June 2021 – Developer Update

June 2021 – Developer Update

A very productive few months!

Since our last devblog, things have progressed rapidly behind the scenes. We’ve been able to bring forward some of our plans and fit them in around the upcoming content. We’ve also been able to bring on two new full-time artists, Ozan and Batuhan, who we had been working with on a freelance basis for a while now. They are both Turkish so feel free to say hello in either English or Turkish (for the many Turkish fans of the game!).

You can check out some of their previous work for Chapter 5 below:

Format

As many of you will have seen on discord, we are attending Format 2021 based in Birmingham, UK and will have a developer stand for the entire duration. We’d love to meet some of you guys and hand out some merch, so if you’re in the area or don’t mind a drive, grab some tickets Here. There will be guest appearances, other great developers (I know Melzeebub is excited to meet the guys behind Hell Let Loose) as well as food and a bar so definitely check it out if you can.

You might see Zach and Lonnie here!

As far as we are aware, this is the first gaming convention to happen post-covid so tickets are going fast; we recommend grabbing them as soon as possible.

For those not able to attend, don’t fret, this is still good news for you guys too – We intend to have all of the new features out and tested prior to Format. That means the new features are coming, and soon!

Localisation

We’ve now got our localisation system live! While it’s still a little rough around the edges (some things still need localising), it should be miles easier for non-english speakers to understand whats going on in the notes and the voice clips. Talking of voice clips, we’ve also got subtitles going now so you don’t have to scream at your friends for talking over them. It also clarifies the name of Officer Mills, who many people seem to think is called Officer Milf…

An example of the Portuguese localisation

At the time of writing, we have the following languages on the live build:

  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch
  • German

We have Chinese, Spanish, Turkish and Russian on the way too!

New Achievements are on the way

Many of you have been asking about the new achievements on steam; those will be coming very soon, and will be granted upon startup to those who have already completed the relevant chapter.

Once we get the big features out of the way, we will be revisiting the original chapters and revamping them with more story elements, new scares and some tricky easter eggs. There will of course be some new achievements coming too!

Death System / Revive System

So whats this new death system all about? Well to start, we’re adding a life system. No more running into monsters to get back to the start (well, unless you want to, I’ll explain further down).

As it stands, death in Labyrinthine works like this:

Monster sees you, runs to you, kills you, goes back to wandering around, you see a movie and then you reappear alive and well. It’s not the most exciting system…

The new system in the works will do the following:

Monster sees you, runs to you, kills you in the world (i.e. your friends get to see you being thrown around and attacked while they have a chance to escape), you drop to the floor and begin to bleed-out at which point someone can revive you or if you bleed-out, your team loses a life. If you’re out of lives, you enter spectator mode. What happens when everyone dies with no lives left? Game over.

We’ve noticed a lot of people have loved the ability to take the game at their own pace without being punished. That’s why we’re also including an “unlimited lives” option so that people can play without the worry of dying and losing a team life.

We don’t have a great video at hand of the most recent system, but here’s an example of how it looked a couple weeks back. Trust me when I say it looks a lot better now, with polish to the animations and camera smoothing. This system is pretty much ready to go and we’ve rigged it up to the old video system – we’re hoping to have this out pretty soon!

New Animations and New AI

We posted the video above on both discord and the last update for Labyrinthine, but in case you’ve not seen it yet, it’s posted again here!

As we said from the start, the old video death screens were a temporary measure until we had the time / resources to do in-world animations. Well we’ve spent the past few months working with a high-quality animator to get every monster’s death animations done, both from the front and behind (that’s right, things will be sneaking up on you!).

We also wanted to make sure everything fit together so we’ve gone ahead and had all of the monsters re-animated too. This means the monsters will have completely different feels to them as you come across them in the game!

Chapter 4 will be a little more intense!

Those of you eyeing up the official Labyrinthine pipeline may have also noticed the “AI Rework” card. We know the AI can be a little strange at times; there’s several behaviours that are designed to prevent them from bugging out that can lead to them doing weird things like aggroing and de-aggroing quickly or screaming over and over (looking at you witch). We have plans to make them much more intelligent and have them use more than just sight to hunt you down…

Sound rework

While we don’t have anything to show just yet, we’re going to be reworking all of the monsters sounds that fit their new animations. These new sounds will make the monsters much more threatening !

Settings Reworked + Steam Input

A few changes worth mentioning; settings are now stored in a cfg file in the game folder’s data directory and we’ve also switched over to SteamInput for controllers. What this means is that Steam should handle most of the controller work in the background. This provides support for a much larger range of controllers and also gives users the ability to customise the controls to their liking at a much finer level. For example, being able to modify deadzones, change the way buttons work, enable haptics etc.

Bug Tracker + Whole bunch of bug fixes

We’re getting a ton of usage out of the new bugtracker. We’ve been able to identify several issues linked to each other by having the tracker, so it’s been a huge help. Massive appreciation to the moderators for what they do! If you spot anything that isn’t already on there, make sure to post it on our discord or on the steam discussion boards.

Also, remember that the bugtracker is open to the public for comments so if you want to add something in relation to the bug, please do.

Glowstick Changes

That’s right, glowsticks are being changed!

We’ve decided to make them a little more interactive. Currently on live, we have some new physics enabled which will allow them to bounce around a little (it’s a video):

This is cool and all, but Michal wanted to do something even better… Introducing throwable glowsticks! We’re going to be adding this shortly but you will now be able to “charge” your throw and launch glowsticks with some distance. Of course, short taps will still drop them on the floor but this new mechanic can be used to pinpoint areas,  check corridors or just for fun. (NOTE: Does nothing to stop monsters running at you).

Check out the video below:

Randomisation Updates

This is the sort of complexity you can expect from a level 1 maze

Randomisation has had a ton of work done to it over the past two months. Since last time, we’ve implemented the objective system, cleaned up generation, added puzzle generation, got monsters working, added start and end points and created a scaling system based on the users level. There’s a bit of work to do yet and we’d like to get a couple maze types ready before release, but this one is very close now! Keep your eyes peeled…

Horrible Anti-aliasing aside, check out our levels!
Having fun playtesting some of the generation

Testing the randomisation mode, we can say it definitely brings back that fear of being lost. For those who have played Labyrinthine’s story chapters a few times, you will have likely mentally mapped the areas and know the best routes for escape. Having that safety net removed, you are once again being stalked in unfamiliar territory. We are not looking forward to testing with the new AI reworks!

Higher levels will definitely be more of a challenge!

There’s a lot more we want to bring to the table with the randomisation mode, including new traps, monsters, maps and secrets. It’s likely it will initially release semi-barebones and then be improved upon as we go. We think there’s a ton of potential if we pull this mode off right and we’ve got a few incentives to play it regularly up our sleeves too! For example, we’ve been testing the water with a customisation system. We’re planning to include customisation options for players to find within the randomised mazes, with some items being super rare and spawning only in certain maze types. Stay tuned for more of this though!

While this looks super goofy, it’s a development screenshot showing a skin with woodchips, as well as a customisation option, the red cube (that was off center but I don’t have a better pic to hand!).

We also found this on google and thought it would fit in great with the Jonny Honks fair theme!

Who doesn't want to run around with a sausage on their head?

Chapter 5 Updates

I think nearly everyone in discord is sick of seeing “When is chapter 5?” being asked several times a day so let’s get chatting about it!

It gets asked so much, we even built a bot which uses natural speech patterns to respond, though in practice it went a bit wild!
Quickly..

Let’s start off by saying Chapter 5 is unlike anything seen so far, not just in the environment, but also the visual quality and gameplay, let me explain why…

History Time

If you don’t really care why chapter 5 is taking time, feel free to skip ahead to the good stuff, I’ll leave a title for you.

