Sega Dreamcast PC (Microsoft Windows) PlayStation 4

December Update: peering into past and future

Posted by jeroen, 01 Jan 2021 12:25
2020 - Retrospective

A difficult year (obviously). Although the pandemic forced us to stay at home for a large portion of the year, this does not mean it made development any easier. Negative effects on mental and physical well-being, not being able to do collective test sessions, etc. The list goes on, but we're not here to be negative. We're using our powers of positivity to look at everything that went right!

And much was achieved this year, including, but not limited to:
  • The Soundtrack was completed and many atmosphere enhancing tunes can be enjoyed in the game
  • The PC version of Intrepid Izzy was completed
  • The game was released on Steam, and currently still proudly sports 100% positive reviews
  • The game was improved even further in many ways following feedback on the Steam version
  • Work on the Dreamcast version was resumed (with all of the challenges associated with it)
  • Memory usage on the Dreamcast was significantly reduced, ensuring that the game runs smoothly
  • Dreamcast version was extensively tested in order to spot and correct any errors.

And this is what the game looks like on Dreamcast!


2021 - Things to come

Although the pandemic is still not gone, the end is at last in sight, and next year things should finally return to something resembling normal. But that's not the only thing to look forward to!

In order to do so, lets take a look at what needs to happen next year:
  • The Dreamcast version is as good as done, so focus now goes to manufacturing (although we will keep making improvements)
  • We need to complete the design of the packaging, manual, art book, and CD
  • Once the design is done, the actual manufacturing of CDs, packaging, and art book can start
  • When we have everything is ready, the distribution of all the games and rewards will take place.
  • Promotion of the game (including communication with users, retailers, reviewers, etc.) so that as many people as possible can enjoy the game
  • Creating and releasing the digital PS4 version of the game

Dreamcast, Dreamcast, Dreamcast!

Posted by jeroen, 09 Dec 2020 08:53
As you may remember from previous updates, it was our goal to have the Sega Dreamcast version of Intrepid Izzy ready this year. Despite our best efforts, it has unfortunately become clear that this will not be possible. However, we have made great progress which we are eager to share with you.

We had actually planned to post this monthly update in the form of a video. However, recording a clear picture from a TV screen proved difficult, which is why this update is posted slightly later than usual.

Anyway, here are a few screenshots from the would-be video. One in widescreen mode, and one in standard mode.

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Challenges

Since the Dreamcast doesn't have quite as much power as today's hardware, it should be obvious that it takes a bit more effort to get everything running properly. The biggest hurdle is the Dreamcast's tiny RAM, which measures only 16 MB. That's less than 0.1% of what you'll find in today's consoles!

Fortunately Roel has developed a good sense of what the Dreamcast can and cannot do over the years. Intrepid Izzy is running very well, sporting a cool 60 fps almost all the time (the frame rate may drop a little when there is a lot of splatter on screen, but that's fine).

But there were also some problem areas. When it came to changing outfits in the game, and consequently trying to cram thousands of new Izzy frames into the console's tiny memory, it couldn't always handle it. But this was solved in two ways.

The first solution was to place a newly discovered costume in a smaller level, since Intrepid Izzy mostly consists of very large levels which take up a lot of memory. This means that A) the game doesn't crash any more, and the game now has extra content for you to play!

Unfortunately the problem also appeared in Awesometown, which we did not want to split up into smaller levels. This brings us to the second solution. This was a lot more technical, and involved re-writing about 2000 lines of code. Characters and their animations are now loaded in smaller chunks rather than all at once, which may seem obvious but is in fact much more complex than it sounds. But it was worth it, as peak memory usage is now down by about 20%! This eliminated all known memory problems.

We still have some more bugs to squash and tweaks to make to get Intrepid Izzy running as smooth as possible. So unfortunately the game will not be ready for Christmas, but it should be in your hands early next year.

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September update

Posted by jeroen, 03 Oct 2020 10:56
Now that Intrepid Izzy has been out in the world on Steam for two months we have gathered some nice feedback from nice players like yourselves. Just like in the previous update, the game still has a 100% approval rate from both players and Steam curators. But room for improvement was also found! Two significant updates were released to address both user feedback and our own findings.

v1.0.19

Highlights from this version include:
  • Improved keyboard controls! Very nice for players who for some reason don't use a game controller.
  • Added dotted lines between connected doors on the map. Now you can find your way even better!
  • Tweaked one of the bosses because he was no match for Izzy in her vampire suit!
  • Some people got lost or confused in the Chocolate Mine, so a new NPC was introduced to provide helpful hints.

You can read the full changelist here.

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v1.0.20

This version further improved the map screen. This was primarily done because not all information could fit on the screen in the Dreamcast version, but the Steam version benefits as well.

Highlights from this update include:
  • Objectives on the map screen are now selectable, and are automatically scrolled to when possible.
  • The map screen can now be accessed even in levels without a map (to check your objectives).
  • The game now automatically pauses when window focus is lost.

