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Space Beast Terror Fright update for 9 September 2022

Update Sextiotvå (62)

Share · View all patches · Build 9487333 · Last edited 9 September 2022 – 20:39:05 UTC by Wendy

Patchnotes via Steam Community

Update Sextiotvå (62)

build id: 631B9588

nornware AB is happy to announce a new update to Space Beast Terror Fright.

INTRODUCING GRIND MODE
As you might imagine the release of SBTF out of Early Access after 7+ years brought quite a bit of clarity as I was able to take a step back from constant iteration and maintenance of the game. The prior update (61) was very satisfying to deploy as it let me fix a lot of quality of life issues and in general address some rough edges that remained.

In observing the feedback that started coming in via various video reviews I began to realize that the practical effect of the Instant Action pipeline was for new players coming in to quite naturally simply play the game via this mode / button. However as many of you know Instant Action leads to Randomize All rules that can result in a quite unforgiving experience, especially for new players.

This is conjunction with some prior experiments relating to Campaign of the Week (CotW) led me to realize that the game has always had a real problem with any kind of meaningful progression. This has certainly been discussed at length in the forums and I was never really satisfied personally with the macro-level feel of the game. While of course surviving a mission would let you keep your upgrades it has still always been the case that any small mistake will quite brutally take this progression away from you.

Of course that while this has always been one of the main premises of the game (in being a roguelike) it still didn't feel very good to me. The addition of CotW was certainly interesting in that it both added a time-limited linear sequence of missions to attempt (that also had some kind of difficulty curve) but in practice this mode was really even MORE hard-core in that any small mistake would not only wipe your character / upgrades but also put you back at the beginning of the campaign. I personally was never really incentivized to attempt any given CotW more than once.

All of this got me thinking about how the game might feel with what I view as a more "classic shooter progression" - what if the game saves a checkpoint at the beginning of each mission, and death in any mission will simply restore your character and upgrades back to that point and allow you to re-try that mission any number of times? Initial experiments were quite positive but I was quite aware of the fact that this idea conceptually clashed with a core premise of the game being about "disposable heros" - effectively this idea leads to the scenario that your character cannot ever REALLY die, at least not in terms of progression.

However due to said increased insight into / objectivity concerning the new player experience I decided to look into actually adding a more "casual campaign" as per the above. The result is what I'm calling "Grind Mode" which is a new type of campaign of the week but with the addition of casual / persistent progression. This means that you can hammer on / "grind" any difficult missions in the campaign as much as you like until you complete them, culminating in a audio/visual reward of sorts once you have completed 35 missions. This number of missions corresponds to parts of the mission generation algorithm relating to size that will max out after 35 missions. Since the Grind campaign is infinite (in the same way as CotW) it is possible for those who want further challenge after 35 missions to continue indefinitely, but conceptually you are "done" after 35 missions. This creates something that is reasonably attainable within one week's time.

Personally I've had lots of fun playing Grind Mode during development, so much that I strongly feel that it should be (and now is) the default selected experience for new players coming in (and if you delete your game app data). It makes me feel that something like this should have been in the game for a very long time and checks a lot of my personal boxes when it comes having the game feel "meaningful" to play. Indeed I believe (in hindsight) that the main problem with SBTF in terms of progression has been that it did not quite feel like the game respected your investment of time / effort, and Grind Mode offers at least some kind of solution to that problem.

Of course I know by now (after all these years of development) that ANY change I make to the game (optional or not) has great potential to be contentious. I hope however that all the hard-core players out there can appreciate Grind Mode as an attempt to make the game more inclusive to a more casual type of player, and that if they don't hold with the idea of this kind of progression then they can simply ignore Grind Mode - indeed all the legacy game modes that you've come to know and love about SBTF are intact with the exception of the Instant Action pipeline (which in itself was a "casual" type of feature).

In the best case scenario I hope that even hard-core players / fans of roguelike progression might still have some fun if they decide to try Grind Mode after all - I personally feel that Grind Mode makes the game "even more SBTF than SBTF" due to the fact that it makes a highly upgraded character much more attainable, and the kind of gameplay that occurs in high intensity missions in conjunction with a highly upgraded character is something that I believe not very many players have experienced yet.

The way that science grants higher ammo tiers is different in Grind Mode than in other modes. This has been restored to the legacy setup for all modes except for Grind Mode (in order to make CotW more reasonable again) and in Grind Mode it basically takes more science to upgrade your ammo. This has been tuned during development of Grind Mode so that it is harder to max out your ammo tier before the end of the 35 mission campaign. Science / relation to ammo tiers has now been visualized in a more clear fashion in the mission setup screens as well.

I've cleaned up mode selection quite a bit (a drop-list instead of always visible buttons), redesigned the various information tabs, and am automatically selecting the last mission outcome tab upon mission end which amounts to a more "proper" mission outcome. There are more animations in general in the intermission / setup screens, and also a new system of "medals" that will light up as you progress through the Grind campaign that will hopefully stimulate your low-level brain and bring some satisfaction. The aforementioned "reward" for completing the campaign I will leave for you to discover on your own.

I hope you will all agree that Grind Mode is a fun new addition to the long long (long) development of this game. This update also serves as the official end of development of Space Beast Terror Fright (excluding of course future quality of life changes / bugfixes). I sincerely thank you all very much for accompanying me on this unprecendented journey of exploration and discovery.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Lurking beasts is now an immutable option - this means that they will either lurk or not for the entire mission (excluding during reactor overload when no beasts will ever lurk). The reasoning here is that this works better with all modes that mutate rules at runtime, resulting in more varied gameplay overall.
  • Upgrades in last outcome and team statistics screens are now shown in the same way as in the obituaries list - as icons instead of text.
  • Hopefully more robust user plan download and decoding.
  • Infestation has been suppressed so as to not cover certain important interactive level elements such as sentry control panels and door / fence controls.
  • The game now displays useful tips while loading a mission.
  • CotW and Grind Mode now utilize hashing / security in multiplayer as well as singleplayer in order to protect against tampering as well as to support campaign timeout at the end of the week.
  • The pub party list is now more descriptive.
  • The game now explicitly prompts the player to open the reactor shield prior to disabling coolants.
  • There is now a setting for "fancy space windows" (default on). This shader is inspired by work on the Grind Mode completion "reward".
  • The reactor shield is now shown on the security map table as well as in the player tracker / map.

As always, thank you for your support and patience.
/nornware AB c/o johno

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Windows English Space Beast Terror Fright Content Depot 357331
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