Labyrinthine was started in October 2019 with a planned release of October 2020. I won’t go into the full details and bore you but we spent a few months working on the original plan for the game, one giant maze that was hosted on a dedicated server. We then reworked the game into what you see today, several chapters with four players per game. These months lost obviously meant we had to work quicker to reach our intended release date. Thanks to the fantastic kickstarter supporters, both Zach and Lonnie were able to go full time and we were fully on track for our halloween release. That is, until we were hit by several checks by steam that we didn’t expect. This caused us to cut content from Chapter 3 to get the game out; Something that has been painfully obvious from players reactions to it.

We had originally intended to rework Chapter 3 after the Early Access release and just get it up to what we had planned, but that’s when we were hit with problem #2. Steam Refunds.

Any aspiring game developers out there, watch out; any game selling for more than $5 with less than 2 hours of content will be refunded. A lot. We sat and watched streamers play through the game, get to the end and say “That was good fun, and we’re still in time to get our money back” and it wasn’t even an uncommon occurrence sadly (honestly, people were openly writing in the refund reason that they were refunding it as they completed the game or because they were under the limit).

The reworks to Chapter 3 never got done because we put all of the focus in getting Chapter 4 out as well as fixing all of the networking issues that had cropped up. We then had to spend some time getting Chapter 4 reworked as it had been rushed due to the amount of refunds we were getting so the small sample size of testers didn’t reflect the wider audience. If you look at our time-line, it sort of looks like this

EA release -> bug fixes -> Chapter 4 + Network Overhaul -> bug fixes -> Chapter 4 rework -> bug fixes

The Chapter 4 rework was well received and the average playtime was now over the refund time, which brought down our refunds substantially.

So then we are there in April; we’re earning enough to keep us all in full time employment, we’re bringing in new talent to speed things up and improve and we don’t have the same levels of urgency that we did before. We are going to go all out this time round and really deliver something that players will love. We want to show people what we’re capable of!

Okay, time for the good stuff

Chapter 5 looks stunning. With all the pressures lifted, we’ve taken things a little slower and properly planned out how we want the game to feel and look. We’ve spent time learning new techniques, doing more photoscans and perfecting our art workflow. Unity is often given a bad reputation for “looking bad” but that’s simply not true. Just check out some of these images from in-game!

A sleuce gate and bridge combined!
A large barn house within the swamp
Floating shanty shacks
One of the objectives

We’re sure the pressing question is still “when is chapter 5?”. The answer is simply, when it’s done.

We can’t give any solid dates as we then have to stick to them and that means rushing stuff again. We’ve got a hell of a lot of it done already despite it being a large map but we’d rather have it to a quality we want before we start making any promises or estimates.

Every building will have interiors to explore

It’s probably not the news a lot of people want to hear, but we think it’s the right direction and we’d like to think most people would agree (I’m sure many people will let us know!).

We intend to revisit the old zones too and rework them to meet our standards (after Chapter 5 of course!). There’s a lot of potential for Labyrinthine to grow into and we fully intend to keep it growing as long as we can.

Time to end the update

As always, join discord if you haven’t, check out the merch and take a minute to leave us a positive steam review! (It really helps us!)

Thanks for making it this far into the dev update, it’s definitely been a long one! Below are the Chapter 5 screenshots uncropped (done on an ultrawide screen).

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Oof

    Yooooo!

  2. Llava

    Noice

  3. Seprus

    First

  4. Swarex

    first

  5. regal gryphon

    first

  6. Amallah

    First?

  7. yasss

    NOICE

  8. Glitch

    My friends and I play and stream this all the time. It’s an amazing game and we can’t wait for the updates. Keep up the awesome work

  9. Technique

    Lets fucking go finnallyyyy

  10. Bob

    I’m never gonna stop playing this

  11. F0x

    SHEESH KEEP IT UP

  12. JuaMPeXx

    Please put the game in Spanish,
    It is the third most spoken language and it is not in this beautiful game

  13. JuaMPeXx

    Plox pongan el juego en español, es el 2 idioma mas hablado del mundo y no esta en este hermoso juego. por favor se los pido chavales. buen juego XD

    1. Valko Studios

      Hey Jua,

      We said in the blog that Spanish is coming; We’re just waiting for the translation to be completed. 🙂

  14. Amanda

    This is awesome! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on 🙂

  15. Phantom_Diore

    Been here for this game since day 1 and have never asked for my money back. People need to understand what early access is and stop whining for a refund. If you can’t appreciate the work being put into the development of a game, by all means wait for the full release. Glad that the devs can now focus on their project without having to worry about financial uncertainty. I love supporting early access games because playing them allows me to appreciate the time, details and changes that went into the creation of the game.
    Every time a change is made, I make sure to go back and replay the chapters.
    @Devs Looking forward to the next update. Keep up the good work.

