• edited
    1&2. Yeah, I understand: elevation itself isn't really important, and if that gets in the way of actually playing, then by all means, don't do it. But I feel like there are many games (e.g. RTS, hack 'n slash) that have solved this (i.e. (1) camera is from above, not necessarily completely top-down (which may better fit a 3D game anyway), (2) gameplay that plays on what's largely a flat plane, (3) still reads as background, so isn't so loud as to impede on other gameplay information, and (4) still nice-looking, and doesn't look flat).

    A good recent example, I think, is Helldivers (which has a lot to study actually, including gorgeous, juicy explosions, screen shake and post fx). It's hard to find a screen shot that's plain and doesn't have explosions XD

    3. Adding camera shake doesn't have to mean giant nausea-inducing shaking. It does depend on the game (I think camera shake can have its own personality), but in a game like Nuclear Throne, which has very punchy visuals and audio, the camera shake seems to stop in like 0.01-0.2 of a second. Even if it shakes for just 1 frame in a 60 fps game, and you probably don't consciously spot it, you feel it, and when it's not there it just feels less powerful, and you lose one channel of feedback. It doesn't have to be all or nothing either. Big explosions can have big camera shake. Small explosions can have small camera shake. The vast majority of bullets may not need any at all. Some weapons, especially ones that shoot fast-moving, infrequent projectiles, could benefit from a 1-frame shake the moment they fire. Shake can be weighted so that you don't feel any if things explode far enough away from your character (or the centre of the screen, though these seem to be the same thing).

    And I just watched a gameplay video of Dead Nation, and it does actually have camera shake (although admittedly very, very seldom). e.g. 9 seconds in

    It's really just the punchy feeling I'm trying to describe. Nuclear Throne may do that with camera shake. Dead Nation may not do it with camera shake, but then does it instead with 1-2 frame muzzle flashes. A game like One Finger Death Punch has almost no camera shake, but still feels juicy because the actions and camera snap instantly with every move (and in retrospect I suppose you could argue that a camera snap in that case kind of acts like a camera shake anyway). Personally, for an action-oriented game, I'd probably try and create that punchy feeling in every channel available to me (including -- or especially -- audio). (If I'm using multiple methods I'd probably tone it down proportionally.)

    I dunno if I'm overemphasising this. I imagine there may be other things that are higher priority. I do think camera shake is pretty low-hanging fruit though; adding it in the first place is (usually) almost trivial, and I think most of the time goes into picking the right amount per item/event to make it feel good.
    Thanked by 1AngryMoose
  • @mrgeorgedeveloper: If I can make a suggestion, and if you can afford a couple of hours, why not try out some of these suggestions. Branch off your code, go crazy on all your effects - make the sounds deeper, double the size of bullets and explosions, add crazy screenshake, etc. This way you can get a feel for it, and worst case, just throw away that branch of the game if it doesn't work. It may even surprise you if it does work :) :)
  • @Elyaradine thanks again! Your feedback overall has been some of the most detailed I've seen, and packed with a good number of specific ideas for improvements. After our current little crisis phase, I need to put some time into giving feedback on games a bit more.
    Thanked by 1Elyaradine
  • @farsicon thanks, yes - exactly what I will be doing. A quick test implementing some of the most requested changes, followed by a new demo with a direct link to the Greenlight page, as well as an updated trailer. All is not lost, since we're still getting about 10 yes votes per day on Greenlight, and maybe with a quick push to upgrade what we can, we might get lucky and get more sharing and even land up on the front page of GameJolt (although that's very unlikely). IndieDB has been going really well, with a nice 500 view surge every time we do a little article update. has been dead from the outset.
  • @farsicon

    I had a quick look at the actual size of the muzzle flash, bullet effect and hit effect for one of the base guns (Plasma Rifle). I think this is actually quite enormous already:


    But I will review on a per-weapon basis, to see which ones need to stand out more.
  • @mrgeorgedeveloper, yeah man, go for over the top EPIC, and dial back from there. Make the player feel like a god. Sometimes as developers we try to make things scale like real life, which can make things feel a little underwhelming, but if you look at any successful game you'll find that almost everything is stylised and disproportionate to an extent. Game feel is all about giving a player a satisfying connection to the world :)
  • In terms of muzzle flash, I only mentioned it because Dead Nation is set in what's effectively dark, so having players light up all around them for the 1-2 frames that they're shooting gives that punchy feel. In a very bright environment like a desert, I think a muzzle flash and lighting on its own is likely going to struggle to give that feeling, which is why I think screen shake is a good alternative/supplement. I dunno, I guess you could try other stuff too, but it really is just about making things feel punchy when they should be (for more powerful weapons and whatnot) and just make you as the player feel like you're a badass.

