Author Topic: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!  (Read 2498 times)

Offline x4000

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Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« on: March 18, 2013, 10:28:12 AM »
Original: http://arcengames.blogspot.com/2013/03/shattered-haven-10-released.html

This one is uncharacteristically gargantuan, even by Arcen standards.  Josh, Zack, and I have all been working all weekend to get all this finished up, and in particular Sunday was an 18 hour day for Josh and Zack, and so far looks like a 25 hours day for me.

But it's all worth it -- I couldn't be more proud of what all the finishing touches we've put on the game.  Well, for one thing, the end of the game is actually complete.  Zack was designing away on Alden Ridge and Ganan Fields, as well as the final boss fight, while Josh and I were working steadily on implementing the voluminous story cutscenes that come at the end and near-end of the game.  A lot of the volume comes because of all the branching, really.

The release notes really gloss over all the coolest stuff; you get hints of it based on what sorts of scripting commands I added, but I don't say how they were actually used in our scripts and levels.  That's more fun to find out by actually getting there yourself!

The Shingen Rapid Prototyping Facility is one thing that has been pushed back to post-1.0.  I should be able to get that finished this week, but basically I wanted to make sure and take time to do that right.  It contains two of the endings, but they are both endings you can't get until New Game Plus anyway.  Right now there are two main endings that you can get, although there are some smaller things that vary based on your actions as you get to the last legs of the game.

Fun fact: there is a way for every character in the game, be they an NPC or a main character or what, to die.  Well, actually there are a couple of characters that won't be fatality-prone until the Shingen facility is in there, but that's a minority.  And keeping all the characters alive is not possible, by the way. ;)

There are a couple of other little extras that we have planned for this week in particular, but as of this release this is a complete game that you can play end-to-end.

Level Editor!
Oh!  And the level editor is now unlocked -- I'll warn you that the scripting window is a bit nuts when the scrollbars come in, but that's largely because of the unity 3D lack of support for good scrolling multiline textboxes.  I've implemented some partial solutions there, but I'm going to take another crack at it this week.  That would be a useful thing to have for all our games, actually.

The Road To Creation
The creation of this game has really been quite a saga.  Originally it was just me any my wife working on it in 2008.  She did a good 30-some levels, I did around 60.  Then in the summer of 2008, Lars Bull -- the lead designer of Tidalis, you may recall -- came in and really gave me a huge amount of useful testing feedback.  The game jumped in quality.

Then I got stuck on something (how exactly to marry the puzzle and adventure elements, basically), and decided to take a "short break" and work on this game called AI War.  AI War was just a side project, in my mind.  Then of course that turned into something really cool and it became the basis of Arcen, and we were off to the races.

Four years later, in August 2012, we picked this back up again and started working on it in earnest.  I ported it to our newer engine, Zack started improving the levels and especially the overworlds, and he designed out the whole tutorial.

Erik and Zack and I had lengthy calls talking about the story up through around November or so, figuring out how to make all the elements I had started with really come together in a satisfying conclusion that made sense.  Erik in particular was really helpful on figuring out large plot points, because he's got such an encyclopedic knowledge of the macabre genres.  Not to say that Zack and I weren't holding our own.

Then while Valley 2 was really taking up everyone else's time, Zack was pretty much left all by his lonesome working on Shattered Haven.  I kept telling him we'd be back, heh.  Then as soon as Valley 2 came out, Josh and I jumped in with both feet and suddenly we were whirring along towards 1.0.  Zack had made enormous progress in the time since he'd started on the progress, and the overworld areas were a lot more intricate and Zelda-like than what I'd originally designed.

When Josh and I got onto this project, so did Pablo actually.  He started composing new music tracks for the game, and remastered the better of the stock tracks that I'd been using up until that point.  All in all we tossed out about three quarters of the music that had been in use prior to the porting, and the result was something much stronger.  This is the first Arcen soundtrack that isn't 100% composed by Pablo, but he did a lot of the more emotional stuff that you hear emphasized.

Around the time that Valley 2 was really getting underway, Heavy Cat Studios was also starting work on Shattered Haven.  They wound up setting that aside for a while, same as I did, but then came back to it starting in February.  "Blue," Arcen's new part-time art director, also spent a fair bit of time doing things like the cloud effects and some of the other things that make Shattered Haven pop.  I did the particle effects with Particle Illusion as usual, and I did the shadows and lighting.

It's been a really long road for this game, but we had a blast making it despite the long hours here at the end.  We hope that you enjoy playing it!

