|Derek Yu on Spelunky 2's more 'open-world' nature, items balance, and shoppies|
|Posted by . on August 14th, 2020 @08:15PM|
(Minor spoilers in this article.)
Developer Derek Yu has dropped a few fresh details about Spelunky 2 ahead of the upcoming release, suggesting that the sequel will feel more open in nature as well as hinting at some of the differences compared to the first game.
With Spelunky 2's release date confirmed as September 15 for PlayStation 4 (the PC version is expected a few weeks later), Yu - alongside composer Eirik Suhrke - was making an appearance on the latest Spelunky Showlike podcast. "One thing that's been really interesting for me is thinking about Spelunky 2 more like an open-world game or a sandbox game in some ways," he said, describing the step from the first Spelunky to Spelunky 2 was like Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Bros. 3 or World.
"Instead of [thinking about it] like a roguelike, which I think implies more of a linear game, if you think about every run that you do in Spelunky 2 is like a different thread heading out in a different direction, where this time around you can try this, I think it's more like an open-world game in that sense. [In] an open-world game, you're just at this starting point and you can pick a direction to go in. You can go north, south, east, west. You can do that in Spelunky 2, even though it's ostensibly a linear game.
"A lot of that has to do with the branching paths, and also that second layer in the back. But thinking about the game like it's open-world has really informed a lot of the design and this idea that you cannot see everything in a single run. In Spelunky 1, it was actually kind of a goal to be like, it'd be cool if the player could see every single thing that you can see in a single run if they know enough about the game. Whereas in Spelunky 2, you literally cannot do that. No matter how well you know the game, you cannot see everything in a single run."
Yu added that he sees reaching the end as a "secondary goal" in the game, explaining: "I really just want people to explore and experiment, kind of in the way that the speedrunners do. Like they're going to do runs just to see, 'Well, what happens when you do this?'. I think I want more casual players to feel that they can do that, too.
"There's a lot in the game that pushes you to not care about dying in some ways - to care but not care like, the game is meant to be played across multiple runs. And so that's something that we really wanted to convey with the design this time around."
The Spelunky Showlike hosts brought up a new object in the game - a ghost jar. Breaking open the jar will reveal a diamond but it comes at a cost, with the ghost immediately spawning. "The ghost jar just came from wanting to give people a way to summon the ghost if they wanted to ghost-mine basically and not having to wait around," Yu said. "That basically came from the speedrunning and high score community to start with. And then I threw in the diamond because when you ghost-mine, the ghost turns gems into diamonds. I wanted to tie it to the ghost in that way."
While the promotional trailers and screenshots for Spelunky 2 have revealed a number of new items that players can expect, many of the old ones from the first game have been altered slightly. Climbing gloves, according to Spelunky Showlike, have been 'fixed' where "you don't really accidentally stick to walls", while using the cape requires a button to be held down rather than toggling. The tweak with the cape is due to a desire to standardise the controls (the turkey mount can glide).
But for other items, Yu wanted to do a little balancing while also using them to flesh out the new world. He added that Spelunky 2's array of items means that theoretically players should feel less reliant on the jetpack compared to in Spelunky 1.
"There are a lot of items in Spelunky 1 that just weren't super useful, or as useful as they could be," he said. "But [the balancing] works really well with also making the world feel more rich and just pushing the possibility space outward or filling in the existing possibility space - finding what are things that we can do with the items that would make them more interesting and more useful. And so a lot of those older items that people didn't use as much are more useful and that's intentional.
"I think one thing that was interesting to me was, having a variety of items and good items is that… when I play the game, I feel like the jetpack comes up a lot less in my runs and also I don't miss it as much when I don't get it. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's something that I'd hoped would happen and feels like is true. In Spelunky 1, you did kind of have sort of like an ascension kit of shotgun and jetpack, and I did want to move away from that for Spelunky 2."
Finally, Yu talked about the shopkeepers in the game, who appear to be much more dangerous and threatening this time around. Shopkeepers - as well as Hired Helps - have greater AI and pathfinding and can even climb ladders and ropes, meaning that robbing shops become a riskier affair.
