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In Retrospect, the game I'm developing, has a new demo. Try it out! The Mac version is back, baby!

Hey all! I made another demo for my game, In Retrospect. Actually, it's roughly the same demo from before, but with a bunch of improvements!

Get it on Steam (PC) | Get it on Itch (PC) - Don't forget to wishlist it!

NOTE: If you have the old demo on Steam it you SHOULD just be able to update it, but I was having an issue with that. You'll know the update worked if you see "Demo Version 2.0" on the title screen under the title. If you don't see that, deleting and reacquiring the demo will get you the latest version.

Also, add In Retrospect on social media / etc.:
Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Soundcloud

Some of the changes that I made:
+Added checkpoints to the stages - Yep, this is the BIG one. Also, this kind of automatically makes the stages a lot easier, so I think the difficulty will be manageable now? Maybe even too easy, and I was tempted to start making stuff harder again, but I think maybe this will hit a good balance. Demos should probably be easy-ish anyway, unless you're specifically trying to sell your game as SUPER HARD, which I'm not.
+Balanced the difficulty in some other ways, for the most part making it easier
+Removed or modified some stuff that wasn't working very well / consistently (black holes, quicksand, etc.)
+Added visual indictor of how much time you have to make choices in the in-between-stage choice parts.
+Added a way to restart stages from the pause menu
+Changed dialog pacing of some parts, so it doesn't feel as slow. Hopefully?
+Made the "Press Y to Skip" stuff only flash a few times before disappearing
+Possibly? Maybe? Sort of fixed the line over the player head glitch? At least, I did on my machines, not sure if it will still happen on other's.
For the most part anyway, I still get some MINOR tiny graphical glitches that are hard to notice if you aren't directly looking for them that I'm going to try to figure out.
+Fixed essentially every known bug, and even a bunch of previously unknown bugs
+A bunch of other tiny stuff

Try it out and give me whatever feedback you want! Good, bad, neutral, you name it!

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Posted: 12/17/20, 20:56:50  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 23:15:14
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Mac build, you say?

EDIT: Hmm, my MacBook Pro can't open it. I downloaded it, but a pop-up menu says the "Application 'Build' can not be opened."
Posted: 12/17/20, 21:05:01  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 21:10:18
@GameDadGrant Weird. I was getting that on the first build I tried, so I made a different one and it seemed to work. Hmm. Let me test it, maybe I uploaded the wrong one?! But I swear I deleted the old one first...

/EDIT Yeah it's not working for me either. When I copied it over directly to my Mac, it worked. But zipping it and uploading it, then dowloading it... it doesn't? Is zipping the issue? I'm not really a Mac person, what is a better way to get a bunch of files into a single file on a Mac?
Posted: 12/17/20, 21:15:32  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 21:20:37

Honeslty, not really sure. If Finklestein was around, he may be able to help out more than I could. He's more proficient with the Mac platform than I am.
Posted: 12/17/20, 21:21:38
Well, I'm going to try a few things here, see if I can figure it out. But for now... the Mac build is busted everyone!

/EDIT Yeah looking into this it looks like the zipping is definitely the problem, it messes with the permissions or something. There doesn't seem to be an easy and consistent fix either so, sorry Mac people, I got you all excited but I'm going to put the Mac version back on hold for now.
Posted: 12/17/20, 21:24:04  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 22:26:43

However, it has this weird specific way it works. Instead of just clicking to open (which will just give you a pop-up you can't get past), you have to control-click and choose open, which should give you a pop-up you CAN get past.

Your results may vary depending on which version of the Mac OS you have running. Apparently newer Mac OS are a huge hassle for this stuff. Will be interesting to see if you guys can get it to work. But I got it working fine on my (school) Macbook downloading from Itch so at least it works on SOME Macbooks.
Posted: 12/17/20, 23:14:08  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 23:14:54
I have a new 2020 iMac so I'll let you know how it goes. Excited to finally try this!

EDIT: Got it to work! After right-clicking it and choosing to open "Build," it has a safeguard measure that says something along the lines of "MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware." I got around it by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, and allowing the application to run. Time to play!
Posted: 12/17/20, 23:20:23  - Edited by 
 on: 12/17/20, 23:26:44
Iíll give it a shot later!
Posted: 12/18/20, 02:33:09
@TriforceBun You SHOULD also be able to get around that by like... right click opening it again? And then it will ask you if you want to skirt the issue or whatever? It only worked for me on my second try for whatever reason. And once it works once, it should be able to be opened normally moving forward. SHOULD be.