    I do think projectiles should be big and bright though, just in terms of being really easy to spot (even if their actual collision is smaller than what their visuals show), especially if you're trying to get a fast-paced, arcadey, action feel.
    Thanked by 1AngryMoose
  • @mrgeorgedeveloper, if you'll allow me to get a little meta for a moment... remember when you were a kid and you talked about action movies, or played gun fighting games? If you did... did you verbalise the experience with "pew pew" or "BWOOSH BWOOSH!" with elaborate gestures and slow mo explosion effects? I'd bet it was the second one (it was for me :p). Kids do that because they live themselves into this huge adventure where they are the heroes - completely unstoppable, their weapons magical, and no enemy too big or tough to defeat.

    The question, though, is how do you give that experience to players - especially those who are already old and jaded. Make your players feel wonder and awe...

    Give them BWOOOSHH! not pew pew.

    Use all the tools at your disposal - use sound to make your weapons roar and hit enemies with raw squishy satisfaction - use visuals to emphasise the power and flow of the action - use effects like screen shake to make the player feel that explosion, or flinch when they are taking damage.

    Look at your game through the eyes of the protagonist... but most importantly, through the eyes of that inner child that wants to own the freaking world.
  • @farsicon @Elyaradine

    Thanks again. I will be experimenting with some changes shortly.

    I think one "mistake" we made, was that we chose a bright/hot desert environment, alongside a temperature mechanism that usually has the HUD thermo sitting above 45deg in day time. The heat thing is part of the survival mechanics. So, having a bright environment immediately makes all the colourful weapon effects less visible - most being additive blend.

    There's no simple fix to this broader issue - but I might have been better off going with a volcanic dark rock base environment, retaining the heat mechanics, but without bright white desert sand. In fact, I have toned down the sun brightness so much already, that the latest version doesn't even look that hot anymore.

    Will think about some options.
  • @mrgeorgedeveloper, if you replace the word mistake with iteration it can give you an entirely different perspective :) your game looks awesome... but, awesome (squared) is what sells. Good luck man.
  • edited
    You can use a premultiplied blend to keep some of the colour from blowing out to white, if you want to keep the hot desert. (An example of this could be the deserts in Act 2 in Diablo 3.) There's a talk about this in the VFX of Diablo 3, which afaik is a free GDC talk. (They made it look pretty good, but I do think of that act as the worst looking of the four acts, personally.)


    In Unity, it requires changing your blend in the shader from
    Blend One One

    Blend One OneMinusSrcAlpha

    ...and having an alpha channel in your texture. White alpha makes it blend opaquely (so it maintains its colour), where black blends additively. It means you get coloured core fx while also being able to make them feel like they're glowing. They talk about this in the GDC talk, in case you want to check it out.

    I think adding some post process effects (available in the Unity effects packages) could help a lot too, and is also easy. Colorful FX is a plugin I've used that's pretty cool, if you're looking for a bit more.

    [edit] I believe Unity has a premultiplied blend particle shader by default now.
    Thanked by 1AngryMoose
  • Thanks everyone! Working on some changes. Stay tuned :)
  • We somehow landed up on the GameJolt front page!

    Views are streaming in, +18 followers today and 4 reviews (2 Perfecto, and 2 Great).
    Also positive comments so far.

    Now, need to convert this into Greenlight votes somehow.
    Thinking cap on!


  • Good news - we were greenlit yesterday! But in the meantime, we've also been working on a reasonably big overhaul of the visuals. Check out the new gameplay trailer:

    A new version of the demo will be ready tomorrow.

    Thanks again for all the amazing feedback and suggestions.

    We will keep pushing the gameplay features, content and visuals / effects over the next few weeks.
  • Well done guys - new visual overhaul and trailer looking amazing, good job!
  • The new colour palette (with the burnt terrain and the lava) is definitely suiting the metal music far better. Feeling a lot more badass (from my perspective).

    Congrats on getting Greenlit!
  • Congratulations on being Greenlit, that trailer is looking awesome, a nuke at the end would be very fitting.
  • @psyinx @EvanGreenwood @critic, thanks!

    It dawned on me that the game, content wise, is only about 20% complete. So there is so much more cool stuff to come, and it will result in a new trailer in a few weeks to show all the latest goodies. Looking back, we probably did the Greenlight thing and other submissions way too early, because people can't guess what is still to come, they can only judge on what they see right now.
    Thanked by 3Psyinx critic pieter
  • @MrGeorgeDeveloper Well, you can't go back now, and being Greenlit means at the very least you are going to be able to put your game on Steam (though like @Elyaradine pointed out, that results in less than $500 for the average game).