"I did want shopkeepers to be scarier," Yu told Spelunky Showlike. "One thing that really stood out to me from one of your previous podcasts - the one with Justin Ma who co-created FTL and Into the Breach - he was saying that he never robs the shops. He just doesn't want to deal with all that. And so I thought it was really important to make not robbing the shops as viable as possible in Spelunky 2.
"It was obviously viable in Spelunky 1 if Justin wasn't robbing the shops, but I wanted the pressure to rob the shops to be less if you really didn't want to… [but] it should still be tempting."
The black market has undergone a big change too, as a result. Although neither the Spelunky Showlike hosts nor Yu detailed exactly how the black market was different this time around, there was some allusion that it would be noticeably more difficult to rob. "That was definitely intentional," Yu shared. "That was another thing - making it viable to actually shop at the black market and kind of pushing you to do that if you want to was also important."
|Derek Yu discusses Spelunky 2 philosophy while aiming for 2020 release|
|Posted by . on May 11th, 2020 @10:36PM|
Spelunky 2 creator Derek Yu has dropped a couple of small hints about the upcoming sequel as the development team works towards a 2020 release.
Late last month, Yu confirmed on social media that he and Eirik Suhrke will be prioritising development on Spelunky 2 over UFO 50, and although the developer didn't share any new specific details while featuring on the latest episode of the Spelunky Showlike podcast, he did talk about his philosophy and approach to game design while repeating his desire for a launch before the end of the year.
"For me, the experience of working on Spelunky 1 and previous games has helped me move in the right directions at the right times," Yu said when asked about heading towards the finish line and whether or not he was considering making cuts. "At the point I'm at now, I don't feel like I need to cut a lot of things that I want to have in the game.
"In general, I've been developing a philosophy of not cutting anything from games. Just leave it in there, you know. But it depends on the kind of game that you're working on… For example, I think Spelunky 2 has become such a dense game that if I add an enemy or a trap, I can find a place for it. I can find a place to put that thing and there's not going to be an enemy or trap that just breaks the game.
"I knew I wanted to finish both [Spelunky 2 and UFO 50] around three, it's going to be four years. I didn't want to take much longer than that because for me, I think after three or four years, that's like a single game lifetime and then after that, I've changed too much as a person. And I kind of like these projects to be snapshots of me and of the development team in this three- or four-year period."
Later in the podcast, Yu shared how arcade games will continue to influence Spelunky for the sequel. He commented that one complete run of Spelunky 2 shouldn't take longer than an hour, and that he was inspired by the "lean and explosive" approach seen in arcade games.
"It's 'lean' because you have to push players along to the interesting parts of the game as quickly as possible," he explained. "And you just don't see it in modern games or modern game development. I think the temptation these days to make more sales in games is, you've got to make your games feel very full and I think it can lead to padding your game or choosing genres that feel like they're going to offer this 'full' experience so people feel like they're worth buying.
"And I say 'explosive' because [arcade games] don't save anything for the end. The experiences are quite short, to play through an arcade game. It's like 30 minutes to an hour tops for the longer arcade games. You don't want to save anything for the end because players are renting the game a quarter at a time. So starting with Stage 1, you've got to put it all out there on the table while still in the later parts of the game giving people something to look forward to. And I realise that I think that's been very influential in Spelunky 1 and 2, and it's a type of design that I really enjoy.
"I think while working on Spelunky 2, I've had that mentality -- consciously or sub-consciously -- like, don't save anything. Just, I want the experience to end, playing from beginning to end, after an hour tops. And within that timeframe, I just really want this experience to be really dense starting with the very first area of the game. I want to be laying it all on the table, and I want the game to be as interesting as it possibly can be there.
"I've just been really into arcade games recently. I think they have influenced Spelunky's design from the very first game, even with stuff like the ghost kind of pushing you forward a bit as a soft timer. That's a very arcadey system and I may not have completely understood why it worked the way it did back then in the larger context of arcade design, but I think I'm starting to get it more."
And when Yu was asked about his thoughts on whether or not Spelunky 2 could have worked as an early access game, the developer said that he never really considered that idea. Yu added that he hopes players will be surprised by Spelunky 2 and explained why he doesn't simply want to give fans of the first game exactly what they want.
