Sega Dreamcast PC (Microsoft Windows) PlayStation 4

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!!

December update

Posted by jeroen, 01 Jan 2020 08:48
End of the Year
It's the end of 2019 and lots of content has been made, bugs have been squashed, and gameplay was perfected. Unfortunately, we're sad to say that we didn't manage to finish development and release Intrepid Izzy this year as we had hoped.

However, we are approaching the finish line. It's so close we can almost smell it. So let's go check out that status update!

Costumes
Costumes have been completed for some time, but sometimes creative people get that creative itch, and they just can't help themselves. In short: another costume has been made. Izzy was already wearing a miner's helmet in the mine cart level, but now she can don the entire outfit! So costumes are now super completed.

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It's an apt costume for this new year's eve update, too, as this costume comes with fireworks!

Programming
Programming is practically finished. Everything works and the big list of bugs is now greatly reduced. Just some finishing touches and we're done! Finishing touches such as achievements/trophies/goals. Whatever you call them, they're a fun little extra in games and we believe there should be a nice mix of easy and harder trophies. And most importantly, they should have silly names - but you will find out what we came up with in due time.

Enemies
We have enemies by the bucketloads! I'm going to call this one finished.

Bosses
As you've seen in recent updates, we have been hard at work on the boss fights. We are still perfecting them, and depending on how that goes, may decide to add one or two more.

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Levels
The levels are pretty much done, but we're still tying some things together to improve the overall progression, and creating a grand entrance to the final boss. And of course the gradual tweaking, improving and expanding of the levels will continue bit by bit until the very last moment - all to make the game the best we can. Completion: 99%

Music
Almost finished! We just need to create an ending with some appropriate ending music to end all ending.

Release
So what about the release date you ask? Well, we're not yet in a position to have an actual date. But we can tell you what the plan is.

We expect to complete "release candidate 1" as soon as January. This basically means the first complete version of the game, which is to be thoroughly tested to evaluate if it is ready for release. Depending on the test results, we may proceed with release, or create revised versions RC2, RC3 as needed.

First, we want to release the PC version, since no certifications or CD pressing is needed. This version will also be easiest to patch and update in case the need should arise. It will be released as soon as possible after a release candidate has passed our quality control.

The second step is to create the console versions based on the latest updated version. During this step Roel will have to put the finishing touches on the PS4 and Dreamcast versions. Naturally this will require some work on specific programming and graphical requirements, but also age rating, Sony certification, CD pressing  for the Dreamcast, packaging, and all the little details that will pop up during development.

To estimate a timing for the console versions is even more tricky than for the PC version because we also depend on a lot of external factors. However, it will be as soon as possible and in 2020.

November update

Posted by jeroen, 14 Dec 2019 12:40
As you know a working Arcade exists in Awesometown where Izzy can spend her hard earned coins. I mean, why spend it on life saving health restoring items when you can play some retro video games? This month a new retro game has been added: 3D wheel. This brings the total to three playable arcade games!

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And there's more
  • We've added more animation to the Minotaur boss, so now he can smash you to a pulp even more elegantly!
  • Fixed some additional bugs. It seems that the bigger the game you create, the more bugs you can get. Who knew?
  • Added more dialogue. But don't worry, we're not trying to make Metal Izzy Solid. All dialogue is useful and/or funny.
  • The inventory screen has been improved. You can now clearly see which items you can immediately use.

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Music
Our very own Senile Team composer Ben Kurotoshiro has been hard at work creating new music for Intrepid Izzy. We're happy to share a track with you called "Eoleon". Please enjoy the music and of course the clips of the game in action!

October/Halloween update

Posted by jeroen, 31 Oct 2019 21:16
We've been working on several bosses this month! First off, you may remember him from such movies as the original Intrepid Izzy Campaign video, The Minotaur. Some nifty attack patterns were created to challenge your reflexes. And challenged you shall be!

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And totally in the spirit of Halloween (which you may or may not celebrate, but hey, ghosts and candy are involved so that sounds like fun) the spooky arch nemesis of Izzy herself: Yzzi. Scary, gothy, and certainly deadly. What a woman!

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Another boss? Possibly! Because what do you think the chances are that Boaty McB. will arrive at its destination unhindered and unscathed?

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Other terrifying facts
Let's take a moment to appreciate some frightening statistics.
  • Currently the game contains over 3,000 frames of animation. This would not have been possible without our own sprite animation editor, but let me assure you, it is a hell of a lot of work for one man.
  • That man also built the levels, whose graphics consist of an estimated 7,000 tiles.
  • More than 74,000 lines of C/C++ code were written by that same, scarily productive man. And that's just the Windows version - not even counting the console ports and all the tools, scripts, and dialogue trees, which would certainly add thousands more!
  • Some minor bugs were brutally murdered this month!

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September dev update

Posted by Roel, 01 Oct 2019 08:57
Box Art
As we are moving closer and closer to completing the development of Intrepid Izzy, we have started work on the design of the physical packaging of the Dreamcast version.

The game will include a reversible cover with one side showing the Japanese version, and the other side the US layout. A sketch of the cover art is shown below. As you can see there is still some work to be done. Colouring and such

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We're also working on the manual, which will be a beautiful full colour affair.

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Level Me Tender
You may remember that there is one level which we're not giving you spoilers for in these Kickstarter updates. Well, we're still not giving away spoilers, but we can tell you that the level - including music - has been completed!

