Saturday, 16 January 2016

Now selling Early Access keys!


For those of you who want in on Early Access but didn't get a key, I've started selling keys on itch.io for the low, low price of $3.99. This is the first time I'm accepting money for Blackshift. Exciting!

Standard warning re. Early Access — Blackshift is still unfinished. While I'd love for you to buy it at this point, buying into Early Access is really about supporting the project and helping to test it.

That said, Early Access customers will receive all future updates for free, including the final game, all for this low Early Access price. So it's a good deal for you too!

http://blackshift.itch.io/blackshift

In other news, I've opened up two more discussion forums, one on itch.io (see the Blackshift page above) and one on IndieDB. This is in addition to the subreddit, Twitter, FB, and these blog comments. If one discussion venue starts to take off, I'll focus my energies there, but until then, COMMUNITIES EVERYWHERE.

I have also just pushed out the 2.0.36 update containing:

  • Fix onion/mirror interaction
  • Fix bugs with two guns pointing at each other in adjacent squares
  • Fix laser/invisible wall interaction
  • Fix sounds continuing after ending a level
  • A couple more levels
  • On user pages, you can now page through all of that user's levels, not just the 18 most recent ones.
I'm feeling confident that Blackshift is a good product. I just need to build more interest at this point, get more people into Alpha, and keep plugging away. If you'd like to see Blackshift succeed, please spread the word.



58 comments:

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    1. I do get an evil empire vibe from FB, but, you talked me round. https://www.facebook.com/blackshift.game

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    2. Okay, I will share it on my facebook and see what happens! I have a few friends around the world and they know I am Obie.

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  2. I must have been a bad boy. You deleted my levels Rob!

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    1. Nope! I did change “What's New” so it can never be filled up by one user's levels, but all your levels are still there on your user page.

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    2. We need a sampler that they can play to hook them in!

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  3. Great new things here! The idea with the pages in the level pit is good.

    But could it be that there is some trouble with the leaderboard again?

    @ all: The levels are too hard.

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    1. There was, should be sorted now. Agreed re: hard levels.

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  4. I'd put up another easier level and am working on it but, you guys gotta put up some levels first!

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    1. This was a complaint about the volume of the landmine sound effect. Don't know why it was deleted, but it's a valid criticism and not the first time it's been raised.

      Honestly it sounds fine to me, but I guess the frequency resonates inside some people's houses or something. I'll change it.

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    2. Rob, when you use Ogre, the awful high pitched sound is from the lasers.

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    3. The lasers too?! I need to fire my sound guy.

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    4. I'm the one who've deleted the comment... I deleted it 'cause I thought it was a passing bug on my computer only as the problem fixed itself, but the thing is... The sound was okay only when I played with my headphones... With normal speakers the landmine sound was way too high. Also, the landmine sound and the laser one are the only two sounds that continue playing when you quit to menu.

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  6. Okay, I think I found an issue. On my level "Daisy Mae" which has a save tile, it saves it in the "Roaming" folder under "users" "Save States" in Windows. If I die on the level after the save tile, it does not register a win even if I beat it after that. So, I went back out of the game, went back in and beat the level without dying. Still didn't register as a win. So, I went to the Roaming Folder, AppData, and changed all the Save State files to *.bak. Went back into the game and beat the level without dying. It then registered a win! It should register a win after the save file if you beat it but it appears that this particular file prevents that from happening.

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    1. Thanks, added to bugs list, will investigate.

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  7. I gotta tell you Rob, a lot of levels I have made don't work anymore because you fixed the problem. Some of them I can fix if you can figure out how we can edit this stuff but the latest one, "Hidey Hole", I ain't gonna tell you that secret! Buahahaha!

    Some of the ones I have made cannot be fixed and are called "untitled" so, we also need to be able to delete some of our stuff not only from our level pit but yours as well or, it will be a problem when the game goes mainline.

    I also pitched the game to a promoter of things. He might buy into the game at this stage.

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    1. Don't worry, editing & deleting is planned. And also, after testing is over, I aim to stop making breaking changes to the game.

