Good Robot: Even Better Robot

By Shamus
on Dec 15, 2016
Filed under:
Good Robot

The Good Robot team has been working to update and improve the game. The update is currently live on the public beta branch and will go out to all users probably in the next day or so.

I have to say, I loved coming back to Good Robot. There gets to be a point in a long-running project where you’re sick of the whole thing and just want it to be done. Than you get the post-release feedback and you start thinking about all the ways you could have made it better.

I may not like what Lucas did to the original Star Wars movies, but I can certainly understand the temptation to keep “polishing” something forever. Hopefully these are net improvements for people.

Partial list of changes:

  1. The Refrigeration Unit – We’ve added a whole new level with new artwork, new enemies, and a couple of new bosses. I was sad we missed out on the “ice level” motif in our original release of the game, and so I’m glad we’ve finally made that happen. This also smooths out the rather abrupt jump in difficulty people experienced between the breezy Junkyard and the rather unforgiving Neo-Jaipur. The Refrigeration Unit is designed to be a midway point between these two levels in terms of difficulty.
  2. New hats! – Highlights include Seymour’s hair, VR Headset, Pyrodactyl head and last but not the least, and an “Iconic Cap”. Eat your heart out, Ubisoft.
  3. Better controller support – Previously, the game blindly accepted any input from any controller that might be plugged into the system. This means we couldn’t use haptic feedback (rumble features) because the game wasn’t smart enough to know which controller to shake. That’s all sorted out now. The game knows what controller you’re using and can deliver force feedback. We actually went light on this feature to begin with. I think the controller only responds when you get hit, or when you fire a really slow, powerful weapon.
  4. New level templates – This will add generally more variety to the game by giving us a greater selection of possible room layouts.
  5. New Music! I’ve added four new music tracks to the game, bringing the total to 25. If you own the soundtrack DLC, these tracks will be added to that as well.
  6. Balance tweak: Lowered the number of enemies in level 2-6 ~20%
  7. Balance tweak: Increased Thermal Vent projectile damage from 32 to 36.
  8. Balance tweak: Increased Ion Pulse projectile damage from 50 to 55.
  9. Balance tweak: Increased the cash reward from minibosses by 40-50%.
  10. Balance tweak: Increased Radial Heater projectile damage from 20×24 to 24×24.
  11. Balance tweak: Lowered the number of enemy types per zone in Neo Jaipur.
  12. Balance tweak: Converted Rocket Pod and Double Rocket Pod to auto-fire.
  13. Interface tweak: Game now remembers the last difficulty chosen when starting a new game.
  14. Interface tweak: Added a “zone clear!” message when level has no enemies
  15. Compromise: Han and Greedo now shoot at precisely the same time.
  16. Probably other stuff: I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things. So if you start the game and notice something is better, then it’s thanks to this update. If something is worse? I dunno. It’s probably something wrong with your computer or something.

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2020202012There are now 92 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Decius says:

    Now that I see those notes I realize that Good Robot needs a hat which is perfectly horizontal at all times.

    It must be known as the level cap.

  2. Matt says:

    How could you not know exactly what changes you’ve made, surely you have astoundingly detailed commit messages!

    • Shamus says:

      The commits are a little TOO detailed. Not every message is relevant to the list, and some messages are superseded by later ones. (For example, if you change something, change it back, then change it a different way. It wouldn’t make sense to list that as 3 different changes in a user-facing list like this.) Plus, there are actually two lists, one for the source repo and one for the art repo. And some of the things listed in one also appear in the other.

      So I scrolled back a few pages and listed things until I got bored, then added the disclaimer to cover the rest. :)

  3. MichaelGC says:

    Seymour’s hair

    Must be newly glad that you went for the 2D option! – or that’s just blown out your polygon budget right there. (PS Reckon you could lose the ‘the’ from that sentence, and an ‘and’. The second ‘and’. Now I sound like a Cockney talking about clocks.)

  4. Dragmire says:

    Guess Ruts’ hat idea didn’t make the cut, eh?

