The big update is here!
From now on, the game is paid, but keeps a generous free demo. Why has it become paid? Because it was already filled with content and now all the things below have been added, I think the price is a fair one. (But pricing your own work stays a hard task, as you'd love to just give your creations away for free so everyone can play, but you also need to earn a living.)
The player count has been changed to 2-8 players. (Still 4 players max on a single keyboard, as there's absolutely no room for more.)
This meant shrinking player size (a bit) on high player counts. It also means that each arena has predefined locations where the counters for each player/team appear. (That is, the UI that shows you how many points you have/how close you are to winning.)
Some modes still have a lower maximum, most importantly Dwarfing Dumplings, which supports 3 teams max.
In general, I recommend playing the game in teams if you can, especially with 5+ players!
Any number of bots can be added, but they only play for themselves, making the game wildly chaotic if you add 3-4 bots.
Yes, solo mode is fully supported (as you can just add bots and play against them). But, despite my best efforts, I wasn't able to make bots that I'd call good. The game is too complex, the arenas too varied, the core game changed too much during development. To be as fair and honest as possible, I stopped advertising the game as having a solo mode.
Three new arenas were added: Pirate Curse, Family Dinner and Haunted House. (Bringing the total to 7 arenas.)
In the Pirate Curse, you are trapped on an island. You can walk in the water if you want, but it messes with your movement and aiming. Treasures appear that activate when broken ( = sliced with a knife). Hitting the heart treasure will revive the player that died last ... but any other treasure will probably release a terrible curse.
In Family Dinner, you are in a dining room filled with food and family members. Knives will satisfyingly slice the food, but if they hit a family member, they become angrier and angrier. Until they explode with fury, sending all the knives flying. Dead players can eat the leftover food particles, and if they do so often enough, they are revived (though weaker).
The Haunted House is known for its unpredictability. Once in a while, the whole arena changes to a different trap. Four different traps ensure you will never be safe, nor will your opponents. Dead players can vote on which trap should appear next.
To be fair, this game is meant to be played with actual human beings. As I said above: gather as many people as you can, form teams, and have loads of fun.
But sometimes you just want to play alone or with a single friend, and I want to support that by adding adequate bots.
Making bots is hard, which is why I redesigned their system several times, and learnt a lot about AI in the process. This is how they work now:
- They collect data about the environment (players nearby, knives coming at them, etcetera)
- They sort it based on importance. (An immedate threat is more important than a possible thing to collect. Something close is more important than something far away.)
- They evade bad things, move towards good things, and throw something at a player if they think they have a shot.
- Each level has a "navigation layer" allowing the bots to know how to get to other locations. Because arenas are so dynamic however (e.g. things can be sliced, removing them from the field), they also detect obstacles near them all the time and try to go around them.
The final result are indeed adequate bots. If you know the game quite well, they won't be much of a challenge. If you're new, they might seem unbeatable. Sometimes, they just don't work well at all and will do stupid stuff.
If you encounter any dumb or weird situations playing against bots, let me know. It's the area that can see the greatest improvement and about which I'm most uncertain.
Many (many) things have been fixed/added/improved, but these were the most important:
- The default controls are: joystick to move, button to throw. While holding the button, you rotate and power up. (It used to be: joystick to move, while holding the button, joystick to aim. But this was harder to understand for players who don't game much. It also gave joystick players a significant advantage over keyboard players and prevented you from moving while powering up a throw.) You can still switch it in the settings.
- If, somehow, the number of throwable objects becomes too low, new ones will appear (as powerups you can grab). (Before you'd have to wait until, by accident, a powerup revealed a new knife. That's boring.)
- Almost all powerups are temporary. (Before, grabbing a "slower speed" powerup would make it permanent. This rule was decided early in development. But after changing other systems, this just frustrated players and didn't feel fun/fair, so it became a temporary effect.)
- A different style was created for outlining shapes that can be sliced. This has more clarity ( = it looks a bit cleaner) and makes it more obvious where players are and what can be sliced. It's also more cartoony, fitting better with the rest of the visual style.
- Tons of minor bugs with things not being detected, not being able to grab knives, knives tunneling through something, etcetera in very specific situations.
Most importantly, of course, I (play)tested the game numerous times and used those results to continually improve and refine the core gameplay. (That's how, for example, I ended up completely rewriting the basic controls late in development, as playtest after playtest just revealed it to be the better idea.) It's not perfect, but a way smoother and more fun experience (for everyone) than the original prototype.
For now, this game is done. It became bigger and better than I planned. Even though the Halloween theme is not 100% on top of everything in the game, I still set myself the goal of finishing the project around Halloween and then continuing with something else. The fact that it's February now speaks for itself.
But you probably feel where this is going: I've not implemented all the ideas I have (for modes, arenas, and throwables) and some areas (such as bots) can always see tweaks and improvements. I've written down solid plans for each, but they are quite experimental and would really take the game into another direction.
Perhaps the coming years, each time around Halloween, you can expect some updates to this game :) A new arena here, some new throwables there, some core rule changes for the better perhaps.
Until then, have fun carving pumpkins (and dwarfing dumplings),
Get Carving Pumpkins & Dwarfing Dumplings
Leave a comment
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.