You are currently viewing April 2023 – Developer Update

April 2023 – Developer Update

It’s been a little while since Chapter 6 came out and we haven’t pushed any content updates beyond cosmetics, so we thought we would fill everyone in with what is going on behind the scenes.

Chapter 6 Retrospect

First up, we’re going to talk about Chapter 6 with a retrospective look. Overall, Chapter 6 has been really well received and we’re really happy with that.

It’s always difficult when creating new chapters as there is both an expectation for it to be “new and exciting” while also adhering to the earlier parts of the game. A good example of this is Chapter 5. We took the open feeling of Chapter 3 and applied it on a larger scale. As discussed in previous posts, Chapter 5 had it’s own set of problems but a lot of people didn’t like that “out of the maze” experience. When creating chapter 6, we knew we wanted to bring back that feeling of being lost in the dark, similar to chapter 4 while also introducing some new environments.

Some Common Complaints addressed

There’s a few points that seem to come up fairly regularly;

  • The Miner is too difficult.
    This seems to be the biggest issue players have and we are going to be placing some things to help people handle him. The miner has a mechanic that we had assumed most people would guess or at least try. If you’re not wanting spoilers, feel free to skip to the next section before we continue on. His mechanic is focused around turning off your lightsources and hiding. While a lightsource is visible, his detection range is greatly increased but when there is no light, he can only spot you by shining his lantern on you or hearing you. This makes him fairly trivial and we think that most players won’t have a hard time with him once we make it more obvious what to do in game. Another factor that may make people feel he is too hard is that we keep him close to players at all time to put the pressure on, but again, once you know the mechanic, most people we have watched have no issues handling him.
  • The Mine is too big/complex
    So this one was surprising. While it is fairly large overall (just under twice the size of chapter 2), the actual layout is much simpler than the maze layouts for both Chapter 2 and Chapter 4. A community member, Viktor, has done a great map here Viktor’s Chapter 6 Maps that shows just how simple the map is. We think the issue with the map is that, like Chapter 4, much of it looks very similar and with the collapsing walls, it’s easy to become lost and wandering in loops, especially in near-total darkness. We are looking to add some more props to help break up the areas that players are commonly looping.
  • The Story makes no sense?
    For the casual player, we can understand it. Unless you are paying attention to notes, names and dates, it can seem a little random at times. We’ve had a lore rework planned for a while now and this will be coming post-case file update; it should help tie things together easier for most people. The lore as it stands is cohesive and we have an internal document that outlays everything including how the monsters came to be, but it does require the player to put things together and “work out” some details. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to lose track of who is who.

These seem to be the most common complaints we see and hopefully this helps address them.

But wait, the ending, it's anti-climatic!

One final complaint we often get is that the ending is too vague/anti-climatic. This is actually by design. We discussed how we wanted to end the game and there were several options, but ultimately we wanted it to be loose and maliable, so that we could revisit it in some way down the line. As it stands now, the fate of the workers is unknown, the mine has collapsed and what lies beyond is a complete mystery.

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, a second horror project is already underway and we have design documents done for many more potential projects down the line. We cannot deny though, Labyrinthine has grown way beyond it’s original concept and has been a labour of love that has attracted a lot of die-hard fans. We would love to revisit the story at some point, whether that is through a story DLC or in the form of a sequel. There are a ton of things we would do differently if we were to start again, including workshop support, more mechanics to deal with monsters and the ability to create larger lobbies.

A sequel would be the perfect opportunity to bring these ideas to life. The limiting factor is that we’re a small team and we really want to release some of our other planned projects first. Budgeting resources to make a sequel at this time isn’t realistic. A DLC on the other hand could be completed fairly quickly as the existing core mechanics are all in place, so really it will be a decision to make once we get our next project or two out.

Supporter Edition

Just quickly, we also wanted to mention that we have a “supporter edition” of Labyrinthine in the works. The supporter edition will include unique cosmetics, music and a couple new glowstick colours.

