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Change of plan

Now that I have finally received a bit more feedback on gameplay in Lockdown Protocol, I have learned that fighting the guards is not fun. It's actually a frustrating chore. The worst part is that there's nothing but guards in the first levels, so majority of the few people who have actually played the game have probably gotten frustrated and given up. I should have realized this a long time ago, but I guess its better late than never.

Because of this, I have changed the plan for next alpha release. Instead of working on high score related features, I will focus on making the gameplay more enjoyable.

Fortunately I have several ideas for bigger and smaller changes to try and see how they affect the gameplay. I will likely make the guards easier to kill and less effective in killing the player. To compensate for this I could add more of them. This would lead to a more run-and-gun type of gameplay than I originally intended, but based on initial testing, it's a lot more fun and suits the game's high score focused nature better.

I have also started to experiment with a deployable shield device (in the screenshot above) that could eventually replace the force fields. If it proves to work well enough, it would allow creating temporary cover to hide behind and should make open corridor gunfights less suicidal.

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Posted on 2014-06-28

Lockdown Protocol 0.18.0 alpha released

This release brings some major graphical improvements. The most visible change is the new much more detailed human character model. Human enemies have also been updated to use this new model and they have been re-textured too. Several dynamic objects (like barrels and eggs) now cast shadows, which makes them fit in much better.

A completely new enemy type has been added. They are called "spiders" due to their similar looks, although they are nothing from this world.

I have finally recorded some up-to-date video footage too (the first one contains gameplay clips from 24th single player level, the latter shows the in-game level editor in action):

Here's full list of changes since 0.17.0 alpha release:

  • Human character model were replaced with much better one (created by an actual artist).
  • All human characters where re-textured.
  • Added new enemy type called "spider" and a nest that spawns them.
  • Added separate stand-crouch animation to make crouching look more natural.
  • Added blob shadows to some dynamic objects like dragon eggs and barrels.
  • Added bilinear filtering to sound map image sampling.
  • Added prediction error filtering to smooth out jumps when client side prediction is wrong.
  • Fixed anti-aliasing not working with glow filter enabled.
  • Made player aim range a bit wider.
  • Increased maximum client side prediction from 10 to 15 ticks (375ms).
  • Implemented object orientation interpolation for visualization.
  • Fixed a bug causing stronger glow effect horizontally than vertically.
  • Always trace hits in shooter's local XY plane even when weapon is offset from it.
  • Fixed flickering human shadows during jumping and crouching.
  • Fixed bug causing invisible shadows getting updated.
  • Prevented some objects from receiving shadows (for example lights and explosion fragments).
  • Fixed newly created objects randomly sliding into position from outside of screen.
  • Allow a bit longer fall without damage.
  • Made editor pick closest element first when clicking on multiple overlapping elements.
  • Added position triggered announcement voices.
  • Added PS4 controller support (with DS4Tool driver in Windows).
  • Always hide controller instructions when menu is open.

Download links have been updated on the game page. The update will soon be available on Desura too (uploaded and waiting for approval).

Next I will focus on improving the high score related features. There will be changes to how the score is calculated in the first place, because there are currently some "loopholes". I will also be experimenting with online leaderboards to see if such feature would be somehow feasible without requiring player registration.

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Posted on 2014-06-08

New Lockdown Protocol alpha version coming soon

My task list for the next alpha release is getting short. I'm currently going through the existing levels and making small adjustments like adding more enemies, improving lighting and fine tuning level completion target times.

I have to admit that I have neglected testing during development since the last release. That means that the game needs a bit more testing than usual before the actual release. I really should create a new game play video too, since the game is now looking way better than it did in the last video from alpha 0.16.0.

Here's some screenshots of what's coming:

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Posted on 2014-05-31

Progress report

The Lockdown Protocol project has progressed quite lot during past month. Many of the changes improve the overall look of the game. There is a new enemy type called "spider", completely remodeled human characters (by an actual artist this time) as well as shadows for many dynamic objects like dragon eggs and barrels. Check out the screenshots below to see what I'm talking about.

Although there is already enough improvements to justify a new alpha release, it's not time for that yet. I have still a lot to do. The next task on my list is to experiment with a separate jump/fall pose for the human character to make jumping look more natural. Unfortunately I have also created some new bugs that will need to be resolved before the release.

Once everything else is done I will have to take on the most time consuming task of going through all existing levels, fine tuning their difficulty and adjusting them to look more consistent.

With that in mind, any input on overall game difficulty is welcome. Do you think the game in its current state is too easy or too hard?

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Posted on 2014-04-19

Lockdown Protocol 0.17.0 alpha released

The main theme in this release is collectible items. There are new ammunition and supply packs, force field generators and crates revealing collectible items on destruction. Guards now drop their weapon or random items when killed.

This version adds an update checker function that notifies you when a new version is available.