The mine cart ride in the Chocolate Mines level has also been improved. Previously it was very easy to complete this stage by simply employing the duck & cover method. But those days are long gone, my friend. Now you will have to collect sufficient crystals during the mine ride to activate a magic bridge in order to cross the abyss and prevent a certain and gruesome death. Sounds cosy, right? 

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Itemvaganza
We noticed that the inventory screen was causing navigation trouble, so it is being redesigned with a vertical layout now. This also gives us more space for text.

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Bug slayin'
This month has also seen plenty of bug fixes (more than 20 as a matter of fact).

Amongst them was a Z-sorting problem on the Dreamcast. All sprites have X, Y, and Z coordinates, just like in a 3D game. The X and Y positions control where the sprite appears on screen, while the Z coordinate controls the order in which the sprites are drawn, and thus, which sprite will be in front of which. Some sprites had the same Z coordinate, which caused some flickering and other odd effects while sprites were fighting over who got to be in front.

The PC and PS4 have more than enough processing power to remedy this in software, by use of a simple sorting function. For the Dreamcast this was not an option. The solution was to strictly assign a different Z to every graphic on screen. This involved carefully determining the range of Z values for all several dozen groups of graphics (backgrounds, tiles, sprites, particles, etc.) Fortunately, this has solved the issue.

With over 150 bugs (and other issues) remedied over the last few months, we are happy to report that there are no major ones left.

August: events month

Posted by Roel, 17 Sep 2019 10:19
This update was posted on Kickstarter already, but I almost forgot to replicate it here. I tend to pour my full attention into development rather than talking about it. My focus has too much focus! Anyway, here are some words about what was done in August.

The war on bugs
Just like last month, about 40 bugs were squashed this August. That may seem like a big or a small number depending on your point of view. By our own standards, it's quite big. The reason is of course that this game is significantly larger and more complex than our previous projects. But fortunately this is nothing we can't manage, and the end of the list is in sight.

Some of the more interesting recent fixes include:
  • The save and load system has been completely revised to prevent any loss of gathered items or hearts. And we're happy to report everything is working well. By taking such a thorough approach, it doesn't just work better, but also more efficiently.
  • While the arcade machines required that Izzy had coins in her pocket, they didn't actually cost any coins to play. Now they do.
  • The Dreamcast version ran out of memory. By making some smart changes and reducing the sound effects quality from insanely high to still unnecessarily high, the RAM usage was improved and the Dreamcast version once again works, well, like a dream.

Dreamcast-related improvements
  • There is now an option for letterboxed widescreen.
  • Further improved colour palettes make the DC version look amazingly close to the HD version.
  • Sound effects now load 8x faster, which greatly reduces the initial startup time.

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This is what Awesometown looks like on Dreamcast

Other Improvements
Many changes were made to improve the game experience in general. Checkpoint behaviour is more intuitive, level layouts were tweaked, menu options were added, code was optimised... But because such things are difficult to capture in a screenshot, instead here's a gif of Izzy taking a ninja by surprise:

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Conventions
Thanks to our friends at Retrospiel - one of our biggest supporters and backers - a demo of Intrepid Izzy and other cool retro games were playable at the GamesCom in Cologne, Germany. And they made a video!


Additionally, on 31 August we (well, 3/4 of us) were personally present at the Dordtse Matsuri (Japanese festival) in Dordrecht, The Netherlands to show off our work. We had a relatively large amount of space at our disposal, making this our biggest setup yet (although it is of course still dwarfed by Retrospiel's).

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Updates this July

Posted by jeroen, 28 Jul 2019 09:41
Izzy's health just came more alive with some very nifty animation. This will help the player see what is happening with ease, and it looks real nice as well.

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Say what? You'd like to collect not only health, but other stuff as well?
Good news! We are fans of stuff, and we have made a nice animation for when Izzy collects other useful and interesting items.

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Dreamcast
Dreamcast specific improvements have also been made. As you may know, Intrepid Izzy's graphics are made in high resolution and then automatically scaled to a lower resolution when generating the Dreamcast version. Some optimisations have been made to improve colour palette generation and selective dithering to reduce banding. This sound a bit technical, but you can clearly see the difference in the examples below. Especially in the zoomed in pictures.

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Other improvements
  • We've redesigned part of the Aztec Greece level where you collect the squirrel suit to improve the flow. The chances of getting lost are greatly reduced
  • ± 40 bug fixes and usability improvements
  • Added sound effects when you open a door. We made the sound effect ourselves by dragging two pavement tiles over each other
  • Added sound effects when Izzy is pushing blocks or crates
  • A brand new music track has been composed for the level that we're keeping a secret. (You didn't hear this from us)

The latest improvements

Posted by jeroen, 01 Jul 2019 21:15
  • This month two enemies were completed. To be specific: two more types of ninja are now walking around with malicious intent.
  • A number of bugs were fixed: Bouncing coins no longer accidentally activate buttons, fixed a camera bug, and more.
  • Improved town graphics, especially the hospital. By the way, the hospital will have a very cool mission, but don't tell anyone. It's a secret.
  • Some changes were made to the fighting. We shortened the period in which the enemies are invulnerable after you've hit them, so that Izzy can hit them faster. At the same time it takes a little bit longer for the enemies to hit you back, so there won't be any cheap shots. Please note that we are talking milliseconds here, so it really is about fine tuning the fighting mechanics.

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