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NIRAVASI Devlog (16/03/2021): Heart of Darkness

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Hey everyone,

Once more, we take a sit back and talk about this beautiful gem of a game in more detail. As you saw the announcement earlier on the weekend, NIRAVASI's Kickstarter campaign is almost at an end and what an experience it's been! Since I first showed this project to the world, I've received so many kind words of appreciation from everyone that's played the game, as well as a ton of user feedback and critiques. I cannot stress how amazed and thankful I am to everyone that's backed/followed this game so far and I promise you, your support will only continue to make this game EVEN better. Let's take a look at exactly how your feedback's been taken into consideration.

A Heartfelt Reunion

Wait, what? What the heck is that thing on the bottom-left of the screen? Well my friends, that would be a HUD (Heads-Up Display). You've seen plenty of these if you play video games, but one was notably absent from NIRAVASI's earlier builds. That was because at the time, NIRAVASI did not need one. But following your critiques, I've gone back to the drawing board and gone out of my way to include some new gameplay mechanics that I hope will only enhance the urgency of safety and conservation. Let's talk about how this HUD works and what you'll need it for.

Displayed in the HUD are two important details that player's will need to keep track of. Your Health Bar and your Flashlight Charge. Previously in NIRAVASI, all encounters with the robotic enemies of the city would result in an instant game over, which I believed would enforce the panic element I wanted. To remedy this spike in difficulty, the robots would move slowly and predictably. This was by design, as it would feed into the next big gameplay mechanic in the form of The Harvester (who I talked about in a previous Devlog). But as development on NIRAVASI continued, it became clear that this was more frustrating for players as they felt that if they were backed into a corner, all they could do was embrace death. To avoid situations like that, I ultimately decided it would be best to go back to the drawing board and redesign how encounters with them would work.

Now, instead of dying immediately, Mura will take damage from the mechanical fiends. Just how much damage, you ask? Well that will depend on the robot you're facing. Mura will now have 9 hearts worth of health in total, so he can certainly tank a few hits. The robots you face in the beginning will deal 1 heart's worth of damage, while the more corrupted variants will deal 2. But make no mistake; I'm not that forgiving as The Harvester and Sentries will still be able to instantly kill the player (The former because it's a threat that plays a pivotal role in the game's mechanics and the latter because you deserved to be punished for dying to a Sentry of all things).

Then we have the Flashlight Charge. As players traversed the outskirts of the cursed city, they often found themselves keeping the Flashlight on as it held no negative consequences of doing so (while some were tricked into thinking it made it easier for the robots to find you). Now, I'm going to be a callous game designer and force you all to savour the taste of your light-projecting buddy. Now when you have your Flashlight out, it will slowly drain out of energy before running out. When it does, you'll find yourself alone in the dark with little-to-no help. Have no fear though, as there is a kind little catch.

The SV Terminals you find within the game will now allow you to instantly regain all of your Health, as well as your Flashlight Charge. To further help you out with finding these holy grails, SV Terminals now have a lovely green glow around them to help you find them in the darkness. And it's not just these magical devices that will start glowing; some environmental objects will do this too.

In order to help players see through the nasty dark corridors of NIRAVASI, I will be including a lot more sources of light for the player to use to get out of a very dark spot. Some will be as simple as a static light in the environment, while others will be the kind of mood setters that'll make you feel worse. I understand that this is a very significant change to the game at this stage and will be keeping a constant eye on how things develop over the weeks. But I'm confident that these changes will be for the better in the end!

A Sound Plan

So I heard on the grapevine that the sound effects in this game may be a little too loud at the moment. While the options of adjusting these values individually is in the menu, I agree that things are a little too much at this point and have gone back and tweaked the volume on all the sound effects in the game. Right now, this is a fairly rough change and I will have to keep an eye on things, but for clarification, the animals in the swamp won't be making so much sound that the nice music will be drowned out.

As for the sound effects of the robots themselves, I still want to keep the unnerving sound effects that they project, but also understand that they can be a little too obnoxious at times. As such, I'll be continuing to tweak and adjust them as development on the game goes on. But let's make one thing very clear; I love the Sentry's cry and refuse to change it! (But I will lower it, just to be nice).

Optimising Life

With the work I've done on the HUD, I've also gone ahead and made some other changes that aren't as significant, but do add nice little details to certain areas of the game. Here's a few examples just to name:

Edited wall geometry in some map instances to better increase visibility in areas.

Added tile textures in certain indoor instances to better increase visibility of the exit doors.

Added borders around said doors to increase the visibility EVEN more.

Added additional interactive events to better scare the player in certain maps.

Reduced volume (even entirely) of background ambient sounds to better immerse the player in darker environments.

Those are really all the ones I can think of in the top of my head; many more are hiding in the dark corners. What they are, you'll just have to find out yourselves! :)

That's all I have to say for the game so far. I know I've taken a bit of time away from developing Ishani Bazaar, but I can say with confidence that the work I've done in that area is already extremely impressive. You probably saw some of the shenanigans of the work I've been doing on my social media pages, but those are free to view at your own leisure. With that, I hope you all have a lovely week and I look forward to chatting with you again at my next weekly Devlog!

Kind regards,
Angus (Sangos)