Overhauling SKIPCHASER in 2018

Let’s be clear, SKIPCHASER isn’t what anyone would consider a success story. It started as a Ludum Dare game jam entry in April of 2016, went into Steam Early Access March of 2017, and one year later hasn’t really hit its stride as anything more than a colorful but simplistic rogue-like twin-stick shooter.

Despite being featured on Itch.io (thanks BTW) and getting some minor press and streaming play, purchases have been in the low hundreds and our team’s vision to build “Space Diablo” isn’t in the cards--mainly the financial cards.

Don’t get me wrong, our team at Ponywolf clearly isn’t profit focused--a vast majority of our games are free with no ads. We also have released thousands of lines of code to help the gaming community on the whole. Simply put, we build games that we want to play, but at some point a game needs to be sustainable.

Up to now, this statement reads like a studio that’s planning on canceling their flagship title--but this is not the case. During the concepting phase of SKIPCHASER we experimented with many different kinds of game play options, from side scrolling, to click mashing, to what you see today. One of those experiments was a turn-based, drag-to-move control scheme that worked well in both mouse based and touch screen environments.

We lifted some of that code and implemented it in the re-release of 1-800-Monsters--mainly the ability to drag the mouse to control where the hero character walks.

1800walk.gif

That said, I’m happy to announce our intent to overhaul SKIPCHASER into a more unique turn based action game and deliver more content updates in 2018. Those of you who supported us in Early Access, this branch of the game will remain available indefinitely, and you will hopefully get another great experience set in the SKIPCHASER universe.

Michael Wilson,
Founder, Ponywolf
 

SKIPCHASER Early Access on 3/21

We are on track for a March 21st release of SKIPCHASER as an Early Access title. We’ve had a private beta for the past few months and that has been a HUGE help in getting some of the gameplay mechanics worked out and squishing those pesky bugs.

 

Today the closed beta will get the first of TWELVE early access updates—that will give us the weekend to play test and deliver any hot fixes needed before the live release on Tuesday.

What’s included in the Early Access release, you ask? Here it is by the numbers:

  • 5 complete missions from Act I

  • 30+ randomly generated levels

  • 8+ hand crafted maps including a boss battle

  • 5+ pages of story dialog

  • 2 weapon blueprints (Uzi, Rifle)

  • 40+ unlockable weapon upgrades

  • 4 enemy classes

  • 6+ NPC classes

  • 4 mission variations

  • 3 original songs by VXVX

Major updates from the last release:

  • Improved enemy AI
  • Respawn options screen

  • Terminal for dialog and help

  • Elemental damage states

  • Environmental interactions (switches, etc.)

  • Missions 4 + 5

  • Additional art assets

  • Grenade capping

  • Random chest drops

  • Camera smoothing 

  • Performance enhancements

 

 

SKIPCHASER EARLY ACCESS

I wanted to share our plan for SKIPCHASER while it's in early access. Those of you with closed beta keys and those who buy into the EA launch are seeing about 25% of the first of three acts. Our plan as of right now, is to continue to push content updates, progressing the storyline and finishing the planned features until our "official" release in early July.

Releases will be every other week for 12 release cycles, and we will look to the community to help us prioritize features, tweak the missions and story line and balance the gameplay. We will share our proposed roadmap following a build and allow players to weigh in.

Our hope is to release a well crafted twin-stick shooter with a story and engage the audience that wants to play something like that throughout the process.

If you are interested, follow SKIPCHASER on Steam for more frequent updates.

SKIPCHASER and Time Golf Squad showing at GDC

It's been a while since a proper update, but we're happy to announce that we've partnered with Intel Gaming to demo at the 2017 Game Developers Conference in their Intel "Juicy Games" booth. Complete with Juice Bar, we'll get juiced while we interact with attendees and hit the links with Time Golf Squad.

Also, we've been invited to Pocket Gamer's BIg Indie Pitch on Thursday where we will be showing an early mobile version of Time Golf Squad. This is our second time in a BIP and it's always a good time. Check it out if your in SF for the conference.

We will also be demoing SKIPCHASER at the GitHub/Ludum Dare party Tuesday night as well as carrying around a portable version powered by Steel Series Gaming.

SKIPCHASER hits early access this March, so we're extremely excited to open up this game to the masses. This first commercial desktop release (Windows & MacOS) and we've already been bown away by the community support during our Greenlight process and our closed beta.  

Free Code?

Recently we've been doing some house cleaning on our code base and have been updating some of our open source projects on GitHub. To celebrate that, we've added a new section to the website that acts as a portal to our most popular coding projects.

 A screenshot from our Match Three framework

A screenshot from our Match Three framework

Over the next few months, we'll be releasing even more complete game frameworks. For updates follow us on twitter at @ponywolf.