  5. John says:

    I see. Well, it’s back to Good Robot for me then. Maybe I can pick up the next hat achievement this time.

  6. Joshua says:

    “I may not like what Lucas did to the original Star Wars movies, but I can certainly understand the temptation to keep “polishing” something forever. ”

    Creative works are never completed, only abandoned.

  7. Can’t believe that you missed the opportunity to call this “Even Gooder Robot”.

  8. Confanity says:

    Is there still that bug where if you quit suddenly in the middle of play and start a new game, any money you picked up at the last second will “ding” and you’ll begin with hundreds of dollars extra? Or is that considered a feature to help out players going to the hat achievements? ;p

  9. Humanoid says:

    Surely you have to label this release “Game of the Year Edition” then. :P

    P.S. I understand the original decision to have it Steam-exclusive, but it’s been a while now, any update on having a DRM-free version? It’s listed on Humble, IndieGala and Bundle Stars but in each case they just provide a Steam key.

    • Piflik says:

      As I remember, GOG didn’t want the game…

    • The Steam version is DRM-free, you can copy the entire folder and make a backup of it, play it outside of Steam without a problem (except that achievements and leaderboards won’t work).

      • Humanoid says:

        Yeah I’m aware a lot of games are nominally DRM-free in that fashion, but is there any actual policy preventing, for example, providing a standalone download package on Humble like many indies do? A technical reason, or a business one perhaps?

        Just a personal thing of wanting to disentangle myself from the Steam ecosystem where it makes sense to do so. There’s no arguing with big publishers, but it’s interesting to see how much say indies have in this kind of thing.

        • It’s mostly a case of convenience. Creating and maintaining a separate build without Steam features often means more work (eg. I don’t want the trouble of hosting my own leaderboard servers), more testing and more work for everyone.

          In my experience almost all of the people want a Steam key anyway so it’s not worth the effort to support a non-Steam and a Steam build. If GoG had accepted us it would have been maybe worth it, but that’s not going to happen now.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            I’m not trying to contradict you, Arvind, but I got the impression that it was possible to:

            1) Check if Steam was running.

            2) Check if the game is part of the current user’s Steam Library, or shared.

            3) Set a bool for whether the game is going to try to do Steamworks stuff, or whether it was just going to ignore Steamworks.

            So you could download the game from GoG, or some non-Steam store, and if you happened to also have the Steam version installed and Steam running, it would just automatically act like it’s the “Steam version”. Or just ignore Steam if it can’t detect that the game is in the user’s library, and act like the “non-Steam version”.

            A lot of publishers wouldn’t want to do it this way, or even admit it’s possible (that DRM completely optional in some way), but it’s how I currently intend to do Steamworks with my game. (some day)

            EDIT: Re-reading that, maybe your main point was that GoG version wouldn’t have achievements or leaderboards? I can’t speak for other consumers, but achievements and leaderboards are something I only ever think about when browsing on Steam. I know Master of Magic on GoG won’t have achievements because it came out in 1993. I know games on Humble and Itch.io won’t have leaderboards or achievements.

            Sometimes I buy games more than once because I feel like the creators deserve more of my money. It would be nice to have the option to do that for Good Robot. If I manage to some day dominate the Good Robot Steam leaderboard, I really don’t need to also dominate the Good Robot itch.io leaderboard.

            EDIT 2: To be clear, I don’t actually care about the Good Robot leaderboard at all, and didn’t realize there was one until you mentioned it. It’s just that if I did, I really wouldn’t need more than one.

            • Jondare says:

              I’m pretty sure his main problem is that, whenever there’s an update, he would have to update it not just through whatever system steam uses, but also through Humbles system, which might very well be doubling the amount of work

          • Zak McKracken says:

            Yeah, I know I’m probably a minority but I’d bet that on this site you’ll find the highest proportion of gamers who don’t want Steam on their machines, and also don’t give much for achievements or leaderboards.
            (Have you got any actual data on this?)

