More Ability Slots

Since the beginning I’ve been trying to add more options to what you can do during a battle. You got your abilities, blocking, dashing, moving forward, and recharging. Most recently, countering was introduced which helps make battles more dynamic by adding a comeback risk/reward system. In general I feel like there is now enough to do during a battle.

Where I found the game lacking was in the 4 ability slot limit. Using 4 abilities feels nice, but it became a problem with introducing new abilities to the game. As I added abilities, there would be some interesting ideas that would come up, but I couldn’t justify using one of your 4 ability slots on it because it was so niche or because it didn’t match the utility of some other abilities.

My first attempt was pretty extreme. I wanted to add more abilities without having people go through more number keys. I decided to try to work with submenus. So pressing 1 would open up your first submenu of abilities that would contain 3 abilities within it. Pressing 1 again would use the first ability of that submenu. There would be 3 submenus, for a total of 9 abilities.

AbilitySubMenus

I thought it was a good idea but it ended up working poorly. First of all, having submenus made it so you couldn’t at a glance see what abilities you had available. Instead when you pressed 1, the submenu would pop up which would guide your eyes to it and away from the fight. Instead of instantly giving a command with a single key press, you would need to press 2 keys. If you were stuck in a submenu and realized you would rather use an ability in a different submenu, then you had to exit the current one, enter the new one and select the ability. It just completely disrupted the flow of battle.

So then came my second attempt. Even though you have 4 abilities, you don’t realistically have 4 ability options available at all times. If your monster is past a certain distance from the enemy then most melee abilities aren’t really an option. When up close, most projectiles and boosts aren’t really an option. There are already abilities like Charge that you can’t even use when in close range.

So I decided that maybe having 4 abilities available at a time was fine, but that the 4 abilities available would change depending on your monster’s distance from the enemy monster. It didn’t work out well. The flow of battle was once again disrupted. Dashing away and from close range and queuing up a projectile to use mid-air was a common tactic that could no longer be used. Using melee abilities from out of range was actually pretty useful to get close up if your monster has some good speed, and this took that away as well.

It took a lot of time to try these ideas out, but I’m glad I explored them. In the end I decided that the way abilities work and feel is already in a good place and so I need to try to maintain that. So the simplest and most obvious approach that I was trying to avoid ended up being the right choice. In the next patch, your monster will simply have 5 abilities available rather than 4.

5Abilities

Because I wanted to avoid the use of another number key I made Q the key to use for the fifth ability which ended up feeling the most comfortable. While it might seem out of place not making it a number key, there were always plans to add in a special ability that would use all 3 bars of EX meter by pressing F. I will leave the 5 key as an option as well. The Xbox gamepad controls are also being changed a bit to allow for this expansion in ability options.

After a lot of testing, I think 5 abilities really adds enough variety in abilities to the game. You really feel the luxury of being able to take an extra tool into battle after already having most of what you feel you needed. This will add a lot more variety as players will find themselves with extra options and hopefully more strategies and interesting new abilities will emerge.

Also, new patch coming soon.

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v0.1.0.1 Hotfix Health Regen In Wilds

Bug Fix

A bug was fixed that prevented monsters from regening their health after entering the next level in the Wilds. This resulted in a very difficult experience in the Wilds, especially at lower levels. Sorry for that, it took me a while to notice…

Health should now fill back up after entering through a portal.

Patch v0.1.0.1 Tag Me In Patch

Patch v0.1.0.1

Fixed the Freezing Bug

Fixed a bug where the game would freeze after losing in the Wilds. You would spawn back at the PlayerHub unable to move. It was a pretty annoying bug and I’m sorry it took this long to fix it.

2v2 Rework into 2v2 Tag

2v2 Tag will be replacing the current 2v2 mode because the game is balanced around 1v1 combat and there were a lot of broken things with 4 monsters in the arena at once. This will also make it much more possible for a single monster to take on 2 enemy opponents of the same level.

