Good Robot Hangout

By Shamus
on Apr 6, 2016
Filed under:
Good Robot

My videogame came out yesterday. And if that’s not shocking enough for you, try out this factoid: It continues to be out. You could even buy it for money if you wanted.

Last week we did a hangout where Josh streamed the game. If you missed the event, here’s the archive:


Link (YouTube)

Sorry I sound so crappy. At the time, I thought I was getting over a cold. But no. It turned out I was just in the early stages, and it was about to get ten times worse.

I really am on the mend now.

As far as I can tell, the Good Robot launch was a success. There are a few very minor bugs or annoyances that will probably be patched soon. There weren’t any serious, widespread, game-killing bugs, which is what I was worried about. The public response so far has been positive.

The only downside is our release timing. We were very careful. We spent many meeting-hoursThe longest sort of hours. trying to figure out when would be the optimal time to release the game. Our goal was to release when not a lot of other titles were coming out. Usually a new game will get a spot in the fancy rotating banner at the top of the store, and we wanted that momentary glory to last as long as possible. February was too soon. GDC happened in mid-March, so there was no point in trying to get any media attention then. A couple of major tent-pole releases were scattered around the calendar, like landmines. So we picked early April as a good opening where we might be able to make an impression among the never-ending avalanche of indie games that hit the Steam store every week.

And then Valve chose that exact week to launch the Vive, and they made the entire storefront a huge VR showroom. Not only did we not get an extended time in the spotlight, we were actually denied any place at the top of the page. No splash screen. No spotlight in the sales box. Nothing below the splash screen. We were shoved way down the page.

We did manage to briefly appear under top new sellers, but in practical terms, that’s recognition for sales we’d already generated under our own power. It’s not a great way to reach out to people who’ve never heard of the game before.

This was probably the worst possible release date this quarter, and there was no way for us to know that ahead of time. There was no way to know Valve was going to give their storefront over to VR. Releasing opposite high-end hardware sounds like a safe bet. But even if we’d broken into the Valve offices and stole their secret storefront plans, it wouldn’t have done us any good. We picked this release date two months ago and we’d made trailers and web pages and marketing and press releases, all trumpeting the April 5 release date.

I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe being on top of the Steam page wouldn’t have done anything for us. But there’s no way to know for sure, and now it’s going to eat at me forever.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] The longest sort of hours.


A Hundred!203There are 123 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. SPCTRE says:

    As of right now, the game is still the highest ranked popular new release (#2 behind the F2P Age of Conquest IV) on my Steam storefront.

    Edit: aaaand I just bought a copy

    • MichaelGC says:

      Personally I reckon I’m more likely to notice a game in that list, or the nearby Specials tab, than I am to notice a banner, but I dunno – I’m probably a bit unusual in that. And it still sucks on the Vive timing – even if it hadn’t ended up meaning Minecraft-dollars for all concerned, it would have been awesome to see those piercing squinty eyes plastered all over the Steam frontpage!

    • Vlad says:

      Yeah, and in that (admittedly small and lowdown on the page) “Popular New Releases” tab, Good Robot is actually placed above all the VR games that are currently featured on the huge banners and for which they had months of marketing. So I guess… you won and Valve lost?

  2. “There was no way to know Valve was going to give their storefront over to VR”
    That’s the issue isn’t it? When Valve and Steam are tied that close together.

    I think even GOG was not immune to this kind of stuff (Witcher promotions).
    This is why ideally a storefront should be neutral.
    Then again not even the grocery store is unbiased as there is paid product placements in the actual shelves.

    The VR stunt screwed everyone over not just Good Robot.

    • guy says:

      Eh, this just kind of happens. Any storefront gives top billing to whatever they want to sell the most. Valve wants to push its own products rather than someone else’s, but third-party stores still have big releases drown out small titles because the big releases are where the money is.

      Still, would have been nice to get some warning.

  3. DGM says:

    Sorry about the Vive thing. Has the game at least paid for itself? Do you feel inclined to make another one?

    Also, I can’t find the Good Robot files on my computer. Can anyone tell me where they’re stored? The game is causing me some serious eye strain and I’d like to see if a bit of modding can fix the problem.

    • If you right-click on the game in the Steam library, somewhere in the options there should be a link that takes you directly to wherever Steam hid the files on your system. View game files? Something like that. Also useful for tracking down soundtracks!

      EDIT: Properties -> Local Files -> Browse local files

      • DGM says:

        Got it. It’s Properties (last option), then Local Files -> Browse Local Files in the panel that pops up. And that gave me the soundtrack as well.

        Thanks!

      • Hermocrates says:

        Also worth noting, this is where the DLC soundtrack will be located if you bought that as well, in case you are normal and don’t want to use Steam’s built-in music player.

        And on that note, thanks so much for including the OST in FLAC! I like to re-encode my music in a fairly low bitrate AAC when I put it on my iPhone, so MP3 is kinda useless for that (moreso than a high bitrate AAC).

    • Naota says:

      Sorry to hear about the eye strain – you should be reasonably able to tinker with the game’s colour palette using:

      -data/levels.xml – each level’s colour scheme and wall sprites are defined inside “motif” tags. The colours in question are set using a set of three hexadecimal characters (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, a, b, c, d, e, f) that correspond to RGB values. So for example, f08 is 100% red, 0% green, 50% blue.

      -data/robots.ini – all of the robots in the game are defined here in little blocks of values. You’re looking for BodyColor and EyeColor. These use the same colour scale as I described above.

      -data/projectiles.ini – the same story as robots.ini, except you’re using Color and AuraColor to control the base colour of the bullet and the colour of its ambient glow effect respectively.

      Mod support!

      • DGM says:

        Thanks! I want to try raising the general light level first and see how much that helps before I start redoing the color scheme, as that seems like the simplest solution. But if that fails this info could be handy.

        One other thing that concerns me is that the terrain blocks have permeable bits at the edge that conceal robots and shots. Is there any way to make stuff behind those bits visible, or would I have to bug Shamus/Arvind for custom code?

        • Fizban says:

          Would love to hear if you find a good solution, I’m used to just playing through the pain if I’ve marathon’d games all day but I’m royally wrecked right now (after 80 minutes on my first play and then about an hour of the hangout video, not a total I’d expect to have trouble with).

          • DGM says:

            If watching the hangout hurts you then I’m not sure your problem is the same as mine. It’s straining to see things that causes me pain and I don’t strain watching an LP because I only have to be that alert when I’m the one playing.

            As for letting you know what I find, I think we’re going to need some place other than the blog comments to discuss modding. Asking Shamus for a sub-forum on his forums seems easiest, but he doesn’t seem to be taking requests of any kind. Anyone interested in setting up a wiki or something?

            • Naota says:

              Another thing you guys may wish to try is turning off the full-screen rotation effect in the options menu (“screen tilt” under gameplay). Though usually the issue with this effect is motion sickness rather than strain, it does cause everything on the screen to effectively be in motion without a stationary anchor to fixate on, so I can see how it might cause a bit of additional strain tracking targets and orienting yourself within a level.

            • Fizban says:

              I might have had more buildup from other activities that day than I realized, I’ve played some more since then (carefully) and haven’t had much trouble. I think someone mentioned something about light levels in the rest of the room where you’re playing: I know generally you’re supposed to play in a reasonably lit environment, but since most of Good Robot is flat black I think it works better in a dark room. At least for me, and regarding headaches rather than discernment.

              I turned off the screen tilt immediately, can’t play for beans with my screen bouncing around.

  4. stomponator says:

    Bummer. Well I wish you the best of luck, anyway.

    I bought the game yesterday at a 30% discount and now feel as if I had been stealing from you. I might just have to forward a couple of bucks to you to ease my guilt-wracked conscience…

    Also I noticed that sometimes groups of bad robots seem to be piling up in front of a robot factory. Are they supposed to behave like that?

    • Sleepyfoo says:

      I noticed that as well.

      My favorite “glitch” so far was the mini-boss that spawned on the exit. I was heading down the exit hallway having not seen the boss, and then I caught a glimpse of the Bad Robot and then I was suddenly at the start of the exit hallway with the bar blocking my progress.

      I had to kill the boss from off screen, because I think it was part spider and thus couldn’t fly.

      • Spammy says:

        I’ve also had that happen to me! Luckily you can shoot through the boss barrier and it’s a straight hallway to the platform.

      • Feriority says:

        That happened to me too – in fact I came to the comments here to report it. Fortunately I had a primary weapon that ricocheted, so blind-fire wasn’t *completely* annoying – otherwise it would have been kinda frustrating to have to sit there lobbing fire at the miniboss.

  5. tried to search for a Good Robot review. Google gave me a bunch of vacuum robot reviews. So the name may be a bit unfortunate.

    But there where two actual reviews from India that came up:
    http://in.ign.com/good-robot-android/90851/review/ign-india-reviews-good-robot
    http://gadgets.ndtv.com/games/reviews/good-robot-is-a-made-in-india-game-thats-exciting-but-flawed-822332

    One reviewer wish there was a tutorial, and found it a tad confusing for a beginner gamer (no tutorial level). They commented on the story being just in the game description and nothing in the game itself. But the game grows on you when you play it a second time and it can get addictive. Oh and the music is the best part of the game they think. The main flaw is that instead of asking the player to get creative in later levels it’s instead just button mashing.

    Since I haven’t played the game I can’t comment on if this is correct or not. But their review of Good Robot sounds more like a review of a classic Arcade Game (is that a fitting category for Good Robot?).

    The other reviewer thinks the lack of a tutorial is not an issue as the game is simple and obvious in how it works. They say that despite being just 2D it has a really nice art style and colors. They too like the music.

    Now I was just paraphrasing read the interviews yourself, but looking at these two it seems that they are “mixed” and “cute” in opinion.

    Ooh and the game is listed on Metacritic now too: http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/good-robot

    • NoneCallMeTim says:

      Yeah, I can see that a tutorial would feel like it is missing, but only really from a ‘hand holding’ perspective, as in, other games have it, why doesn’t this one?

      The actual mechanics are very easy to pick up.

      I really like how when you kill some robots and they randomly drop a new weapon, you can pick up the new weapon, try it and swap back if you don’t like it.

      However, in the dispensers, there are random things like money attractors, enemy scanners, targeting lasers etc. I have avoided buying those because I don’t know what they do, and would like some means of trialling them.

      Overall, this is a really polished game.

      • Jonathan says:

        You can have as many of the random (item 6) upgrades at a time as you want. I was really happy when I found a targeting laser.

      • Andrew says:

        I recommend getting the Targeting Laser.

        Makes life easier.

        • Feriority says:

          I bought the laser at first, but never picked it up again because it doesn’t help with secondary weapons, which are what I actually need help aiming.

