Early Access V1.2.2 — “Own Your Friends” Update!

It is awesome to see the competition getting fierce on the leaderboards, as well as players taking advantage of the new Control Styles and Score Multiplier. Not long ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would see high scores past maybe 10 million. I’m going to need to sit down and seriously see if I can even compete at my own game, as my once thought competitive score of 7.5 million is starting to look long-in-the-tooth!
I just released a set of new features primarily focused on competition. I’ve had Statistics behind the scenes for some time, but I’ve always wanted to present them in-game. Showing the last/best score in each player HUD was one such feature, and I’m happy to report that now several other useful (and maybe some non-useful) statistics are now readily displayed while playing alone or with friends.


The current set of stats are shown once a round has been complted and before continuing (or while requesting to forfeit). For player 1 (normally tied to the steam account), It will display the recorded Overall steam stats in addition to showing temporary session stats for Current, Last, and Highest, For players 2-4, only stats for the current game session are tracked. If there are particular stats that you think should replace some of these, let me know in the comments or Community Hub.

In addition to Stats, I’ve also decided to give each player their own mini high score listings to show their overall ranking between rounds. This includes Local, Global, and Friend listings.

What’s a game based on a competitive score mechanic without more ways to rank yourself? I hope you enjoy 1-UP’ing your friends, or at least knowing at a glance who’s the best!

I also managed to get a couple of smaller features in based on community feedback. If you are one of the players that had wished for “classic” twin-stick style controls (aka Geometry Wars / Robotron) when using the Modern (dual-stick) control style, then you might enjoy the new Fire on Aim option under the Gameplay menu. Fire on Aim augments the Autofire setting to start firing just by aiming the ship. One consequence of this though, is that it is harder to conserve your Primary Weapon ammo. However, if you’re careful not to fully press the thumb stick all the way, you can actually aim without firing as well.

Another set of small features relate to a recent request by a player to “simplify” the arena. I think they were longing for an experience closer to some of the retro games long ago, without backdrop clutter competing against energy bullets etc. As such, I’ve made it possible to adjust the background elements, such as the stars and nebula, to simplify, fade, or turn them off completely. Find these settings under the Effects options menu: Stars, Background Opacity, and Stars Opacity.

I hope you enjoy the new refinements and features. Let me know in the comments or Community Hub what you think so far, how it should evolve, and if you have any favorite stats.

New Features

  • Fire on Aim Option. When turned on automatically fires when aiming the ship while in the Modern (dual-stick) control style — similar to simple twin-stick shooters.
  • When using the Modern (dual-stick) control style, Dynamic Braking will not be engaged unless you release the aiming control (i.e. right thumb stick). This allows you to perform drifting strafe maneuvers similar to Classic or Hybrid control styles.
  • Stars Option – Adjust the number of stars.
  • Stars Opacity Option – Fades background stars.
  • Background Opacity Option – Fades background elements such as nebula, galaxies, and planets.
  • Global Friend high scores. Note this reduced the number of global high scores displayed in-game.
  • Per player high scores and stats:
    • Shown between sessions, and independently for each player.
    • High scores include Local, Global, and Friend scores.
    • Presently, the following stats are shown:
      • Player Kills – The total number of times you have killed another player.
      • Killed by Players – The total number of times you have been killed by other players.
      • Asteroids – The total number of asteroids of any type destroyed.
      • Small Asteroids – The total number of small asteroids destroyed.
      • Outriders Held – The maximum number of outriders held at once.
      • Primary Ammo – The maximum number of primary weapon bullets held at once.
      • Secondary Ammo – The maximum number of secondary weapon shots held at once.
      • Defensive Ammo – The maximum number of defensive weapon shots held at once.
      • Powerups Collected – The total number of power-ups collected of any type.
      • Bullet Efficiency – Percentage of bullets that hit a target vs. bullets fired.
      • Missile Efficiency – Percentage of missiles that hit a target vs. missiles launched.
      • Survival Efficiency – Player kills vs player deaths.
    • Stats include Current, Last, Best, and Overall values.

Previously Released Patches

  • The default control style is now Modern (dual-stick) instead of Classic.
  • Fix issue with missile collisions.