"To me, there's kind of a membrane between the developer and the player, and it feels strange to break that prematurely," he said, discussing why early access wouldn't have worked for Spelunky 2. "My whole relationship with feedback is just very strange. I tend to have to change into the headspace where, okay, now I'm going into feedback mode.
"Feedback is very important and especially from players of Spelunky 1. I do want to hear what they want to see in Spelunky 2, but I just can't have that constant sort of drip feed of feedback. There has to be, I think, large periods of time where the development team and I, it's just us in our own little world. I think even some of the uncertainty that comes from that like… 'Is anybody going to even like this?', which always comes up no matter how many games you've worked on, even that is good and I appreciate that feeling.
"It's sort of an exciting feeling, and ultimately releasing a game these days, more than people enjoying the game I think you want people to just really feel something strongly. I'm really scared of putting something out that is just what everyone wants. I know that sounds silly and you have to get to a point where you're lucky enough that that is not your main concern."
In 2018, Yu talked about how his daughter inspired him creatively for Spelunky 2.
Spelunky 2 has been confirmed for PC and PlayStation 4. An exact release date and additional platforms have not yet been announced.
|Nominations Voting for the 2019 Spelunky Community Awards has opened!|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on December 4th, 2019 @03:25AM|
|Spelunky in April 2019: A MossNews Recap|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on May 6th, 2019 @09:56PM|
Spelunky in April 2019: A MossNews Recap
Over the course of April 2019, many runs were submitted, science discoveries were made, and the community continued to grow! In these monthly recaps, I’ll be looking over some of the most significant happenings in the community including World Record runs (non-main category), other PBs, science discoveries, and how the community as a whole developed over the month of April! As I am one person, I unfortunately haven’t had the time to watch every single run submitted, nor do I have the time to recap them all. However, I will be covering each WR that does not have its own article (looking at you, ix), and numerous other significant PBs and first completions by members of the community. I’ll also be covering events that aren’t runs, such as new MossNews features, science discoveries, and community events (in months to come). If you complete a run you feel is significant, feel free to shoot me a PM, and I’ll do my best to cover it in the next recap. Like I said before, I’m only one person. If I leave out a run you think is important, take it as a testament to the sheer number of submitted runs rather than an affront to its significance (and definitely let me know for next time)! Without further ado, let’s get started on the happenings this month!
What better way than to start than with world records? Kinnijup improved the Low% Hell record with a time of 5:07, and reclaimed the Score record with a score of $7.43 million! D_tea also continued his score-running dominance by winning 2 back-to-back dailies - both of which were world records! This feat is unlikely to ever be repeated. In addition to those main category runs (which have their own articles), there were 4 more records split between Kinnijup and ix. Kinnijup improved the Low% No Gold Hell record (a devilishly tricky but enjoyable category), breaking the 6 minute barrier with a time of 5:57! As required on any Low% Hell run, 5-3 was an absolute nightmare and a vampire nearly ended the run after Yama’s death. His other world record was a massive 13 second improvement of the No Teleporter No Gold Max Any% category, with a time of 3:06. I am not exaggerating when I say this run is one of my favorite Spelunky runs ever - the extremely technical plays, close calls, and fast-paced excitement of the run far outpace the recognition it got - I highly recommend watching this run, as it is its own highlight reel. While Kinni was dominating the No Gold scene, ix secured his Tier 5 Pacify71 Achievement with 2 pacifist world records - No Gold True Pacifist Hell% (a time of 11:05) and Max True Pacifist Hell% (a time of 11:44). ix now holds all 5 pacifist world records, 3 of which have never been completed by anyone else! While several other runners have the ability to complete these runs, at the moment ix is far and away the best pacifist runner in the game, a reputation evident by these records. GG Kinni and ix!
