Phobos Down 0.0.5 alpha released

Time for another Phobos Down alpha update!

This update adds the long-promised "online features" which means global weekly challenges and high scores tables for them. Weekly challenge is a game mode where all players play the same game (same procedural generation seed) for one week and compete for the highest scores. Every week the game changes and the high scores are reset. Additionally there is a "release challenge" that works similarly but is active for four weeks after a new version is released.

One new feature which is probably not that important for the players, but was necessary to me, is the pause/photo mode that lets you pause the game and freely fly around with the camera snapping pretty screenshots. Press P or gamepad Y/△ to toggle photo mode.

The medical devices have been completely redesigned. You no longer need to stay standing close to the device because that made it really hard to use while being attacked. Now you can just activate the device and continue dodging bullets while slowly regaining health.

The previous update made last remaining enemies target the player at end of a wave to prevent having to hunt them down. This was a good change but I completely forgot that there are immobile enemies too. I now added indicator at screen edges pointing towards the stationary enemies to make finding them easier.

Here is the full change long since version 0.0.4:

Give it a go and let me know what you think! You can contact me through the contact form here or leave a comment on Itch.io page.

Downloads are available on Itch.io:

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Posted on 2023-12-18

Phobos Down 0.0.4 alpha released

This Phobos Down alpha update is quite a big one. I had a chance to show the game to local IGDA people and got a ton of useful feedback. Many changes here are based on that feedback as well as feedback from the people who played the last alpha version.

The enemy behavior has been refined, again. The enemies still mind their own business until the player hurts them or they bump into containers. The problem in the previous version was that the containers were never in any danger as long as the player kept shooting because all enemies forgot the containers when any of them got damaged. Now the enemies communicate more but only to a limited distance. If an enemy is damaged it calls only nearby enemies to help while more distant ones can continue attacking the containers. Also, when any enemy attacks a container, it asks others nearby to join in. The communication distances are set so that the player has to move around to keep the enemies in check. To prevent having to find the last few idle enemies wandering around at the end of a wave I made it so that all remaining enemies target the player at the end.

Now that the container damage is a real threat, I have added indicators at screen edges that notify the player of containers under attack off-screen.

The player is now rewarded with extra score for completing waves and missions without damage to corporation property (including yourself). After a long consideration I have added a small score cost to activating devices dropped in from orbit. Story-wise this makes sense as the corporation wouldn't just hand out these for free but I'm a little worried that it might make some players avoid using the devices even though the cost is so small that usually killing just one enemy pays it back.

Here's what has changed since version 0.0.3:

All feedback will be appreciated! You can contact me through the contact form here or leave a comment on Itch.io page.

Downloads are available on Itch.io:

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Posted on 2023-10-17

Phobos Down 0.0.3 alpha released

It's time for another alpha update for Phobos Down! In addition to usual list of bug fixes this update brings some new game content too. There are multiple new enemies, weapon modifiers and device drop pods that add some much needed variation to the game.

Here's the full list of changes since version 0.0.2:

All feedback will be appreciated but I'm specifically interested in how you feel about current game difficulty. Is staying alive too hard? What are the situations that get the player killed and feel unfair? Keep in mind that the game is supposed to be more about high scores and fun gameplay than brutal struggle to survive.

You can contact me through the contact form here or leave a comment on Itch.io page.

Downloads are available on Itch.io:

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Posted on 2023-08-09

Phobos Down 0.0.2 alpha released

This update focuses mostly on addressing issues reported from the first alpha version.

The most noticeable change is proper enemy behavior logic. I wanted to say it was improved but there was no logic before, enemies simply continuously ran towards the player. They still aren't too smart and will never be because I want their behavior to be predictable. After all, this is a minimal high score shooter game, not a life simulation.

In general, the indigenous lifeforms on the planet don't really care about the player until the player gets in their way or attacks them. Same goes for the containers. The enemies will only attack containers if they are blocking their way and they have nothing more important to do at the moment. So as long as the player gives them something more pressing to do by keeping them angry, they leave the containers alone.

Multiple testers asked for the game to pause so that they have time to read the instruction texts at the beginning. I already added a pause there but then ended up removing it because I never liked it and because it's no longer needed as the enemies don't immediately attack the player anymore. Problem solved.

The single most requested feature was unrestricted mouse cursor. I personally like the "weird" mouse cursor behavior where it's kept near the player because I tend to lose sight of the cursor as I focus on the enemies and the action in other games. For those (many) people who disagree, there is now an option for freely moving cursor. One problem is that the weapon management UI has been designed for radial user input (gamepad stick or the old "weird" mouse cursor), so it does feel a little unintuitive with the freely moving mouse cursor that can now go way outside the circular UI. I will likely have to do something about that later on.

Here's the full list of changes since version 0.0.1:

In the next update I will hopefully get to adding more content like new enemy types and weapon modifiers.

All feedback will be appreciated. You can contact me through the contact form here or leave a comment on Itch.io page.

Downloads are available on Itch.io:

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Posted on 2023-06-27

Phobos Down 0.0.1 alpha released

It's not exactly "early 2023" like I estimated for the first public alpha release for Phobos Down but it is here now!

The game is in playable state with all core mechanics in place. There are currently only a few enemy types and weapon modifiers so the gameplay does get repetitive quite fast and the missions that are supposed to be harder are way too easy (because the really tough enemies are missing). High scores tables and online features are also completely missing. The visuals and audio are going to need a lot work in coming updates.

All feedback is very welcome as very few people have actually played the game so far. Send feedback through the contact form here or leave a comment on Itch.io page.

Downloads are available on Itch.io:

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Posted on 2023-05-29

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