          Shots fire from the arms rather than your center, which means they go towards your aiming point at an angle instead of a straight line. The problem is the targeting laser shows your primary angle, but the primary weapon is autofiring while you try to aim, so you can already see where it’s going and walk your shots. The secondary weapon is harder to spam, so it benefits more from the laser, but it doesn’t go where the laser is pointing.

          The cash magnet is kind of convenient but not really necessary; I pick it up once the cost is small or if I have a little extra money after an upgrade.

          The enemy scanner, on the other hand, is a life saver and I totally recommend it.

        • Majikkani_Hand says:

          See, that’s interesting, because I hated it and wanted it unequipped the second I tried to use it–it only helps fire the primaries, which I don’t need help with, and it’s kind of…ugly? Distracting? It’s not a huge deal, since I can just not buy it, but it’s really interesting to see other people liked it. If it curved to show the trajectory of the gravity-affected weapons I’d be a lot more interested. (Maybe it does? I didn’t do extensive tests, but it seems to be primary-focused on the weapon selection I did test it with, so I suspect it doesn’t.)

      • Trix2000 says:

        Targeting laser just puts a red line between you and your mouse, to show where you will fire a bit better. Has some minor use in keeping track of your firing angle in confusing combat, and it’s cheap enough to be worth a purchase.

        Cash magnet makes all money automatically go to you (like you’re a magnet!) as soon as it appears. It makes things a LOT more convenient and, again, it’s not that expensive in the long run.

        Enemy scanner… shows you the locations of enemies (with little red markers). It’s very useful, since it makes it much harder for robots to surprise you from around walls and corners.

        Exit scanner is probably the least useful of the lot – it just puts an arrow on-screen pointing towards the direction you need to go to the end of the stage. Finding the exit is usually not that hard, though, and I personally prefer clearing out most of the level of enemies first anyways. Most stages aren’t too huge to begin with, though some get a bit convoluted enough where this is handy. The higher cost is a bit prohibitive early on, though.

        • Cordance says:

          I see the compass as more for people who wish to do speed runs as you can take advantage of it to speed your run … Although I agree for the moment that is the last thing on my by list with enemy scanner being the first. Cash magnet is a must if you start using bouncing weapons.

        • Tektotherriggen says:

          A fun combination is Enemy Scanner + Rocket Pod (the rockets that fall down due to gravity). You can rain death down on Bad Robots that are hiding behind the terrain!

    • I’ve got a YouTube playlist of let’s plays over here.

      It isn’t comprehensive, but I’ll keep updating it once or twice a day as I find more videos of the game.

      • Tizzy says:

        I watched a couple of let’s plays yesterday in between bouts with the game, because that’s the kind of nerd I am.

        I noted that on both occasions, these people, who had not followed the development blog, did not understand straight away the more unusual concepts like the fact that the hat could have a purpose beyond being a joke and a custom aesthetic improvement, or how warranties work.

        The game does provide some hints in the hat store as well, but I never even noticed the first time around. Flavor text did not pop out, it was designed to blend in. But I don’t think I would have noticed it at all if I hadn’t looked actively for the news items, which I knew would be there from reading the blog. And I don’t consider myself an action-first let’s dive into this player. I’m the guy who reads the manual before launching the game and spends too long in the first chapter of any game just looking around. So it would be even more of a problem for people who rush through hundreds of games.

        I conclude that teaching people how to play your game in a way that is both effective and unobtrusive is really hard. Compounded by the fact that it’s so hard to know what players need to know when you have been immersed in the design for so long that everything has become self-evident.

        And I want to conclude with a compliment, because there are times where Good Robot teaches its mechanics really well: e.g., the tumbling animations when you destroy enemy missiles. On the stream, I remember that Shamus commented that compliments on the aesthetic effect it produces made it worth the hours spent fine-tuning it. But I think that, more important than simply being pretty, it conveys to the player immediately that, yes, this game pays attention if you shoot its missiles, and it is a viable strategy that developers have in mind.

        The ability to shoot missiles is not something that I would take for granted in a game. I knew it would be possible from following the blog, but finding this unobtrusive way to let all players know about it is a huge victory.

        (By the way, I think the tumbling animation conveys this much more effectively than the missile exploding, which would have been my go-to solution, especially since it would be so much simpler to implement. An exploding missile could be the normal way the weapon functions rather than something I had anything to do with.)

    • Falcon02 says:

      Looks like there’s some confusion over the price on the one review on Metacritic from “Brash games”

      Brash Games – Good Robot Review

      Looks like they quoted the price at £23 (presumably based on the Bundle pre-order price), and discuss in their conclusions about it being over priced.

      They’ve since corrected it to £7. But I wonder what other effect some of that pre-launch bundle price confusion will have. I personally was surprised when it wasn’t available stand alone pre-launch, and that helped inflate initial impressions of the pricing.

    • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

      Its funny to see some sites refer to it as an Indian game. I guess it was at the end of the day. Its just funny that it evolved to that point when it had started out as Shamus’s pet project.

      • Mephane says:

        Well on Steam all you basically see is Pyrodactyl as the company and Arvind writing on the forums. I don’t think there is even a reference or link to Shamus or this blog here, is there?

      • Naota says:

        If you think that’s weird, consider this: I’ve never had a job offer sent to me from a software company based in North America, but three games running now I’ve been sent a minimum of one that assumes I live and work in India once the release-day PR push goes out.

        By far the strangest was EA, who was looking for an art lead… in Hyderabad. That’s probably the most prestigious gig I’ve had put in front of me but never had a sane chance of actually doing.