April proved itself to be a prolific month for both challenge and speed runs, with many submitted runs in both areas. Both Yandie and BronxTaco completed an RTA trifecta, with All Characters and All Journal Entries by both, and an All Achievements run by the former and an All Shortcuts + Olmec run by the latter. The popularity of AJE since its introduction to the main ranking formula has continued with 10 submissions this month (including an impressive 39:34 by Khold), while ASO lagged just behind with 7 submissions (including a jetpackless 17:45 by TNF). Continuing with the main category runs, The popular Low% category received many submissions from newer players (including a first clear by #daily-challenge resident 84BombsJetpack). Samcv became the newest addition to the sub-3 club, after submitting an action-packed yet quite clean 2:59. The No Gold variant of Low% received a single submission from thatmarkguy (our most frequent submitter this month), who also submitted a speedy 6:26 first clear of the moneyed Maximum variant. This max low% category also received runs from other spelunkers, including a first clear by tuabiht, and the end of Spelunky abstinence from SAIBOT, who submitted a speedy #4 time of 3:51. In an amusing twist, Baq completed the category twice with times of 5:24.764 and 5:24.763, making him the WR holder for smallest PB improvement. Samcv also submitted a Haunted variant of this run, with a time of 5:38 despite a “questionable” temple. On the No Gold side of runs, both the Any% and Hell% variants received submissions from spelunkers of all skill levels, including a notable second place No Gold run of 1:51 by d_tea!
Other Hell main categories received multiple submissions this month, including a sub-5 Hell% time of 4:48 by ChocolateCake5000, who also completed the Max variant in a blazing 5:41. Other completers of Max Hell% include AlwaysOlmec, Buddy7heElf, BlueCadet3, SuspenseNasty, InTol, Baq, and thatmarkguy. In addition, kobs continued to shoot up the rankings with a fast Eggplant% (13:29). One of the most infamous categories, Low% Hell, was a very popular one! Aside from Kinnijup’s WR, Choco submitted yet another speed time of 7:06, while first clears were achieved by AlwaysOlmec, BronxTaco, and Kobs. Congratulations to all of these runners on completing this difficult milestone! The most popular category this month, however, was No Teleporter Any%. This category received 14 submissions, including an impressive first MR submission of 2:48 by Phoenix, three sub-2:40s (2:39 by DieDyeDai, 2:36 by ix, and 2:34 by Buddy), and runs from Skylark, InTol, Baq, jgunz3, BlueCadet3, Loki Nighton, HeinzSkitsvelvet (also a low%), TicTacFoe, 84BombsJetpack, and thatmarkguy.
Before we leave the speedrunning scene, I’d like to make two honorable mentions for runs not quite in April - d_tea’s Shield Run WR in 9:14 (also his first clear of the category), and ix’s Udjat Run WR in 20:20. Both of these categories can be very difficult and prone to the glitchiest “features” of the game, so GG to both runners!
With a shift to the challenge run side of things, there were many submissions to the less popular and more difficult run categories. I personally have a soft spot for Pacifist, No%, and HH runs, so I’m very excited to see these categories receiving some love. Firstly, Buddy7heElf joined the most elite completion club, by completing the ultimate challenge of Maximum Low% No Gold Hell (lovingly referred to as MLNGH or LMNGH). This is a phenomenal achievement, especially since Buddy has lost multiple runs on Yama and completed runs with unavoidable gold. The run itself is chock-full of exciting moments, including low health worm plays, strategic ropes, and spike-ball dodges. GG Buddy! There were two submissions in the Maximum Eggplant% category, including a jetpack-less first clear by GC (using a BM HH and scary “safe” spots), and a speedy second-place time of 15:30 by ix. Pacifist was another hot category this month. Aside from ix’s WRs, BronxTaco submitted a first clear of True Pacifist Hell% in 22:01, and GC completed the No Gold variant in 14:23 (without rescuing damsels, making it a 0/0/0 run). Pacifist grew in a non-official setting as well, with numerous runners completing the Any% variant (which allows 1 kill of Olmec), including ix’s WR of 4:23, and Bronx's time of 4:59. BronxTaco also submitted a first clear for the Key To Yama run, checking another run off of his Challenger achievement. Congrats to all of these runners for these awesome runs!
This month also saw the introduction of Co-op categories, with All Journal Entries Co-op. 11 runs were submitted, with the World Record being claimed by ix and Mazerak with a time of 24:27. Many of these runs were performed live at the Kapala Cup or the SpeedEvents Showcase, although 3 duos joined up on stream to complete this category, including ix/Khold, ix/GC, and BronxTaco/Yandie. I hope this category continues to grow, as it is quite fun to run!