The command for switching targets will now tag your teammate back in instead. If your teammate is an AI then you can use this command to tag yourself back in.

Here you can see 2v2 Tag in action:

I want 2v2 battles and coop to be a big part of the game so that it’s more than just a fun wacky mode that the current 2v2 system is. I want it to be a competitive and strategic mode and I would like to offer coop experiences in PvE. This is one big step towards that.

I’ve tried cleaning it up as best as I could but I’m sure there will still be an issue or two with 2v2 Tag so please let me know what you experience so I can try to fix it as soon as possible.

AITrainerInRedArena

In the Red Arena you will find an AI Trainer standing around. This AI will spawn with a random monster when you enter the map. You can add that AI Trainer to your party to try out 2v2 battles vs 2 AI. I will figure out how to best make this option available in the future.

Settings and Stability

The game has had some problems with people getting stuck in menus and problems with video settings not saving properly after setting them. I have fixed a few bugs that were causing this, but it was also caused because the game fails to detect the ideal resolution for people’s monitors. Due to sometimes giving players higher resolutions than their monitors support, the UI would bug out in FullScreen and Borderless modes.

To fix this, I have made the default settings set the resolution to 1280×720. The default screen mode will also be Windowed rather than Borderless. And to help some players on lower end machines, the default resolution quality setting will be set to 80 rather than 100.

In order for existing players to experience these new default settings you will have to delete your current SettingsSaveSlot.sav file which is located in C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\m_4_14\Saved\SaveGames

It’s better for new players to get low settings at the start and be able to set their settings higher than it is for players to have high settings at the start and sometimes be unable to set them lower due to graphics issues. This should at least help players on lower end machines a little bit.

Graphics settings should also properly save after closing the settings menu now. Also you can press the ESC key again to close the escape menu.

These changes to settings have the potential to mess some stuff up. I haven’t noticed anything in my tests but I’ll be keeping a close eye on things and will try to patch any problems as quickly as possible

Arena Auto Level Removed

Monsters will no longer auto level to 10 in the Arena. Instead monsters below level 10 won’t be available to use in the Arena, and you will need a level 10 monster to even go through the Arena Portal.

Having monsters auto level created a lot of problems, such as stat points carrying over outside of the Arena resulting in low level monsters with all 10 stat points. It also made leveling your monster seem a bit pointless.

The main issue that I had before having monsters auto level to 10 in the Arena, was that new players would go straight into the Arena and unknowingly put up their level 1 monsters vs other player’s level 10 monsters. Needless to say, this wasn’t very fun for them. With Auto Level, new players would come in and be a bit overwhelmed in the Arena with everything available. Then they would leave the Arena and see everything they had available to them be taken away. Now new players won’t be able to enter the Arena and it will be clear to them that they should go into the Wilds and learn the game a bit first as they level their monsters up to 10. This should result in a better initial experience in the Arena.

Abilities

DrainBite

Draining Bite – A melee bite ability that does 10 damage and heals for 15. Even though the attack can be blocked, the healing will still take place.

EX Draining Bite(Vampiric Bite) – Works the same as Draining Bite but will heal for 25.

Draining Bite is a bite ability that is only available to monsters with fangs. Currently only Sooth Saber and Terram can use it

IceWall

Ice Wall – A wall obstacle ability. It has 15 health rather than 25 health like Rock Wall. The up side is that for every melee strike an opponent does to the Ice Wall, they gain a Chill stack which will bring them closer to being frozen(FYI: It takes 5 Chill stacks to become frozen).

EX Ice Wall(Ice Fort) – Works like Rock Fort, but again less health and applies Chill stacks to opponents using melee abilities. It spawns three walls in front of your monster. These walls unlike the standard Ice Wall will block heavy projectiles.

2v2 Tag Battle

2v2 Tag will be replacing the current 2v2 mode because the game is balanced around 1v1 combat and there were a lot of broken things with 4 monsters in the arena at once. This will also make it much more possible for a single monster to take on 2 enemy opponents of the same level.