Here's full list of changes since 0.16.0 alpha release:

  • Added ammo pack power up item.
  • Added supply pack power up item.
  • Added force fields (destructive/protective/damping) and matching power up items.
  • Added one more single player level.
  • Turned the small green crate into a destructible container that reveals random items.
  • Added floating labels on power up pick ups.
  • Added a music loop playing during action.
  • Made ambient background sound play even if music is set off in settings.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented controller help (F1) overlays from being shown.
  • Made guards randomly drop their weapon or power ups when killed.
  • Made walls block explosion damage and impulse.
  • Made dragons fly a bit faster.
  • Made dragons coming out of eggs spot nearby targets immediately.
  • Miscellaneous improvements to particle effects.
  • Fixed bug causing badly oriented bullet hit particle effects.
  • Minor improvements to enemy line of sight testing.
  • Added smoke trail to rockets.
  • Improved explosion particle effects orientation and timing.
  • Fixed invisible smoke and fragment particles blocking light glow.
  • Fixed heavy weapon aim animation problem that made AI aim too high.
  • Many bug fixes to dragon and jellyfish AI, especially to target detection.
  • Fixed all weapons misaiming slightly to the left.
  • Made human AI switch target if a visible closer target attacks it.
  • Added automatically randomized orietation for certain elements (e.g. barrels) in level editor.
  • Floating labels from power ups are now shown on clients too.
  • Show in-game error message on many level loading errors that previously killed the game.
  • Editor now loads levels with invalid entity references so you can fix them.
  • Fixed a serious bug in visibility data updating to clients.
  • Retextured dragon eggs.
  • Added alternative game pad controller jump by left stick up.
  • Added update notification when a new version is available.
  • Prevented respawning after level/match completion.
  • Updated first level tutorial with more instructions.
  • Minor fine tuning to character animations.
  • Fixed match statistics not always getting cleared on multiplayer match restart.
  • Improved network latency estimation making client side movement a bit smoother.
  • Fixed multiple serious bugs that caused jerks in client side movement.

Download links have been updated on the game page. The update will soon be available on Desura too.

Single player level design is a bit inconsistent at the moment, simply because the first levels were initially designed over three years ago when the game itself was very different. I'm planning to do some systematic redesign to existing levels before the next release.

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Posted on 2014-03-07

Previous posts

2014-03-06 Multiplayer game jerkiness issue solved
2014-02-26 Progress report
2014-01-30 Progress report
2014-01-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.16.0 alpha release
2014-01-11 Next Lockdown Protocol alpha release coming soon
2013-12-29 Lockdown Protocol's Year 2013
2013-12-16 Progress report
2013-12-01 Vote Lockdown Protocol for Indie of the Year on IndieDB
2013-11-24 New Lockdown Protocol alpha video
2013-11-05 Lockdown Protocol 0.15.0 alpha release
2013-10-03 Progress report
2013-09-19 Multiplayer matchmaking fixes
2013-09-01 Lockdown Protocol 0.14.0 alpha release
2013-08-07 Progress report
2013-07-09 Lockdown Protocol 0.13.0 alpha release
2013-07-02 Next release is shaping up
2013-06-09 Progress report
2013-05-22 Changing the physics engine part 2
2013-05-13 Changing the physics engine
2013-05-06 Lockdown Protocol 0.12.0 alpha release
2013-04-28 Website update
2013-04-23 No more hiding enemies
2013-04-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.11.0 alpha release
2013-04-07 Progress report
2013-02-25 Progress report
2013-02-08 The Platform Shooter 0.10.0 alpha release
2013-01-23 Level editor rework
2012-12-31 How to improve The Platform Shooter?
2012-12-25 The Platform Shooter 0.9.0 alpha release
2012-12-04 The Platform Shooter progress report
2012-10-29 Level sharing progress report
2012-10-24 The Platform Shooter 0.8.0 alpha release
2012-09-23 New video from The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha
2012-09-16 The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha release and 40% alpha discount
2012-09-04 The Platform Shooter 0.6.1 alpha release
2012-09-03 The Platform Shooter 0.6.0 alpha release
2012-07-10 The Platform Shooter 0.5.0 alpha release
2012-06-26 Plans for the future
2012-05-18 A little progress
2012-04-08 The Platform Shooter 0.4.0 alpha release
2012-03-18 Crouching and explosion improvements
2012-02-11 The Platform Shooter 0.3.0 alpha release
2012-01-26 Progress report
2012-01-07 Sentry guns and callable elevators
2011-12-14 The Platform Shooter 0.2.1 alpha release
2011-12-09 Bug fix release coming
2011-12-01 The Platform Shooter 0.2.0 alpha release
2011-11-21 Progress report
2011-11-06 Client side prediction rework
2011-10-22 Decal improvements
2011-10-20 Bend from the knees
2011-09-20 I can hear music!
2011-08-29 One bug fixed, one more revealed
2011-08-01 About mouse aiming
2011-06-20 The platform shooter public alpha release
2011-05-25 One more single player level
2011-05-22 First release is nearing
2011-05-10 A new game play video
2011-04-30 Level editor improvements
2011-04-20 Situation report
2011-03-23 Fighting network latency
2011-03-14 Level editor improvements and a HUD
2011-02-22 Single player level scoring
2011-02-13 Progress report and in-game video footage
2011-01-26 Network code changes
2010-12-30 Explosions
2010-12-22 The Platform Shooter
2010-08-16 Final Duel 2 is now free