Breadth First

I would be remiss not to mention once again that Gunmetal Arcadia Zero is now on Steam. I’m curious to see how the recent Steam visibility changes will affect its launch. It has not appeared as a “Popular New Release,” which is a pretty severe blow to visibility (and yet another unfortunately opaque part of the system), but I won’t really know for sure whether these changes are beneficial for another week or two. Initial sales have been low, but some of this is due to having been released through other sites previously. Key activations currently account for 90% of Steam owners, so this data is not apples to apples. Furthermore, recent data suggests that the launch visibility round could last as long as two weeks, as opposed to the roughly five hours that it used to last. Assuming that the new targeted visibility changes put the game in front of players who would actually be interested in playing it, the clickthrough rate should be higher than what we’ve seen previously. Assuming too that interest is not harmed by visibility occurring after day one, and that the lack of reviews from Steam buyers doesn’t hurt it too much, it’s possible that even though sales are slow, they could be more consistent over the next couple of weeks, as opposed to the steep dropoff we’ve seen in the past.

That’s a lot of assumptions.

This week has been and continues to be all about items. I’m zeroing in on the last few absolutely critical can’t-ship-without-it features that I need to get out of the way before I can move out to the sort of fun content creation I talked about in this week’s video. This includes assigning items to NPC vendors, making sure faction sigil effects stack properly, and generalizing a few player stats which haven’t historically been modified, such as foot speed.

As shown in a previous video, I’ve added a new type of item that goes in the subweapon slot and provides stat boosts for a limited duration. A variation of this type also exists for effects that occur instantaneously rather than over a duration.

In testing how effects from various items will stack with each other, I put together a silly test in which I made foot speed and jump height ridiculously large. This is probably way faster and higher than you’ll ever be able to reach in the actual game, but I was happy to see the game still holds up technically in this extreme case.

I’ve been wanting to add some bomb variants for literal years, and while I probably won’t end up supporting the breadth of content I may have envisioned in the early days of this project, I have at least prototyped an upgrade to increase bomb blast radius and damage. This is accompanied by a color palette swap and a larger explosion sprite. Although pixelated 2x scale art like this would never have actually been seen on the NES on account of its lacking sprite scaling hardware, I’m probably going to leave it this way because I like the sort of kitschy faux-retro look it has. And importantly, it still respects the pixel grid.