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Lockdown Protocol 0.21.0 beta released

Lockdown Protocol has gone beta! This means that the game is feature-complete and from now on I will focus on fixing bugs and polishing existing features. The final version will likely be released in the first quarter of 2015.

Change list for this release is shorter than usual. I have made quite a lot of invisible changes under the hood, for example OIS library has been replaced with GLFW. The external display settings dialog has been removed and those settings can now be found in the in-game settings menu.

I made a new level background model to replace the one I quickly hacked together for the first alpha versions almost four years ago. Not a big change, but it somehow makes everything look prettier.

Here's full list of changes since 0.20.0 alpha release:

  • New more detailed background model.
  • Added some secret cheat codes.
  • Added video mode settings in system settings menu and removed external configuration dialog.
  • Removed network packet rate and decal count from settings menu.
  • Added support for copy/paste in menus.
  • Gamepad compatibility improvements.
  • Fixed load screen status text updating.
  • F2 key now releases input grab as workaround for cases where alt-tab does not work.

Here's some fresh video footage:

Download links have been updated on the game page. The update will soon be available on Desura too.

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Posted on 2014-12-14

Lockdown Protocol 0.20.0 alpha released

The big new feature in this release is local split-screen multiplayer support:

Precision kill in split-screen multiplayer match

There are also other changes related to multiplayer experience. Kills are no longer directly counted, but you get score for each kill, just like in single player game. Player with highest score wins. The idea is that this allows other means of winning than just kills. For example, in the the new multiplayer level "collector" there are sample vials that can be collected for score. In addition to just killing the other players, you will have to fight over access to the vials too.

All the planned major features have now been implemented. This game has been in development for well over four years, so it feels really good finally getting to this point. I'm still not setting any hard dead lines or final release date, but I will soon be switching to beta phase and it looks like the final release could be out sometime in the first quarter of 2015.

Here's full list of changes since 0.19.0 alpha release:

  • Added split screen multiplayer support.
  • Added support for two gamepads.
  • Multiplayer matches now complete based on score instead of only counting kills.
  • Added new weapon: Pain grenade.
  • Added new enemy: Sentry drone.
  • Added new multiplayer level: Collector.
  • Added separate "new high score" menu page for editing player name.
  • Tutorial level was completely redesigned.
  • Allow checking single player high scores during gameplay (by pressing TAB).
  • Store level completion time, kill count and collected vial count in high score data.
  • Replaced demo reminder overlays with preview time counter and chat messages.
  • Fixed broken laser beam fade out at maximum range.
  • Fixed speech bubble alignment error with text containing spaces.
  • Properly destroy remaining particles on match end.
  • Fixed high score file corruption if name contained leading or trailing white space.
  • Fixed wrong player skins sometimes shown on remote clients.
  • Disabled bullet hit fragment effects on humans.
  • Animated score label at end of match counts up from zero.
  • Fixed missing foot step sounds when walking backwards.
  • Added blinking highlight to collectible items to make the easier to spot in dark places.
  • Updated game logo.
  • Added small offset to explosion lights sources to better light the environment.
  • Fixed beam weapon shoot effects fading out too early.
  • Stop level start announcement sound when match ends or is restarted.
  • Improved blood stain decal placement and overlapping.
  • Added glow to alien blood stain decals.
  • Fixed occasionally missing blood splatter decals.
  • Updated all blood stain decal variants and added more of them.
  • Fixed shield energy level not showing in HUD on remote clients.
  • Strip trailing/leading white space from user input where it would cause problems.
  • Created bigger and better pulse rifle shot sound.
  • Toggle gamepad controller info from gamepad select/back button.
  • Removed lower lighting quality option from settings.
  • Removed looping action music.
  • Cleaned up some unnecessary warning and error messages in log file.
  • Embedded application icon to executable on Windows.

Download links have been updated on the game page. The update will soon be available on Desura too.

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Posted on 2014-11-09

Feature creep cleanup

I had one of the those days when you feel like the project you're working on will never finish and decided to take a critical look at my task list for Lockdown Protocol. I saw feature creep everywhere! There were a lot of wild ideas, accumulated over the years, that I once though would be cool and never stopped to think if they would actually improve the game, let alone how long it would take to implement them.

It was time for a major cleanup. I removed nearly half of the items on the list and prioritized what remained. I decided to post-pone a few features instead of dropping them completely, so that they won't stop me from finishing the game. I might implement them later on if more people actually start playing the game. Now the situation looks a lot better. I'm actually only a couple alpha releases away from feature-readiness.

Talking about removing features, I'm planning to remove the lighting quality setting, which in practice selects between per-vertex and per-pixel lighting. The performance difference between the two options is practically non-existent. It only gives one useless option for the player and double shader code maintenance work for me.