The full changelist can be read here.

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Other systems

Work on the Dreamcast and PS4 versions is of course also continuing, but not without problems. For instance, there is a weird save/load bug in the Dreamcast version that stops us from progressing through the whole game and is difficult to track down. But rest assured every bug will be smashed with force and precision!

August update

Posted by jeroen, 22 Aug 2020 17:50
As you may have noticed, Intrepid Izzy was released last month on Steam! And there was much rejoicing!

Before the release, Steam keys were sent via email to everyone who backed the Steam version.

We're very happy about finally releasing our game, and we're even more happy that you - the backers and players of the game - are happy: every Steam reviewer and every curator Recommended it!
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And here are some of the nice things that were said in Steam reviews:
Intrepid Izzy is a great game that has the old school charm with new age design, graphics, and personality - sega1dream

A must for classic gamers - CtrlAltPete

We've also received love from reviewers outside of steam:
It's not often that I get so excited about a game that I actually go out of the way to unlock all of the achievements, but "Intrepid Izzy" from Senile Team did it! Great game, absolute recommendation for every platformer fan! - YesterPlay

One hell of a lot of fun - Robo Space Kitty


Arcade Games
People have also been sharing their high scores of the arcade games within Intrepid Izzy. Can you beat them?

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scored by YUKIxMAMI

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Scored by YUKIxMAMI (again)

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YesterPlay Plerging as hard as possible


Bug reports
Most feedback has been very positive, but we've also received some reports of bugs and places where you could get stuck if you had the wrong outfit on. Naturally we have responded appropriately and patched these bugs and stucks (is that a word?) quicker than you can say "rhombicuboctahedron". Special thanks to Kwok and Davey for reporting them!


Next up: the Dreamcast version
Like the unstoppable madman he is, Roel has already made great progress with the Sega Dreamcast version of Intrepid Izzy in the past few weeks. Although the game remains basically identical, some things need to be amended and optimized for this system. For example, the dialogues must be relatively larger in order to remain legible on CRT TVs. And of course the DC's unique VMU system also requires some special attention. But all in all the Dreamcast version is working pretty good already.

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Here's a recent picture of the Dreamcast version on a CRT TV in letterboxed widescreen mode. The coloured bars at the bottom are for debugging: red is the amount of video RAM used to render the current frame, blue is the system RAM currently in use and yellow is the peak system RAM usage. As long as none of these get too close to the right side of the screen, it should be fine.

Please understand that the final version for Dreamcast will still take some time to finish, and afterwards the discs still have to be manufactured. So it will be a while before the Dreamcast game is in your hands, but we're doing everything we can to make it happen as soon as possible!

June 2020: Steam store page now open!

Posted by Roel, 29 Jun 2020 10:20
Big news, dear readers! We have created and uploaded all the necessary assets for Intrepid Izzy's Steam store page, and submitted it for review. And it passed today! If you have a Steam account, don't forget to add Intrepid Izzy to your wish list.

For the store page, we also created the following gameplay trailer.

Our next step will be the game's imminent release on Steam. This is still easier said than done, but we are hard at work to make it happen as soon as possible.


In other big news...
This month I, Roel, am writing the update because your usual herald of development progress, Jeroen, has his hands full with his brand new son. That's right, he is a father now! So congratulations to him and his wife!


Smaller news bits
Besides the aforementioned, there have been dozens of improvements, most notably improved controls.
  • Options to modify the controller layout have been improved. Conflicting button assignments are now automatically corrected. It has also been made possible to enable or disable forward, forward + attack as an input for Izzy's sliding attack.
  • Following tester feedback, the sliding can now be cancelled into a jump.
  • Attack handling has been improved, allowing faster and more accurate attacks and hit detection. This makes the game feel even more responsive.

Other improvements include:
  • More achievements added (and confirmed working on Steam).
  • Added more secret areas to various levels.
  • Changed the layout of the Haunted Forest in order to remove some frustrations and add more fun.
  • Fixed a rare and complex physics bug where a stack of multiple, falling objects could all affect each other's positions, causing circular logic which crashed the game.

You can help, too!
Please share the Steam link with friends, enemies, and anyone who could be interested in a great platform-beat-'em-up-vania!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/908560/Intrepid_Izzy/

Thank you!

May 2020 update

Posted by jeroen, 31 May 2020 21:47
Improvements of the month

As stated in our previous update, our primary focus has shifted from general development to releasing the game on Steam (with other platforms to follow). Nevertheless there were still numerous improvements made that will benefit all versions.

