Sega Dreamcast PC (Microsoft Windows) PlayStation 4

May/June update

Posted by jeroen, 15 Jun 2021 12:52
Hi everyone,

This update is a bit later than usual as Roel had a short vacation (and I, your trusty narrator, as well).
But you're not here to hear about vacations, you're here for some good news. And we have good news! Because the Sega Dreamcast version of Intrepid Izzy and its wonderful soundtrack have been sent to the CD pressing plant!!!!

Although we are still working on some other items that need to be included in the Collector's Edition, the release of the game will definitely be this summer!

We don't know the precise date yet, since we are still working on some things, but we will let you know as soon as we know

In the mean time, check out these renders of what the jewel case and CD will look like. As you can see these are renders of the Japanese version. KickStarter backers will also receive bonus US and PAL designs!

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April update

Posted by jeroen, 04 May 2021 11:50
Production Status

So what is the status of those physical rewards? We have promised our Kickstarter backers a lot of stuff, and in our last update we said we'd be preparing that stuff for manufacturing. Well, we have checked and compared quotations and samples, and we have selected the manufacturers for the various parts. However, there is still some work to be done to make sure everything fits together and the ultra sexy Collector's Edition will be at its finest. Right now we don't have everything we need in order to determine the exact measurements. We expect that to be resolved very soon, though!

A number of Collector's Editions will also become available for non-backers. The exact numbers will become clear after production has been completed.

The Intrepid Izzy digital soundtrack has also been sent to Kickstarter backers. This too will become available to non-backers soon.

March update

Posted by jeroen, 02 Apr 2021 10:13
As you may have heard, Sony will end support of the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita this year, but no worries, the Dreamcast is still supported after 20 years! (By us, no less.)

So on to the update!

  • Last month we showed you the Japanese cover art for Intrepid Izzy, this time we will show you the PAL and NTSC-US versions. A flippable inlay will be supplied so you can choose your favourite style.
  • We are currently animating a character that was missing from the Steam version.
  • Once the aforementioned character is completed, we believe Intrepid Izzy will be ready for production!

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What's next?

According to our schedule, this very April is when we complete the packaging designs, finalise the CD masters (game and soundtrack), and send everything to be manufactured. Yes, really!

Delivery dates are of course not yet set, and also more fluid in these Covid times, but when we have an actual release date you will be the first to know!

February update

Posted by jeroen, 02 Mar 2021 08:21
We are happy to report that progress on the Dreamcast version of Intrepid Izzy is moving steadily forward. We are quite confident with the current state of the game, but we are still making some tweaks here and there.

At the same time we are working on all the other elements needed to send out all the Kickstarter rewards, such as the packaging, the physical and digital art book, the soundtrack CD, etc. As you can see below, the cover for Intrepid Izzy is already complete!

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In short, we're keeping busy and the Dreamcast release is coming closer and closer!

However, we can't give you a firm release date yet. There are still too many elements that can affect the timing of the release, and we first want to have everything completed to be able to give you a release date that will not be delayed.

January update

Posted by jeroen, 03 Feb 2021 09:35
Due to all the ongoing COVID restrictions, it has been a challenge to do some game testing with real actual players. As you can imagine we - as developers - have played Intrepid Izzy a million times already, and can no longer look at the game with fresh eyes.

Luckily we managed to do a QA session on the Dreamcast version with some fellow retro developers in our hometown of Dordrecht.


Tweaks and improvements

The QA session has led to some useful insights, which in turn led to various tweaks to the difficulty and level layout.

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Furthermore, we have added and improved sound effects. Audio is extra important on DC because you can't see quite as far as in the PC version since the screen resolution is lower. Some extra cues when things happen outside the screen can really help.

But wait! There's more! We've put some red sneakers on the source code and now the game has MUCH faster reloading of levels, which is especially nice for players who die a lot. Loading between different levels is also faster.


Hardware upgrade

Senile Team is now the proud owner of a GDEMU. (For those who don't know, the GDEMU is a drive replacement that allows you to use an SD card instead of discs on the Dreamcast). This is quite useful for testing purposes, and also helps us decide if we wish to offer a downloadable version of Intrepid Izzy.


Hardware downgrade

You may know that Ultra Bazoop is a silly playable retro game found in Awesometown's arcade, but now it will be an actual retro game on an actual retro console. We have the wonderful Sjors to thank for this, who is developing a version for the NES! It is already fairly playable. The ROM will be available for free when it has been completed.

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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!