    Having said that, every game has limited opportunities for rallying calls. Announcing that your game exists (like putting the game up on Greenlight) is one time when you're slightly more likely to get other people spreading the message about the game. Another opportunity like this is the launch itself. So it makes sense to hold onto these opportunities until you can use them most effectively.

    Having said that, what we saw with Broforce was that as the game got better it got easier and easier to get more people interested in it. At first it was only small Youtubers who play experimental indie games who took note of us, eventually we had quite conservative Youtubers who only play established games playing Broforce.

    And as our game got better, it was easier to get people excited about more new content. Towards the end we were waiting a month or so between updates so that there'd be a lot of new content for fans to get excited about.

    I guess I'm saying is that you may have done Greenlight at a suboptimal time, maybe if you'd held off you might have gotten more splash from the event, and maybe that's something to consider for your next game. But in the larger scheme of things as your game gets more polished and better targeted and more full of interesting content it's going to get easier to get more splash from anything you do.

    (At least that's the way I approach these things. I like solutions where the solution to one's problem can be solved by improving the game, and I find most problems in game development come down to the game at the end of the day).
    Thanked by 1pieter
  • Add enemy loot drops in the form of yellow orbs called Bio-plasma (made up science). Collect these to fill your Rage bar, then let loose and tear your enemies apart. While in rage mode, collecting Bio-plasma will restore your health. Just one more layer of chaos-inducing power on top of all the other abilities and weapons :)

  • edited
    Looking rad! The sequence of the constant teleporting looks super badass. And exploding a bunch of enemies with the blue blast looks extra fun with harvesting all their energy afterwards.

    Just a thought (somewhat unrelated to the video). In Broforce we let the player set enemies on fire, but being on fire for our enemies meant that the enemies panicked and ran away from you (and set other things on fire).

    In Infinite Desolation the enemies make a very loud panic sound when set on fire (you probably want to vary the sound clips you're using there at some point), but the enemies otherwise don't respond to being set on fire (apart from a red glow). It feels a bit disconnected because there is very little feedback on screen for a lot of audio feedback. It sounds like the enemies are writhing, at least momentarily, but they just carry on walking towards you without any reaction.

    Obviously fire making enemies panic is very powerful in a game like this. But if you don't want to do that then maybe consider a smaller animation reaction of some kind? It might be worth spending some time on that scream sound effect as well.
  • @EvanGreenwood

    Thanks! Yes, there's a fair bit of work to do on the enemy behaviours and audio. What is there right now is more of a quick attempt to just have something that works. As always, I will post any significant updates here. I might prioritise a bit of enemy related work next, because it's been neglected for a long time.
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • Hi all, it's been a fairly long while since our last update here.

    We've been under the radar a bit, adding new features, improving the visuals, and polishing things in general.

    Today we have a brand new demo out, available on GameJolt:

    The GameJolt page has a whole bunch of new screenshots too.

    Here is a small clip from the first battle:

    As always, any and all feedback is welcome and valued!
  • I like how very visible the projectiles are. In contrast, I found the player character quite difficult to spot. This might be less of a problem for an actual player rather than a viewer (I'm guessing though; it might even be more frustrating if getting lost results in death).

    Something else I think could be improved is the flying enemies' death. It's very obvious that it died when it gibs; but when it doesn't, it seems like there might be a second you might spend continuously shooting something because it's still playing its "float down to earth" animation. Something Starcraft 2 does that's quite interesting is to desaturate and darken a character the moment it's dead (and hide its health bar, if one was visible) just as the death animation begins, so that there's no confusion. Some death audio could help too. (Again, borrowing from SC2, every unit screams, squeals, squelches, explodes, etc. when it dies to help both with clarity of information and with strengthening the theme/world.)

    I like how barren and dark the terrain looks. It really helps the other visuals stand out. Even though the lava is super bright and might obscure certain things, I feel like as a player you might strategically want to move into areas that give you more sight advantage, so it can come off more as a strategic thing.

    Do the flying things flash red before shooting? There's some mixed communication there; I expect them to flash red only when they take damage. If you want to build anticipation for when they're going to shoot, a different visual may be preferable. (e.g. charging up vfx)

    I was a little confused by the shadows on the flying beings. The shadows make them look like they're quite high up in the air, so that if you aim for them and miss (or hit something that was on the ground) it might be visually confusing. (If that's not how it works, then ignore me! It's how I expected them to work though.) I've usually tried to keep shadows of gameplay elements as close to their shadow caster as I can. (As far as I can remember, in both RTS games and MOBAs, shadows are almost always directly underneath airborne characters. There's enough of an angle to give interesting shadow silhouettes, but not so much that it becomes unclear where exactly they would be. And they'd be low enough, typically, that if you fired off a projectile that could collide with both air and ground units that it would be clear that it could collide with both).