        So far as Pyrodactyl’s actual breakdown by location, Good Robot’s staff looks like this:
        Arvind – India
        Shamus – East Coast, US
        Mikk – Estonia
        Rutskarn – West Coast, US
        Rashi – India
        Me – East Coast (Ontario), Canada
        (Sorry Late Development Sound Effects Guy – I’d put you here but we never actually met!)

  6. Really sucks about the VR thing – I was Disappoint on your behalf. :(

  7. Jan says:

    Bought it, and saw that it is actually on the “Popular New Releases” tab (nr. 2 right now), which is something that I look at more than the banners at the top.

    Anyway, I am in the situation where I can’t rationalize to my significant other a Patreon contribution, but I can rationalize a game purchase, so hopefully my contribution helps a bit. Also, it nets me a cool game!

  8. Veylon says:

    Oddly, this game came out the same day as Enter the Gungeon, another indie roguelike bullet hell (which is apparently a genre now). So I guess you can’t win with release dates.

    • Galad says:

      Also, I’m a fan of Nuclear Throne – the NT streamers and friends I have (a total of four people, not that many, but still), were ALL playing this Gungeon game yesterday. So the odds are really stacked against Good Robot, if my limited perspective is to be trusted.

      I guess I’ll buy it a few more times before the week is over :V

    • Ilseroth says:

      Unfortunately yeah, this was the major competition. On Twitch, enter the gungeon had (and has) a crazy high viewer count and just so happens to be sitting at the top of the top selling chart on steam.

      Again, not much you could do about that.

      On the bright side, Good Robot is jolly good fun; hope you can get some sales momentum.

    • Ysen says:

      Yeah, I saw that too. Gungeon has been all over YouTube and Twitch this week. It’s pretty unfortunate timing.

  9. Liam O'Hagan says:

    So I decided this would be a good impetus to finally get on to this steam thing about which all the young kids are talking these days.

    Went to the steam webpage and tried to sign up, and it told me the username I’d selected was already in use. I was very surprised at this, as I use a strangely unique selection of letters and numbers, unlikely to be duplicated.

    So, on a whim I tried to log in to this pre-existing account, and found that I could! Apparently at some stage in the distant past I have unwittingly obtained a steam account :O

    So now I have the steam client installed and I’m waiting on my Good Robot Soundtrack Edition download :D

  10. ckpk says:

    Hey Shamus, I wanted to say thanks for the great game!
    The feel of the movement, weapons, and feedback from when your shots hit are all spot on.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what the weapons system has in store. I just found the radial heater, interesting stuff!

    I also wanted to check something that might be a bug.
    I often see robot spawners flicker on for a moment when they come on screen, but then immediately deactivate and go dark without spawning any robots.
    Is this intended? Some of the spawners work as expected, but it seems like most spawners (at least in the early areas I’ve played in so far) have this happen to them.

  11. Nidokoenig says:

    How does the game look on a vr headset? Try and worm your way into the event. “Uses zoomed out third person perspective to prevent motion sickness”.

    Didn’t Rutskarn say once that the real money in indie games came during sales and bundles? I assume Arvind is on that already, though and we don’t want to see it too early.

  12. Poobles says:

    You guys also came out on the same day as Enter the Gungeon, which I guess is in a similar vein. Anyway have not had much time to play, but I did get a sneaky play before work and enjoyed it.

  13. Ninety-Three says:

    I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe being on top of the Steam page wouldn’t have done anything for us. But there’s no way to know for sure, and now it’s going to eat at me forever.

    Actually, there kind of is. Not to know with complete certainty, but I can think of how to know with reasonable statistical confidence. SteamSpy gives us accurate-ish daily sales data on any given title, we just have to look at sales of newly released games in the week before, during and after this VR sale to see if games released in VR week suffered.

    Whether you really want to know is another question, but I’m intrigued by Steam Store dynamics so I think I’ll look into that when the next two weeks of data are out.

  14. LowercaseM says:

    I’m not a shmups guy, but I bought a copy. My performance on the first two levels really reinforces that I stink at shmups! :) Happy to support indie devs like Pyrodactyl who seem to want to make fun stuff for people, and seem to actually like those customers!

  15. DanMan says:

    I bought copies for myself and both of my friends last night. Game’s a lot of fun. Had some issues with my controller and I was wondering the best way to report them. I doubt you want your blog turning into a support forum.

    I’ve never requested help via Steam (heard stories about it). Is that what your team would prefer? Honestly don’t even know how to do that.

  16. Tinkerton says:

    While I knew that Good Robot was coming out soon-ish, I never committed the release date to memory. When I read that first sentence it stirred up a volatile cocktail of thoughts and emotions as flashbacks of seeing The IKEA Experience on the storefront came rushing back from yesterday. What a strange way of getting (potentially) screwed on day 1.

  17. Fizban says:

    Yup, VR is here for everyone who has $lol to blow on tech demos. Can’t expect it to actually reach the point of Real Games ™ without starting somewhere, but no I have not heard nearly enough to justify spewing it all over the front page. If Valve is half the champion people think they are or want them to be, they’d take every game released in this window and give them a second running all over the front page to make up for it.

    I don’t do much in the way of social media but I shilled the game to a guy at work today, he said he’d probably get it thanks poor impulse control and it being right up his alley.

    Speaking of GoG, you mentioned they turned Good Robot down before though I don’t think you said why. Any chance they might pick it up in the future now that it’s out and you might get a second release wave?

