Beta 5.0 – Major Update & Roadmap


Hey there, amigos!

I’ve got a big new There Will Be Ink update out now on itch.io! The first “Act” of the main campaign is now available. The enemy this time around is made up of an alternate set of units with their own art, weapons, sound, etc. There’s a new tutorial mission available, and, since the game has changed a lot both mechanically and visually since the old Beta 1 trailer, I recorded a quick “tour” of the game. Watch it below and bask in the awkwardness of my narration!


Many other features and content have been added, changed, rebalanced, and fixed. Some highlights include new abilities, sounds, stats, badges, terrain, new unit states like “Prisoner” and “Bleeding Out”, and even a boss fight! I’ll jump into a some of the new features in detail, but check out the changelog down below for a full list. I’m also narrowing down a release date, which I’ll cover in the “Road Map” section below.

New (Partial) Campaign: “There Will Be Ink”

The new campaign contains a story that sees the player up against a new enemy known as the “Alt Write”. The true nature of the enemy isn’t revealed until after the first act, so for that one player out there playing TWBI for the story, you will just have to be patient! The first mission throws you right into the action. It eases off a bit after that but then ramps up again pretty quickly. I set out to make this campaign a little easier than the Beta campaign, to be a little more gentle on new players, buuut I couldn’t help but veer back towards the true spirit of the game, which is to be difficult but fair, a game that takes practice to master. I suppose it will be up to the player to judge the new campaign’s difficulty, so if anyone has any feedback, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts. I’ve also been laying out some mission-specific game mechanics in the new campaign. One such feature is the new “prisoner” unit state, which can be toggled for units in the map editor as well. A prisoner will sit in place, tied up, until an ally rescues them. Another mission sees an endless stream of enemy paratroopers landing in the area. Without spoiling the details, there is also a boss fight at the end of Act I.

Bosssplosion!


New Unit Set: Alt Write

The new unit set is essentially an analog to the base unit set. The new units and all weapons have their own art, sounds, and stats, and the new Alt HQ & Barracks have their own art as well. I drew them with my left hand, which turned out to be a very uncomfortable process. I guess I am not ambidextrous. While pretty similar to the base set, the new units offer a bit of variety and, perhaps more importantly, lay a foundation for adding additional sets in the future (sci-fi set? Fantasy set? cat set?). In addition to being able to fight against the Alt set in the new campaign, the new units and buildings are also available in the Map Editor and in Quick Battle.

Alternate set of hand-drawn units

Quick Battle alternate set tabs

Grabby Mode

The aptly titled “Grabby Mode” allows the player to relinquish control of a unit to observe the battle and control a giant hand that can be used to select, or “grab”, and take control of another (friendly, non-incapacitated (“capacitated”?)) unit anywhere on the battlefield. Since someone playing with keyboard & mouse can already take control of units by middle-clicking them, Grabby Mode is mostly relevant to players using a gamepad, where previously the only way control a specific unit was to use the d-pad to jump to the next nearest unit on either side. Three cheers for Grabby Mode!

Stick figure battles, grabby mode

Bleeding Out

Units who die from wounds will now enter a “bleeding out” state, where there is a short period of time (10 seconds, plus 2 seconds per rank level) where the unit can still be saved if a medic heals them in time. Units dying by “conventional” means also have a 10% chance per rank level of going into a bleed out state. This new mechanic makes medics a little more valuable while also giving ranked units a slight chance of living a little longer.

There WIll Be Ink - wounded stick figure

AI Boost: Advanced Training & Expert Training

Units of rank 2 and up will now roll when moving to cover or in order to avoid incoming rockets. Units of rank 3 and up will do the same (and a little better) while also running when approaching their target or doing an ammo run. The new “Advanced Training” and “Expert Training” start all units off at level 2 and 3 respectively. These abilities cost a lot of points. I wouldn’t expect Expert Training to be put to use during the first playthrough of a campaign but perhaps on subsequent playthroughs. That being said, the campaign isn’t finished yet, and I’m aiming for 24 missions, so who’s to say! Units who level up on their own during battle will also take advantage of these new behaviours. Check out the video above at about the 7:38 mark to see Expert Training in effect.

There Will Be Ink - Beta 5.0 - Improved AI

Stats & Badges

The Barracks page now has two sheets of campaign stats and now includes campaign-wide stats for Comrades Destroyed, Longest Streak, Longest Kill Streak, Time in Battle, Deaths Avenged, Grenade Kills, Mine Kills, Damage Repaired, and Mines Defused, in addition to those that were already present. The two Streak stats are now tracked each mission and a notification is given at the end of a mission if a new record is set. “Time in Battle” is also a brand new stat that tracks the total time spend in battle. This stat wasn’t previously tracked, so it will start at 0 for all campaigns whether in progress or not. Also added are a few new badges relating to boss fights and friendly fire.