The Case File Update

For those who aren’t part of discord (you really should be! https://discord.gg/valkogamestudios), you may not be aware of the “case file update”. Originally we had planned for it to just be a rebalance of the existing case files with a new map, the Carnival. We decided however to delay the update and instead bring out a bunch of content all at once. Here’s what you can expect.

The M.P.A.S and the high power flashlight

Two new pieces of equipment are coming to case files:

  1. The Magnetic Polarity Adjustment Spike or M.P.A.S is a powerful magnetic device that can be planted anywhere on the map. Once placed, your compass will instead be drawn to it, allowing you to mark out exits and things like cosmetics.

  2. The High Power Flashlight is a much stronger flashlight that can reach further than the standard flashlights, making it much easier to see what’s ahead in the dark.
Model may change
More findable equipment

Forget to put a revival bracer into your backpack? Need an extra flaregun? Maybe you’re thirsty and want some energy?

This update will have more spawns for items in the maze. Alongside tickets and rerolls, we will also be including equipment spawns too!

Cosmetic Changes

We know people are eager for more cosmetics to hunt and we also know the pain of finding that same cap over and over. This next update will be bringing in a lot more “common” cosmetics to help diversify the cosmetic pool as well as a “mercy” system to increase your chance of finding new cosmetics.

This will work by reducing your chance of finding a cosmetic that you’ve encountered recently, increasing the chance that you will find something new. You will still encounter the same cosmetics but it will be much less likely to be the same one over and over.

We also want to bulk out the hardcore cosmetics as the current selection is rather small.

Expect a lot of new cosmetics in the case file update, spanning all of the available cosmetic slots!

New maps

Originally, the case file update would ship with the carnival map. Since then however, we have decided to instead release several maps together to bring more variety when hunting cosmetics.

Please be aware, at the time of writing, none of the lighting is final. The fog city in particular may look drastically different.

The Carnival

First up, the carnival. This map is based around a carnival “fun house” and has environmental scares.

Fog City

The final lighting hasn’t been set up yet in the images below. This map will be city alleyways under heavy fog.

The Mines

The mines case file is based on Chapter 6 with some new additions to fit the case files.

The Dead Forest

The lighting is not finalised and may look very different. The fog forest is actually a bit of an experiment in an “open map”. There will be mazes but they will be contained within a wide, open map.

The Brick Maze

The Brick Maze was an early joke from when case files were first been worked on. It will be simple, quick to complete and have some themed cosmetics. It’s based on the old windows 95 screensaver

The Ruins

This map may not make the case file update, but it is in development. It will consist of an exterior jungle and an internal temple area. Here’s some screenshots of a couple assets.

New Monsters and Variants

Of course with so many new maps, new monsters are coming too! We don’t want to spoil them so we will just say that there are currently at least 4 brand new monsters coming in the next update.

We will also be bringing some more monsters from the story into the cases files. Expect to see the Miner, Feeler and some of the Chapter 5 monsters make an appearance.

And finally, we have a bunch of variant monsters. For those not aware what variants are, they are variations on existing monsters which have a different look and different behaviours. There’s currently (at the time of writing) 3 variants in game so far, so we are hoping to expand them out.

The Smoldering Wickerman is one of several variants coming
Difficulty rebalancing

We’ve done several reworks to the difficulty system over the past year or so already, however, we still aren’t 100% happy with it. We know a lot of players are hitting the point where nearly every map is a large extreme and we’re looking at reducing the rate of extreme maps and bringing in a change so that you will always have some relatively easy cases to play.

We have also discussed bringing back the “Giant” maps for higher levels (most likely post lv100) and that may make an appearance in the case file update. For those not aware, we reduced map sizes substantially a while back, but the Giant maps are still able to generate to the old larger sizes. To put it in perspective, a very large map is 35-40 square units (our units are roughly 3M) whereas a giant can be anywhere from 41 units up all the way to 150 square units, or potentially 3.75x the largest map currently available in the random cases.

