Category Archives: Dev Blog

Sorry, it’s been a while…

Time is limited

Since the last blog post regarding upcoming changes, the roadmap is still the same. Lots of Skills coming, plenty of bug fixes and optimizations, and various improvements to existing Skills.

However, what hasn’t been moving is the progress of creating these new Skills. Unfortunately over the last year, most of my time has been consumed by real life things and the small amount of time I have to work on the game is only enough for bits of improvement on existing pieces.

Saying good bye to ALPHA

I’m finally getting some time to work on the game once again but I don’t know how fast progress will be made but things ARE moving ahead again. I’m intending on making 0.25.0 ALPHA the last ALPHA version release. Afterwards, I’ll be moving forward on doing some polishing for BETA phase(after a whooping 4 years of on and off development).

In this final release of ALPHA phase, there are massive changes to some core gameplay as well. Along with new Skills being introduced, Stat point distribution has been adjusted and equipment rolls now give random stats instead of a fixed stat. These changes intend on giving players some freedom of creativity for build diversity. Hopefully, players will find fun and interesting builds to fit their playstyle!

BETA Roadmap

For BETA phase, there are definitely plenty of things to polish up and new systems to introduce.

The road maps at the moment looks like:

  1. Equipment re-roll system
  2. Soul Stone purchasing system
  3. Simple equipment crafting system
  4. A currency to support the new systems
  5. Polishing up some effects, leveling up, stun and knockback indicators.

Some other improvements and features that further down the line:

  1. Polishing up menu screens.
  2. Easier way for players to enter and play games.
  3. Massive player lobby map

Thanks for catching up with the development here!


Oh boy, that’s a lot of work

For the next major update, 0.25.0, the focus will be on improving the new player experience.

For the Newbies

If you’ve tried out the game, you’ll notice that there’s a whole load of information about Skills dumped on you without any sort of “easy” quickstart guide. This makes choosing Skills rather confusing. The update will introduce a level requirement before being able to access a certain Skill.

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This will alleviate some of the decision making burden off newer players until they spend some more time in the game. This also gives players a sense of progression as they level up, unlocking new Skills.

Shaping Things Up

Of course, there will also be Skill changes to make them feel better to use. But no much to say here just yet.

Drop rates for each equipment type has been updated to be even across all types. Previously, it was heavily favored towards swords because there was simply more swords that could be dropped.

Behind the scenes there are plenty of backend changes and bugfixes that improve both server and client performance. Also save files are moving to a more appropriate location. This means you are going to need to manually transfer your existing save files to the new location. Sorry!

Big Things Coming!

As you know, you have 12 slots to fill with Skills you want to bring into a match. As of 0.24.2, there just isn’t enough Skills within each weapon category to incentivize making meaningful choices on what Skills to take in. The end result, just take every active Skill and fill in extra slots with Passive Skills.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 10.26.05 AM
Hmm so many options…

The problem is that the resource given to players is not limiting enough to encourage making a choice. Think gold in an MMO and how players manage what they use the gold on. In this case, the resource being given is the number of slots. There are currently 30 Skills in total. With 12 slots players can pick up to a whopping 40% of the available Skills.

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What choice?!

In practice due to weapon requirements, the amount of Skills available is closer to 18 which would mean players will pick up to 66% of the available Skills. That’s clearly not very limiting when you can pick two-thirds of the Skills. You are utilizing the MAJORITY of what’s available and that’s not good. It homogenizes builds to only picking different Passive Skills.

Rethinking Skills

Over the last month, I’ve been thinking over how I can expand on Skills to give variety to existing Skills and decrease the utilization percentage of available Skills down from 66% to below 50%.

Two straightforward approaches are to decrease number slots a player is given or increase number of Skills available. The former is the easier approach but makes the game less interesting for players. So I decided to take the latter approach, which also means a lot of work.

So in the upcoming update, existing Active Skills will have non-leveling Passive Skills which alter their effects. Pick these up in your Skill slots to get their effects!

Along with these new Passive Skills, I look to bring in new Skills to give more build diversity in each weapon category.

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Still moving… Steam Direct maybe?

This is going to be a short devlog. I’m really hoping to put this on Steam Direct, but I have a lot of concern regarding what quality of game is required to get published on Steam.

Will the game need to be fully completed? Is early access still an option?
How much can I charge for {Soul}Ascension to keep the servers running?
How will I advertise this game?

There are far too many questions for me but I do hope I can get on Steam especially early access.

I haven’t released any updates in a long while, but I really look forward to putting out something players enjoy playing. Hitting a 100 concurrent players would be a dream for me!

Having good developer habits

When you are working on a project by yourself, its really easy to get into bad or lazy developer habits. One of the big ones is not branching your features!

When you are working on multiple different features/bugfixes, it becomes rather “convenient” to just commit changes into master(first mistake was not branching) since you’ll just think “hey noone else will be working on this, so where’s the harm in that.”

But quickly a feature becomes complex, and you forget where the other feature was going. Wish you had branches now!

So here’s a list of must do’s when you are making new features:

  • Every time you start new feature, branch off from the latest master commit, assuming its working.
  • Rebase off master whenever master gets updated.
  • Switch branches when you want to work on a different feature
  • Review and merge into master when you are done

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Doing those things even if you aren’t in a team is good practice. It will allow you to roll back changes, keep/remove features in the works and ease work tracking.

I just finished implementing spatial hashing to improve performance for collision detection. While working on that, I also started on an Emote feature. And doing those things I listed, it seriously helped me track the features I’m working on.

A Brief History of Ascension

Didn’t even notice its been almost over 2 years *cry* since I started this hobby project. It definitely went through a lot of changes in visuals, scope and code base.

September 2014

A simple multiplayer platformer. You can only knock people around. Even has a static HUD placeholder(Wow I really did plan this UI all the way at the beginning *shock* ).

January 2015

Ugh, ugly static menu prototype that you click to connect to the server. *ehh* Some super early sprite attempt. I probably removed the useless HUD and started working on a functional one.

Feburary 2015

Early menu designs and most were functional. Poor choice of bright static for the menu now that I see it again *annoyed* . Lots of the skills were implemented although the visual assets were not done. The HUD is starting to be functional.

Rest of 2015

Was working on the first level boss since the original concept of the game was playing with others to defeat bosses. Ultimately development stopped around March because I just didn’t want to do it. Don’t have screen shots of this era.

Janurary 2016

Here’s a screen shot of the boss and a now removed skill.
Decided to scrap the old concept and just go with PvP. Also scrapped old character sprites for some temporary placeholder sprites.

August 2016

With the core gameplay and features completed. I’m just adding new minor features and looking at server deployments.