I have been making some progress too. Here's what I've been up to:

  • Split-screen local multiplayer. I'm really excited about this one! It's so much more fun playing with your friends physically in the same room. Remote players can still join the same match over the Internet or (W)LAN, so you can have more than two players in the match.

  • Multiplayer matches are now score-based. In practice this means that you get score for kills and match completes based on that score instead of kill counts. Normally this does not change gameplay at all, because the player with most kills still win. However, this allows creating multiplayer levels with other means of gaining score. I have added one new multiplayer level with vials to collect. There could also be levels with aliens to kill for score.

  • Sentry drones and one new weapon called pain grenade. Sentry drones are stationary drones floating in the air and guarding their perimeter. Pain grenade is.. uhm.. a tool for driving campers out of their holes :)

Here are some screenshots from the current development version:

I'm quite lazy in writing these posts here, so if you want more frequent updates, I suggest you follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

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Posted on 2014-10-19

Lockdown Protocol 0.19.0 alpha released

This release focuses on improving game play and making the game generally more fun. Most of the changes are based on feedback I got for the last alpha version and suggestions from test play sessions with friends.

The biggest change is the added shield device. Gun fights in open corridors with no cover available were a big source of frustration. The shield device aims to fix that by allowing creation of temporary cover. You will need to collect power cells to use it, so it's not always available.

Shield device in action

Enemy guards have been made easier to kill and there's a bit more of them now. This leads to game play with more action and less player deaths. At the moment the game play is slightly easier than I intended. It will get a little harder when I create one more enemy type and place them to existing levels.

There's also a new alternative multiplayer skin that can be unlocked by helping spread the word in social media. Select "Support / Share in social media" in the in-game menu to launch the browser, share a link to game page on social media services of your choice and the new skin will become available in player settings.

Here's full list of changes since 0.18.0 alpha release:

  • Added a shield device for creating temporary cover.
  • Added a blocked aim animation to prevent sticking weapons through doors and obstacles.
  • Made player character automatically switch aim pose to allow shooting over obstacles.
  • Added install.sh script that adds a launcher to applications menu in Linux.
  • Added install.vbs script that adds a shortcut to start menu in Windows.
  • Added an icon for the game.
  • Fixed a crash when trying to load an incompatible level twice.
  • Allow jumping while crouched (jumps a bit lower) for quick shooting over obstacles
  • Added a short reaction time delay to human AI to delay shooting when a target is seen.
  • Added short "laser sight" to all weapons.
  • Key cards are now picked up automatically.
  • Added floating labels to notify of picked up keycards.
  • Allowed interaction and picking up items while reloading.
  • Player no longer loses weapons on death in single player game.
  • Auto-reload by shoot button when clip is empty (separate reload button still works as before).
  • Guards no longer react to door opening sounds so you can sneak behind them.
  • Made all guards easier to kill.
  • Removed guard AI retreating when badly hurt.
  • Replaced "power cell" items with "sample vials" of two different size.
  • Replaced storage platform sounds with better ones.
  • Called platforms/elevators no longer stop in every position when empty.
  • Made all elevators/platforms move a little faster.
  • Made muzzle flashes fade in and out smoothly.
  • Fixed human shadows not getting properly hidden on death.
  • Fixed reload sound timing not matching the animation.
  • Improved weapon reload sounds.
  • Fixed missing elevator/platform interaction sounds while they are moving.
  • Enlarged elevator/platform direction indicator arrows to make them easier to see.
  • Lowered spider kill score and limited their number to prevent gaining score indefinitely.
  • Increased score for vials (previously power cells) to make them more important.
  • Increased shotgun spread to make it less effective at long distances.
  • Store screenshots in "user data directory" because game directory might not be writable.
  • Allow using guard skins in multiplayer matches for customizing the player character.
  • Added additional multiplayer skin as a reward for social media share.
  • Fixed destroyed objects left temporarily visible in level editor preview.
  • Fixed level title label not showing on clients.
  • Fixed indestructible sentry guns.
  • Removed force fields (replaced by the shield device).
  • Made keyboard+mouse control the default.
  • Fixed specular shading artifacts (white dots at model edges) when using anti-alias.
  • Fixed crouching player slowly sliding down slopes.
  • Decreased pulse rifle fire rate a bit to make it less effective on short distances.
  • Added a couch as a new decorative object.
  • Made camera shake effect sharper.
  • Removed recoil from Zapper weapon.

Download links have been updated on the game page. The update will soon be available on Desura too.

For the next release I'm planning to work on the high score related improvements that I initially planned for this release.