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  8. It seems that every time I get killed on a level, a debug.log is generated. The first few lines are:

    "[0122/175032:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0122/175032:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0122/175032:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(497)] locale resources are not loaded
    [0122/175032:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0122/175032:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0122/175032:ERROR:gpu_child_thread.cc(143)] Exiting GPU process due to errors during initialization
    [0122/175035:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0122/175035:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0122/175035:ERROR:renderer_main.cc(207)] Running without renderer sandbox
    [0122/175043:INFO:CONSOLE(306)] "uid 44", source: file:///C:/Users/[myname}/AppData/Local/Blackshift/UI/gui.js (306)"

    After that, even if I shut down the program, go back in and beat the level clean, it does not register a win.

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  10. @BibbytheDark, the way you beat Hidey Hole was a shot in the dark. It was there but I didn't want to show it and I won't change it. Nicely done! Daisy Mae? Random luck but I left the hole to win. You probably noted that the random fire stompers move in a predictable manner. I have two more levels sitting in the background on two different computers. Easier levels for the newbies in the game but, will not publish them until I see what you got! Do it! Oh yeah, Rob will only give you half points for a dying win re: Hall Pass! Left that door open too! The challenge is on dude!

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    1. (yes I'm BibbytheDark)
      Hidey Hole: Yeah. I thought it would be faster that way, can't confirm if it's true though...
      Daisy Mae: They're predictable? I didn't noticed, that one was pure luck ;P
      Hall Pass: I could have done better on that one!
      Dying win: we got points?!

      I am looking forward to see what you have else to offer, your level design is really great!
      Challenge accepted! I'll try to do something myself, but I dunno if it will be as great as you! ;P

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  11. Right -- so I'm having to test on an old low end Windows XP machine right now, because my normal (high end) laptop is currently having some fixes done to it.
    Sorry for my absence.

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    1. Actually it seems the installer won't even run on this machine.

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    2. "Blackshift.exe is not a valid Win32 application" It will not run on an XP.

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  13. I crashed my computer 4 times with a new level I am making but it didn't give a crash report. The debug report looks similar to the one above. It is beatable but, if you screw up, you crash. Should I publish it? Or, fix it? Someone else may try the same thing. And, here's a new thing as I sift through my levels to see which ones Rob has nullified, Unstable Mable now works! Woo hoo! It also looks like you have sped up the bullets a bit. For all the newbies, if you click on the name of the maker, you will be able to play all the other games made by that person. Still haven't seen one from BibbytheDark - ha ha!

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    1. Thanks for the info, I didn't know you could click on names... Looks like I'm a newbie ;P
      I indeed crashed Blackshift a couple of times... There's two solutions I see to that problem: You stack them or you crush them!

      Don't worry, I've said I was going to make one, I'll make one! Just give me time. I'm not a level machine like you........ 6 pages! 0_0

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    2. Well, before my internet crashed, I was writing a message. @BibbytheDark, Domna, Kadoffe, Wunk, Tom, Antz, Xhin, et al. I made levels in the original Blackshift plus, Netshift Beta and Netshift. This is Alpha mode and I like to break the game so Rob can fix it. A number of my levels don't work anymore because of the fixes but one did - "Unstable Mable". "Mega Fun" is beatable clean but, I can't seem to get a win on it.

      I have another that I might publish but, before I do that, I have to make a JPG because I might extend it later.

      (BTW Rob, the original Blackshift doesn't work anymore on any of my computers - the teleporters fail).

      Anyway, since Rob is trying to get some new blood in the mix, make something simple and clever like Domna's "trial". I agree with Kadoffe albeit, he and Domna posted two the hardest levels I have seen! ha ha. Wunk is Wunk and I did beat the Laser Fixed level but, it didn't register because I was destroyed too many times!

      Let's have some fun and for some reason - I think I know who Tom is!

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    3. Weird that (the original) Blackshift doesn't work on your computer, I still have it on mine and it works without problems... I have windows 7 64-bit.