I hope you enjoy the new refinements and features. Let me know in the comments what you think so far, how it should evolve, and if you have any favorite stats.

Once again… Happy blasting!!

Solaroids is available on Steam Early Access and is still being actively developed by Chad Yates as part-time Indie game developer.  Come try out the free Demo, join the Community HUB on steam, or join the ranks of brave fighter pilots defending the solar system and competing for high scores and prestige!


Early Access V1.1.1 — Seamless Wrapping and Demo now Available!

Happy holidays everyone!

I present to you a small but significant update, as it has a few features that have been commonly requested. Now that I have an option menu in place it makes it much easier to surface some of these tweaks!

First, a very common request has been to eliminate the traditional “screen edge effect” that simulates the classic Asteroids wrapping from one side of the play area to the other. As Solaroids has a much larger playing field, this can be jarring (especially in the arena corners) and is unnecessary. So now the default is to use a Seamless Wrapping mode where there will be no discernible edge to the play area. The sun becomes a constant landmark to help re-orient yourself and is conveniently shown in the player reticle. While this is the new default, you can globally turn the mode on and off during gameplay from the video options.

Second, there are several options geared toward tweaking the visibility in the game. One is that the faster you are flying the more the camera will look ahead. This should give better visibility of what your heading towards, like a giant space centipede (Infiltrator). In addition, I’ve adjusted the default camera to be panned back just a little more, but you also can now adjust it even further (within reason) using the new Zoom video option.

Third, you may or may not have noticed that at the end of November I released a FREE DEMO, so if you can, please spread the word. The demo has a few limitations, one being you can only play for 15 minutes at a time or through level 4, whichever comes first. In addition, Free Play mode is locked, and Steam global leaderboards and achievements are unavailable. If the full game is purchased in-game, then these restrictions are lifted except for the global leaderboards and achievements. A restart is necessary to activate these Steam features.

I hope you enjoy the new additions, and I would love to hear any feedback you are willing to share via reviews or discussion threads. Thank you for your continued support, and happy blasting!!

New Features

  • Add seamless wrapping video option that eliminates the edge of screen transition at the edges of the arena. This is now the default.
  • Increase camera look ahead amount to allow seeing further ahead when moving.
  • Adjust default zoom level. It is zoomed out about 5% more than before.
  • Add Zoom Level option that allows some limited tweaking of the camera zoom level (80%-150%).
  • Change Controller Vibration player option to allow a percentage from Off to 100%.
  • Change Camera Shake player option to allow a percentage from Off to 200%.
  • Change bloom video setting to allow a percentage from Off to 200%.
  • The high scores for the steam account are highlighted.
  • A set of basic tips are deployed around the sun to quickly guide the new player instead of being mixed in with the other level tips that can be found.
  • Added 144fps to frame rate option.

Other

  • Improved memory efficiency.

Previously Released Patches

  • Limit the number of found power-ups to restrict the maximum number active to approximately 25.
  • Fix timing issue for frame rate limiter that would cause the target framerate to be slightly lower than the requested rate.
  • Fix Infiltrator boss (serpent) when running at greater than 60fps.
  • Reduce popping of large nebula.
  • Default Friendly Collisions to off.

Known issues

  • Borderless is only implemented for Windows right now.
  • Some options are English only.


Early Access V1.1.0 — Tune to your Hearts Content, Full Option Menus!

Hello everyone!! I’m happy to announce the V1.1.0 release of Solaroids.

This is a big update (at least for me) as it is one of my milestones to finally have proper option menus to control various typical game settings as well as a few extras for tweaking the mechanics of the game. I’m planning some additional options in the future, but this definitely feels like a good base.

A few of the other gameplay tweaks that are worth highlighting are that friendly fire and friendly collisions can now be turned off. While friendly fire was a specific design choice for the game to allow a co-op (or not) experience as well as a little extra danger, it has been a top requested feature. Note that these are available from the global options menu before starting a game; they are not available from the player-centric option menu in the pause screen. Similarly, there is also now the option to globally turn Auto-fire on/off for all players. When Auto-fire is on, you can still take control of the shots to fire bursts when things get intense and you need a little extra for a moment or two. This is the default for new installs.

