In my last piece on the upcoming video game, currently titled Escape From Epstein Island, I noted that I would be doing weekly progress writeups on the game. On Friday afternoon I release the new weekly playtesters build into the telegram goup, which you can find here, and are welcome to join. They play the game, with some instructions from me, and report back what they find.

I’ve decided that the subtitle will be whatever is the most prominent new feature added to the game. In this case that was Schlomo the Spellcaster, although it could also have been Tina the Troon, two new enemies that have been created. I also figured that, going forward, it would be best for me to record myself playing the game for a few minutes, and then upload the video to Odysee.

The last build was a complete mess that existed purely so that I could make sure that the build was working on other people’s machines, as well as getting the process of handing out and receiving feedback up and running. This week’s build was the first time that the game was actually fun, if still entirely broken. I myself played it a number of times trying to best my own score.

Changes for this week’s build included but are not limited to:

  • The fed enemy no longer firing at the player from off screen.
  • “Holy water” grenade type weapon added to the game, with accompanying UI.
  • Fed enemy’s bullets now damage other enemies that are in between the player and the FBI agent.
  • Various fixes to the fed melee attack, such as actually damaging the player.
  • New enemy type: Schlomo the Spellcaster. He flees from the player at close range, and casts a six pointed star that turns into orbs that fire inwards at long range.
  • Enemies and the player can no longer walk on nor get stuck in walls, most of the time, although this is still quite buggy.
  • Experimentation with level layout, specifically giving the player more cover
  • Melee now regens a small amount of health upon contact with an enemy.
  • Improved spawner system, although this is just a placeholder. Building real scenarios is low priority right now, so the current system just spawns more and more enemies until eventually it overwhelms the player.
  • New enemy type: Troon. He throws his surgically removed genetalia at the player at far range, and tries to beat you with it at close range. Leaves a trail of damage dealing infected blood when moving around, which slowly disappears.

As mentioned earlier, I actually enjoyed playing this build, even if it goes from being totally unchallenging to mathematically impossible in a span of about twenty seconds. I told the playtesters to play just a few times, trying to beat my high score.

Most of them didn’t. Then someone did this.

To put this into perspective, the scoring system is so barebones that all I keep track of is how long you’ve survived for. Every second works out to one thousand points. For my top score, I survived a bit more than two hundred seconds. For this guy’s highscore, he survived for 51,219 seconds. This works out to 850 minutes, or about fourteen hours.

Initially I thought that he had broken the game. Now I think he must have simply photoshopped the score. It’s funnier to think that he really found some way to break the game, left it running while he did something else, and then decided to end the charade after fourteen hours. I asked, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. These kinds of things are expected in development, but it’s cute that I already have a playtester who is better at the game, or at least breaking it, than I am.

Anyway, while I think that the game should be as simple as reasonably possible, now is also the time to experiment with giving the player a few additional weapons, or at least alternative fire modes, for both the melee attack as well as the gun, add other enemy types that are planned to be in the game, such as Mossad snipers, body positive bruisers, and the adult-baby enthusiasts, with their accompanying mechanics.

In addition, we’re experimenting with giving the player multiple fire modes, grenades/holy water working differently, different melee attacks such as a slide, the ability to throw your melee weapon, etcetera. Now is the time for radical experimentation, and just shoving things in there. I don’t think that will change for the next few weeks. The strategy is to create a giant mess, and then edit it down to something more functional. There really is no point in tweaking anything at this point, although the UI does need some work so that the playtesters can at least figure out what’s going on.

I’ll see you next week.

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