  18. Sleeping Dragon says:

    So the question is: is Valve sabotaging Pyrodactyl or Shamus specifically? To the conspiracy cave!

  19. Blue Painted says:

    Just got mine .. is the first day ranking time sensitive?

  20. Jonathan says:

    The robots and their noises (on first sighting) are influenced by Descent. It works.
    The music is vaguely Descent-ish as well… and the terrain shapes & configurations reminds me of Super Metroid (SNES).

    The visual language (doors) was pretty easy to decode and figure out. It’s kind of nice to have to figure stuff out (when it’s not obscure and hard) instead of reading it all in a manual – just another form of explanation.

  21. Traiden says:

    I keep killing myself with my own bounce weapon. I favor a High Rate of Fire type of Robot so I am running around the level spaming my right click weapon. Once I got the buzzsaw I managed to kill myself twice on the same level(I had a warranty) trying to get the thing to bounce around the corner to hit a foe on my radar. and with my RoF being as high as it was I was more a danger to myself than any of the other robots. This is negatively impacting my enjoyment of the game, as it is telling me that my method of play is not viable. It is my want to be able to fill the arena with as much of my own bullets as I can manage without having to worry about dodging my own reflected shots.

    Digging deeper, it seems that the saw turn into something that can hurt me on its second bounce, as shooting it and getting in front of it as it starts to build of speed before zooming off has it passing through me without hurting me. Same with the first bounce. After that it has the potential to kill the player in one hit after the second bounce. My first run was ended after I obtained the exploding disk and managed to blow myself up with the bounce too. The HE Grenade does not seem to have the same Friendly Fire Properties as the higher tier bouncing weapons.

    • Zoe M. says:

      This stuff is specified in the files – you could look into making a mod to turn off friendly fire on those weapons.

    • Galad says:

      Sorry if this sounds stupid, but just be more careful. I’ve used the explosive disk for some time and I’ve not had trouble, though it did hit me once – I usually go for just the straight line hit, or for easy “bomb drops” or for a single bounce that can’t reach me.

      • Traiden says:

        The problem the the saw is the odd way it bounces and the speed at which the projectile obtains. I had gotten killed the second time through normal use of the weapon trying to get it around a corner to hit a known enemy. I was trying to be a lot more careful with my use of the weapon after the first death to spamming the weapon. I could not see the levels walls to predict in advance what the chances of a return bounce should I mess up or miss the robot I was trying to hit.

    • Fists says:

      I have the same issue, don’t think I’ll be using the saw blade again it’s just too dangerous. I also don’t like using bouncy for both primary and secondary as the screen gets too busy but still some good combos to choose from. I’m getting destroyed on chapter 3 though, those damn wheel things.

  22. That sucks. Many sympathies. I did do my best to get the word out. I even posted in MAG (Metro Atlanta Geeks) Facebook group (it’s the biggest facebook group I’m in that would allow such a posting) and mentioned hey, cool game, indie, check it out, awesome series of blog posts about making the game, and hey, remember DM of the Rings? Yup, that guy. Hopefully you guys got some sales out of it! (I figured that those who were kinda eh on the game might be “ooh” on good blog posts about making a game or “ooh” about throwing some money at the guy who made ’em laugh with DM, and a sale was a sale. Hopefully that was okay)

    From what I’ve seen, people seem to be pretty positive. I look forward to trying it once my thumbs stop hurting (or alternatively I get told it’s arthritis starting and just say screw it).

  23. AdamS says:

    Just got the game last night, and loving it, so far. My only complaint is that no matter how many weapons you replace using in a vending machine, the unused pickups all seem to land in the same place. I bought a gun in my first game that I realized I liked less than the first one, and because I had also replaced my secondary I couldn’t grab the primary powerup out from under the secondary pickup. Maybe having the powerups get a little kick away from GoodBot in a random direction would fix it?

  24. Geebs says:

    The VR thing is a real bummer.

    You guys should congratulate yourselves on beating Valve in the way that really counts: making the best implementation of hats in any video game, ever. The fact that they’re all different prices cracks me up.

    Best of luck with the ongoing sales.

  25. Hitch says:

    I missed the live hangout. So I’m watching the VOD. I might be missing something, but the hats seem to be a slight missed opportunity. I wasn’t able to see any difference in the different priced hats. If I just missed something ignore me now. But it appeared to be aa accomplishment to get to the end of a level with your hat intact. Maybe there could be a reward for carrying a hat from one dispenser to the next. If the first time you hit a hat dispenser on a level, if you still have a hat from the previous level, you get a refund on the price, that introduces a slight gambling aspect to the game and incentivizes buying the most expensive hat available. If you can make it through several levels with a hat, you can actually make a little money. Of course, it’s far too late for this kind of suggestion.

    • Feriority says:

      The hats are so cheap relative to upgrades and weapons that the price differences are *really* unlikely to matter (although I guess you could find yourself hitting an upgrade station just a few bucks short). I was fine with paying a little extra for more variety and hats I like better, although I really like the pope hat which happens to be one of the cheapest ones.

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    For me, the bigger problem would have been Enter The Gungeon. My RL space isn’t VR-ready, and I couldn’t afford it right now anyway.

    If I didn’t know about Good Robot beforehand, I might have bought Enter The Gungeon and completely ignored Good Robot, because they’re in the same genre releasing on the same day. In fact, Gungeon was available in the morning (local time) and GR later in the afternoon.

    As it is, I’ll probably still get Gungeon on the summer sale.

