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Frustration is inevitable. Now in HD!

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GIF dev update - August 2018


Things have been kinda quiet on the official dev blog. I honestly forget about posting here 😛  I guess it doesn't matter too much, since right now nobody actually reads stuff posted to the website... Oh well 🙂 

Please be reassured that development of this game is still going ahead. In fact, there have been a LOT of cool updates over the past 6 months. The dev team has been working hard behind the scenes to try and get this game finished (although it's taking a really long time, because everyone is super busy, especially Paul and Trevor, and shuffling real life responsibilities around game dev is very challenging). We've settled into our roles as follows:

We're also looking for new recruits to help learn the ropes and get involved with development of future titles. If you know of anyone who might be suitable and interested, or you might be interested yourself, please get in touch 🙂 

Zone Previews

The original plan with GIF was to build 4 zones, with around 30 levels per zone. This was later revised down to 3 zones (classic, ice and factory) with 25 levels per zone, giving 75 in total (and of these, we have about 60 playable right now, with 5 or 6 more under development).

The first zone is currently called the classic zone - named because it contains all of the classic levels from the original release of the game (although we're likely going to rename it, since most people will be new players who won't recall the original). Here you can see a screenshot of how one of these levels looks right now:


It certainly looks better than the original... 😛 


The new HD remaster looks great even at resolutions as high as 4K, so I'm confident you will love it 🙂 Trevor has done a really outstanding job. We've tried to maintain the original feel as closely as we can, while giving it that fresh, modern, professionally produced look that people have come to expect from video games nowadays. Hopefully that has paid off!

The classic zone has some new levels too. When designing these levels, we wanted to introduce a few new concepts which were aesthetically and thematically fitting with the rest of the zone. This means you're going to see lava in some of the later levels, along with fireballs that jump out at you from beneath:


You'll probably also notice here that we've swapped the madblock and player colours around. It seems to look nicer that way and helps the game to stand out a bit more from some other titles.

The only aspect that really needs to undergo significant work for the classic zone is the backgrounds. We're going to replace them with parallax backgrounds. It's on the to-do list. Hopefully you can see a preview soon 🙂 The rest of the zones also have this to look forward to, as they're using placeholder backgrounds right now which are just retints.

So, how do the other zones differ?

Well, the ice zone is designed around environmental hazards. In this zone, you'll encounter things such as slippy floors, crumbling floors, dripping icicles, snowballs, snow blocks that fall to make new paths, etc. These new hazards add to most of those seen in the classic zone (hot blocks, mad blocks, invisible blocks and lava), albeit with retints to make them more fitting with the environment.

Here's a sneak preview of how this looks:


Finally, the factory zone is all about solving puzzles to reach the end, by means of a series of coloured buttons that you have to use to toggle hazards on and off. In addition to the standard hazards, you'll see forcefields, lifts, ladders, pistons, conveyor belts and steam vents, with most being toggle-able. If you want to reach the end of the level, you'll have to figure out which buttons to press, and in which order (as well as dodging the usual hazards of course!)

Here's how this looks right now:



This is a huge expansion from the original version of the game which will hopefully bring many hours of inevitable frustration to your homes 🙂 

Leaderboards and Medals

I'm pleased to reveal that the PC release has been integrated with the Steam leaderboard service, providing friend-based leaderboards. The level select has also had a huge overhaul, showing you a picture of each level along with the leaderboard info. Here you can see that working (please note the GUI is "programmer art" right now and is likely to see visual improvements before release):


We've also set up a medals system. Each zone requires a certain number of medal points to unlock, and each level will award you with a different medal worth different numbers of points (diamond, gold, silver, bronze or none) depending on how fast you completed it. This isn't fully implemented yet, but most of the work is done for it at this point.

Steam Cloud and per-user saves

The PC version is fully integrated with Steam Cloud. This means that you can play the game on one computer, and then when you switch to a different computer your progress will follow you. Yay!

There is also support for per-user save files, with each Steam account having separate save data.

Controller support

The game now has full controller support. You can play using any XInput compatible controller. I've tested with Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers and both work fine.

If you choose to play with a controller, all the controls on the GUI are updated to match:


More platforms!

Many of you are aware by now that we intended to launch this game on PC, Android and iOS. The builds on these platforms have been tested and are working decently (even on pretty old phones). What you might not know is that we're now also planning to release the game on Xbox One via the creator publishing system. Because of this, GIF will end up being our first game that reaches every major type of platform (desktop, mobile and console).

I would love to also publish on PS4 and Switch, but this doesn't seem likely right now due to developer restrictions on those platforms (Microsoft is the friendliest to indie developers right now by a long shot), so our console port will only be launching on Xbox. This is still way better than I originally planned and I'm super excited about the possibilities of cross-platform releases.

Plans for the future

One of the original things I wanted to do for any new versions of GIF was to build an endless mode. We have an early concept for this working now. I don't want to reveal anything else at this stage, because at the moment I don't expect it to end up in the final release (there are a lot of pacing issues which I never thought about) but I'm at least floating it out there as a possibility. It looks like it might be a nice extra to play about with if we end up with spare time between the completion of the game and the official launch.

I also really want to make some more zones (e.g. a magic zone, a poison zone, etc). I have some early concepts in my head for these.

I'm expecting though that once GIF is released or close to being finished, almost all the development time will end up going onto whatever title comes after GIF. We are really stretched very thin at the moment, so it's unlikely we will have the resources to work on two games at once. It all really depends how well GIF sells 🙂 

Right now, we've been considering a tower defense game as our next project, and we potentially have two new artists with 3D experience that might end up helping out with that, but don't hold your breath. Plans might change.


That's pretty much it for this update. I know it has been ages since I posted - hopefully it was worth the wait 🙂 

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