An example of a Giant map
Lobby Music

Something else to hunt for will be lobby music discs. These will change the music in the lobby so that you can play your favourite save-room music or even some unreleased music that was originally intended for loading screens.

Feel free to check out the OST so far on youtube: Labyrinthine Official OST

Audio Rebalancing

We know audio has been an issue for a lot of people. While we have done audio rebalancing in the past, we will be doing a much larger overhaul of the audio for this next update.

Particularly, we will be adjusting the volume of bars, screams and also reducing any clipping that occurs.

Reviews

We’ve mentioned this a couple times in blogs but if you haven’t reviewed us, please consider it, it only takes 30 seconds and really helps us out.

As with any kind of reviews, negative ones are given a lot easier than positive ones. We’ve had some groups that have been unhappy with Chapter 6 and rather than one person leave a review, all 4 have which takes around 16 positive reviews to counter. Of course we don’t mind genuine negative reviews but it can give the wrong impressions when 4 reviews in a row are all slating the game based on one group not liking the content.

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Extremnono

    Happy to hear and see some new stuff.
    time to play a lot again
    I will be happily waiting for all the nice stuff that the Valkogames team will creat.

  2. Reko

    Omg you guys are the best, I can’t wait for all the new stuff!

  3. Daltax

    Seemingly one of the best upcoming updates so far! I can’t wait to see these in game.
    I really hope The Ruins will make it in the update.

  4. galbar

    Can’t wait! Sound veeeeery good and promising! πŸ˜‰

  5. QuitNerdRaging

    Thank you to all the Labyrinthine team members! You all have made such a great community to meet new friends and a great game to enjoy. Cannot express how much excitement there is for the future of this game! You all are AMAZING!

  6. Coast

    I can’t wait for this honestly.

  7. GameJMunk

    Hi, I don’t want to leave a negative review on the steam page, so I will write my feedback here:

    While the game can be really fun, and many of the chapters really hit “the maze feel”, there are a lot of significant issues:

    1. Visibility. Currently in areas like the case files, and chapters 2, 3 and 5, the visibility is terrible. I understand that you don’t want the player to see too much in order to make it more scary, but having 80% of your screen be pitch black throughout each game feels absolutely terrible. You can’t see anything further than 2 metres ahead, and sometimes you can’t even see the walls on either side of you. I understand that the new “strong flashlight” might help on some of this, but in my opinion the strong flashlight should be an improvement and a “buff” rather than a way to make playing the levels tolerable. This visibility improvement should be built-in to the base flashlight.

    2. The shop items, especially the map. I was quite excited when the map was first announced, and this was in fact the first item i bought. I was, however, extremely disappointed when i tried it out in the case files. The map does not mark any important, discovered places (no entrance, no exit, no puzzles). Even if it doesn’t show any locations, you might still have been able navigate if you could at least see where you were, or what direction the map is pointing (north-south-west-east compass in the corner of the map), but there is none of that! Unless you remembered every single turn you took since the entrance, you cannot possible know where you are on the map, and in that case, why even use a map? The way it stands right now, it is absolutely useless. This is unacceptable for something that costs 3 tickets and is a one-time use item. Especially considering that the tickets aren’t very common.

    3. Monster teleportation. This was not a glaring issue until the latest chapter (chapter 6), in particular “The Mines” location. Here the monster literally teleports close to the player all the time. It would be allright if the monster moved quicker when far from the players, but it feels absolutely horrible when you spent a good minute running away from the monster in one direction, to suddenly see the monster coming right towards you, especially when you have practically been running straight. This is especially apparent when you play in a duo, and both players are very far from each other. Suddenly the monster will completely disappear from the vicinity of one player, and appear right in front of the other, on the other side of the map. I understand that this is added to put pressure on the players and add difficulty, but this is not a good way to do it, as it severely restricts how you can play.

    I really hope you can address these issues in your future updates, especially the first and second issues. As it stands now, it is difficult for me to leave a positive feedback.

