Phobos Down 0.0.7 alpha released

It's time for another Phobos Down alpha update!

Once again there is a long list of bug fixes and improvements. Probably the most visible additions is the glowing waving "trees". In practice, they are just simple static obstacles but they bring some much needed variation and more dynamic lights to the mission sites.

Another small but important visual change is that the player now turns into the direction of movement while not aiming instead of walking backwards long distances and looking stupid.

The character controller has received a lot of improvements. Walking up steep hills should now finally be smooth. This applies to the player and especially to the larger enemy types.

While there are no new enemy types added this time, I have made some changes to the existing ones. Relative enemy appearance frequencies have all been adjusted and fixes made so that the rare enemy types actually appear as infrequently as intended. One bigger change here is that the "spawner" enemy (the floating egg-like thing that spawns other enemies) has been turned into a rare special enemy type that appears at most once per wave. I did this because multiple simultaneous "spawners" were very tedious to fight and made the mission last way longer than intended.

As for new content, I have added stun projectile modifier that makes a weapon stun enemies for a while. There is also a stun device drop pod that can be used to stun a large number of enemies within range. The stunned enemies are then an easy source of kill streak or multi-kill score rewards. Stun projectiles make hitting fast-moving enemies a lot easier.

Here is the full change log since version 0.0.6:

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 2024-05-06

Phobos Down 0.0.6 alpha released

Next Phobos Down alpha update is here!

This update brings many improvements to visuals and audio. First of all, there is now music playing in the menu and during the place-holder intro sequence. During the gameplay, depending on the landing site's wind conditions, a wind sound is playing in background.

Only bit of actual game content added this time is the orbital strike device that lets you order a missile strike from the support ship in orbit.

Splatter and other particles effects have been fine-tuned to be more consistent. Most noticeable change is the splitting of previous fragment cubes emitted from explosions into two separate types: Metallic fragments and fleshy gibs. Both now vary in size and play sounds on contact with the ground. Gibs also leave a blood trail while flying through the air.

One problem that nearly all new player face with the weapon management UI has been accidentally destroying modifiers. Another problem that has been bothering even more experienced players is accidental weapon changes while interacting with devices. I previously made destroying modifiers require two button presses but that was just confusing. I now made a bigger change in the weapon menu interaction: A weapon is selected by a button press and installing or destroying modifiers requires holding the button down. This seems to be much more intuitive and also prevents the accidental weapon changes.

Here is the full change log since version 0.0.5:

Note: From this update on, I will be building Godot engine myself instead of relying on the pre-built binaries. This has the downside that Microsoft Defender will likely warn you about an "unrecognized app" when launching the game executable. This is because you're one of the first people to ever run the executable, so Defender knows nothing about it. You can either click "more info" from the dialog and then "run anyway" to let it run despite the warning or install the game through Itch.io application. Please let me know if you are having problems with this or you are seeing some unexpected warnings related to the game binary.

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 2024-02-26

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

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