    • Vlad says:

      Looking at Enter the Gungeon, I don’t understand one thing though: what could possibly be Steam’s algorithm for rating games on “popularity” if Good Robot (59 reviews, 98% positive) finds itself above EtG (819 reviews, 95% positive) in the little tab at the bottom of the client ?

      Hell, even Project Starship is above Enter the Gungeon but below Good Robot, and it only has 5 reviews! All three of these games came out on the same day.

      I’m assuming, of course, that the number of reviews correlates at least on some level with the number of people who bought/wishlisted the game.

      • The reason Enter the Gungeon is not on the “popular new releases” list is that they had preorders open a few days before their actual launch. Steam considers that time as the launch time (which is the reason why we didn’t open pre-orders).

        For Steam, a new release is simply “a thing you can buy”, which makes for a more level playing field because high profile titles can’t double dip and get on the top charts for both pre-orders and launch.

  27. DGM says:

    Shamus,

    A couple of requests. First, I’m trying to watch the hangout but I simply can’t make out what you guys are saying while Josh is firing (STOP! SHOOTING! THEM!). Does he record your conversation separately from the game audio? If so, could we get an alternate version of this video with the gameplay muted? Or even just the raw audio if that would be too much trouble?

    Second, a little help with the modding. I’m looking through the data files for an option to change the arc of the Good Robot’s light cone and can’t find it. I want to make it 360 degrees so that the screen is better lit. Is there a variable for that or is this hard-coded?

    • There was a guy in the other Good Robot postings who couldn’t play for very long because of his eyes not coping well with the dark/light thing (he mentioned the same problem with Terraria).

      Oops, found comment, that was you. Sorry, was attempting to help by suggesting a sharing of info. I do hope you figure out how to mod things so you can play without issues!

      • DGM says:

        No need to apologize. I appreciate the thought. And considering the size of that thread I couldn’t blame anyone for losing track of who said what.

        • TMC_Sherpa says:

          There is a comment about vision in characters.ini but adding vision=X at the bottom of the file doesn’t appear to change anything.

          Messing with the colors in levels.xml kinda works. The vision cone shader thingy still happens but changing the background, sky and lamp colors to be the same as light (It’s a thing) more or less turns the background orange(?!) on level0. Altering all the backgrounds on all the levels would kinda be a PITA but trying it might help?

          Other than that I got nothin.

  28. I should have a first impressions video up sometime tomorrow, I’m sure that will get like.. 4? more people to know about the game :P

  29. Jabrwock says:

    It was listed in my “recommended for you” column.

    I grabbed my copy. First game of 2016 that I’ve bought that I’ll need to fire up BootCamp for. Hopefully Windows 10 hasn’t screwed up my controller again.

  30. Hermocrates says:

    As soon as I logged into Steam and saw their VR stuff, my first thought was “Aw crud. Could they have worse timing?” Sorry Valve had to rain on your parade.

    But I did get the urge to write my first ever review of a game for Good Robit (positive, of course, but that’s my honest opinion; I’m not one for fanboying), so I hope that helps.

  31. silver Harloe says:

    Bought it, but right now have no time for games which are not Factorio. Or apparently non-games which are not Factorio, like eating or sleeping.

    • DGM says:

      Bah, just build some machines to eat and sleep for you. :P

    • Shamus says:

      Factorio has been my comfort food while sick the past two weeks. I’m not even sure if I LIKE it. There’s no story, no personal expression, no characters.

      But I can’t. Stop. Playing.

      It’s not aesthetically pleasing, or surprising, or challenging. But it is engrossing.

      • DGM says:

        Hmm… Maybe not being that challenging is part of it? It’s the sort of game that would appeal to logic/programming/optimization-oriented people, but if you’re sick you don’t want something too demanding.

        • Shamus says:

          I’ll bet that’s it exactly. It’s seems to scratch the Minecraft itch of keeping my hands busy without asking too much of me.

          • Majromax says:

            I feel that Factorio works because almost all of the challenges the game poses are intrinsic rather than extrinsic in nature. Even the “build and launch a rocket” goal is vaguely-specified; the game won’t yell at you for not launching a rocket or for being slow about it.

            Players end up giving themselves small goals such as “I want more iron production,” and because they’ve set the goals for themselves the reward is more satisfying than if the game gave that goal to you on a checklist.

            Additionally, the intrinsic difficulty of Factorio is variable. Some goals end up being easy, but every now and then “I want more green circuits” turns into a yak shaving problem that spirals into a major renovation project.

            Yet even when the game is “hard,” it’s usually easy for a player to trace their current difficulties to earlier choices, so the difficulty is manifestly “fair.”

          • DGM says:

            See if your urge to play fades just as you get well.

            BTW, I don’t know if you missed my question earlier but I was wondering if Josh recorded your conversation in the hangout separately from the game audio?

          • Fists says:

            You’d love stardew valley if that’s what you’re looking for at the moment, a bit of calculation in what crops will get you the best yield but over all kinda brainless.