This is a standard update that you can download through the  in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  When you  launch the game, hit the big "Play" button and then you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time.
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 10:42:54 AM »
Arcen has a (part-time) art director now? Thats interesting news. (Well the whole post is, but that was notable to me)

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 10:45:15 AM »
Yep!  I haven't had time to really announce it properly, but she's been doing work with us in various capacities since last August, though not as a member of our team until about a month ago.  She was on the Heavy Cat Studios side until then.
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Offline madcow

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 10:48:15 AM »
Congrats on the 1.0 release!

Maybe NOW you can finally get a weekend off ;)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 10:49:51 AM »
There was an accident with a singularity and a painting, what can we say.

;)

Congrats to Chris and the others on SH 1.0! :)
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 10:50:23 AM »
Typo in the release notes, you wrote this twice in a row:
Quote
     New scripting command: SETPLAYERSCANNOTDIE
        Players will be knocked down to 1 health but no lower.
        Contrary to what you might think, this is not to make anything easier. Rather it's for allowing events on death.

    New scripting condition: PLAYERSWOULDHAVEDIED
        SETPLAYERSCANNOTDIE was called, and the players took enough damage that they would have died had that not been called.

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 10:53:42 AM »
Thanks all!  And sorry about all the typos here, and in the release notes.  This is my brain on low sleep.  Fortunately, it's much easier to spot code bugs than typos, because the code bugs cause REALLY WRONG things to happen. ;)

Funny bug from last night: whenever you got near a magma spot, instead of just hitting you with a poof of fire it would actually suck you into its center, damage you once with that poof, and then never let you go.  You'd have to poison-pill.

Needless to say I spent a few hours making sure it was spotless of things like that.  There weren't many anyhow, but that one was humorous.
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 10:55:26 AM »
One does not simply poof away from magmor. :P

Offline Penumbra

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 10:56:38 AM »
Typo in the release notes, you wrote this twice in a row:
Quote
     New scripting command: SETPLAYERSCANNOTDIE
        Players will be knocked down to 1 health but no lower.
        Contrary to what you might think, this is not to make anything easier. Rather it's for allowing events on death.

    New scripting condition: PLAYERSWOULDHAVEDIED
        SETPLAYERSCANNOTDIE was called, and the players took enough damage that they would have died had that not been called.

Actually, if you work on code for 25 hours straight and then check again, it reads perfectly!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 01:59:42 PM by Penumbra »

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 11:01:15 AM »
Very interesting post. Nice to hear that you have a part-time art director on board as the art department is pretty much the only area that Arcen seemed short-staffed in terms of team members. I was a bit lukewarm about this game at first, but I really started getting into it a few days ago, possibly when I sorted out my resolution. I was really enjoying it until I got stuck in the Deadlands (bug fixed now thankfully) and am looking forward to playing more. I still haven't experienced all your finishing touches either. Another quite unique title as far as I can see, but one that I don't think will be quite as polarizing as AVWW2, so hopefully it will be well received in most quarters.  The deadlines you give yourself seem pretty scary to me, but your hard work seems to have paid off again. Good luck with the launch, hopefully this time the game will sell tremendously for you.

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 11:06:47 AM »
Awesome job, fellas!  I'm looking forward to starting a new game, yet again.  8)

Maybe I'm being dense, but I was screwing around with the level editor, and it mostly seems to be pretty intuitive - except for starting a new level.  I press the "new" button, but nothing seems to be happening.  Does something else have to be done before I can start with a blank level?  Create a new campaign, or something?

Never mind.  If all else fails, RTFM.  Still never figured out what "new" does, since you have to create folders to build levels.

I'm really blown away with how comprehensive this thing is!  I hope to see lots of custom content.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 11:51:01 AM by mrhanman »

Offline x4000

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2013, 11:59:52 AM »
Oh yeah, sorry for the confusion -- the New button does not yet work!
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Offline doctorfrog

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2013, 12:58:30 PM »
Well congratulations Arcen! I haven't been following the development of this title, so the quick time-to-publish really surprised me. I hope the game sells and performs for you guys.

I also see that you are on GOG now with Shattered Haven. Is this a trial run for Arcen? I recall in the past that you didn't see them as an option because of the serials you use, and the way you prefer to distribute patches doesn't fit with their distribution model. Are you thinking about perhaps taking AI War or other titles there?

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 01:02:53 PM »
Are you thinking about perhaps taking AI War or other titles there?

No plans for that at this time. That said, I can't predict the future, so who knows what will happen?

Offline nas1m

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Re: Shattered Haven 1.0 Released!
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 01:10:29 PM »
Congrats from me as well! You really accomplished an insane ride to 1.0 the last few days.
Kudos for that! You guys rock - I mean it.

Really looking forward to start a final (for some time at least) new game to experience the story as it is intended to be ; ).

Now get some rest ; ). You owned it many times over!
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