There Will Be Ink - Campaign Stats

Road Map

I’m finally starting to feel confident that I’ve shaped There Will Be Ink into a finished game. I don’t intend to add any new major features before version 1.0 of the game (though there will certainly be more to come after that). I was considering a June release, but with the pressure of big summer sales around the corner and given that the game still needs a good bit of polish, I’m looking to spend a few extra months on finishing the main campaign and improving the aspects of the game already in place. For instance, I’d like to review each unit in the game and make sure it is fun and worthwhile to play as that unit (I’m looking at you, Engineer!). The Campaign Editor is still a little rough as well, and while I’ve tidied up the Map Editor and added some shiny “stickers” in place of the bland labels of yore, I’d like to fancify that up some more too. That being said, there will be some additional mission-specific mechanics that will appear in upcoming campaign missions. I won’t go so far as saying there will be tanks, but There Will Be Tanks! Wait, I should clarify that. There will eventually be tanks, probably. Since the game’s inception I wanted tank (they were an integral part of the doodles of yore), but I dismissed them pretty early on as being out of scope and being too much work to implement, especially to draw at the amount of angles that would be needed to fit in (given the hand-drawn graphics of the game). One thing working on this game has taught me, however, is that I ain’t afraid of no work! I will probably tackle that beast post 1.0, but in the meantime I already have some simpler vehicles in the works for other missions.

But alas, I digress. What this all comes down to is that I’m aiming for a tentative September 2020 release. It may be sooner; it may be later. Nobody knows! In the meantime, thanks for reading and thanks for playing. As usual, I’m happy to receive any and all feedback you might have. Cheerio!

Changelog

New Features & Content

  • Added first “Act” of main campaign, consisting of 8 missions and a boss fight (including between-mission story text)
  • Added new Alt units set (including new art & sound): Rifle, Assault, Sniper, RPG, HMG, Zapperhead, Flametosser
    • Available in Map Editor and in Quick Battle
  • Added new “Grabby Mode” – Allows the player to relinquish control (Alt on keyboard, Select on gpad) and then select a unit anywhere on the map
  • New unit state: Prisoner – prisoners will stay put until liberated by a friendly unit (can be toggled in Map Editor)
  • New unit state: Bleeding Out – Units who are bleeding out are incapacitated and can be revived by medics if reached in time
  • New Tutorial Mission (#3): “Barracks, HQ, HQ Abilities, & Unit Selection”
  • New General Ability: Advanced Training – Costs 15 points, starts all friendly units at rank 2 (and enemy at rank 1, 2 in Hardcore mode)
  • New General Ability: Expert Training – Costs 50 points, starts all friendly units at rank 3 (and enemy at rank 2, 3 in Hardcore mode)
  • New Flamethrower Ability: High Pressure Tank – Increases velocity of flamethrower, effectively increasing range
  • Added three sounds for friendly fire deaths (when killed by player-controlled unit)
  • Added new campaign stats to Barracks page (and split to two sheets): Comrades Destroyed, Longest Streak, Longest Kill Streak, Deaths Avenged, Grenade Kills, Mine Kills, Damage Repaired, Mines Defused
  • Added new campaign stat: Time in Battle
  • Added three new badges:
    • Team Slayer: Most friendly units killed
    • Boss Slayer: Killing shot on a boss
    • Actual Boss Slayer: Most damage done to a boss (if boss was defeated)
  • New ‘tree’ type: Cactus
  • New water type: Beach (added to Map Editor)
  • New water type: River 5 (added to quick battle & Map Editor)