  • Completed the new town level Borkington, of which you have seen a small preview in our previous update.
  • Improved and updated several levels, most notably Aztec Greece and Temple of Nuts, to accomodate the new town level.
  • All NPC's of our wonderful backers are completed. You will see for yourself soon!
  • Yet more bug fixes, both old ones that had been on our list for a while, and new ones that were taken care of as soon as they were discovered.
  • Further improved the in-game map. If you discover a locked door, it is now automatically displayed on the map.
  • Started to implement achievements in Steam, which sounds much simpler that it is in reality. Of course all achievements need an icon as well. We hope you like them!

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Steam version coming soon

The PC / Steam version is coming along nicely. We expect to have a game page for Intrepid Izzy on Steam soon, allowing users to put Intrepid Izzy on their wish list.

The actual release of Intrepid Izzy should follow soon after that. These are most exciting times!

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April 2020 update

Posted by jeroen, 02 May 2020 08:25
Hello again! Nice to virtually see you here

This month we made a number of improvements to our favourite Intrepid Izzy again, which are shown below in a handy list.

  • About 20 bug fixes, including a very rare and complicated bug which occurred when you did an uppercut in front of a doorway. If done in a specific way, this caused the screen to go black. You could still play the game, but not see anything. Fortunately we managed to cure this strange case of blindness.
  • Improved controls and controller settings for the Windows version. We intend to support a wide range of controllers on the PC and we have included a number of preset control schemes already.

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  • Unfortunately we can't organise our long planned collective test day with all our friends on account of the Corona situation. However, we can still count on our backers' feedback once the game is released, right?
  • Speaking of release; in the coming month we will focus on on the Steam/PC release. This is our first game on Steam, so we don't yet know which horrible hurdles we need to overcome, but we will do our best to get the game through as soon as possible.
  • Last, but not least, we have also included an extra town in the game where some of our backers can live within the world of Intrepid Izzy. But where are they? It's a mystery!

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March 2020 update

Posted by jeroen, 31 Mar 2020 19:32
First of all we hope that everybody is feeling well and is not already too bored during these strange times. We too are currently in the same situation as the rest of the world: working from home and wondering what to do with all that toilet paper.

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This month's improvements!
  • The Achievements/Trophies/Goals system has largely been implemented within the game. However, the system still has to be linked with the official Steam and PSN systems.
  • More than 30 bug fixes and other improvements!
  • The final boss now has two phases of being angry and evil, and further improvements have been made with additional animations, moves, and graphics. But we want to refine him some more, to make the fight just right.
  • The ending sequence has been made, in terms of both graphics and music.
  • New, very epic music has been added to the very first level.

Dreamcast news
As you may know, throughout the game Izzy can speak to some very interesting people. Some helpful, some less so. Either way, all these conversations are coded into the game according to a dialogue tree. This tree has been growing steadily, so we got our axe out and chopped it up into smaller logs per level*. This enabled us to free up about 1 to 1.5 MB of RAM. An insignificant amount for modern systems, but for the Dreamcast with its mere 16 MB RAM, it's a big chunk. So freeing up this memory is very relevant and will help Intrepid Izzy run smoothly on the Sega Dreamcast as well as modern systems.

And to celebrate this smoothness, please enjoy some Dreamcast screenshots below!

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* A dialogue tree is not actually made of wood.

February update

Posted by jeroen, 29 Feb 2020 21:52
We managed to make some more improvements to Intrepid Izzy this February, and you can read about it in this easy-to-read list:
  • The final boss has received additional moves and animation
  • Various small bug fixes, tweaks, and graphical improvements
  • Extra scenes to make the flow of the game more logical
  • Addition of level pictures in the save screen, because, well, it looks much nicer
  • The in-game map has been improved to clearly show save points and unopened treasure chests. This may help you find your way, and maybe some secrets! Below the map you can also see your current quest, like opening a big door

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To do list

"Alright", you say. "Nice that you're making all sorts of improvements, but where does it end?"
Good question!

Actually, we have a to-do list of thing we still want to improve before we release Intrepid Izzy into the wild.

  • Make the final boss even cooler
  • Add some NPCs
  • Some tweaking to the East Pole level
  • Create the ending sequence
  • Implement more Achievements/Trophies
  • Add some more music

Of course, we are presently hard at work to implement these improvements.

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January 2020 update

Posted by jeroen, 01 Feb 2020 06:41
The year has hardly started, and we've already been hard at work. Roel added additional animations and graphics to several bosses: Yzzi, the Minotaur, and also a boss you haven't seen before.

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Roel also smoothed the transition from the Haunted Forest level to the level we've been keeping secret from you. So there will be a bit of story and totally logical logic happening between these levels!
We're very excited to get your reaction to the level once the game is released

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Release Candidate
In the previous update we informed you that this month we would test "release candidate 1". And if we were totally happy with the game, that we would release it. Since we're trying to make the best game we can, we were very critical of ourselves and saw some things we wanted to tweak before release.  And so we will.

This means that in February we will evaluate again if we're satisfied with the updated "release candidate 2". And if we're happy, it means that you will soon also be happy, because then we can proceed to release Intrepid Izzy!!