Working a lot on our upcoming game Beat the Rhythm (and porting most of the improvements immediately to Holodance for you to play with them), I apparently got a little confused between Beat and Beta. Our last update to the default-branch that most people are playing on was ... O.M.G.! - more than a year ago, on 25 June, 2018.
We still did update the alphadev and beta-branches more or less frequently but that means that all of you who don't feel like playing betas and alphas of an Early Access game have been missing out not only on major new features but also on important bugfixes. SORRY!
For Halloween, we obviously want all of you to have the Spooky Town that we first released to the beta- and alphadev-branches on October 13. And we want none of you to play on a version that's more than a year old (you still could, if you wanted, on the previous-branch that we keep just in case something breaks really badly for anyone ... but really, you shouldn't!)
Most importantly, this version has a seasonal Arena for the spooky season called Spooky Town. If you don't like blood, or ghosts, or giant pumpkins, this one is not for you. You'll still want to play this version of the game - just don't go to Spooky Town because it would give you nightmares. But if you want to punch, or slice, or shoot ghosts before they punch you, we got you covered.
I'm honestly not quite sure what to do with this after Halloween, so make sure to let us know in the comment section. Should Halloween stuff only be available during Halloween? Or should we simply add this to the Free Mode Arena selection, maybe to be unlocked with a not-too-hard to reach accumulated score? I'm open to all suggestions.
If you followed the news (you better!), you already know that we have added a lot of new Avatars and streamlined the whole thing. Especially for Halloween, we added a few spooky ones: A Halloween monster called Methus, a shaman rat called Peter, an ice golem called Torog, and finally, the Dark Angel some of you may have seen ages ago in our first Avatar system teasers. Those will definitely stay in the game as they are.
Also, if you have the Valve Index controllers, almost all the avatars support full finger tracking. To a certain degree, this also works with Oculus Touch but it's best with the Index controllers.
This had been on the list for a really long time, and what we have now is really just the beginning: The arenas Trippy Tunnels and Zero Distraction now support text-file based modding, so you can replace textures, skyboxes, change the lighting and some of the geometry in Zero Distraction (to make it very distracting), tunnel effects based on the combo in Trippy Tunnels, and postprocessing effects in both Trippy Tunnels and Zero Distraction.
This is obviously still quite barebones but it already is quite powerful. Eventually, we'll let you build your own Arenas, including gameplay- and audio-reactive logic, your own Avatars (we'll also support the VRM format, but native avatars will obviously be better integrated into the game, e.g. with audio-reactive effects), weapons (for punching, slicing and shooting) and "orbs" (which could also be something like ghosts ... or airplanes ... or whatever crazy thing people come up with when they're bored with circles, spheres, and the Beat the Rhythm OctaDrops, and drones that need to be shot).
If you haven't done so, yet, be sure to read the V0.9.0b19 patch notes from March 18, 2019 to learn more about the new game mechanic presets (punching, slicing, shooting, with a few variations in each mechanic), the much improved gun mechanic, a new Slider Visualization that comes with the OctaDrop Theme that we developed for Beat the Rhythm (but that will always also be available in Holodance), better handling of tempo changes in songs, the new backend server, improvements to scoring based on velocity and directionality, tracked appendages and localization ...
... and a much smaller game package size. That last one is a little unfortunate for the update because the package structure has changed, so it will be a 2GB download. But after the update, the size of the full package is now only 6.3 GB instead of the 9.5 GB it was before. Your SSD will sure like that, and so should you.
The beatmap editor is taking much longer than anticipated - but it should land soon. This is really big because it will let you create maps that are much better optimized for our different mechanics than using osu!-maps or procedural mapping. In my opinion, osu!-maps work really well for catching and punching, and you can have fun with slicing and shooting when you pick easy enough maps - but those mechanics really need maps designed for the mechanic, so I want to make sure that we offer tools that help create that content. We may also add support for more beatmap formats.
Also, we have a few open ends, like with the new leaderboards and how your scoring is presented after each session, and generally the new backend, while providing a good foundation for what we want to do still needs to have quite a few things added and polished.
The work on the avatar system also inspired a few new ideas that will actually finally make "Holodance" a fitting name for what the game offers. I'm not so sure about Story Mode. It's how the game started but for a long time it has been a bit of a burden that very few people actually enjoy playing while at the same time requiring a lot more time, energy and money to add content to than the features that almost everyone enjoys. So please let us know your perspective on this! We definitely will not remove it, and I'm hoping to eventually finish it in one form or another but it feels increasingly strange to have that part keep the game tagged as Early Access.
That said, Story Mode also got some love in this update: