“Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” v1.03 (bug fixes)

So far, “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” has sold over 3,000 copies after one week.

… which is a bit unfair, as almost all of that came from Indie Royale, for being included in their latest indie-centric bundle. But it did get me a bit of new attention and a boost of voters of Steam Greenlight (I’ll talk more in detail about this in another article).

I’ve also said that there are at least a few bugs that exist, and I’ve since added some fixes and small features to the game to hopefully make it better. This update will be available on Desura very soon, and is largely based on what feedback I’ve gotten online and from PAX:

  • Small fixes in levels regarding clues and text. I’m sure there’s more I missed, let me know if you see any others.
  • Menu bug fixed. There were cases when the menu would freeze, and force you to quit to continue. Hopefully I found it (a really stupid bug, too), let me know if it persists.
  • A snap-feature. Many people mentioned the game would be easier to play if you could snap to the front, back, left or right views, since the levels are made in that fashion and don’t require diagonal movement. I didn’t want to remove the ability to enjoy the free-rotating camera around the hand-drawn characters (maybe the art did get in the way of the gameplay after all), but instead added functionality to snap the camera to the side you are closest to by holding the Ctrl, Alt, or Left Mouse Key button. Hopefully, this makes traversing the levels easier.
  • A few gamers mentioned that when moving left or right, the camera jerks a little. Sure enough, if you were to walk left on a large flat space, you would eventually make a circle instead of reaching an edge. I like not making the camera perfectly accurate and giving it a bit of freedom, but for a platformer, it makes sense to adjust that. Now, gamers should see this issue greatly reduced (the camera still isn’t PERFECLY accurate, but this was left on purpose, and should be more than enough to finish the small levels). Remember to stay close to the center of each block as you play.
  • “Hint” comments don’t occur as frequently. After seeing many “Let’s Play” videos on youtube, this had to be done, which I did by extending the time in between each comment as it’s made (first one made after 60 seconds, the second 120 seconds later, the third 240 seconds later, etc.), hopefully reducing annoyance.
  • Linux cursor fixed. One person mentioned running the game in Ubuntu had a weird bug with the cursor. I removed it from the Linux build, let me know if it persists.
  • Gamepad joystick bug fixed. After use, some gamers quickly notice the speed of movement with the joystick is inconsistent versus keyboard or gamepad d-pad. It was another silly error, I think it’s fixed now, let me know if it isn’t.
  • Camera movement fixed. Many, many people at PAX mentioned the camera movement was inverted and unnatural. As I should have from the start, I added a option in the Options menu to change the camera movement to 1 of 4 options, each one for a different direction of the two axis’. Admittedly, the menu addition is shoddy at best, but it works, and it should make it much easier for gamers to play in the way they are comfortable with.
  • The blur effect in Level 7-1 has been reduced. I liked it, but it was strong enough to dangerously effect people and make them dizzy. The last thing I want to cause from a platformer requiring calm and patience and observation is a seizure. Hopefully, it’s a bit better now.
  • I also added some hand-drawn objects in the backgrounds of 1-9, 2-9, 3-9, 4-9, and 5-9. After release, I immediately regretted the script (which I wrote) not adding any real character development in the first 6/7ths of the game. Instead of asking the voice actors to add more dialogue, I threw some objects in that hint more about Drew’s character and past. But they also look rushed and thrown in, and contrast against the otherwise simplistic and empty levels up to level 6-9. If this makes the game worse, say the word, and I’ll take it out for v1.04.

Here’s a few things I haven’t, and probably won’t fix:

  • Color clues. Some people at PAX mentioned they were color-blind, and therefore couldn’t fully enjoy the game, which they otherwise loved the idea of. There are six types of clues in the game, two of which directly use color, one of which would be easy to fix to adapt for accessibility, one of which would be much more difficult. Therefore, at least for now, I won’t implement this. But I plan to make other games, some also hand-drawn, and I vow not to rely on color for puzzle or gameplay elements ever again.
  • The menu still sucks. I know. I don’t know where to fix it without completely redoing it. And for now, it’s functional where it counts, so I leave it.
  • I won’t add anything else to the environments. There’s potential to do so, but this game was built with simplicity and emptiness in mind. Please look forward to future games.
  • Many people didn’t like that they went back to the main menu after finishing each level. I do this because you don’t need to complete every level to progress, not unlike many great platformers. Also, the variety in clue type and complexity of level may make some of them more complicated, and I don’t want to frustrate anyone by forcing them to do every level, so I won’t change this.
  • Language support. If you still want the game in additional languages besides English, let me know. But that does cost money, and at this point there has been very little feedback asking for extra language support, and few sales suggesting it worth while. Gameplay-wise, the game is fully playable without any language barrier, and even the story will at least partly get through to anyone from visuals alone.

Let me know of any other concerns. I can’t make the game perfect without completely redoing it from scratch (that’s not a bad idea…), but I can try to fix it where I can.

One bonus about patches and updates: a handful of sites illegally put up the game all at the same time a few days ago. But it’s the old version! Ha! Anyway, I hope this makes the game better, and I thank you for your support. Seeing the feedback and comments and videos about the game in the last week, all small but appreciated, probably gives me more joy than the gamers that play my games. I hope to balance that in what I make in the future…