  32. MichaelGC says:

    So that’s over 24 hours it’s been in the top three of the Popular New Releases list (or has on mine; not sure if they are tailored at all)? I know it’s not a sales chart, and the sodding Vive had to get all shovey, etc. etc., but even so that’s pretty impressive! Maybe it’s just my own expectations that were awry, but certainly if you’d told me beforehand this was likely to happen I don’t think I’d have quite believed it… You know – I’d have nodded; smiled, perhaps; but deep down…

  33. Bubble181 says:

    First thoughts….
    A) Obviously, it’s great fun
    B) It might be me, but “recharge shields” will happily take your money even when you’re at full health. While you can’t spend money on a second warranty, you can spend it on “useless” recharges.
    C) While I do understand the reasons behind not having different difficulty levels, it’s still a choice I don’t like. I feel forced to play very conservatively, hiding, running away, whatever, and experience every hit as a failure – a cost, lost money, whatever. I know a lot of people need/want their game to have that. I personally don’t. I’d much prefer to play at something that’s more “my” comfortable level of difficulty, or choose depending on mood. “I’m super tired and just want to blast a bunch of bad robots” vs “I want to try my very best to finally beat the whole game using only the basic weapons!”. Different styles of play. But one of them’s impossible. Oh well.
    D) I suck at these games.

  34. Decius says:

    Space will do most of the things that Enter will, but how hard would it be to make space/enter leave a store as well as enter it?

  35. Sunshine says:

    Between Rutskarn’s post of the old plot and the Spoiler Warning season on SOMA, is there a late-game twist where you discover that humans moved into underground cities and then uploaded their brains into robots…and now you’ve killed them all. Bad robot.

  36. RCN says:

    I just loved how absolutely awful Josh is at lobbing those grenades at robots. 10/10

  37. Chris says:

    When Josh gets the Top Hat, the game really needed a Shamus voice-file to say “Now you’re dapper!”

    Loving the game, but man do I need a mini-map. If this is a feature that exists and I’ve missed it, please let me know. I have the absolute worst sense of direction.

  38. I hope alternative outlets to steam will be available later. I don’t use steam and have no plans to either. (I do have/use Origin, but when possible I use a crack so I won’t have to actually have to run Origin)

    Also Steam takes at least 30% of the profit. With something like Avangate (at the current non-discount pricepoint of Good Robot on steam) they would take 31.25%, 14.66% or only 8% depending on which of the three solutions you pick and they handle EU VAT and Sales Tax.

    I’d rather see Pyrodactyl and Shamus and Co get 92% of the sale (Before VAT/Sales Tax).

    Another alternative would be to just use Paypal and host the exe on some webserver and provide a download link + code for people via email, but Paypal does not handle EU VAT and Sales Tax so you’d have to handle all that mess yourself (register in a EU country then get a VAT number and then report and pay the VAT Sales Tax to a sort of collective thingy that avoids you having to pay to each EU country individually. (Holy shit EU, wouldn’t it be easier to automate this shit at the Card company stage instead?)

    But I digress. I’m ass broke all the time and if I’m to buy a game (especially a Indie game) I’d rather see the developers get as close to 100% of my blood and sweat stained cash as possible.

    So my apologize for not adding to the Steam statistics.

    (Ironically I’d have less issues buying via GOG despite their cut probably not being that different from Steam’s, so I guess I’m a selective hypocrite?)

    EDIT: Oh and Steam has to add VAT/Sales Tax as well so a dev could get less than 50% (VAT/Sales Tax in most of the EU average around 25% on the high end) which is why one wants a retailer/re-seller to takes as low a cut as possible.

    Edit2: Fastspring is a alternative to Avangate, their fee/cut is a little higher but they too handle EU VAT and Sales Tax for you.

  39. Corsair says:

    I’m not really in any shape for nuanced commentary at the moment, but I do have this:

    The first time I ran into the Diecast music I was -really- confused for a second.

  40. allfreight says:

    Maybe it will help to think of it this way: the banner space was occupied by a product almost no one will buy (Vive) rather than a game that directly competes with Good Robot.

  41. somebodys_kid says:

    Some thoughts on the game:
    1) Good Robot does not like my 5 monitor, GSync, SLI set up on my main rig. Won’t even get to the menu.
    2) Good Robot LOVES my secondary rig with a single GTX970 connected to a 4k television.
    3) Good Robot looks fantastic at 4k resolutions.
    4) Good Robot works perfectly with my XBox 360 controller.
    5) Good Robot does not work properly with my steam controller (the aim/fire controls are opposite? or something, I honestly can’t figure out how it’s interpreting that particular input)
    6) I LOVE the art style and the visuals in general
    7) I LOVE the music and sound effects in general
    8) That first centipede/worm robot boss KICKED MY ASS
    9) I LOVE all the different weapons and (I never thought I’d say this) hats.
    10) I dislike the fact that you can’t “see” enemies that are blocked by level geometry but within the screen area, but I’m okay with this particular mechanic…adds to the challenge
    11) One of my siblings said it was pretty fun, and also has a better high score than I (shakes fist)

  42. Soooo…
    Will there be a DLC that makes me not suck at it? :P

  43. Zak McKracken says:

    Me sad because no GOG version, or Humble store thing or somesuch… 275 people wishing for it on GOG may not have been enough :(

  44. Liam O'Hagan says:

    I’m playing it at 2560×1440 on a GTX260, which at 896MB graphics RAM, doesn’t meet the minimum system specs, but it still runs smoothly and looks great! :D

  45. Mephane says:

    Shamus, after playing for a while out of idle curiosity I re-read a few of the blog posts from the early development, and was quite surprised to find a section that directly contradicts how it ends up happening in the final game. In this post, you talk about vertical vs horizontal movement, and how the former is much less fun:

    After some more testing I realize that the difficulty spikes are happening when the maze calls for vertical movement.