    Best regards,
    GameJMunk

    1. Valko Studios

      Hey,

      1. This sounds like it could be an issue with your monitor. Some monitors will make the game appear much darker than it should. If turning your brightness to full doesn’t help much, you could try increase it manually adjust it in the setting’s file. You can find it in the data folder within the install files. Visibility is supposed to be low but it’s usually around 5m not 2m.

      2. We actually forgot to include it here but the map is also getting an overhaul. It will display landmarks and safe houses in the future but it won’t display where your character is. It should be what you’re after πŸ™‚

      3. The monsters never teleport unless they are designed to do so (i.e. scarecrow). The miner will move at an increased speed if no players are around so that he is always “present”. There were issues when we didn’t do this where people were only seeing the miner once or twice, sometimes never. We actually tried multiple solutions with the miner but this is by far the best one from what we have seen.

      Hope that helps!

  8. DJ_64

    Can’t wait for the update, the devs have been doing such great work on this game. All these new additions seem amazing. One thing, for those that like the tougher games we want all the extremes and very hard maps. There should be an option to reduce frequency of extreme maps, so that players can decide if the want tough cases or not.

  9. Soyukichan

    We are absolutely loving this game! Tons of fun and I think my heart might need replaced but having fun. This is coming from someone with advanced 2.0 ADHD who forgets where they’ve been on the daily. So A+ game! Seeing this evolve since it was just 2 chapters (when it was gifted to me) has been amazing. I both love and hate you for the carnival that is to come.

    I want to make a suggestion and no idea where to do it but:
    For cases it’d be nice to have a small window to actually head out, as lately in the smaller extreme maps, all the monsters are at the start, usually walling us in so we have to sit and wait 3-5 minutes just to leave and explore. I know monsters probably have things they want to do too, but spawn camping is rude in any game! xD

    This game has been one of my favorite ones to stream, so thanks again! I look forward to all the updates and crying while monsters chase me because I forgot where the safe house is. <3

  10. Justin

    I love this game, but please add an arachnophobia/entomophobia mode, I cant play the game anymore with the insects & spiders :/

  11. Sazbak

    Hi,
    For me and my group one of our complaints is the Wickerman.

    Really really antifun monster. Usually when I hear a Witch or Pig in the direction that I’m heading towards I can decide to play it safe by trying to avoid them or play it in an exciting fashion by directly going that way and deal with the chase. The problem with the Wickerman is that you can’t escape it normally. Either you are lucky and you get noticed by him at the edge of his range so you turn around and run away in time. Or you happen to find a torch/safehouse where you can be safe. Another issue is that sometimes you can’t always hear him coming. Even though he does give out sounds it is not constant. Sometimes I just turn at a corner and there he is. I can’t escape because he caught me way inside his range. Even if I manage to run from him for a long time he never drops the chase. The amount of torches usually are not sufficient to randomly find one in the middle of a chase. Not to mention there can be multiple Wickermen on one map and on Bamboo Forest you have Wickerman v2 aka Oni too.
    If I want to play optimally I have to walk slowly and listen to the Wickerman’s sound in order to be able to avoid him. That just lowers the fun of the game because it becomes slower and more random. AND to top it all the Wickerman can be found on a lot of maps. If he only appeared e.g. on the Forest I would just play the Forest less.

    I’d love to be able to deal with the Wickerman in a more fun manner personally or at least deal with him less or in a more consistent manner.

    P.S. I noticed that you are creating this new Smoldering Wickerman, which might possibly be immune to fire. O_O

  12. Sazbak

    The update includes a lots of new and useful stuff so I’m glad you are releasing this as a part of a package.
    It will provide some fresh new time with the game for a while.