Changes & Enhancements

  • AI: Units ranked 2+ will now roll when moving to cover and to avoid rockets
  • AI: Units ranked 3+ will now run when approaching enemy or resupplying
  • AI: Rank now increases the range by which a unit will watch for enemy fire (makes ranked units better at taking cover and dodging rockets)
  • AI: Made units more effective at detecting enemy fire (previously they would sometimes note friendly fire and then ignore enemy fire)
  • AI: All units now go prone when hit (if they can go prone)
  • AI: Medics will now consider all wounded comrades before considering fortifying healthy units
  • Weapon sight-line now turns red when a friendly unit is in the way (if friendly fire is enabled)
  • Made gamepad aiming more smooth when aiming vertically (regular mode only, not precise mode)
  • Quick Battle: Added “Set” tabs to unit & building selection
  • Quick Battle: The number of troops initially spawned now scales up with the number of gamepads connected
  • Campaign Editor: If a map file in a loaded campaign is missing, the map name will be set to “**File Not Found**”
    • CE now looks for maps in “\Maps” folder instead of “\<campaign name>\Maps” folder
  • Map Editor: Replaced mini-notes for Terrain, Units, and Buildings selections with new hand-drawn stickers (replaced “Battle” button as well)
  • Map Editor: Buttons/Tiles are now faded unless moused-over (in order to better see the map)
  • Map Editor: Buttons (eg Save, Load, Name, etc) no longer respond if an object is selected to be deployed
  • Map Editor: Updated Timer settings to include 90 second option (instead of jumping from 1 to 2mins)
  • Added watercolour-style shading to buildings
  • Updated Controls page to include controls for jetpack, Grabby Mode, call for backup/medic, cycle left/right, and unit type quick select
  • Balance: Slightly decreased base cover of large rock (from 110% to 100%)
  • Balance: Slightly decreased the base weapon error (ie slimmed down the cone) of the Assault Rifle
  • Balance: Doubled rank bonus granted to flag raise/lower speed
  • Balance: Increased range of raising/lowering flags by 50%
  • Engineers with defensive behaviour will now be “activated” if called as backup from nearby units
  • Added end-of-battle messages for when a new kill streak or survival streak record is set
  • Detached helmets now cast a shadow
  • Reduced fade rate of end-of-battle messages
  • Drew “squiggle” graphic (and fixed alignment) for unit selection on Barracks page
  • Added paper clip graphic for mission selection on Missions page
  • Increased cost of Basic Training from 3 to 5
  • Added “spawn-on-demand” functionality to Barracks (spawns new unit from finite pool when a friendly unit is killed, as in new cam mission 3)
  • Optimized active unit draw code some
  • Made additional optimizations to unit code
  • Improved performance relating to blood spatter
  • Removed precise collision detection from standard helmet (slight performance improvement)
  • Campaign Editor: When saving a campaign, old map files are now backed up to “\Backup” subdir in campaign folder
  • Updated/optimized map file data structure (backwards compatible with old maps)
  • Decreased the amount of flame that is emitted by corpse objects
  • Reverted Alpha & Beta campaigns to white notebook

Bug Fixes

  • Tree stumps are now drawn in the Map Editor
  • Fixed crash bug that occurred when loading maps with medical crate present
  • Fixed bug where shadows were not being draw for paratroopers until they were on the map
  • Fixed bug where units would ignore friendly fire rules when moving to cover and firing
  • Fixed bug where end-of-battle messages (eg unlock notifications) were written over top of each other
  • Fixed crash bug that occurred when trying to save campaign progress (from Main Menu) when campaign map filename had changed
  • Fixed crash bug that occurred when trying to load a campaign in CE while currently loaded campaign is missing map files
  • Fixed bug where T-Rex had regular recruit head (?)
  • Fixed bug where T-Rex could enter HQ
  • Fixed bug where blood spatter kept moving when game was paused
  • Fixed bug where detached helmets kept moving when game was paused
  • Fixed bug where player could advance to next mission after failing by going to Barracks at end-of-battle and then to Missions
  • Fixed bug where Engineers would run strangely (ie jitter) when approaching a destroyed building
  • Fixed positioning of end-of-battle messages on resolutions that aren’t 1920×1080
  • Fixed bug where Blue team HQ was showing black on Quick Battle page
  • Fixed bug where destroyed & blueprint Alt Barracks was spawning as normal
  • Friendly units killed with grenades now go towards “comrades killed” stat
  • Friendly-fire kills no longer go towards ranking up a unit
  • Flamethrowers now obey Friendly Fire rules
  • If campaign stat “Shots Fired” is 0, Barracks page now shows 0% for hit percentage instead of error text
  • Fixed bug where units with no grenades (eg. Sniper) will get confused if there are no enemy units left
  • Fixed bug where blood spatter wasn’t always drawn to background at right location
  • Fixed bug where typing s, d, or w in filename of a map (in Map Editor) moved objects as well
  • Fixed bug where Alt Barracks was spawning Base units
  • Map Editor: Fixed bug where team colour couldn’t be selected if a map item was behind where the tile is clicked

Steam Key Giveaway

Don’t yet have a copy of the game? Check out the Summit Fever Twitter account for a giveaway around the time of this posting. As usual, the game can be found here on itch and on Steam.

Files

TWBI - Beta 6 23 MB
Version 0.5.0.0 May 29, 2020

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