            I for my part actually prefer not to have my gaming habits recorded. See, all of my beloved Shmups back in the day had none of those things either, and that is still fine with me.

            • Eskel says:

              I’m one of the people who was waiting for non-steam version. Missing achievements would be a bonus for me as I don’t like the concept of artificial external motivation for playing the game. I’m disappointed that it’s no longer planned :-(

  10. Galad says:

    Ok, I’ll bite. What’s the compromise about?

  11. Mephane says:

    New Music! I’ve added four new music tracks to the game, bringing the total to 25. If you own the soundtrack DLC, these tracks will be added to that as well.

    I have the soundtrack and when comparing the soundtrack directory with my where I copied it to for my music player to use, they are still the same 21 files. Also, why is “The Best Robot” not properly numbered as the other 20 original tracks?

    Edit: Okay, it seems the update is not out yet. The game downloaded something today but when I started it appears unchanged, for example no option to choose a difficulty mode.

    By the way, Shamus, would you please explain what exactly changes on “easy” difficulty? :)

    • Shamus says:

      Strangeness:

      * I had to force Steam to re-scan my music collection to get the tracks to show up.

      * Steam always listed the GR soundtrack 3 times in my music collection. After scanning, there were only two.

      * Of the two versions of the GR soundtrack, one was updated with the new tracks and the other wasn’t.

      * Steam ignores the track numbers and lists tracks alphabetically, which means the new tracks are mixed in with the others instead of being appended to the list.

      * I’ve looked, and I can find no documentation on how you’re SUPPOSED to upload soundtracks or what the best practices are. Clearly we’re doing something wrong, but good luck figuring out what it is.

      • Mephane says:

        I don’t use Steam’s dedicated music library feature. I just look in the soundtrack subdirectory within the game’s directory, as is the case for all game soundtracks I have. Possibly this has to be maintained and updated separately?

        P.S.: I’ll repeat the question, what is the concrete difference between easy and normal?

        • Shamus says:

          Arvind implemented this, so I had to look this up myself. This may also be of some interest to modders:

          A bunch of gameplay attributes are stored in gameplay.xml. If you play on easy, it comes from gameplay_easy.xml. This means that if you mod the game, you should change both files.

          To answer Mephane’s question:

          * In easy, you have 50% more shields.
          * Warranties are overall cheaper and don’t scale up in cost as quickly.
          * Shield repair is likewise cheaper.
          * Upgrades are cheaper over time. (The early upgrades are the same price, but they don’t ramp up as quickly.)

            • Naota says:

              If it isn’t too much trouble and you play a game or two on easy, I’m curious to know how easy it is relative to the normal difficulty. Theoretically the numbers above are big changes, but we’ve never had much feedback on the efficacy of the easiness since it was implemented on the tail end of the last Good Robot article’s lifespan.

              In concept, the idea is that on easy you should still have to consider your resource management and purchase order, but will no longer enter a death spiral of hard compromises from bad luck or early mistakes. Same premise and gameplay, different assumptions about the player’s level of shmup-ing skill.

              With this setup there’s a lot more I could potentially do to affect the easy mode (eg. make bosses drop twice as much money), but the feedback I’ve gotten so far is that it’s kind of okay as-is?

  12. Zekiel says:

    What does this mean?

    Balance tweak: Converted Rocket Pod and Double Rocket Pod to auto-fire.

    Does that mean they fire at enemies without you pressing any buttons?

  13. Tintenseher says:

    I don’t comment here a whole lot, but I wanted to say that I really appreciate how much work you put into this site and the variety of content you (and your co-conspirators) make. I saw that there was an update for Good Robot waiting on Steam, thought “I bet Shamus will make a post about the update,” tabbed over, and sure enough, this post was up, and I had something to read while the update downloaded. Something about that just made me smile.

  14. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    I’m looking forward to it. When the update goes live, I’ll feature you on my lets play channel. I’m hoping my mom will suddenly become a fan of twin stick shooters.

