Welcome back everyone!
I'm super excited and very nervous at the same time as I type this update, but here we go ...
By the time you read this, you should find an email in your inbox (or, you know, your junk folder) containing a Steam key.
If you pledged for multiple keys don't worry, this is just the first step so everybody can try out the demo, you will get your additional keys once we release.
This key will give you access to 2 very different builds:
- the "default branch" is the build we have been using for press and events. It is several months old and as such lacks many of the latest features and fixes that have been added since. You might want to give it a spin though, as it contains an old iteration of the Sweatshop level which is not present in the latest demo.
However the real meat is on...
- the "backer branch" : to access the latest, Kickstarter-backer-exclusive demo, you will have to right click on Tower 57 in your games list:
Then click on "properties", and locate the "BETAS" tab:
And finally, enter the code you received in the email with the key, click "CHECK CODE", and then select the Kickstarter Backers Branch in the drop-down menu right above where you entered the code.
That's it! Your Steam client should now download and install the latest demo.
A short word about the artistic side of things: (from Cyangmou)
Everything went according to plan and I made lots of progress the last months. I am on schedule, maybe even a bit ahead of it. About 97% of all necessary graphics for the game are done. This number excludes all of the polish I could add at this point - there is always an empty corner in the world where something could get added if there is just the right idea.
Don‘t worry if you see some freelance work I am sharing on twitter – it‘s all going according to plan, but I am also doing freelance gigs again.
The Kickstarter money we set aside for the graphics was well spent on everything we have produced so far. It is quite an achievement for myself, considering the time I had.
All I hope for, is that once you play the demo, you will enjoy the visuals and the game world.
I also set up a twitch channel, which I am using occasionally. There is no schedule, I use it only if I feel like streaming.
If you want to see me creating some art, you can follow me there and jump in once I go online: https://www.twitch.tv/cyangmou
I wish all of you a very nice Christmas and of course a Happy New Year.
Best to all of you from your
Thomas / Mou / Cyangmou
A few quick words about the demo:
Starting with the obligatory disclaimer that this is still a work in progress, and as such is subject to change, refinement, still contains bugs, and does not represent the final quality (especially the sound, which is 95% placeholders and in many places completely lacks sound effects).
Similarly a word about controllers: in theory a lot of different controllers are supported. In practice, we've only had the chance to test a few ^_^# Your best bet is of course going with an Xbox gamepad, but if you are having issues with a specific controller please feel free to email me to let us know! Also please note that currently you need to make sure your controller is plugged in before you start the game.
Now, one of the latest "layers of polish" to come in is typically things like tutorials, visual feedback, prompts, etc. We're not quite there yet, therefore some mechanics might appear a bit obscure in the demo, since they are neither clearly explained nor give appropriate visual / sound feedback.
In particular the mini-games have little to no proper UI / visual feedback, so they take a bit of trial and error before figuring out how they work.
If you are the kind of person who likes to discover things by yourself and don't enjoy being told what to do and where to look, please feel free to scroll to the very bottom of this update, as there is nothing left for you to enjoy except our heartfelt thank you's :)
However if you want to know what to expect from the demo, then keep reading!
Still here? Great, let's do this!
Your journey starts on board of the train taking you to Tower 57. Of course things don't go quite as planned, and you will have to fight your way to the front of the train.
This short introductory level gives you a chance to get acquainted with controls such as moving, shooting, and dashing in a relatively safe environment.
After sneaking your way in, you will have to trudge your way through the old sewer canal in search for a way back to the surface.
This is the first proper level of the game, and will introduce several types of enemies, pressure plates, terminals, secret rooms, and a couple more things.
This is the hub level of the game. Here you can visit several different shops, upgrade your weapons, play mini-games, visit the Founder's Monument, save your game, swap characters, and generally get a feel for the world of Tower 57.
THIS IS ALSO WHERE THE DEMO ENDS! Once you board the elevator to Pristine Pools, you will be unceremoniously kicked back to the main menu ^_^#
The Weapon Stashe sells weapons and upgrades:
The Tool Shed sells various tools and useful items:
The Black Market specialises in prosthetics and body part upgrades:
Da Hofer is the place to be if you want to grab some drinks, play some darts, or try your luck at Nageln:
And finally the Founder's Monument pays homage to the original founders and architects of the tower (that's you guys and gals!). Here you can view the names of all "founders". We grabbed this from the Kickstarter info, so if you can't find yourself / can't remember what you signed up under, or simply want your entry edited, please don't hesitate to contact me (benitosub at hotmail dot com) and I will get it updated asap :)
The classic coin-in-a-cup hustle: this one is the easiest to grasp, a coin is placed under a cup, cups are swapped around, and you must guess which cup the coin is under. Once the swapping is done, use left / right to select a cup, and A button / left mouse to select the cup.
Nageln: the goal in this game is to drive a nail into a tree stump before your opponent. Press your "fire button" (by default right trigger) and keep it pressed. When the little indicator thingie is in the green zone, let go of the fire button to hammer down the nail.
If you miss your hit there is a chance you will bend the nail, which reduces the effectiveness of the following hits.
Darts: the goal here is to reach a score of exactly 157 before your opponent. The small inner "bonus zones" count triple, and the outer bonus zones count double. If you go over 157, your score will simply remain as it was until you reach exactly 157.
The AI is still kinda dumb so the game itself is not too challenging yet, however there is currently a mysterious bug which will sometimes cause the game to not behave properly (like your cursor showing up behind the board) and pressing B to cause a crash... It's one of those "I can't reproduce it on my machine" bugs, so we decided to leave it in the demo, but rest assured it will get fixed eventually!
However if all works as it should, you will notice your cursor jumping wildly all over the place. Press your "fire button" (by default right trigger) to focus, thereby reducing how jittery your cursor is, and release your fire button to throw a dart. Be aware however that after a certain time, you will go out of focus again, so don't waste time in lining up that shot!
The "not-so-clearly-explained" mechanics:
You now get to pick 3 characters instead of 1. These characters act as your "lives": if you lose them all in the course of a level, the game is over, and you can chose to continue from the latest save point or start over (progress is saved at the start of every level, plus you can manually save your game at Amor's Den).
Every time you visit the hub after beating a level, you also have the opportunity to resurrect dead characters by trading Amber Boing Balls with the fortune teller.
Finally, there are closets strategically scattered throughout the levels, which allow you to switch to any of your available characters.
Options hidden away in the horribly placeholder-ish options menu:
If you are playing with a gamepad, you can enable "auto-aim" (really more like an aiming aid, you still have to aim in the general direction of enemies, but once you lock on an enemy, you will remain locked on it until you stop shooting) in the options menu. It's not quite polished yet, sometimes it will lock on stuff you don't want it to lock on, so it's turned off by default. But if you are having trouble aiming, give it a shot, it should greatly help.
And that's about it.
Not really actually, I'm probably forgetting a ton of stuff ^_^# But this should at least get you started!
As Thomas mentioned above, a lot of the graphical work is done or nearing completion. On the code side, our next big milestones will be console ports, online multiplayer, and of course a lot of bug fixing and polish.
Until then, I want to join Thomas in wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a bang-up New Year, and thank you all again for your support throughout this tumultuous year.
Marco & Thomas