Author Topic: Heart & Slash (now at Early Access #18) $  (Read 3165 times)


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Heart & Slash (now at Early Access #18) $
« on: December 05, 2014, 09:32:55 PM »   $24.99 Win/Mac/Linux  Demo featuring Tutorial and First level

About This Game
Heart&Slash is a 3D brawler that is set in a world where machines are all that remains from the Human civilization.

You play as Heart, an innocent robot fighting to escape the grip of the evil and all seeing machine QuAsSy (Quality Assurance Systems).

But make no mistake Heart&Slash is a hard game. Every death is permanent and means a new randomly generated level for you to start over with a different set of weapons and items you can use, new enemies to fight and secrets to explore.

Heart&Slash is an indie game developed by a small but passionate team. We have a tiny budget but big hearts, and we are giving it all to make this game (our first) the best we can.

Features (on final release):
-3 worlds to explore and fight in. Each world includes its unique enemies an bosses.
-Dozens of different weapons and equipment pieces (more than 100 in total) to customize Heart and your play style.
-Perma-death, but a persistent progression system that gives you more options as you play the game.

We hope you enjoy Heart&Slash as much as we enjoy making it!


Welcome to our first really public alpha of Heart&Slash. Since our Kickstarter was funded, we retreated from public view to start working non-stop on the game. We needed that time to give the development a push until we where rolling at an acceptable pace.

And here we are! We are excited to share this project with Steam's community, and to finally get the much needed feedback from the players that will help us to improve the game.

But first, I want to make clear to everybody what this build is, and what issues it does present:

1- First, the game is still heavy in development, and bugs (mostly minor, but maybe some major ones) are to be expected. Please let us know every single one you encounter. Heart&Slash is a procedural game, so some amount of brute force testing is necessary.

2- Mouse and keyboard controls for the game are not final. We are focusing on controller feel first, and only when everything is set will we finalize the M&K controls.

3- The camera needs work. Please, bear with it for the time being.

4- The Mac build has not been as thoroughly tested as the Windows build. It does work (with some occasional hiccups) on our test machine, but if you are a Mac user, be aware the game might be very buggy, and consider waiting until we are able to polish it.

5- For the same reason, there's no Linux build yet (to avoid confusion, we are not even mentioning Linux on Steam yet, although we will release such a version). the Linux version proved to have too many bugs for release, and we are temporarily pulling it. We hope to upload it in two weeks, when our new build with the full second world comes up.

6- For most of Early Access builds, we'll give players the ability to start on every implemented level (so levels 1 and 2 for this build). This is a temporary measure so everybody can experience the content regardless of difficulty and/or bugs. Please note this will not be so on the final release of the game.
Please, before considering becoming part of Heart&Slash early access, make sure you are ok with all these points. We don't want anybody to feel misled. This is indeed a work in progress version. Playable, with most systems in, and (we hope) already fun, but it's not content-complete nor close to being a coherent experience.

We hope you enjoy it!

Update #8

Hello everybody,

Today we have uploaded the new update to Heart&Slash. As with the boss update, this is a significant one BUT for those of you who are already mastering the game, it might not be that relevant, since it involves mostly improvements to our first time user experience.

That is, we have integrated a tutorial, and have laid the foundations of our Quest and Story systems.

Oh, we have also integrated a secret, extra character that serves as super-hard mode... But you will need to discover how to unlock it.

Tweaked the bosses. Should play better, be harder. Still needs some work done.
Enemies now use alternative attacks more often. It should feel different to fight against many of them.
Heart now has a tigher evasion window. Still easy to evade, but slightly harder to time.
Tutorial, including a small story that explains Heart's origins.
Beggining of the Quest system.
Small improvements to Level 2 flow. Still lots of work to be done here.


The next steps are to finish the level 2 bosses and to start integrating level 3. We are going to work on parallel for these, and we hope to have both in by the end of the month.

And of course, to bugfix as much as we can!

Please let us know any comments and thoughts you might have about this update!
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 10:06:46 PM by getter77 »
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: Heart & Slash (now at Early Access #14 + Demo) $
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 07:03:56 PM »
Update #14 and back a bit   :P

The struggle towards making level 3 available to Early Access supporters continues. We are very close and we hope next week we can so an update so you all can start experimenting with it (and breaking it). For the moment, you can see some GIFs on how it looks at our TIGSource thread.

But that's for next week.

More importantly, this week's update comes late (it should have been last Friday). There's a reason for that./ We have been busy making a deal (and moving into an office):

Aheartfulofgames (us) is now in partnership with BadLand Games to bring Heart&Slash to consoles.

While this is awesome and everything, you might wonder what does this matter for the Steam release...

