Sega Dreamcast PC (Microsoft Windows) PlayStation 4

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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May update

Posted by jeroen, 29 May 2019 21:31
This month a lot of progress was made on the East Pole. A lot of playable areas were made, and we've been hard at work to include some nice graphical touches, such as a pretty ice bridge.

It's going to be a fun level (if we do say so ourselves), which will require some exploration and costume switching in order to conquer it. And I'm sure there will be some secret chest somewhere as well

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In order to get to the East Pole  you will need some transportation, i.e. Boaty McB, which we first showed in the April update. Naturally a boat also needs a home, so we are building Awesometown a small harbour!

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Additionally, some small, but difficult to find bugs have been fixed, e.g. timing and physics bugs. And we re-balanced the coins: you get four times as many, but the prices have also gone up (except for the arcade). Inflation hard at work!

We also have some Dreamcast screenshots. Please note that any banding will be fixed in the final release.

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Icy update

Posted by jeroen, 03 May 2019 19:57
The East Pole level has been at the center of our attention this month. The graphics still need some polish, but here are some previews of what to expect.
This also comes with the promise that we won't fill the whole level with slippery ice.

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Arcade addition

Posted by jeroen, 03 Mar 2019 10:37
The very aptly named Awesometown now has an arcade with playable should-be classics, such as Ultra Bazoop and Plerg! Who wouldn't want to spend some hard earned coins on that?

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Inspired by the early 8-bit era, the action takes place on a single screen. The objective is to score as many points as possible while the difficulty keeps ramping up.

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The graphics for the Chocolate Mine have received a major update. The repetitive, angular stones have been replaced by ones that actually look like they could be made of chocolate. Improved colours, more glowing lights and other improvements have given the level has a much more magical atmosphere.

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More money, more awesome

Posted by jeroen, 30 Jan 2019 21:47
After extensive testing it was decided that it would be good and quite interesting if the player had some extra incentive for defeating enemies roaming the world of Izzy. So we have added coins that sometimes burst out of defeated enemies. These coins can then be spent in the restaurant in Awesometown on some useful items.

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One of the other outcomes of the previous testing was bugs. Bugs, big and small. A lot of them have been fixed this month, but some are still crawling around waiting to be crushed. Our extermination continues valiantly!

Another focus this month has been on creating memorable boss fights. We won't give you spoilers. You'll just have to find out for yourself!

Additionally, Awesometown has just become more awesome since new NPC's and Kickstarter backer portraits have been added.

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Happy Holidays

Posted by jeroen, 20 Dec 2018 19:17
This month we've done the first big testing round of Intrepid Izzy. We've had no crashes, spotted a few interesting bugs, but most of all, found that the game is shaping up quite nicely. Also, some specials were changed. The squirrel suit now comes with hurricane power 
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We wish everyone a lovely end of the year and the happiest of holidays!!
See you next year!

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Levels and more

Posted by jeroen, 29 Nov 2018 21:21
We have  been hard at work to connect all the levels together in such a way that exploration makes sense and you will be able to find some (secret) new areas, new costumes, and plenty of new enemies to beat up.

Not only are the levels being connected, levels are also being expanded, or embiggened as some might say. Additionally, some interesting and spiffy looking platforms have been added to the creepy forest level. And did we mention the cool lightning effect?

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