    Do you know how long you want to work on this? Have you thought about your selling price and how many units you expect to sell?
    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • @Elyaradine, thanks for the new round of feedback.

    I will respond/answer point by point. It helps me jot down my own thoughts on these as well.

    Character visibility.
    During actual gameplay, I never had much trouble with this, or got feedback from players mentioning this. I think with the character centred on the screen, you just intuitively know where you are and shooting from. I will pay a bit more attention to this to check, when I play again. It also depends on the environments... the pure volcanic environment, which is only found occasionally, does the best job of hiding the character's dark grey suit.

    Enemy death animations.
    Agree mostly, but not much I can do here since the characters are assets from Unity asset store with the animations in there already. Most of the character death animations are quite well done, but since this is top down and they are so small on screen, some of that is lost.

    "desaturate and darken a character" when he dies.
    Good point, will implement something like this.

    "Some death audio could help too"
    All characters do play a death sound effect - in this case, the loud scream.
    But what's happening here is that you are fighting several enemies at once, so it's not possible to tell that the death scream was in fact a death scream, and not an attack scream from another. Again here, I'm using around 5 different creature audio packs, one per enemy type currently in the game. It's not a simple thing, for example, to change the death scream to something more "deathy", since that resource just doesn't exist. A tricky one.

    "Do the flying things flash red before shooting?"

    All active (alive) creatures pulse red while alive. This pulsing stops when they die. Additionally, they flash white when hit. So the idea is that the red pulse, the white hit flash, and the absence of those two, would eliminate any confusion about what is alive and what is not. I think traditionally, a white flash is more common for hits, and a red pulse generally, rather than a red flash when hit. These pulses/flashes, the death audio, etc., as a whole, might need a bit of tweaking to maximise clarity. But, it does get to a point eventually where the clarity can't be improved upon much more, because the battles are chaotic by their nature. The one thing I will add, is the darkening / desat.

    The game has day/night cycles, and the shadows are all real-time with no kind of hacks, like placing it below the character directly. The sun comes in a an angle that peaks at about 70% (90 being vertical), to ensure that all the normal mapping on the terrain isn't lost at any point...

    Flying creature heights / possible aiming issues / confusion
    The creatures fly at a height of about 2m, with the shadows just being natural depending on where the sun is currently sitting. Mostly, any visual ambiguity here is minimal while playing... but more importantly, aiming onto an enemy will snap-target the enemy, and so there is very little frustration/confusion... because targeting the enemies just "work", if that makes sense. Would be interested to know that if you play the first few battles, etc., if you would also find it easy/simple. I think the videos can sometimes be less clear than when you actually play, and this is theory I need to test.


    There's a few months to go into this still. We're expanding to and Ice world, and possibly once more world after that.

    There's the missing multi-player (co-op) to deal with. Other game modes alongside the single player story, including Doomed Mode and Speed Run, and a few more ideas floating around.

    In terms of how many units? Well the desire of course is to sell a huge number of units. The reality might be different, but only time will tell as we continue to push the game towards something special.

    One thing that was mentioned somewhere in the Infinite Desolation thread above, was to do with average Steam Sales, where a figure of $500 was mentioned. Not sure where this came from, but I think that figure is way off:

    Either way, we're on Steam, and the XBox submission is going in a few weeks from now (already in the programme). We need to keep pushing toward Early Access on Steam and GameJolt, keep pushing features, get multiplayer in, keep promo-ing and building a follower base. I'm feeling positive about where things will lead, but also a sense of unease, and wanting to get some clear answers quickly, in terms of what our real fan base will look like for this game.

    Thanks for your thoughts again! Sorry about my long responses, but it's for my benefit as well. Thinking things through and writing them down.

  • Alot of... "desolations" lately. Hehehe.
  • @joshken

    Yes - all we need now is a "So-So Looking Desolation" or a "Medium Quantity Of Desolation" to fill the gap in the middle :)
  • I don't really think any value for average steam sales means anything, even if we had accurate numbers. The AAA titles that sell millions (and at $60), and the 16 sale crapware on the other end of the scale make it meaningless.
  • @joshken

    Yes - all we need now is a "So-So Looking Desolation" or a "Medium Quantity Of Desolation" to fill the gap in the middle :)
    Is that to say that your desolation is at the top or the bottom?
  • edited
    The source of my quoting that stat is this:

    Fifty-seven percent of indie game developers (including both solo indies and members of indie teams across all pay ranges) made under $500 in game sales. On the other end of the spectrum, 2 percent made over $200,000 in game sales.
    (I realise now that the wording is potentially ambiguous. Did indie developers make less than 500 dollars because they hadn't actually released a game at all that year? Did their previous title(s) then also not bring in any money whatsoever? They claim to have only included stats for indies who had made more than 10,000 dollars in the previous year, so these weren't even indies who'd never made money on games before, who might be seen as hobbyists rather than professionals.)
  • @roguecode yes, I agree with this. Hard to draw meaning from a stat that includes the worst imaginable games as well as AAA stuff. But it's also hard on an individual game level to have even a remote idea where it might land. I currently have no evidence to suggest that Infinite Desolation will sell large numbers, but from overall feedback and play testing, I have some evidence to suggest that it might do OK. We have a fair bit of content, features, modes, and not to mention co-op / multiplayer to add. I will just keep assessing the general buzz / following as we go, in the hope it keeps going up.
  • I'm so jealous, well done on the progress peeps
  • Hi everyone, just a little clip from the new Speedrun gameplay mode:

    Working on a new demo - should be ready in a few days!
  • Hi everyone,

    New trailer here:

    The new demo is also ready to download from GameJolt.
    It includes a new mode, Speedrun, with online score board.

    Game page:

    Thanks for checking it out!
  • The screen shake on those explosions feels very good! :D I like how readable things are in general too, and the terrain overall looks a lot better than before I think.

    The trailer's longish, and there are periods on there that just show you exploring fairly empty terrain, which isn't very interesting. I don't think they improve the trailer, and I feel like you could cut them. I also think the music doesn't really fit the rest of the game at the moment. (It's not that the music's good or bad; it just stands out as not fitting.) I don't know if it's because it's super energetic music that's still playing in parts of the trailer where there's nothing really happening that makes it feels off.
  • @Elyaradine Thanks for the feedback. Here's a shortened version, cut from 2:09 to 1:23. Yes the music is pretty energetic, so I've removed some of the "explore" bits, except for the small bridge section in the song.

    Now need to put the trailer and promo stuff aside a bit, while pushing for the next big update. The list of bugs has grown out of control too. It's going to be a busy week :)
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood petrc
  • Wow this looks nice especially the effects, where can I download the .exe file I want to play this game....
    can't wait to play it.
  • @Jay thanks!

    The latest demo is always available on GameJolt:
    Thanked by 1Jay
  • Thanks for the link...let me download it and maybe i can give some excited
  • Hey everyone, just a quick update:

    There is a new version of the game available on GameJolt:

    This version includes greater GameJolt integration (trophies, scores, sign-in).
    We have also polished and expanded Story mode and Speedrun mode.

    Here's a little preview of the overhauled Speedrun mode:

    Next, we are implementing free-for-all / deathmatch multiplayer, releasing that to GameJolt, and then focussing on Steam Early Access.

    Chat soon and thanks for trying the game!

    Feedback is welcome and accepted with open arms as always.
  • Damn! That looks pretty sweet!

    Is that online co-op? (Seemed like the other player was playing on another computer?)
  • @EvanGreenwood yes, it was online co-op with one side being on a terrible internet connection. So the gameplay there would have shown the remote character updated with about 150ms latency (and erratic latency as well).
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    If anyone is at Gamescom, you can try Infinite Desolation at Hall 10.1 Aisle C.
    (It's in Crytivo section)

    Demo preview:

  • This is looking so sweet my eyes are watering... cannot wait for release to see how it compares to an old build I still have :D
    Thanked by 1iceblademush
  • Hi everyone!

    Since we needed a quick video related to a GDC submission, I thought I would put together an updated teaser trailer using some of the latest cinematic and gameplay footage from our game.

    Enjoy and thanks for watching!
  • Your art and general style is looking gorgeous!
  • edited
    Looking awesome! Just curious - is the music in the trailer indicative of the music in game? Something I've noticed in a lot of games that get posted here is a gravitation towards a metal (I.e heavy metal) genre of game score, and not that it doesn't work for your game, but I can't help wonder if it tends to be the default just because it's 'tried and tested' (or perhaps most local game composers have metal band origin stories :P).

    If you haven't locked down a musical style, music that might work really well would be something in the vain of the new Bladerunner 2049 score, as it's both current and futuristic in its sound palette :)

    (Just my 2c as a composer)
  • If i could answer there Andrew, we had metal in mind from the beginning but saying that there will be slow metal tracks with more atmosphere. I do like the idea of the Bladerunner tune here and there, we will discuss it! :P
  • edited
    The redone Engineer Character and weapon:

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