      One way to "break" the game though is by "copying" yourself (with the "copy machine"). It teleport you the other side of the machine, but then the camera doesn't follow you anymore (I guess the code had not anticipated this).

      Anyways... I've got an idea for a level, I will probably publish it in the weekend. Prepare yourself Obie! ;P

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    4. My very first level is now public!
      I'm looking forward to see how you'll solve it!

      Have fun!
      P.S. I'll keep my score low for this one, I'd find cheap to be the best at my how level ;P

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    5. A bit long and complicated, but I see the solution. Will work on it later. I see I screwed up a level name - that needs to be fixed!

      As well, when you grab something (@Rob) and go left, you stall! You have to double pump to keep him going. It is not a CCW/CW issue, it is a left issue when you grab something. It might have something to do with the fact that most of your enemies head right except for those two nut case followers.

      Wish list:

      -Horizontal ogres
      -Three shot gun (shoot the front, 3 bullets unleashed)
      -Open and close door with key or something
      -Frozen egg to shoot to unleash the one eyed monster
      -Longer lasting bullets in the Onion
      -On/off mechanism for the grille
      -Orange/blue button to work with orange and blue deflectors
      -Fix the fixed deflectors - they look awful in 3D!

      I am trouble breaking stuff, because you have fixed most of them right now.

      A lot of levels that were defeated, now don't show the outcome, these should be deleted. I can give you some of the titles but some are "Untitled" because of the naming thing. Ha ha ha, too much fun in one lifetime!

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    6. "Left Hand Stall" is a hard level but it is left oriented. Pick up a gun and go left holding the left arrow key. You will then stall but it doesn't happen every time. Pick up and go right and it will never stall.

      "The J-K Keys"

      Fast shooting available by simultaneously hitting the J-K keys together. Ha ha!

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    7. I don't see what you mean by "stalling"... Maybe we don't play the same way...

      On another note, I've seen your solution for Domna's Cooperation. That's a great found! I would never have thought of that by myself ;P

      I've used that trick on the "revised" version

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    8. Okay, some more testing. J+K does a pick-up and shot but also J+Spacebar which I prefer because the J is too close to the K for stumbling old fingers! :(

      WASD does not stall going left. @BiddytheDark, you must be left handed! ha ha

      Similar to WASD, "I" goes up and "L" goes right. Not a problem - kinda useless.

      Like Spacebar to shoot, it also works with "K"

      @BiddytheDark, nice that you showed a Sudoku map of all the places to put the deflectors because otherwise, I wouldn't even look at it - all ones ha ha. I try to give you some kinda hint of what is necessary.

      And, you must have some kinda fast computer and keyboard! There is no way I can move that quick!

      I dislike hidden levels with no clues. I see nobody has solved my "Relay Puzzle" - everything is visible (there are also at least 6 others in my level pit that have not been solved)! If you look at Rob's levels, you can see the logic and that is important. Game on! I am going to make one more level besides my last on Today and then working on another called "Ultimate".

      For others, somewhere on your computer is a debug.log (Mine is on my desktop). Right click, properties and see how big it is! I dunno about Rob but I delete it after each game because I had one that was 24 megs. However, if I break something, I email it to him to check stuff out plus details regarding the issue.

      Have fun with "Hidden", but I assume BiddytheDark will win!

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    9. Hidden -> I've already beat it! ;P

      Broken Ram -> Yeah I've put a map at the beginning, also the deflectors are always switching left/right and they're placed in the right order in the room where you pick them up (in the last part)... So it's not that bad.

      I've seen your last solution, not bad... But, now that you know the mapping, you can do it a lot faster in the last part (the Sudoku). You have to think "outside the box" ;P

      Relay Puzzle -> Soon...

      I'm left handed for some things and right handed for others ;P
      And I don't think the speed of my computer or keyboard have anything to do with the speed of my gameplay, I'm just used to fast games. Have you ever played Contra?

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    10. Contra? Looked at it. Not my style. Maybe you can convert some of the players to Blackshift because in Blackshift, you make your own levels!