    When I first envisioned this thing I was thinking about a game where you would fight your way down. I always liked that “deep underground” feel of Descent. I imagined the player would fight their way down most of the time, with little lateral shifts now and then just to keep things interesting. This gameplay concept would probably have worked fine in the day of 4:3 monitors, but now the world is filled with 16:9 (or in my case an oddball 16:10) screens. When I’m moving up and down, I can’t see nearly as far as when I move horizontally. I don’t have enough time to dodge projectiles and being shot by off-screen foes doesn’t feel nearly as exciting as fighting stuff you can see. It feels cheap. It feels like the game designer is exploiting my screen aspect ratio to gain an advantage over me.

    You then mention that as a solution, you’re going to generate levels that mostly flow left/right and right/left, but in the game this layout does not seem to exist, and I have to fight “downhill” or “uphill” at least as often as sideways. In addition to the issues you mentioned, fighting uphill is also much more tricky than downhill not just because weapons with projectiles affected by gravity are much harder to aim that way (I assume they are meant to be more effective at bombing something below you), but also because debris and various particle effects from destroyed robots fall down all the way, so you have much more “stuff” moving your direction not all of which are projectiles to dodge. In other words: much, much more screen clutter when fighting uphill than downhill. Maybe it would be better to have debris and particles from destroyed robots to float and tumble and disintegrate or something like that, instead of falling down and out of the level?

    Then right after that you wrote:

    And it’s not just that it’s hard. It’s also driving me away from fun gameplay. Instead of dogfighting with foes all around, I find myself moving down and just spamming projectiles into the off-screen void. Instead of flying around fast, I’m creeping along, taking a few steps at a time and then hosing the place down with bullets to make sure it’s safe to take a few more. The game is less interesting when moving up and down. Then I hit a horizontal section and it turns fun again.

    This is precisely what I experience. It begins right there with the exit from the starting room if that is going down or (even worse) up. Move too fast and suddenly a robot is in your face firing a salvo of bullets or a missile at you. So I move forward carefully while firing constantly “into the off-screen void”. Well, this is a thing I find myself doing very often regardless, it’s just vertically I feel like i have no other choice, whereas horizontally dogfighting is just as viable.

    Now don’t take this as a complaint about shooting off-screen enemies. In the launch blog post comments I already mentioned it as a reply to another comment criticising this point, and I’d like to emphasize again that I do very much enjoy being able to shoot at enemys from afar, even beyond the screen edge. And I like kiting a group of enemys while backing away, continuously firing in their general direction. Weapons with high fire rate and some spread are ideal for this approach. In fact, I have loathed a few games in the past for actively preventing exactly that, by making projectiles simply disappear immediately when they hit the screen edge or by giving them all such a short lifetime that you can barely hit anything near the border of the screen. Mind you, in FPS I also tend to prefer long-range options, and would rarely pick a shotgun as my primary weapon, so shooting from a long distance is a thing I generally prefer.

    P.S.: Listening to the awesome soundtrack as I type this. Love the use of e-guitar in “My Logic Is Bigger”. I don’t know why this is done so little in electronic music, a single e-guitar is such a good combination for it.

    P.P.S.: Also love the titles of the individual pieces from the soundtrack. “Serve the Humans Lasers”, “We Come in Pieces”, “Version 2 Will Be Even Better”… 10/10 would grin again. And maybe I am in a minority here, but a well-chosen title can really enhance my appreciation for music, which is part of the reason I have all the Star Wars soundtrack whereas I find most traditional classical music rather bland. “Symphony in e-minor no A38” – these people back then must have been very, very unimaginative. (On the other hand, a single deliberately unimaginative title is quite a clever thing when surrounded by otherwise interestingly named songs.) I also feel like this about the titles in other forms of art, be it paintings, drawings, sculptures, or even movies.

    • WJS says:

      This so very much. I only realised Good Robot had released already fairly recently, and getting shot by things I never saw coming is killing the game for me. Why was the game released in this state? You identified a problem piece of unfun gameplay, wrote a solution… and then just forgot about it??

  46. Fast_Fire says:

    Having fun and even clocked in a couple hours already. While I haven’t gotten absurdly good, I’ve had some fun playing through (both legitimately and *ahem* with maybe a couple tweaks here and there) to see the content and make sense of the systems without having to read a manual’s worth of text.

    Among my first concerns as I’ve been playing Good Robot are that:
    This game is a special hell for anyone that is colorblind
    When shooting robots, it gets hard to see incoming fire against the background of most player weapon projectiles
    Primaries with bounce-based projectiles are pretty much king (shooting around corners, avoiding return fire) and make other weapons within the same tiers look obsolete.

    Fun note: Modding certain robots to split into up to 32 copies of themselves REALLY racks up the difficulty… for keeping the game from crashing. Afterwords, I couldn’t bear to finish that run because of the absurd score I ended up accumulating.

    Right now it doesn’t seem like the game checks for modified data files for the purposes of leaderboard integrity (because that’s the feature that REALLY matters, right?).

  47. WJS says:

    I found the discussion on telemetry rather baffling. You mentioned something like the HL heatmap, I think “that’d be tough”, you comment that it’d be difficult, I nod my head, then you… go of on weird tangent about players tampering with the data? Huh? Like that is the hard part? Am I missing something? Surely all you need to do (yeah, that phrase, I know) is sign the reports with a key the players won’t have easy access to. Why would you need anything more complex than that? Worse, at one point you seemed to think that half a data block could trip you up! How the hell would that work? If it’s XML, half a file won’t even parse! Am I missing something? I would have thought the hard part would be getting useful data from a game that’s different every time you play it.

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