Well, it means now we can spend more time on Heart&Slash.

While the scope of the game won't change much (still three worlds, five unlockable characters, 75 weapons and 60 equipment pieces) it means we now have much, much more time to polish and balance the game.

As you might know, we are now in a content integration spree, and are postponing some balance ans polish passes until most of the game is in. We were planning on taking the game out of Early Access in two-three months for now. But now, since we will be porting, optimizing and balancing anyway, we will maintain the game in Early Access for much, much longer, so we can really try to make the best version of this game we can.

It doesn't mean it will take longer. In two/three months the Early Access version will be what the release version would have been pre-deal. It just means we will keep improving and developing after that, and that we will take even more advantage of Early Access and you feedback (which has been amazing).

And with that out of the way, on to the patch notes:

15 new weapons in! This is a lot, and includes a couple new kind of weapons: launchables (ninja stars, boomerangs...) and explosives (mines, grenades...) along with more conventional robot smashing equipment. Of course, these are not fully balanced or tested, so we will want to hear you comment on them, and whatever bugs you find!. This does end the second batch of weapons. We are now at 50 weapons integrated into the game!
Implemented new version of InControl (our input abstraction solution). This *should* include built in support for XboxOne and PS4 pads, but it's not fully tested, and might have broken previous compatibility. I'm specially interested on whether is solves or makes worse some Mac gamepad issues we have been having.

Heart animations during boss cutscenes should be fully synchronized now. This should fix the boss hitting you before you had time to react...
Made a pass to some colliders to make it harder to be pushed out of the world.
Small cosmetic and utility bugfixes (not reported in the forum)...

I hope you guys enjoy the new weapons!

See you (hopefully) next week on our level 3...

We have implemented the ability to unlock new equipment. From now on, as you complete quests, you will get new weapons or body parts available for later runs, so things will remain interesting for long.

Right now, only a few of the weapons are unlockable, with the rest available from the get go so you can try them. As we get closer to completing the game, more and more weapons will be associated to quests, so we can test that unlocking them works properly.

New weapons
We are adding the first round of new equipment, too. This time it is mostly axes and staves. We are also including the first two KickStarter reward weapons.

Most of these weapons are intended for the second level of the game, so they are stronger than the the old ones. For the time being they'll spawn everywhere and will be unlocked, so everyone can try them out from the get go. As usual, they will be polished and improved until we're really happy with them. We also hope to have their sound effects integrated soon.

Electric guitar [backer weapon]: This guitar will shred your enemies to pieces with its secret riff.
Zaber [backer weapon]: An energy sword able to perform multiple combos and slow or weaken your enemies. A proven robot-fighting weapon, hard as the hardest rock.
Twin bladed sticks: Physical, plasma and volt variations.
Axes: Various axes, each with their specific trait: speed, fire damage, electricity, dual weilded...
Frying pan: And into the fire.

In coming weeks we will include a greater variation of weapons, so keep in touch.

Unlocks menus
Now you can check how far you have progressed in the game from the main menu. The options available are:

Quests: See which quests you have completed, which are left (and clues on how to clear them) and what each unlocked.
Equipment: Here you can see how many weapons you have unlocked and how those you have already used on the field look on HEART.
Enemies: All enemies and their equipment you find in the game will appear here. Apart from showing your respects, you can get clues on how to beat the hardest ones, or learn something about the world of Heart&Slash.

Bug fixing
As usual, we are including some bug fixes:

Smallbots should get stuck in doors less often. Probably some places are still problematic, but we'll try to locate and fix them.
[TiZ, (ISIG) JDEzekude] Slash quest 1 cinematic was still bugged under some special circumstances.

Fixes in the build
You can no longer kill Slash by mistake right at the end of its quest 1 fight
[TiZ] Slash can attack you before entering its room if fought in a previous run
[TiZ] Quests not working if non-default Unlocks.brw present

-adds the first quests to the game (apart from the hidden quest that was already present in the tutorial).

This quests will appear on some playthroughs of the first level (maybe on too many, or maybe on too few. You tell us!) and they will provide the first act of Heart & Slash's story, as well as slightly expand on the good Dr. Sympahtic's narrative.

This build includes some bugfixing too:
Boxes floating in City entrance
Sound volumes are not kept between games and reset after death
Worm room overlaps surface room above
Lifter spawns with miniature size in level 1
Some cinematices do not override time scalings

In case you want to face this new boss, look in the second level sewers. Shouldn't be too hard to reach, since that section is quite short right now.

As was the case with the first two bosses introduced, this boss is a first pass. The mechanics are in, but there might be unpolished parts, or the balance might be off.