      "Relay" = Nice solution but, you still had to bring down 5 rollers to win! That was my point but I left a door open - I'm a dummy for style! ha ha ha. In my edit, I will block that solution. I always make a screen shot of my levels before I publish them. Can you make levels in Contra?

      "Ultimate" could use the blue-orange buttons to work but, I can work out a solution plus horizontal ghouls. I have made these levels in the Original Blackshift which uses teleporters and I can send them to you from mrcarbonbusiness@gmail dot com. Spread the word - Rob has the best games ever! Go to Foon.co.uk and try to beat Hapland! I will try to change my game plan so that it is not speed that matters, but thinking!

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  16. So far I am digging the gfx and the puzzle design muchly!

    For feedback so far... something about the input/controls feels a bit disconnected or hard to use, though - in particular, on lvl 6 in the pink chasey ball part, you're running down and have to duck to the right to safety. I consistently pushed right as the ship was in front of the 1-block open window, but the ship didn't go right most of the time.

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    1. Hey, thanks for the feedback. A couple of people have said similar things about the controls, so I'll investigate and see if there's any improvements I can make there.

      In the meantime, have you tried using the “bgfx” renderer? You can switch to it in the options menu. It's a bit faster, so it might help with your controls. It'll be the default in the future, once it looks as good as the Ogre renderer.

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  17. Hey Rob, although I have beat it a number of times, "Zwiggy Land", no score. And, I have beaten it clean.

    I keep getting the same messages in the debug.log "[0201/205441:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0201/205441:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0201/205441:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(497)] locale resources are not loaded
    [0201/205441:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0201/205441:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0201/205441:ERROR:gpu_child_thread.cc(143)] Exiting GPU process due to errors during initialization
    [0201/205444:WARNING:resource_bundle.cc(304)] locale_file_path.empty()
    [0201/205444:ERROR:main_delegate.cc(564)] Could not load locale pak for en-US
    [0201/205444:ERROR:renderer_main.cc(207)] Running without renderer sandbox
    [0201/205454:INFO:CONSOLE(306)] "uid 44", source: file:///C:/Users/Vern/AppData/Local/Blackshift/UI/gui.js (306)
    [0201/205454:INFO:CONSOLE(390)] "Found 559 cached levels", source: etc, etc". What I forgot to do was exit the game completely and go back in to publish it and as well, delete the debug.log. It is a good level - spent some time on that puppy - I originally published it in Netshift many years ago but had to modify it because of lack of enemies. "Clump" works great, but Zwiggy doesn't register scores. The same also goes for another level of mine - "Mega Fun" of which both have multiple save tiles and methinks that is the problem. Unfortunately, in Zwiggy, you can't but help go over them. Clump has none.

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  18. Bug report so far:
    - There's definitely something with the sound. Sometime, the volume of every sound effect goes really low (except for the bullets one I think)
    - Definitely something with the score in the level pit too, it just don't always save.
    - There's a loading time when you exit the app... I haven't seen your code, but this problem is often due to a popular coding belief that goes like "everything that is opened must be closed". Thus coder close every function that have been opened when the app is closing resulting in a loading. The truth is, there won't be any memory leak if you just directly close the app as the OP already take care of this problem.
    - There's something weird with the enemy contact/collision. There's a second of hesitation before the collision happen, as if I could escape. Again, I haven't seen your code, but it seems like I can't collide with enemies but they can. Maybe something with tile reservation?

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    1. Hi, thanks for these!

      - Sound: Haven't seen this, will keep an eye out for it
      - Level pit score: Confirmed, working on this now
      - Loading at exit: Yeah, I'm in the "let the OS free the memory" camp myself! The delay on exit happens when joining the UI, graphics and audio threads and may be improved if you switch to the BGFX renderer.
      - Enemy collision: I think I know what you mean. The objects about to collide will stop briefly, and the contact feels more "solid" than it should? If so, I would like to fix this. Collision will always be grid-based which has thrown a couple of people off, but I don't think that's what you mean here.

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    3. Just seen your answer.
      About collision: yeah I think we talk about the same thing. Sometime, you can even avoid a collision if you rapidly go backward during the "brief stop" before the collision happen.