Speedruns were not the only thing happening in the community this month, however. Science continued to be done, with discussions on how level generation on 3-4-2 changes depending on whether or not a player takes the worm path, as well as continued research into optimal score duping strategies. ContraMuffin, Kirby703, Dan, and other scientists continued with highly specialized experiments on whether removing large nuggets from large piles of money improves duping. Their findings boil down to this: While many factors may influence the exact results of duping, it is generally better to collect large nuggets before a dupe attempt, as long as the dupe pile has at least 128 items. This strat, introduced by d_tea, provides a minor increase to the theoretical maximum of score per level (without manipulating and keeping track of every single entity in the level). In addition, research was continued on a feature called “entanglement”. If you have ever seen two items swapping rendering order for seemingly no reason, this is entanglement at play. Entanglement is just what happens when 2 or more items share the same slot in the entity list. When that happens, the game swaps the precedences of those items really easily (and thus their rendering is slightly glitchy). In general, they will tend to swap places when entities are created/deleted (such as the whip or shotgun bullets). A swap in a specific direction (called “absorption”) had been confirmed earlier, and now the reversal of this swap (called an “emission”) has been verified to occur. For more information about this, many of the scientists in #spelunky-science would be happy to explain.
Finally, April saw the introduction of a new MossNews feature, Newcomer Spotlight. Initially suggested by Spef, this feature has been covering some of the new and improved members of the Spelunky community. The first two editions covered BronxTaco and Loki Nighton, and hopefully this will continue to be a regular feature.
April has been a great month for Spelunky, with numerous speed and challenge PBs, science discoveries, and community growth. Here’s to a successful May!
|Newcomer Spotlight: Loki Nighton|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on April 29th, 2019 @05:31PM|
This series of spotlights of some of the new and improved members of the community is a spiritual successor to hb’s 21 Questions With series. Similar to its predecessor, various community “newcomers” (defined loosely) will be interviewed about themselves, their background, and their Spelunky goals (either run-wise or community-wise).
Newcomer Spotlight: Loki Nighton
At the beginning of 2019, Loki Nighton made a resolution: they were going to get good at one game in particular. That game was Spelunky. Having been introduced to the game from the Youtuber NerdCubed a while back, Loki became intrigued and began playing the game, eventually reaching the jungle. After that, their focus shifted to other games and work, and Spelunky was an aside until January of this year. Since then, Loki has made good on their promise to improve at Spelunky!
Previous interviewee: BronxTaco
|MossNews World Record Summary: - 5:07.369 Low% Hell by Kinnijup|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on April 10th, 2019 @11:39PM|
Of all the main category runs, Low% Hell is widely considered the most difficult, with only 40 runners having ever completed a run. Few runners submit a second completion, and even fewer have a competitive speed time. Kinnijup is one of those even fewer, having just improved his world record run from 5:12, to a blazingly fast 5:07.369!
Mines: 0:45 (+12s)
|Back-to-Back Daily High Score World Records by d_tea|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on April 7th, 2019 @02:15AM|
It’s not often that players win two daily challenges in a row. It’s even less often that both of these scores are world records! In fact, this is the first time that any player has ever gotten two world records on back-to-back dailies (there have been a few single dailies that had multiple world records, however). With astonishing scores of $6,965,675 and $8,762,150 on the March 31st and April 1st dailies respectively, d_tea has done just that. It’s even more impressive that both of these runs outpace the world record for non-seeded score. So just what made these runs so massive?
Well, one initial advantage of daily challenges is that they can be scouted, and thus tea was able to plan out the most efficient use of resources. For example, since he knew that in the March 31st daily, each mines level had a few bombs (and the Black Market entrance in 2-1 only needed a single bomb), he was able to use his bombs early to maximize score. However, in the big picture, this really is not that relevant to the overall score. Optimization of resource usage and ghosting in the mines can account for at MOST $100k - but the first run beat the world record by over $350k. The real culprit here is duping.
Ever since the discovery and research of the underlying mechanics of render duping, the three temple levels (excluding Olmec) can account for over half of the entire run! In addition, duping in Hell can account for another third of the total. For example, on the April 1st daily, tea exited Olmec with $6.2 million - gaining the other $2.5 million in Hell! It seems the real difference maker between a good seed and a great seed (these two dailies) is the dupability.
|Newcomer Spotlight: BronxTaco|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on April 2nd, 2019 @07:55PM|
An Introduction: This series of spotlights of some of the new and improved members of the community is a spiritual successor to hb’s 21 Questions With series. Similar to its predecessor, various community “newcomers” (defined loosely) will be interviewed about themselves, their background, and their Spelunky goals (either run-wise or community-wise).
