Good Robot: Even Better Robot

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 15, 2016

Filed under: Good Robot 92 comments

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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92 thoughts on “Good Robot: Even Better Robot

  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.

    1. Majikkani_Hand says:

      Snerked so hard I stopped being able to breathe for a bit.

      1. Decius says:

        You’re welcome.

    2. This is one of those times I wish there was something like a rep system so I could +1 that. :P

  2. Matt says:

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

    1. 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. :)

      1. Jabrwock says:

        I’ve been there. Although in my case it was “Hey, go through commit logs and sum them up, but in a way marketing can pass on to the customer.” *shudder* So tell them what’s fixed, but don’t be technical about it.

        1. Lanthanide says:

          We write release notes as we go.

          1. Jabrwock says:

            We had those, but the marketers decided they weren’t detailed enough. But they didn’t want TOO much detail.

      2. Adam says:

        Do you/Pyrodactyl use a ticket/issue/to-do tracking system? e.g. JIRA – I’ve found that to be a better fit for generating release notes that raw commit logs.

  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.)

    1. Ingvar says:

      Vaguely reminds me of the puzzle of how to make five consecutive “and”s in a grammatically correct sentence: “`Could you add more space between ‘Fruit’ and ‘and’ and ‘and’ and ‘Vegetables’`, said the greengrocer to the sign-maker.”

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Like it! “It is true for all that, that that “that” that that “that” refers to is not the same “that” that that “that” refers to.”

        1. KidneyChris says:

          ‘James, where John had had “had”, had had “had had”. “Had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.’

          1. Rob says:

            In a London accent:
            I thought “it’s my fault” as I fought at the fort.

            English can also be amusingly terse:
            “Is it in it?”

          2. Dan Efran says:

            Nice, that’s one more “had” than the version I had had.

        1. Ingvar says:

          The Greengrocer probably ha’s an apo’strophe that would’ve had to come out and play, were that the ca’se, civing you a ‘sign of “Fruit’s & Vegetable’s”.

  4. Dragmire says:

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

    1. lucky7 says:

      The Buttskarn hat is but a pipe dream.

      1. Dragmire says:

        I was hoping it would be sneaked in under the name Full Moon.

        1. MrGuy says:

          There butt for the grace of God…

  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.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Surely not all of th

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          No,we are not going to do th-

        2. Ninety-Three says:

          That’s not how Candlejack works, you have time to say his full name then there’s a couple seconds until-

          1. MrGuy says:

            Until? Until w-

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

    1. Grudgeal says:

      I came in here to do that exact joke.

    2. Ingvar says:

      “Good Robot”
      “Gooder Robot”
      “Even Gooder Robot”
      “Goodest Robot”

      Then you need to go into Reboot, to fix the sequencing:
      “Good Reboot”
      “Gooder Reboot”
      “Even Gooder Reboot”
      “Goodest Reboot”
      “Robot Reboot Redux”

      1. Groboclown says:

        Or you could go even more retro, and have a “Goodie Robot” release.

        1. Decius says:

          Or go full modern and do Good Robot (year)

          1. Geebs says:

            Good: Robot

            1. Supah Ewok says:

              G00d R0b0t

      2. MrGuy says:

        Live Free or Good Robot?

    3. Anachronist says:

      That reminds me of an unrelated memory of a trip to Singapore. I saw this huge ad for an English-learning school splayed over the side of a bus: “Learn to speak English good.” Needless to say, this didn’t fill me with confidence about the quality of that school’s English instruction. Or maybe the person who created the ad was dyslexic and meant to write “Learn to speak good English.” I regret not photographing it so I could submit the photo to engrish.com.

  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

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m pretty sure that was fixed ages ago. At least, I remember finding the cause.

  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.

    1. Piflik says:

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

    2. 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).

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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

          2. 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.

            1. 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?

      1. MrGuy says:

        Compromise: Han and Greedo now shoot at precisely the same time.

        To quote Calvin, a good compromise leaves everybody mad.

