The Great Forest Update

EDIT: A bug was found when  trying to save when no save files are available. The build has been updated to fix this. A download link has also been provided at the bottom of the post now for Patrons to use to get their download.

Howdy! A year ago, I published my first build of Shield Cat to itch.io. The project has come quite a long ways from then!

Here's how the game looked then:

And here's how it looks today:

Today's update brings a whole slew of upgrades and changes from the previous version, which are detailed below! 

 ===== NEW =====

  • The forest room is brand new! Please have fun exploring this new forest room.
  • You can now talk to people and investigate things! An indicator will appear above anything that you can interact with.
  • There is now tall grass in the game that you can cut down with Lance's spin!
  • Updated the Debug Overlay that you can access with F10 to include more information about the game, including the current video configuration.
  • There is now a bit of a screen shake whenever Lance strikes a heavy object and gets knocked back. (When the game has an options screen, you will be able to disable this.)
  • Lance now takes fall damage, so be careful!
  • However, nothing happens if you run out of health, so you don't have to be THAT careful (yet.)
  • Lance can now jump off (some) ledges! The ledge has to be short enough for him not to get hurt hehe (He's not Super Mario after all)
  • Fonts are now loaded from an external source, and generated at runtime. Soon, you will be able to use your own fonts. (For now, you could just replace the bundled font if you really want to.)
  • There's fancy lighting now! You'll see it as soon as you start the game.
  • There's an actual pause menu now! (more or less) Anything that doesn't work will be marked with "Not yet implemented."
  • Birds have moved into the forest. Try not to scare them or they'll leave!!!
  • Enemies have also moved into the forest, so be careful!
  • Lance can take damage from these enemies, so you'll have to be serious!!
  • Also, sometimes the door slams shut when Lance enters a room. He'll have to defeat all enemies to proceed!
  • Pretty Petals are now in the game! Get that cash.
  • There's some vases in the game that you can break as well to get money.
  • Willow is now in the game! She is a magical fox who can help you save your progress!
  • Speaking of saving, you can now save and load your game!
  • Roxy can now sell you things! Be sure not to make her upset, though.
  • Video options can now be configured in the game's pause menu or on the title screen. More options will come later for audio etc.


 ===== IMPROVED =====

  • The title screen has been changed! It's still a work in progress, but please enjoy it all the same.
  • Fixed Lance's extended hitbox for when he's spinning. The gate challenge should be easier now!
  • Also added a little pathway on the side so you can walk back, instead of having to do the gate challenge in reverse (which is quite tricky, honestly)
  • Updated the sprite and animation for the Fish Scale collectable.
  • Added a third upscale method. The 3 upscale methods are now Integer (only does whole number scaling,) Fractional Fast, which upscales a lower res version of the game to a non-integer screen, and Fractional HQ, which downscales a higher res version to the screen (This can be slow on older machines.) You can change it by pressing F9.
  • However, if you're playing fullscreen on a 1080p monitor for instances, that's an integer scale so you won't see any difference.
  • Trees are now proceedurelly genererated, so there is a lot more variation in tree types. Also, they are slightly animated.
  • The water has also been upgraded, and is now more animated as well. It also has shimmers!!
  • Lance's health and magic has become easier to understand - Lance's Shield Throw will cost 1 sphere exactly, and his spin will take 2 spheres per second. Falling into a pit will take exactly half a fish.
  • Improved logic regarding redirecting Lance around obstacles so he doesn't get stuck. The game now factors Lance's speed into it, and won't redirect him much if he's walking. This makes it easier to approach signs and stuff you wish to investigate.
  • Several small and big upgrades to the tileset used for the forest.
  • Modified the game's camera to move around better when Lance is moving quickly. Allows more visibility when moving fast (hopefully)
  • The camera also has backup code, in case Lance simply goes way too fast, he still won't ever be off screen.
  • Improved the popup for the Fish Scale counter. It now looks a little different and has less animation if you've already recently collected a Fish Scale.
  • Improved the color smoothing and blur that occurs the further you get away from Lance on lower bit-depth monitors.
  • When Lance is going fast, he now has a cool after image.
  • Fixed and improved the camera scrolling when Lance goes between screens. Now the transition is slower and smoother, causing less disorientation and allowing your hands to rest between areas.
  • Lance's spin now consumes magic based on whenever you press the button, rather than continually draining magic. This allows it to be much more consistent and predictable, while also allowing skilled players to time their spins to maximize magic use.
  • Moved the Fish Scale to the upper left part of the screen.
  • Lance's shield is now a proper 3D model! Check out how it spins and rotates.
  • The LANCE letters now display on the GUI, so you can see which ones you have and which ones you need.
  • Data is more persistent when you go between rooms and minigames. The game can now remember scales, upgrades, LANCE letters, and more between rooms. (However saving and loading isn't implemented yet so this data isn't persistent between gaming sessions)
  • Camera now moves forward properly when you initialize Lance's spin from a stop.
  • The ini file will now show all available options that you can configure. In addition, the debug mode must now be manually enabled before it'll work in the game.


 ===== BUG FIXES =====

  • Fixed some collision regarding a weird bush that couldn't be cut, as well as the fence by the gate challenge pushing you right into the void if you hit and got knocked back by the gear at a specific angle.
  • Fixed a bug where pausing and then unpausing the game would activate every object in the room and cause a lot of processor usage.
  • Fixed a bug where, on the initial load of the room, all objects would be activated causing a lot of processor usage. Now only objects around you will be activated (as intended.)
  • Fixed a bug where the game would leave the transition circle in place sometimes (mainly on Linux) when switching between areas. The game now has a better handle for these transitions, so this bug should be fixed.
  • Fixed a bug where, when going between areas, the camera would jump ahead some and then "bounce" back to the correct position. The scroll is now a lot smoother.
  • Fixed environment and certain objects not showing up when moving between areas (note: some objects still "pop" in - this is a stylistic choice, and won't be fixed unless people complain)
  • Fixed the bug where, if you're spinning when going inside or outside, Lance has a chance of blasting off to another galaxy.
  • Fixed a bug where Lance's health or magic would show more than he actually has, under specific circumstances.
  • Fixed a bug where, when going between areas, the camera wouldn't use integer positioning. This caused slight shimmering.
  • Fixed a bug where, when going between areas, the camera would show outside of what it's supposed to show. Now it (mostly) shows only what you're meant to see.


 ===== Known Bugs =====

  • Sometimes grass will cast a shadow on Lance, even after it's been cut.

 

A big thanks to the following patrons, as well as the rest of my patrons and everyone who supports me for making this possible!

Accalia, Shadow8t4, Caliburn Absolute, Chris Badger, David Wolfpaw, Spyduck, Fao, Flake, FoxyDude, Rix, Holly 'Frinkel' Lotor, GamerRat (Jan), Gri, Goronhead, Holly Hoppet, Hulex Fox, Kirbizard, Trash, LF, LexiTheTT, Luna, Durk Vash, Markus Joseph Kitsinger , Marlyn, Mello the Ferret, Leon P, Nenekiri Bookwyrm, NovaSquirrel, Cam D'Arcy, Saiai, Saxxon Fox, Ansel Geisel, Susan Tolias, Vivee, jay jorts, Kazy, keeri, megaRammy, raine, SUSHiCLAWS

This update will soon be followed up with another update that allows you to explore the cave area, so please stay tuned...

Download

Patrons at $5 US or above can use this link to download the build:

https://roxyfoxrab.itch.io/shield-cat/patreon-access 

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