      Definitely feels like a reservation problem to me. It feel like we (me and the other object) both want to go on the same tile, but the engine don't allow that, so we're blocked, resulting in the "brief stop".

      The original game didn't have this problem.
      Dunno if it helps...

      On another note, I like the new explosions!
      They're fitting with the new look of the game.
      Nice particles system ;P

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  19. Rob, I went back to a level that I beat numerous times but it didn't register a win. It had 3 save tiles which I forced you to use them. So, I rebuilt the level completely and eliminated the save tiles except for one and didn't force you to use it. The level was Mega Fun and the new one is called Mega Fun Re-Run. I just beat without using the save tiles. ZwiggyLand has one save tile and although I beat it all the time, the score doesn't register. I am wondering if these tiles kinda mess up the game?

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    1. It sounds like it, doesn't it? It's in the bug list, and I'll get to it when I'm back in bug mode (I've been doing graphics lately)

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    2. I think you had a similar problem in methinks Netshift - don't know which one where it took the time from the last save tile to post the score.

      Anyways, keep working on the graphics - Ogre has the best explosions! But, I'd rather use bgfx because it works on all my computers.

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    3. I tested Broken Ram by BibbyTheDark which has 3 Save Tiles. I hit all 3 save tiles, beat the game and a win was not recorded but a play was recorded. Then I hit 2 save tiles and also no win. I will remake Zwiggy Land again with no save tiles.

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    4. I will not tell you what to do, but... I think you should wait for Rob to fix the bugs instead of making multiples version of a same level. Even if the score don't print, your levels are still playable and enjoyable for everyone. And if you make new levels, put checkpoints in them if they're long. Don't make frustrating levels just because of the score. The game is fun even if there's no competition :)

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    5. @Moviette - Yes, you might be right as after all, Rob fixed Unstable Mabel! However, he can't fix "Untitled" by Schnipfl, his first one because he forgot to put a bomb in it! Delete that one Rob. BTW, you can click on a player's name and play their other levels. I usually wait until someone beats my levels before I post another but, I have 2 waiting on two computers. One, on this computer, which is interesting and shows you how to teleport yourself on the clone machine but it has interesting outcomes. However, if you clone yourself, you are stuck so you have to keep tapping the right key to keep moving or the one-eyed bug will catch you and kill you. Then you go to the Red Stompers and if you make that part, the rest is easy if you can kill the last surviving one-eyed monster. Ha ha ha, I might just post it and knock Clump out of the level pit!

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    6. Clone Wars - I can't even beat it yet! When I do, I will post it! Then, the other, then, simple logic levels that are not difficult but must use your head!

      Rob, ever thought about letting bullets and lasers go thru invisible walls until they are blocked? You had that ability in most of your games including the original Blackshift and Netshift. It was kinda cool because if you blocked the invisible wall, you might not win!

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    7. Yeah, I thought about it. Do invisible walls appear when you touch them , or were they always there and they just become visible?

      I had to pick one or the other so I chose this way for no real reason.

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    8. Old Blackshift and netshift, you could shoot thru them unless you touched them. Lasers might be an issue as well as enemies. At this point, it might be a game changer so I guess you could leave it as it is or add a new type of inviso wall to the pick menu which on your edit would show up as a wall with a little square in it.

      To better utilize the lasers, it would be nice to have sliding deflectors. You wouldn't have to add anything to the menu except modify the code so that when you put a deflector under the transparent wall, it attaches.

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  20. Found another interesting phenom in the game so, I will have to knock out two of my levels which are unbeaten (and not played except for me but still accessible). I wouldn't change anything about this phenom - just trying out what you got Rob. They involve using the clone machine to teleport yourself but, you freeze after teleporting and have to double click to move.

    It would be nice if you could put more levels on the Level Pit but that will come later as well as Random but, we gotta clean out some of the levels that don't work anymore. I will email you a list of mine but later.

    After these two, going back to strategy maps and starting easy. Clone Wars will be published a bit later tonight - still playing with it!

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