We'll keep tuning it in the coming weeks, but let us know your impressions.

FIXED: Clockwork arms and bosses cinematics don't play nice
FIXED:Teleported enemies stop scaling if teleport is destroyed
FIXED: Enemy hitting enemy pauses the game (machinegun)
FIXED: Factory boss signals overlap
Limit Heart's invulnerability while dodging to pushing bad timing a little more.
FIXED: Rocket Cam Camera goes behind when getting close to an enemy
FIXED: BDSS-KNIGHT camera should rotate around enemy, instead of moving from
one side to another
FIXED: DBSS-KNIGHT camera pivot changes constantly when attacking it
FIXED: BDSS-KNIGHT door could open when launching its third phase
FIXED: Rocket cam breaks boss cameras
FIXED: Two weapons visible at a time
FIXED: Warning screens in factory are always black
ADDED: Many more sunds integrated. Level one weapons and enemies are mostly sonorized (Still missing some specific attacks)
BIG fix to the enemy spawning on level 2. Due to a bug, many, many enemy variations of the police grunts (and some scavengers) weren't spawning at all. Now they do, and therefore enemy variety on level 2 has greatly increased.
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: Heart & Slash (now at Early Access #18) $
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2015, 10:09:43 PM »
Update #18! and back a bit:   8)
Welcome to this very special announcement. Today's update to Heart&Slash is probably one of the biggest we've done since we entered Early Access and, for sure, the most important. We have added lots of new content and fixes, so be ready for the long list.

Today we are releasing the Windows and Linux builds. We'll upload the Mac version during next week.

The main antagonist, QuAsSy (Quality Assurance System), is in the game, waiting for Heart at the top of the space lift. Will you be able to defeat it and face the truth?

This means that Heart&Slash can now be played from start to end!
Only one of the planned endings is accessible for now, but the other one will come soon.

As always, this is the first implementation and it needs tweaks, balancing, etc.. Also, if you find any bugs, please let us know in the bugs thread.

Our audio collaborators have implemented sound in almost all weapons currently in the game. That's a great boost to the experience, and a very important step in the road to being content complete.

The Space Lift is now guarded by the latest and greatest of QUASSY's units: the Elite bots. These new robots are based on the most advanced technology HeartTech ever built, so be careful.

COPS has also improved its army, deploying armoured units into the City. They are not allowed to carry the heaviest weaponry, but only because they are not expected to ever need it.

We have added new strategic options during combat.

Some enemy attacks can now damage their allies, as was the case with missiles, bullets and lasers. Use this wisely and things can get a lot easier.
We have fixed a bug that would make enemies stand still without attacking. This might still happen from time to time, but that's now a configuration issue. If you think enemies are not attacking when they should, please let us know with a screenshot and an entry in the bugs thread.
Fire and electric attacks are now affected by water. Feel free to experiment.
Light damage weapons, like the daggers and the blade on a stick, were unable to damage armours. This has been fixed, so it is no longer possible to get stuck in a fight against armoured enemies you cannot defeat. Hint: this also means that all weapons can now take advantadge of FRANK-Y's weakness.

We won't tell exactly how, but it is now a little easier to raise the maximum number of hearts during a run.

Although this is an area we're still working on, we've implemented a couple of systems that should help keep frame rate high enough on lower end computers. The RAM requirements remain the same, but at least we abuse the CPU a little less.

Since this has been a considerable change regarding how enemies and rooms are configured, some stuff might fail. We've fixed all bugs we've identified, but please let us know if you see anything funny happening with missiles, bullets, explosions, etc..

And here comes the list of bug fixes included in the build:
Switch Roborang ranged attack to the strong attack button (makes using the roborang to trigger computers less awkward)
Ruined building windows show skybox
[(ISIG) JDEzekude] Trapped in sewers COPs ambush
[Rotrio] Can get stuck below crate in sewers pickup room
Selected character does not show when closing level selection menu
[Baelmung] City hallways shift direction while moving inside
[Baelmung] Level 2 bosses do not transition to level 3
[Baelmung] Constant step sounds
[Col. Hunter Gathers OSI] Roborang and factory quest 1
[Rotrio] Factory Slash quest 4 is bugged
[Megermum lergens] First slash quest is broken if Slash is killed before combat starts
Unlocking Doctor #1 quest doesn't work when upgraded weapon is not used to hit the computer
Flame/Ice throwers can hit Heart twice in a row

We're working on completing the city and sewers quests, which would unlock the other ending of the game, if you do the right thing. We are also trying ways to improve the game's performance and considering ways to make things a little easier, but still challenging.

Also, since we're getting closer to finishing the game content, we'll get a lot more serious regarding bugfixing.