I will try to make this a regular feature, with articles coming out every other week (more or less, depending on interest level). Without further ado, our first interviewee is BronxTaco!
Newcomer Spotlight: BronxTaco
BronxTaco, also known as Tim from Melbourne, Australia, is a 34-year old oil rig piping designer - a draftsman job involving use of 3D modelling software. On the side, his hobbies include writing and performing music (on the piano, drums, and guitar, which you can check out here), video games, and rock climbing! It was his avid rock climbing, however, that lead Tim to begin playing Spelunky beyond casual playthroughs - After a broken ankle sustained while climbing, BronxTaco turned to Spelunky as a relief from the resulting pain and boredom.
From there, he began watching d_tea and Israel Blargh and then began playing more regularly himself, a fairly common route of entry into the community. Only a few weeks later he joined the Discord and submitted his first run - a 5:22 No Teleporter Any%. Now, with 74 submitted runs, he is one of the top 50 players! He says that one of his favorite aspects of the community is the all-around positivity and encouragement - a stark contrast from the negativity and superiority in many other speedrunning/gaming communities.
Bronx’s favorite categories to run are anything with the word “low%” in them, including the harder no% variants! In fact, he held the NG+ No% world record (only for it to be improved upon within the day). A few weeks later, he achieved the impressive Low% time of 3:13, which is his proudest run. Bronx’s contributions to the community don’t end there, however. He pioneered a pasteless Olmec strategy that some players find easier than the previous version (some of my PBs utilize this fight - I like it a lot!), as well as an innovative low% no gold safe fight.
In the future, Bronx plans to complete as many categories as possible, which include the two bonuses left for him - Low% Hell and Eggplant%. While these categories are the toughest of the main categories, Bronx certainly has the skill and motivation to complete them! In addition, he’s aiming for a No% completion - a tough category (though not as difficult as most people think), but one that he has the skill for (as his NG+ No% WR proved).
|MossNews World Record Summary: - $6,625,575 Score by d_tea|
|Posted by GruntingCrunchy on March 9th, 2019 @07:59PM|
The score craze inspired by the render duping discoveries has still not died out yet, it seems. D_tea has now claimed the Score world record for the third time (his second post-duping world record), with an incredible score of $6,625,575, an improvement of $18,950 over the previous record by Kinnijup. The run is chock-full of exciting moments, so let’s jump right into the summary!
|Introducing: MossRanking Achievements and Tiers|
|Posted by Kinnijup on January 7th, 2019 @01:07PM|
Hey everyone. This is a new feature getting added to MossRanking in the coming weeks, just for fun. We assigned 5 tiers to many of the individual categories. They are available to players of all skill levels, and the first tier always consists of just completing the category (except for some score runs).
Then, we combined similar categories into groups and created achievements. You need to reach the tier in each category of an achievement to acquire that achievement. There are only two exceptions to this rule. First is the Challenger achievement, which has 5 categories (No%, Landmine%, Showball%, Key to Yama and Udjat Run). Here, you gain a tier for each category completed. The other exception is the Moss Tier achievement. In this achievement, a tier is gained each time all of your runs in Mosspoint categories meet the following criteria: all completed, all 20%, all 40%, all 60%, all 80%.
Here's an example: Speedrunner tier 3 (blue background) is achieved when a runner has satisfied the tier 3 requirements for all included categories, which are Any%, Hell% and Low%. Tier 3 times for those categories are sub 3, sub 8 and sub 4, respectively. Lower tiers must be met to achieve a higher tier (you can’t be at tier 3 without satisfying tier 1 and 2).
Here is a nice graphic saturnin made to give you an idea of what this is going to look like (the colors chosen for the background of each icon reflect the coloring of the worlds in Spelunky - gray background signifies inactive/no achievement). Some have creative names:
The specific categories in each of these achievements will be revealed later, but you can get an idea of what some of them will consist of from their names.