    How do you activate Easy Mode? I looked the other day and I could swear I couldn’t see it. I’m not in the beta. Is it only beta?

    • Shamus says:

      The selection for easy more should pop up when you start a new game.

      The update went live last night, so as long as the game is up to date you should see the changes.

      • Wide And Nerdy® says:

        So the menu loaded. I hit “New Game”. No option for difficulty.

        I exited to the main menu. Noticed there was now “New Game” and “Continue Game.” I clicked “New Game”, it asked if I wanted to delete my save which it had not before, this time I got the option for Difficulty.

        May just be because I’d played the game on previous builds.

  15. ZooeyF says:

    Is this update finally going to bring it to macs?

    • Neko says:

      Would be nice. I’d like to play it some day (on Linux).

      I may not be a Steam packaging expert, but you wouldn’t have to make sure it runs on all the linuxen like Arch or Gentoo or whatever. Steam only officially supports Ubuntu, and I’m pretty sure you only need to target the ‘steamos runtime’ that they include in e.g. ~/.steam/steam/ubuntu12_32/ – then you don’t have to worry about library versions or anything, they’ve got a nice consistent set ready to go.

      Of course graphics drivers will be a pain, but that’s true on all systems.

      Right now, pretty much the only game that is tempting enough for me to just install a windows is The Witcher 3, and even then I haven’t gotten around to it yet because I just don’t want to dual-boot badly enough. Also I have no time for an enormous RPG right now…

  16. I need a laptop before I can even get steam or play Good Robot, but at some point that’ll become a reality.

  17. Cuthalion says:

    New hats! – Highlights include Seymour’s hair, VR Headset, Pyrodactyl head and last but not the least, and an “Iconic Cap”. Eat your heart out, Ubisoft.

    !!!

    My “VR Goggles” suggestion made it in!

  18. Joey245 says:

    A few things:
    1. Adding another level before Neo-Japhet was a very good idea. It gives you an extra level’s worth of upgrades, which is very nice because the enemies in that floor do not mess around. Which leads me to…
    2. The reduced number of enemies overall and the changes to how the different spawners are introduced (zone by zone) is heartily welcomed. Neo-Japhet was where most of my playthroughs ended, simply because it was overwhelming to suddenly have to learn six or seven brand new enemy types at once. Good move, and it’s one that makes the game overall feel more fair and balanced.

    Love the new update! Thanks for continuing to tinker and work on this game.

  19. baud001 says:

    With the latest upgrade, I decided to play a little.

    Then I remembered that I’m shit at shit game and dislike both 2d shooter and rogue-like/lite (I’ve got nothing against good robot, it’s just not my type of game).

    So I took my revenge and modded the starting weapon to be a wee bit more effective. How much, well you can look for yourself:
    Firing
    Explosion !
    End of explosion
    Of course, putting 30 projectiles, homing, with long lifespan AND explosion might be overkill.

    You can find the source of the weapon there, to put in SteamsteamappscommonGood Robotcoredataprojectiles.ini

    Now we’ll see if I can finish the game or if I need to modify even more things.

    Edit: It will also kill your framerate (I might have to change some options)

  20. baud001 says:

    Okay, I’ve beaten the game.

    Shamus, you can remove my high score, since I’ve cheated (and got myself at the twelfth position (account name: baudsp)).

    A few more highlights with some of the end bosses.

    Anyway, even if it’s not my type of game, the game is good, the robot reacts well to commands, the feedback of the weapons is good, the weapons are varied and for losers like me, you can change the rule, thank to Shamus’ choice of open files, which allowed me to see the end of the game, even if I should have deactivated the achievements and high scores.

    Anyway, it was fun, at the expense of the other robots. Good day to all !

  21. lupis42 says:

    Shamus,

    I’ve been trying to get my son into Good Robot, and can’t launch the game on my Win7 PC.
    There’s a steam thread on this issue as well, linked above, but no activity or response. Are we SOL on this (which I would not count as unreasonable), or is there a chance of a fix?

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