2 years old, 2.0 coming soon (?)

Happy Halloween! It’s Demonizer’s 2nd birthday, perfect time for a new devlog.

The highlight of the year was of course joining the Ukraine bundle. Besides giving Demonizer a massive boost, the bundle most importantly raised over $6 million for victims of the current war in Eastern Europe.

1.5 is dead, long live 2.0

Yes, development is still ongoing, despite my focus shifting this year towards new projects and a new job. Those new projects probably saved the next Demonizer update (more on that later).

That update is no longer numbered 1.5, but 2.0. It will include the promised arrange mode and rebalanced levels, and some additional content yet to be determined. It will also be the first version of the long-awaited console release.

A summary of the 2.0 release plan follows. It’s rough, as always, and I won’t even try to guess any timeframes publicly anymore.

  • Development builds starting with only a campaign mode (so equal to an arcade ROM) and adding features over time. It’s recommended to play these builds more for testing than just for fun (though I hope it is).

  • Release build when enough additional content is done. Version 1.1.2 will remain available as the “legacy” version.

  • Console release when platform-specific features are done (online leaderboard etc) and certification is passed.

If you want the dirty details of what happened to 1.5, read on.

What was the holdup?

Not long after I showed the 1.5 engine last year, it started having similar problems to the 1.0 engine.

While core systems were certainly improved, I was too hasty with the gameplay code - jumping back and forth between multiple goals, trying to accomplish them all at once by Spring 2022: get in all the gameplay and write new features and design new content. This meant I was trying to keep a lot of parts working together while they were still developing, which put me back in the situation I was supposed to avoid - long hours of coding and debugging and little real progress to show for it.

This, I’ve learned, is one of the traps of rewriting an existing game. Knowing all about how the game is supposed to be, you may be tempted to dump all of that into your new code straight away. But dump too much too early and you’re in for a long and unrewarding time fixing a lot of brittle and unfinished code.

The right answer was a (mostly) fresh start. I salvaged and refined the best parts of the engine for Rose of Dragontail, which has tested amazingly for its early state, and then for Honey Guardian, my top achievement of the year (1) (2) and now the basis of Demonizer 2.0.

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