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Posted on 2014-08-25

Progress report

It has been silent here for a while now. Don't worry, although the development has been even slower than usually, Lockdown Protocol is still very much alive. I was on summer vacation from my day job and the weather has just been too good to sit indoors coding.

Planned content for the next alpha release is almost done. The plan was to make the game generally more fun to play and to alleviate the frustration caused by suicidal open corridor gun fights. Here are the most important changes already done:

  • Enemy guards have been made a lot easier to kill. They are weaker and no longer react to door opening sounds so you can sneak behind them.

  • A shield device has been added for creating a temporary cover. You can then crouch behind the shield and shoot over it. The aiming has also been improved so that shooting over obstacles is easier. The shield device requires power cells to work, so it is not always available. Force field generators have been removed completely.

  • Collected weapons are no longer lost on death, so you don't need to make the boring journey through already cleared empty corridors just to get a weapon every time you respawn.

  • Platforms and elevators move a bit faster and no longer stop on every position unless there's someone inside. Movement direction indicators have also been enlarged so that they are easier to see.

Now that the guards are considerably easier to kill, I will have to go through all existing levels and add more of them. The overall difficulty will still likely be a bit lower than before. I believe that this is a good change, since I want the average player to kill more and die less.

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Posted on 2014-08-10

Previous posts

2014-06-28 Change of plan
2014-06-08 Lockdown Protocol 0.18.0 alpha released
2014-05-31 New Lockdown Protocol alpha version coming soon
2014-04-19 Progress report
2014-03-07 Lockdown Protocol 0.17.0 alpha released
2014-03-06 Multiplayer game jerkiness issue solved
2014-02-26 Progress report
2014-01-30 Progress report
2014-01-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.16.0 alpha release
2014-01-11 Next Lockdown Protocol alpha release coming soon
2013-12-29 Lockdown Protocol's Year 2013
2013-12-16 Progress report
2013-12-01 Vote Lockdown Protocol for Indie of the Year on IndieDB
2013-11-24 New Lockdown Protocol alpha video
2013-11-05 Lockdown Protocol 0.15.0 alpha release
2013-10-03 Progress report
2013-09-19 Multiplayer matchmaking fixes
2013-09-01 Lockdown Protocol 0.14.0 alpha release
2013-08-07 Progress report
2013-07-09 Lockdown Protocol 0.13.0 alpha release
2013-07-02 Next release is shaping up
2013-06-09 Progress report
2013-05-22 Changing the physics engine part 2
2013-05-13 Changing the physics engine
2013-05-06 Lockdown Protocol 0.12.0 alpha release
2013-04-28 Website update
2013-04-23 No more hiding enemies
2013-04-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.11.0 alpha release
2013-04-07 Progress report
2013-02-25 Progress report
2013-02-08 The Platform Shooter 0.10.0 alpha release
2013-01-23 Level editor rework
2012-12-31 How to improve The Platform Shooter?
2012-12-25 The Platform Shooter 0.9.0 alpha release
2012-12-04 The Platform Shooter progress report
2012-10-29 Level sharing progress report
2012-10-24 The Platform Shooter 0.8.0 alpha release
2012-09-23 New video from The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha
2012-09-16 The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha release and 40% alpha discount
2012-09-04 The Platform Shooter 0.6.1 alpha release
2012-09-03 The Platform Shooter 0.6.0 alpha release
2012-07-10 The Platform Shooter 0.5.0 alpha release
2012-06-26 Plans for the future
2012-05-18 A little progress
2012-04-08 The Platform Shooter 0.4.0 alpha release
2012-03-18 Crouching and explosion improvements
2012-02-11 The Platform Shooter 0.3.0 alpha release
2012-01-26 Progress report
2012-01-07 Sentry guns and callable elevators
2011-12-14 The Platform Shooter 0.2.1 alpha release
2011-12-09 Bug fix release coming
2011-12-01 The Platform Shooter 0.2.0 alpha release
2011-11-21 Progress report
2011-11-06 Client side prediction rework
2011-10-22 Decal improvements
2011-10-20 Bend from the knees
2011-09-20 I can hear music!
2011-08-29 One bug fixed, one more revealed
2011-08-01 About mouse aiming
2011-06-20 The platform shooter public alpha release
2011-05-25 One more single player level
2011-05-22 First release is nearing
2011-05-10 A new game play video
2011-04-30 Level editor improvements
2011-04-20 Situation report
2011-03-23 Fighting network latency
2011-03-14 Level editor improvements and a HUD
2011-02-22 Single player level scoring
2011-02-13 Progress report and in-game video footage
2011-01-26 Network code changes
2010-12-30 Explosions
2010-12-22 The Platform Shooter
2010-08-16 Final Duel 2 is now free