      2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

        The amusing thing about the “compromise” is that it means either:
        -If we’re following a “Han only shoots in self defense once Greedo has committed to murdering him” reading that nu-Lucas seems to intend, that means Han has Jedi reflexes for some reason.

        or

        -We’re back to the original interpretation (Han fires once he senses the interaction going south, he is willing to kill Greedo rather than risk death himself) except Greedo is for some reason more competent now. Which adds nothing.

        1. Groboclown says:

          I always hated the “Han shot first” argument. To me, Han will always be the only one who shot.

        2. MrGuy says:

          I’d just like to point out that Mal DEFINITELY shot first. And it’s not like he can’t be a sympathetic character because of it.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP9eiXMPLcQ

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Well he is an all right man:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnuGC3reAkc

        3. Urthman says:

          I thought it was a back-handed dis to the people who want Greedo to shoot first, that they would think it’s a compromise when it’s actually morally identical to Han shoots first

          1. Urthman says:

            “We’ll compromise. Heads I win, tails you lose.”

        4. There is actually a theory that’s been mentioned on Cracked that Han was, at the least, Force-sensitive; hence the asteroid field and “never tell me the odds.”

      3. MadTinkerer says:

        If someone jumped in a time machine and went back to ask kid-me what I thought, here’s what I would say: “Han shooting one bad guy doesn’t make him a bad guy, it makes him a good guy. Good guys shoot bad guys. Look how many bad guys I’m shooting in Contra right now as we speak.”

        EDIT: Today it would be “Look how many bad guys I’m shooting in Good Robot right now. Clearly I am a Good Robot.”

    1. Galad says:

      Looks like I didn’t make myself clear. I have an idea of who Han and Greedo are, but what does that have to do with Good Robot? Or is it just a joke aimed at Star wars?

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Aye, Shamus just dropped that in as a riff on his third paragraph above, I suspect.

  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? :)

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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.)

          1. Mephane says:

            Thanks for the info. :)

            1. 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?

    1. Shamus says:

      I believe it means it will continue to fire if you hold down the button, as opposed to only firing when you pull the trigger.

      1. Zekiel says:

        Aha! Thanks!

  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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

    1. 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!

    1. Cuthalion says:

      I just found it in-game. It’s 600 bucks. That’s hilarious.

      1. Cuthalion says:

        I did buy them, I did wear them, and I did manage to lose them on the same zone. I have no idea if you were already planning to put them in before the survey anyway, but still. Hooray.

  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)

    1. baud001 says:

      A few more screens:
      So you fire the weapon, the whole level is like that, nearly all enemies are killed and after the the level is like this.

      The first boss.

      I’ll try to reduce the lag, which is like 30 s when you see the whole firing effects (I think the game is trying to compute too many things)

      1. baud001 says:

        So I’ve gone through the new level, The Refrigeration Unit, which went as well it can be when you have weapon who can erase all active enemies on the map. The new level provide a refreshing change (sorry, I could not help it).

        The framerate drops are still bad, but the changes I’ve made seems to help. I’ll upload a new version tomorrow if I can get an acceptable result. Removing the debris created at each impact and some of the glow seem to be useful.

        Edit: So I’ve removed the tail behind the projectiles, so it is visible how it work:
        First we have a pack of projectiles, which will then explode and bounce 20 times (I might have forgot to say that at the beginning.

        You can find a new version there (and now the old link point toward the new version also).

        1. Naota says:

          I think this is officially the most audaciously destructive weapon the game has ever played host to, and believe me, it’s played host to some pretty wild ideas.

          1. baud001 says:

            Yeah. It’s just an overpowered weapon, and even if the damage, range, duration and number of bounces was within acceptable limits, it would be still too much. I mean, multi-shot, explosive, homing and rebounding…

            Anyway, I’ve continued my race to the end of the levels:
            Clearing that boss
            Discovering a new level, destroying everything in my wake, including the boss
            Another new level, which should go as well as all the other (bad for the other robots if you haven’t followed).

            Still, I’m happy to see new levels I’ve never seen before, even if I haven’t really earned them.

            1. baud001 says:

              So I tried not to use my WMD on that boss, an attempt that ended poorly when its second form appeared, using my warranty in the process. After respawning, I decided that recess was over (for the robots) and erased it.
              Then I arrived at the next level.

  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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