The command for switching targets will now tag your teammate back in instead. If your teammate is an AI then you can use this command to tag yourself back in.

Here you can see 2v2 Tag in action:

 

I want 2v2 battles and coop to be a big part of the game so that it’s more than just a fun wacky mode that the current 2v2 system is. I want it to be a competitive and strategic mode and I would like to offer coop experiences in PvE. This is one big step towards that.

Also make sure to join the M.EXE steam group here: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/mdotexe

And the M.EXE discord here:
https://discord.gg/NTfhCku

Patch v0.1 Bye Rat Hi Cat

Patch v0.1.0.0

Psyrat has been remodeled by Adri.

Take a look here for some of Adri’s art: http://the-7th-plane.tumblr.com/
You might see a sneak peek of a future monster.

Psyrat has also been renamed to Soothsaber. This is a completely new model with new animations. Gameplay-wise nothing has changed for this monster, other than a bit of an increase in size, but as I add more abilities to the game you can bet Soothsaber will get something for its big teeth and thick tail.


Gameplay

Monsters are now able to connect melee abilities vs opponents who have recently been knocked back by a previous attack. Previously your monster would miss a follow up melee attack due to the enemy still being pushed back the the initial blow. Now your monster will detect when an enemy is being pushed back and will advance accordingly to land the strike. This does not affect an opponent who is dashing.

Abilities

Some abilities have been changed to counter attack abilities. Using a counter attack ability will put your monster in the counter state significantly faster than the current default counter command. The counter attack is also performed much faster than a regular counter with a lot less options of defending vs the attack. This makes using counter attack abilities much safer than the standard counter. The drawback is that these are EX abilities and so they have limited use. The meter is also used up, regardless of whether a counter attack ability is actually triggered or not.

EX Taze – Is now a counter attack ability. This helps separate it from it’s standard version and makes Taze a more versatile ability to pick up.

EX PsyPush – Is now a counter attack ability. The main purpose of PsyPush is to keep distance between you and your opponent. Even though PsyPush is relatively quick, EX PsyPush can now be used for the situations where PsyPush wouldn’t be quick enough to stop an enemy attack.

EX Haymaker – Is now a counter attack ability. Also known as Uppercut, EX Haymaker was a really good move. It was very fast and very hard to react to, even when expecting it. It needed a change but simply making it slower and increasing the damage would have gone against the spirit of the attack. As a counter attack ability, Uppercut remains a fast hitting knockdown attack and a powerful ability. Just a little less powerful.

EX FirePunch – Is now a counter attack ability. Just like Uppercut, Flame Uppercut has received the same change for the same reasons.

Current obstacle abilities such as Rock Wall now spawn a certain distance in front of the caster rather than directly in between the caster and their opponent. This seems to feel more fitting for the current obstacle abilities. The exception to this is when monsters get closer than that certain distance, at which point the ability will instead spawn directly in between the monsters. The reason for that is to prevent a few exploits that could be done on close up opponents.

Psyrat Remodel + New Artist

Psyrat is getting a remodel, and probably a new name too. I’ve gotten help from a talented artist who generously decided to create and donate some her art for the game.

Her name is Adri and she’s a pretty cool banana

nana

You can check some of her art out here

Turns out she’s pretty skilled in 3D modeling as well and, needless to say, I got pretty excited when she showed me this:

psyratremodel_2

Psyrat was probably the monster that was in most need of a remodel and now it’s gonna be pretty dope looking. I’ve been working hard to get this model in-game and so far so good.

psyratremodel

psyratroar

psyratrecharge.jpg

I’m still making animations and some small adjustments but the new Psyrat(or whatever its name will be) should be in-game soon with the next update. Maybe one day Adri can make a rat looking monster and a new Psyrat can make its appearance into the arena.

Adri has also sent me more 3D models to put into the game and they look great as well. You can check them out in future posts.