It Is Almost Time For Omvorm

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You are not ready. You could never be ready.

Remember our little Unreal Engine Spring Jam entry that is coming to Nintendo Switch? Omvorm? Well, it is very nearly ready. But you guessed that from the title. It has taken a little under a month for me to spruce it up. New modes have been added. Tweaks have been made to the speed of the game. All in all, it is a massive improvement over what was already a fun game.

Currently, I am finishing up all the various tasks required before the game can be submitted to Nintendo. With any luck I can get that sorted this week or next, then it will be down to them to check there is nothing catastrophically wrong. I expect there will be some weird thing I need to fix so won’t guess at a release date just yet.

Working with the Switch has been great fun. I think Unreal Engine makes this process so much easier with the ability to easily switch off effects or processes that could cause a drop in FPS. Getting good performance in both handheld and docked mode was a little challenging but got there in the end. A steep learning curve certainly but being able to playtest the game on the bus is just the best.

Overall the development of this game has been markedly smoother than the previous three. No surprise really given I massively underestimated the work they needed. Galactic Defence Squadron is maybe the exception in terms of the ambition of the project. However, with that one, I got hugely stuck on some technical aspects which just wasn’t fun.

Starting with the small Game Jam project then moving into proper development has been great. I had spoken earlier this year about the desire to create small, experimental projects alongside the bigger more ambitious titles and perhaps this is the way to do it. Enter some game jams throughout the year then take those ideas and develop them further if they seem to warrant it. If not, I am sure that the experience will prove valuable in its own right.

Shifting Shapes

What then has really changed between the hastily smashed together Shape Shift and Omvorm? In truth, not a huge amount but also in another way, everything has changed. At a quick glance, you might not think too much. In actual fact, there have been a whole host of changes, many under the hood.

Changes for 1.0.0

  • Omvorm has been giving a huge amount of polish in preparation for release on Nintendo Switch and proper release on PC via the store.
  • All new Blitz Mode. Quick challenges of 1,2 or 3 minutes to try and get as high a score as possible. The Vormwall starts at a much greater speed. Ideal for quick bursts of play.
  • All new Two-Player mode! Take on your opponent in Marathon Mode to see who can survive the longest and score the most points. Or battle it out in Blitz Mode, you and your opponent against the clock to get the most points.
  • New Power-Ups! All new PowerDown will take away points should you collect it or speed up your wall. While PowerSwap (only in 2player modes) will take points from your opponent or speed up their wall.
  • Power Up’s increased in size, again to make them easier to see.
  • Fixed an issue where power-ups could keep spawning even after the player has stopped playing.
    All new voiceover! Actress Lia Albers has kindly lent her voice to our in-game update robot lady. LEVEL UP!
  • Player now starts with one life in order to give them a bit more of a chance. Was a bit annoying otherwise?
  • Controls have been tweaked and fine-tuned, the shape change and player positioning are more responsive.
  • Multiple colour themes added to the level. The Player has the choice between red, white, blue, and pink. Blue is the best.
  • The Vormtunnel has been given a makeover and now looks amazing with new textures on the walls.
  • The lane that the Vorm appears in now lights up to make it easier for the player to navigate to the right space.
  • Vibration has been added when playing with a gamepad.
  • New Shape! The Cylinder is gone and a Diamond has replaced it. This is easier to see from a distance. This was less an issue when playing on a TV and more for multiplayer games in Switch Tabletop mode.
  • Removed the function where Vorms would occasionally change their colour once you got past level 10. The idea was to trick you with a Blue triangle but it was actually just really crap and annoying.
  • Level meshes have been replaced with BluePrint meshes to allow for easy dynamic colour changes mid-game. This results in the white lines on the wall flashing when the player speeds the Vormwall toward them.
  • Max Speed added to the Vormwalls. Previously they would keep increasing in speed forever, now they hit a top speed (which is really flippin’ quick) and will maintain that. They can go over this speed should you collect a PowerDown but will then revert to the max speed once you go up a level.
  • Wall Speed increases at an equal rate (+2.5 per level). Previously it was 1.25x the current wall speed.
  • Starting wall speed is now higher at 5 over the previous 2.5
  • The Main Menu has been totally redesigned. Scores are now in their own section while Options allows the player to change colours and delete local scores.
  • A tutorial section has been added to the main menu.
  • Pause Menu redesigned so that you can quit out to the Main Menu.
  • UI has been repositioned so it doesn’t go off the screen on some larger monitors or TV’s
  • Delay in the Try Again and Main Menu buttons appearing on the Game Over HUD to stop players accidentally restarting before seeing their score and entering their name.

That’s it for now. But there are plenty of other changes I would love to bring to the game, but it very much depends on how well it does. Should it prove moderately successful then I will look at bringing in Online Leaderboards on Nintendo Switch as well as look into the possibility of a 4-player mode. Something I think could be really cool but not sure how well it would work on a smaller screen.

That’s all in the future, right now it is about getting Omvorm over the finish line and then getting back to work on Undead Blackout. Will drop one more Omvorm update once the release date is set in stone, a date that hopefully won’t be too far away.