Another tweak is the ability to control how many “credits/continues” are allowed per game session. Previously this was unlimited, which required discipline to not continue if you wanted to compete only on the “first credit” leaderboards. I’ve defaulted this to zero for new installs, but it can be changed from the option menu.

Also, this update provides a tip system to give a little coaching here and there. There are a lot of subtle/hidden details with how things interact in the game, so along with the typical instructional material to help clarify key game elements quicker, the tip system sheds light on many of these. Not all tips are available immediately, but they present themselves the further you progress. Similar to power-up prompts, they are not available in Free Play mode, so they are only available in the normal “campaign” mode. They can also be turned off via options once you’ve mastered them.

I hope you enjoy the new additions, and I would love to here any feedback you are willing to share via reviews or discussion threads. Thank you for your continued support, and happy blasting!!

New Features

  • Tips – New “Power-up” that provides tips and hints about the game. New tips become available as the game progresses.
  • Options, including controller/keyboard configurations for players are saved. Steam cloud is used to mirror settings between computers However, some settings are excluded from syncing such as (resolution, full-screen, border-less, frame rate, and vsync).
  • When changing an option, an icon now indicates if the option participate in steam cloud synchronization.
  • Added brief descriptions for menu items on the title screen (English only right now).
  • An icon indicating first credit or any credit is displayed next to the score showing what leaderboard it qualifies for. These icons are also shown in the high score listings.
  • The player name is now displayed in the player HUDs.
  • For the current game session the last and best scores are displayed under the player name for reference.
  • In the player HUD, when continuing, the number of remaining credits is displayed.
  • Turn Speed, Bullet Strength, and Bullet Speed power-ups now detach when your ship is lost, so you’ll have to retrieve them before someone else does.
  • A hint is now displayed on the option menus and credits page showing how to leave the page.
  • Adjusted player HUD layouts.
  • The location of the sun is now indicated in the player reticle as a solid yellow circle.
  • Changed bullet speed increase power up icon away from the too generic
  • Plus symbol; It is now a ball with speed lines.
  • The Bonus Points power-ups now show their approximate value instead of the misleading $ symbol.
  • Moved the Increase Cannon Strength Power-up to earlier levels so you can now begin to upgrade your main cannon sooner!
  • Various stability improvements.
  • Global Options:
    • Video
      • Common video options including Resolution, Fullscreen/Windowed, Borderless, Framerate, and VSync.
      • Bloom – Allows turning the bloom effect on/off which can help frame rate on some under-powered systems.
      • Language – Allows override of the current Steam language; the only way to access languages not supported by Steam such as Serbian.
      • Powerup Prompts – Allows turning off the pop-up prompts that display when collecting the various power-ups in campaign mode. Power-up prompts are always off in Free Play mode.
      • Tips – Allows turning off the tip “power-ups” that become available throughout the levels in campaign mode. Tips are always off in Free Play mode.
    • Audio – Master, Music, and Effects volume.
    • Gameplay
      • Credits/Continues – Allows restricting the number of credits/continues in a game session. Once a player runs out they can no longer re-join. Great for tournaments or simulating “death-match” until additional game modes are released.
      • Friendly Fire – Allows turning on/off the effects of bullets and other detonations between the local players.
      • Friendly Collisions – Allows turning on/off collisions with other local players.
      • Autofire – Allows holding down the primary weapon key/button for a nominal rate of fire. For extra bursts where needed, you can still manually control the fire rate for regular guns and attachments.
    • Miscellaneous
      • Logging – Allows turning on/off the diagnostics log that can be useful for bug reporting. The diagnostics log, when enabled, is in the game directory and is called diagnostics_<time>.html. A new one is created with a new timestamp on each launch.
      • Expire Anonymous Scores – Allows a schedule to be set for retaining local high scores under the Anonymous label.
      • Expire Extra Scores – Allows a schedule to be set for retaining local high scores by the same player name. The highest score for each player name is retained.
      • Clear Local Scores – Allows the clearing of the local high score listings.
      • Local Leaderboards Only – When turned on the steam account is no longer used for player 1, and it behaves the same as guest players. That is it defaults to a player name of Anonymous but allows the player to edit the name used to label the local high score.
  • Player Options:
    • Player
      • Camera Shake – Allows turning on/off the camera shake effect used when taking damage or near explosions.
    • Controls
      • Vibration – Allows turning on/off the controller vibration/rumble used when the player takes damage or is near explosions.
      • Controller Type – When a game controller is connected, allows the selection of the controller type used for button glyphs/layout. Currently Xbox 360/One and PlayStation Dualshock 3/4 are supported.
      • Layout – Allows adjustment to the buttons/keys used to control the ship.