City performance improved
The most important thing to remark is that we finally managed to fix the bug in the city level which made the game run terribly slow as soon as the COPS turrets or lifter were in view. There is still room for improvement regarding framerate in that level, but at least it now is playable. Thanks for your patience on this one and, if you're interested in knowing the cause, you might want to check our devlog (

One Per Cent equipment revision
The One Per Cent Arms, Suit and Pants were either too good, or not balanced. We have changed how they work, so their benefits scale linearly with the current player experience, as expected. They have also been improved and the cost of each upgrade has risen accordingly. Also, since we are hearing too many players complain about the game's speed, we are slowly reducing the maximum possible speed. The pants top speed has gone from 1.35 to 1.2, so the maximum speed achievable in the game (for now) is around 1.5.

Mac issue
We are not very sure on this one. The city level does not run in our Mac machine. It might be related to it having been updated to Yosemite or not, but we are not sure. We'd really appreciate if other Mac players could give it a run and report their findings.

Space lift
We have added clouds and particles around the rooms, so it gives a better feeling of ascension. Some room configurations have been updated, so the level is a little easier to navigate. There is still a lot of work to go, but we hope things will be smoother from now on.

We have also added a new, smaller version of B0SS in level 3. It currently uses BDSS's art, but we will integrate its new look as soon as we get it.

Bugs fixed
Apart from the mentioned bug in the city, these are the most relevant issues we fixed:

Windowed mode does not work
Lights are disabled when going back into a space lift room
Explorer hat is still using Clockwork lens art in-game
Big performance drops on level 2

New equipment
We have included, among others, full sets which can be unlocked by defeating B-0SS KNIGHT and FRANKY. The mix also includes the full police and scavenger sets. All of them have some very cool abilities, which we're sure you'll enjoy.

With this update, we reach 90 equipment parts/weapons in the game. We are getting close to the point where we have every single piece of equipment we want!

Improvements to scrapping
The number of hearts recovered when scrapping equipment was a little underwhelming, so most people simply didn't use it. Now, most equipment should recover at least 1 full heart, or more, if the part is not upgraded. We have also added a new upgrade for Heart, which makes it recover 50% more hearts per part scrapped, apart from giving it one extra heart. Consuming your equipment is now a much more rewarding action.

The other problem with scrapping was that some people wouldn't even notice the option. To fix this, we have made the button larger. It also displays exactly how many hearts will be recovered by scrapping the weapon or part.

As a reminder, you can scrap any piece of equipment from its upgrade menu. Use the red button at the bottom and live to fight another round!

We hope these changes make the inevitable cycle of "acquire, upgrade, replace" more enticing.

Bug fixes
One very relevant bug fix this week: Heart&Slash was not too friendly to vidcasts or video capture programs like FRAPS. It should behave properly now.
The other important fix is that enemies should get stuck in corridors a lot less than they used to. A small, hard to notice error in their configuration made them a little too picky regarding where to step.

[Megermum Lergens] Battle music continues into next playthrough most of the time.
Adjust mouse sensitivity for new version of InControl
[SikeNaw] Odd issues when recording
When Fraps is recording, going from game to menu crashes the game.
Biggrunt bodyslam particle does not play until on camera

At last, after a little longer than we wanted, the third and final level makes it into Early Access.

The space lift will take you from the sewers or the city to QuAsSy's headquarters, high above ground. This level is a lot more platformy than the previous ones, and very tricky, so watch out. QuAsSy's security are waiting for you.

As usual, there are still unfinished things which we will improve in the coming weeks:
- No equipment is spawned in the level yet. You'll have to get through with what you've got, for the time being.
- Some rooms are mock ups. Some will be scrapped, others improved, and new versions added.
- Two extra enemies are missing: one is not configured to spawn yet, the other one will be implemented next week. We might add a third one in the future, but it depends on several factors.
- There is no QuAsSy yet, and its room still needs some tweaking.
- There are no cutscenes yet. Specifically, there's no intro cutscene.
- You get a lot of XP from enemies you leave behind. We need to fix how that works.
- The particles/structure used when changing the scenery are placeholders. We need to either replace them or tweak them.
- Since this level does not use the minimap, it does weird things. It will be replaced with a customized minimap as soon as we can get the art done and implement its new behavior.

But, even with all this gotchas, we think this level feels good and plays very differently from the previous ones, even in this early stage. We hope you enjoy it too.

And, as always, if you find issues beyond those described above, let us know! We will keep working in improving things.

Oh, and we also did some bugfixes:

-Fixed Boomerang, American shield, mine and PowerAxe bugs (thanks, sikeNaw).
-Adjusted mouse sensitivity for the new inControl version.
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training