Labyrinthine – Dev Blog #14

Labyrinthine – Dev Blog #14

Long time no see!

As you can see, this devblog has been delayed quite a bit; this is partly because of a piece of exciting news we will be sharing shortly.

The Old Story

One of the largest issues people had with our demo was the lack of information as to who you were, why you were there etc. We’ve been making this a priority and have actually done an internal overhaul of our original story.

The old story is written by a senior moderator from the /r/nosleep subreddit, Death By Proxy. While the story is great to read and works really well as a horror story, we were having issues trying to convey it into gameplay. There are a lot of complex scenes that are difficult to portray in a game. Not only that, a large portion of story was conveyed through interactions between four friends. With our flexible 1-4 player coop, it would have meant that players would have lost out if they didn’t play with the full four players.

For those wondering, the story had a great Lovecraftian tone and featured dimensional travel into the abode of an ancient god. In this realm, who gave into despair were twisted into monstrosities. Fantastic right? Difficult to potray! If you like the sound of this story, we highly recommend checking out Death By Proxy’s Patreon where you can read the original in it’s entirety.

The New Story

Here's a new piece of art by Jonny based on the updated story!

With the realisation of the complexity involved in trying to bring the old story forward into the game, we started looking at simplifying and rewriting. Lonnie had mentioned this to a friend who had taken interest in the project. Once again, we had a stroke of luck as it turns out he had actually spent his free time drafting up ideas he had for the game and its lore and this had evolved into an almost complete story.

The new story puts much less focus on the player and more onto the world. You aren’t person X with traits 1, 2 and 3; You are a person of your own making. This way works much better for both the player and the game. The player is the center of the story and can make it about themselves if they want and we have much more freedom to present the world of Labyrinthine in a much more lore-centric way.

We are hoping to release a lot more about the new story over the coming weeks; These will be done through some fun little posts such as newspaper clippings, polaroid photos, voice clips etc so stay tuned on our discord and social media!

So what is this news

When this game started, we were doing it together as a team of hobbyists in our spare time and everything felt very casual. When we did the steam demo crunch, things changed. We realised then that we have the ability to really crank out development given the time. We know we can deliver a great game, we know we will deliver more games after and the only thing holding us back is a lack of time. So how do we create more time? We cut other things out. During the crunch, sleep was usually cut and while this works for short periods, it comes with the inevitable crash at the end of it. So without sleep, the only other things that can be cut are free time and day-work…

So we have done something drastic. Zak has gone and quit his job as an IT Manager, Lonnie has dropped most of his Client work, Julian has also stopped taking on new work, Cindy is now home-studying and Dave has also cut back into his free time. This might not seem big news but it means a few things…

  1. We are committed to making Labyrinthine work.
  2. We aren’t going anywhere.
  3. We all have full belief in our effort.
  4. Time!

As mentioned, point 4 is so incredibly important to us. With up to 9 hours freed from our daily routines, we will be able to push development at a much more rapid pace than we have been doing. We start this routine on the 3rd August (Next week!!) so keep your eyes peeled. This is the reason we haven’t been posting too much in the past month or so – We’ve slowed development a little to allow everyone to get themselves prepared for a much more intense cycle. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy though! We have plenty of new pieces to share with you below.

Some Feedback Changes

A new spawn point

Before we start looking at new pieces, let’s go through a couple of changes. Our demo really brought in some great feedback and we’ve gone ahead and addressed as much of it as we could.

We're making up for it being so dark!

To start, people said that the maze was overall way too dark for them. We hear you! It was unnaturally dark and it made it even more confusing to navigate. To counter this, we’re increasing the brightness slightly and bringing more light sources in. Depth of field was another complaint – It prevented you from seeing the sky and made it difficult to look down corridors. We’ve gone ahead and tweaked it to be as realistic as we could. Another issue was the hedges. The wild bushy look was pretty unrealistic and made them too easy to get lost in. We have gone ahead and made it so the branches face downwards, fixed their AO and we have implemented some basic bending to help prevent players being stuck in them.

This is how the maze now looks, quite a bit more appealing than before!
You can now see the sky, a great way to navigate!
A better look at the hedge changes. Left is the old style, right is the new style.
Our updated grass shader with bend physics (apologies for the quality!)

There are more changes that are harder to show, for example, map changes. We noticed a lot of players were having issues in the section where you collect the word from the statues. We coined the term “INO loop” while watching people as it was all too common! We have tried to rectify it by making more landmarks and a handful of new paths to help break up the long routes.

We want to make it clear – We are listening to feedback!

Bring forth the 3D

Here’s a selection of new assets we’ve done recently. They may seem completely random, but trust us, they fit with the story and environment!

First up, we have a series of graveyard assets for the forest section of the game.

Next, some more modern equipment that fits with the new story.

And finally, we also have this great timelapse that Lonnie did for a bust!

Finishing up

So before finishing up, we just want to say thank you for everyone who has wishlisted us! We’ve had way more exposure than we were expecting at this stage and it’s great!

Over the coming weeks, we are hoping to head to kickstarter to try generate some funds to pay for tools, external work and marketing so keep your eyes open for that; Plenty of exciting rewards on offer!

We’re really appreciative of all the great feedback we’ve had. We want people’s input, it really does help and we take everything into consideration.

We hope this devblog makes up for the lack of updates from us. We will leave you with one last little goodie:

A sneak peek at an upcoming environment....

If you haven’t yet, please join our discord, we love seeing new faces and we are excited to hear people’s feedback, suggestions, questions, theories and everything in between!

Don’t use discord? No problem! You can still support us by liking our Facebook page or following our Twitter:

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