Previously Released Patches

  • Fixed issue where the players shield was not blocking shock waves from some enemy types.
  • Stability improvements.

Known issues

  • Some previously supported languages are not fully supported at this time.
    These are still available from the language option and include the identifier “(partial)” next to the language to indicate which languages are not fully translated. In the cases where it is a partial translation, English is used for any missing translations. For most languages this is power-up prompts, tips, options, and menu items.
  • Borderless is only implemented for Windows right now.


Solaroids Demo Available!

A demo is now available on Steam.

Here are the current limitations/notes for the demo:

  • Free Play mode is unavailable
  • No global leaderboards
  • No steam stats/achievements
  • The demo period expires after 15 minutes or after level 4 is completed whichever comes first.
  • When the demo expires you have a chance to purchase it in-game to continue play without interruption. If you don’t purchase it a black hole will form in the middle of the map and game progress is halted. If the game is then unlocked, progress continues.
  • Note that Steam leaderboards and achievements will not become active until the game is restarted.


Early Access V1.0.9 — Learn the Game with Power-up Prompts

New Features

  • Power-up prompts displayed on pickup. These include the icon, name, and description. Currently these are enabled in the English locale only.
  • Power-up prompts are displayed up to 10 times per game in campaign mode, and suppressed in Free Play mode.
  • Detonated mines will now also damage nearby enemies.
  • Enemies that detonate on destruction will now also damage other nearby enemies.
  • Turning speed power-ups are now visualized as lateral thrusters.
  • Upgraded main cannon (velocity and damage) now also applies to Primary Weapon power-ups in addition to the default weapon. You’ll also see a subtle increase in size of the bullets.
  • When a ship upgrade (turning, cannon velocity/damage) is maxed out you no longer can pick up additional upgrades leaving them for other players.
  • Ship upgrades (turning, cannon velocity/damage) persist until all lives are lost — that is they are reset at the start of the game and on each continue.

Gameplay Tweaks

  • Max turn speed increased by 10%.
  • Tweaks to previous/mini-boss spawning.
  • Terminator MK II now has a few extra surprises.
  • Mini-bosses are likely to grant a power-up, but not a 100% chance.

Previously Released Patches

  • Previous bosses during later levels were not deploying as they should, and this was corrected shortly after V1.0.8 was published.
  • Stability improvements.

Happy blasting!


Early Access V1.0.8 — Snakes that Spit Bullets?!?

New Features

  • Infiltrator bosses now fight back.
  • Support OSX retina display.

Gameplay Tweaks

  • Reduced damage done by mines.
  • Adjust limits for mini-bosses.
  • Make mini-bosses vulnerable before destroying all turrets.
  • Improve enemy targeting systems during multiplayer.
  • Reintroduced previous bosses during levels.

Issues Addressed

  • Fix manual resizing of window in OSX/Linux.

Previously Released Patches

  • Fix failure to launch on certain retina enabled OSX devices.
  • Fix crash when language is set to some non-English languages (i.e. Russian).
  • Fix depth issue between bosses.
  • Several stability improvements.

Other

  • Update support libraries for OSX/Linux.

Happy blasting!


Early Access V1.0.7 — Track Lost Power-ups Round 2!

There are a lot of small but significant changes in this update. Of special note is that you should find the early level progression quicker and with more to do than just mine asteroids for ammo/power-ups.

