state, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone testing the game that I consider feedback invaluable to making this game the best it can be. To help make sure this is being carried through, I've added a "Feedback" button that will forward you to the Feedback/Bug Report form.

Should I not be available to talk to at the moment, please consider taking a minute to submit a report. I will get back with you as soon as I can.

The Feedback button in the editor will likely remain after release, however the upper right corner button that's present on both the title screen and in-game will be removed before release and likely relocated somewhere that makes more sense. For now though, I want this button to be front and center as now is when feedback is more valuable than it will ever be.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Build: 1358934

Combo System:

With the new leaderboard system in place, it's going to become more important to start finding ways to boost your score beyond simply trying to beat the level as quickly as possible. While still very early, this build adds in a new combo system which will reward points for destroying multiple diamonds in quick succession.

How things currently work:
Destroying a diamond within two seconds of destroying another one, you'll be rewarded +1 point and a combo timer will quickly begin to drop. Your third diamond will reward you +2 and your third +4 exponentially growing for each diamond you destroy.

Each diamond destroyed however will also reduce the amount of time to continue the chain by 90% the time you had before. So 2 seconds becomes 1.8 seconds, becomes 1.62 seconds, 1.46 seconds, and so on. So the higher the chain reward, the harder it will be to maintain the chain.

The Goal:
These numbers are obviously subject to adjustment, especially on provided feedback. The goal isn't to allow for a significant amount of time to be gained when trying to complete a level within the time limit. The goal is to reward people with a noticeable boost in score if they can destroy diamonds in quick succession.

This reward will hopefully become trickier to accomplish in levels with more creative component layouts that make it difficult to maintain a chain without very slick maneuvering and allow for more opportunity to get the best score by not only beating the level as quickly as possible, but as efficiently as possible.

As always, feedback plays a HUGE role in how this mechanic will ultimately be used to shape the game, so please let me know what you think and what changes might make it better.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Minor Setback

Corruption:

Fortunately nothing but a minor setback. I was able to recover 99.9% of the project from a backup, but this minor setback does mean the combo-system which was just about ready for release, needs to be reprogrammed.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Build: 1354980

Leaderboards:
The latest build introduces the early prototype system for leaderboards. There is still a lot of work left to be done, especially with the overall design, but it's currently fully functional and will work on any level uploaded to the workshop.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Progress Report

No major builds to report of just yet, however I would like to announce that there's currently plans to get leaderboards built into the game. Further details to follow as I work out the implementation.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Build: 1317710

Editor Update:

You can now control the initial power state of force fields and gates when the level starts. Up until now, these always originally started powered on and required a switch to turn them off.

Fixes:
  • Gate switches are no longer activated by diamond fragments.
  • Gate switches spawn in the correct location.
  • Gate switches are no longer activated by solid bricks.
  • 1x Blue Forcefield no longer spawns a block away from where it was originally placed.


Build: 1317635

Fix
Addressed timing of bolt launchers being dependant on game framerate.

Build: 1316989

Bolt Launcher Fixes and Tweaks
  • An issue was fixed where bolt launchers were losing track of your position because the ray used to detect you was hitting parts of the player it didn't see as a 'valid target'. They should now accurately track you regardless of where you are, as long as you're within line of sight.
  • Distance is now a factor. As you get further away from a bolt launcher, their ability to track you will be diminished before they eventually lose track of you altogether and deactivate until you're within range.
  • Guide lines have been added that pulse with the bolt launchers warning pulses to give you a good indication of where a bolt launcher is firing from and where their laser is expected to go. Particularly useful when they're off the screen and you need to know where the laser is coming from to dodge it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Build: 1316076

So it's been a few months now since the last update, but the break is more or less over. A couple of new components have just been added into the game. These components should hopefully add a bit more variety in level design, both from a challenge and from a flexibility standpoint.

Bolt Launch



First off is the bolt launch. Designed to be incredibly lethal, the bolt launch is an automated turret that will track the players movement once it has a line of sight. After pulsing a few times, it'll launch a powerful bolt of energy toward the target.

It's possible to dodge the bolt with good timing, however don't expect constant boosting to be a fool-proof way of evading it's fire. It'll lock back on to you very quickly and won't be so easily fooled if you try to pull a fast one too soon.

Here's a short video of the bolt launchers in action:



Gates



Second we have gates. Gates or "thin walls" are a very thin wall that can be placed on the edge of individual grid cells, allowing them to be fit into tight spots without compromising a tight level design. What's better is they can be toggled open or closed with gate switches of a matching color.

Note: These gate switches can be activated by any other object in the game however, so keep in mind when placing them that a rogue tornado gem or falling brick can control whether or not these gates are open or shut.