    1. Valko Studios

      Thanks Phantom! We love that there are players still around from day 1!

      We can’t blame people not understanding early access… due to other devs using it as a scapegoat for bug-ridden full releases, early access has lost it’s meaning sadly. But like you said, we’ve got the financials down, now it’s time for us to make Labyrinthine into something special!

      1. kwalk

        they messed mine up wiped laptp and ive been left with f all wtree involved aswell how can i fixit as yay wont or oculus

  16. puota

    bebabababu beebebe? bonos sue du fulte alto meis oto ged roui

    1. tobi

      bunus tres osa bes? testo boos 5 tris oha tes kasa sei ona dos

  17. Syrena

    hey was just wondering if anyone knows if you can test chapter 5 in steams beta mode i know you were able to with other early access games id love to play this game chapters 1 to 5 (even a beta or preview in one go on my stream if im able to thanks all 🙂

  18. Landon

    But when will chapter 5 released?

  19. Cadenator

    Can I comment first?

  20. Uschi

    Es ist genau mein Spiel, ein Spiel in dem man sich wunderbar verlaufen kann. Wo ich doch keine Orientierung habe.
    Die Momente, wo aus der hecke die kleinen Holzgeister Springen sind klasse und erschrecken mich immer noch, obwohl ich das schon einige mal gespielt habe und eigentlich weiß, das sie da sind, davon dürfte es gerne mehr geben.

    Es wäre schon klasse, wenn einige Gruselige Hände aus der Hecke greifen würden, wäre sicherlich eine tolle zusätzliche erschreck Sekunde.

    Ich freu mich schon auf das neue Kapitel!

  21. Goforth

    Looks great!

  22. Alpha_Potato

    SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESH

  23. DeathSpank

    So I was just randomly checking out games on my wishlist. Looking for discounts and updates on EA games. Saw this game and figured I’d read the latest update to see if this game was beeing worked on or if it was “abandoned”. Was glad to see that not only is it beeing worked on – but worked on by what seems passionate developers. Was heartbreaking to read that some streamers play the game and then refund it once they are “done”. IMO thats abuse of the refund system and its intent. Regardless – I’m all for supporting passionate developers and games. So I’ll be buying this game for both myself and my friends. No refunds here either xP We love co-op horror games. Been burned by EA games before so was waiting to see how this game played out. And cant say I was dissapointed by what I read. Looking forward to playing your game and waiting with glee and exitement for future updates ^^ Good luck guys o/

    1. Valko Studios

      Thanks for the support DeathSpank, always good to see players who look beyond what’s currently available to see where the game is going 🙂

  24. Tim

    I smashed through this game with a couple of friends and it is hands down one of the most insanely fun, unique experiences out there. I compare it to Phasmophobia ( a game I have so damn much fun playing) but with a more forceful means of making everyone participate (instead of hiding in the damn van like in Phas.) which seriously makes for some of the funniest moments i’ve experienced to date with my friends. I think as soon as the 3rd chapter is remade and chapter 5 is released, I will definitely be taking another full game run 🙂

    seriously, fantastic job guys, I really love what you are doing and cannot wait to see what else you have in store for us!!

  25. Chuck

    Definitely worth its money and it’s sad to see that people refund after having fun. The price of Labyrinthine is less than a movie ticket and people don’t ask for a refund after seeing a movie and on top of that, the game is still in development so there will be more content for free.

    Also: Pig dude made me soil me undies. Looking forward to what’s to come. Kudos!

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