New Features

  • Previously owned (lost) power-ups will now stay in game for 5 minutes giving ample time to find and retrieve.
  • Previously owned (lost) power-ups now include a ring that is tinted with the primary ship color of who the previous owner was.
  • Picking up a power-up that replaces an existing one now detaches the existing one first.
  • If you have damaged outriders attached, picking up an outrider in better physical condition will now replace the more damaged one currently held.
  • Your first life in Free Play mode now grants you some extra weaponry to start out with a bang.
  • If your fighting more than 4 bosses, you now are given some extra weaponry when re-spawning.

Gameplay Tweaks

  • Reduced the percentage of asteroids/hazards that are necessary to clear in order to advance to the next level.
  • Increased number of asteroids/hazards for earlier levels, and slightly overall.
  • Increased number of enemies during regular play.
  • Increased brightness/saturation of alternate player ship colors.
  • Increased visibility of reticle indicators.
  • Increased chances of encountering “magnetic” asteroids.
  • Increased strength of “magnetic” asteroid shards.

Issues Addressed

  • Fixed issue where sometimes outriders would collide with their owners in what would look like a spontaneous explosion.
  • When no gamepads are connected, require that the keyboard be used for player one which is tied to the steam account.
  • Fixed a few potential crashes when playing for extended periods.

Happy blasting!


Early Access V1.0.6 — Use your own Tunes with Steam Music!

Just a small update primarily to support Steam Music! There are also a few other small features and fixes.

New Features

  • Support Steam Music – When Steam Music is playing, or starts playing, in-game music is paused and volume is turned all the way down. Note that if you wish to return to in-game music you will have to continue to use the LeftShift+Plus hotkey to raise the volume until the option menu is completed.
  • You can now force a leaderboard refresh with LeftShift+R.
  • When in windowed mode, if the window is closed, a rudimentary pop-up message will confirm that you really wish to close the game. This is currently only supported for the Windows OS.

Issues Addressed

  • Fixed leaderboard visual glitch when toggling between full-screen/windowed on certain graphics cards.
  • Killing a mini-Terminator no longer gives you credit for killing the regular Terminator.

Happy blasting!


Early Access V1.0.5 — Repair to your Precious Outriders!

New Features

  • Repair power-ups can now start repairing your attached outriders, if your ship has not been damaged, or is only mildly damaged.
  • Player reticle will show recently lost power-ups as color coded rings.
  • Attached outriders can now help pickup power-ups.
  • Attached shield now tinted to the player primary color.
  • Support Alt+Enter to toggle full-screen/windowed modes.
  • Support Alt+Tab to switch applications.
  • Updates to Russian translation.
  • Updates to Dutch translation.

Issues Addressed

  • The player tied to a steam account (player one) is no longer allowed to edit their name.
  • Fixed overlap of key images in HUD when ammo goes over 999.
  • Support rendering of TM character.
  • Show top X leaderboard entries when the steam player doesn’t have an entry yet.
  • Increase number of visible leaderboard entries from 20 to 30.
  • Increase number of characters displayed in leaderboards for player names.
  • Fix jitter transitioning from splash screen to title screen.

Gameplay Tweaks

  • Increased size of the power-up hit area by 50%.
  • More tweaks to end of level boss arrangements.
  • Increase the default strength of the player ship.
  • Decrease damage inflicted by some enemy bullets.
  • Increased the strength of the shield power-up by 25%.
  • Weaken smaller “mini-bosses”.
  • Bosses with missile ports now fire all missiles at the same time.
  • Increased the time where you see the missile port open (loaded or empty).
  • Increase strength of attached outriders.

Happy blasting!


Early Access V1.0.4 — Quicken the Pace!

This update mostly includes game play updates to re-balance some elements, but also includes a few fixes.

Changes

  • Added enemies to the end of the first level.
  • Introduced rapid-fire power-up at level 1 instead of level 2.
  • Moved shield power-up from level 1 to a later level.
  • Introduced atomic power-up at level 2, much earlier than previously.
  • Balanced boss strength.
  • Adjusted boss encounters.
  • Adjusted strength of the burst “shotgun” power-up.
  • Bosses are now introduced away from edges of arena.
  • Fix depth issue with respect to players and enemies.
  • Adjust multiplayer split-screen visibility to the equivalent for single player. You can now see further.
  • Fix crash when a steam leaderboard name uses non-typical characters (i.e. TM, etc.).