    Thank you+

  13. Monty

    For Real,

  14. Monty

    For real,

    this game is by far the best game i’ve ever played. Cant wait to see what will happen in the future. I wish i could skip the waiting period xD

    I want to give a thank to Valko Studios. You guys made a really good job, chapter 6 was absolutely stunning. You guys created a masterpiece of a game where i met new friends. Together we searched for cosmetics or speedruned every chapter to see how fast we could be xD

    You guys are for real AMAZING! πŸ˜€
    Im confident that the sequel of Labyrinthine will come out, before GTA6 gets released xD
    Nah, for real guys, take the time you need πŸ˜€
    Thank you guys for all πŸ™‚

  15. MeowWolfRocks

    That carnival map looks so terrifying! And the smoldering wickerman might be one of the creepiest monsters yet (kinda reminds me of Grimm Foxy from FNAF VR).

    My only question is there was also talk about a castle map. Is that still happening?

    1. Amallah

      Castle is still planned, it’s just very unlikely to make it into this update. It’ll most likely be in one of the last few updates before leave Early Access.

  16. LunchLady

    When is the release date of the upgrade? πŸ˜€

  17. gure

    Leaving my feedback as well; there’s a lot of issues playing solo or having all players be in the same area, especially on extreme/hardcore maps, mainly due to the enemy AI seeming to hone in on you. For example the game I just played was a very small hardcore map with 2 clubfoot and 2/3 clinkers. I ran down a very long hallway that led to the exit, to the right of the exit was an area with 3 paths that were all dead ends, meaning that the entire area was a dead end and the only way out was the very long hallway. Since I was playing solo all enemies were focused on me and 1 clubfoot + 2 clinkers got stuck in a loop of: 1. entering the long hallway 2. walking in the dead end 3. walking out the hallway 4. walking back in the hallway. I tried to leave for over 10 minutes but all 3 enemies were stuck looping and there was simply no way to get out, eventually I died to a clinker. Even though the game might not be “meant” to be played solo, imo it should still be playable.

    Even in multiplayer there’s been scenarios on extreme/hardcore maps where we haven’t been able to leave the entrance for 15+ minutes after dying. There was one game with 2 hags, 2 wickermen, clubfoot and smiley, the area near the entrance was an open space with 5 paths out. The enemies kept going down paths then circling back in an infinite loop, all 6 enemies were doing it and we had no way of leaving. The only way we were eventually able to leave was by all 4 players running at the same time, sacrifising each other until 1 player made it to the exit. If we weren’t playing with infinite lives we would’ve never escaped.

    Another example was a map with a puzzle in an area with 6 paths out, 4 of which were dead ends. 2 pigs and 2 clinkers walking in and out of the dead ends and aggroing on us. It took us nearly 30 minutes to complete the puzzle because of it.

    I love this game but these scenarios really drain the fun, it just gets exhausting at some point and I wish the enemies would stop trying to stay close to players as much as they do. It’s obviously a needed mechanic, but it needs to be changed in some way, especially when there are dead ends in your area making the enemies infinitely loop.

    1. Oliver Gilliam

      speaking on behalf of Zak himself, we didnt ask for your feedback buddy

  18. Mars

    Hurry up and update Can’t wait

  19. Trbn

    That explains a lot, thank you)

  20. Jupe

    i don’t usually comment on games that get released, but was interested in the future plans.

    just wanna say, it’s been really a great experience with each chapter more unique than the last. with different mechanics for each part it really felt like a new experience each chapter. been playing it with some friends here and there and it is a nice game to play for a day or two before we end up completing all the chapters lol.

    had no issues with any of the monsters and was able to get past them after strategizing, wasn’t too hard wasn’t too easy. just the perfect balance.

    can’t wait to see what you guys come up with, making the game more exciting to play in the future

  21. cream

    new content looks dope

  22. Bumbum

    When it is coming out?? DDD: need it to make my days great!!

  23. Anjel

    Love this game so much. Cant wait for this update or the Supporter pack! Any game that can make me feel my claustrophobia just playing a game has done it right! very immersive and Cant wait to see what else you bring to the table for my favorite game!! Thank you for not changing the original game, but rather improving it <3<3<3

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