Longterm, if I actually officially support a Mac build, I will have to figure this out, but a lot of Unity devs I've seen are just like "LOL, IT'S APPLE, NO WAY AROUND THIS NONSENSE." But like, there has to be some way to get recognized as an official developer or whatever the issue is here?! Hmm.

But I think everyone should at least be able to get it working now, one way or another.
Posted: 12/18/20, 02:53:02  - Edited by 
 on: 12/18/20, 02:53:53

With GameMaker: Studio, you can't even compile your game for Mac unless you have an Apple developer license. Is that not mandatory with Unity? Maybe that's the answer.
Posted: 12/18/20, 02:57:39
@Secret_Tunnel You can definitely compile without one in Unity! It's possibly related, I know in the iOS App Dev class that I teach I needed to set all the machines up in a specific way so that students could create builds they could run. But we never got a developer license, just Apple developer accounts that have to be set up as administrators on the machines and such. Plus if the kids move their apps to their iPads they delete themselves after 2 weeks or something weird like that. So many hoops!

But I think it is more due to the zipping. The build runs fine if I don't zip it. This is apparently a common issue where zipping changes some permissions or something.
Posted: 12/18/20, 03:44:59
Beat the demo! It's well done, Zero. Strong visuals and soundtrack, snappy controls and it all ran smoothly on my end! I like the narrative nuggets; they're brief enough to not feel overbearing and also have some player interaction that makes me feel like I'm making a difference. I appreciate the sincere nature of the writing too, little fun details how she asks you if you're feeling PUMPED and it's all green and wiggly.

There's an impressive amount of variety considering the genre; this was something I wanted to focus on with Tadpole Treble as well but the surreal nature of In Retrospect makes it to where you never know what's going to happen next. I like how each stage feels unique and even has a surprise or two beyond its initial reveal. I enjoyed playing it enough to beat the demo on Standard (despite over a dozen deaths!) and dabble in it for a while on Hardcore. Here are a few notes that you might want to consider though:

+I feel like the text box "typing" sound effect is too loud, particularly in comparison to the serene music that you first hear in the opening.

+Collecting the doodads is fun, but my favorite aspect of that was the moments where you pick between them all lined up or whatever. I feel like most of the time, I'm going towards any bubbles I can so it's more interesting to me when I get to make a choice.

+This might be too big a change and it might've been just a TBun thing for not paying enough attention, but I kept thinking the Love (heart) pickup was the Health pickup! It wasn't until playing the game a second time that I realized I was going after the wrong thing when I wanted more life! I could see someone having a similar problem confusing the Health (cross) pickup with Spirituality!

-The number of inputs by stage 6 and 7 (I believe? The last two stages on the demo) was somewhat overwhelming. I kept getting my actions mixed up, and when things split up (cool mechanic by the way), I wasn't sure whether to press Up on the buttons or Down or Jump when on the ceiling. I'm wondering if Up on the buttons could be consolidated somehow into Jump? If it's only used for those context-sensitive moments (and swimming upward), it might work? Also, switching between Up and Jumping in the stage with the water squares and Angry Sun was a bit of a brain-scrambler to me. I died many times in that level (15+) before reaching the end! I had a similar issue with Runner2, where I felt that some of the actions could've just been meshed together into a single context-sensitive button. I don't think you have to worry about oversimplification since there's actually a lot going on in the game for first-timers!

+On that note, this game is harrrrd! I mean, I like a challenge and since you have unlimited lives it's not like a Battletoads thing. And I do see several spots where I screw up and can improve. But even so, I feel there are a few things that make it feel a little out of my control. I think our little main character could afford to have a few more invulnerability frames, or perhaps a few fewer frames of losing control upon being hit. Sometimes I'll get chain-hit by certain setups without an easier way out. I think a couple of the trickier traps could do with a gentler introduction, if that makes sense. Things like the rotating mechanical pieces you have to pass through the inside. With TT (and Mario Maker!) I kept wondering why so many people were having so much trouble with my stages too! But I guess it's simply always easier when you're the guy from behind the scenes who knows all the tricks.

Anyway, good stuff overall! I think some difficulty could be adjusted but it's a cool game with a lot of variety and a great flow to it. I never felt like it was getting repetitive or phoned in; there were plenty of unique challenges around every corner and I like how the music matched up to the action. In fact, I'd love to see even more moments like that early one in Stage 4 where you're collecting the orbs to the beat while falling.
Posted: 12/18/20, 05:28:02  - Edited by 
 on: 12/18/20, 05:30:40
Hey, thanks for trying it out + feedback! Super valuable.

I also thought the text box volume was a bit loud, but it's tough to know for sure in a void, so now that I have external confirmation, I will probably lower it a bit.

I agree those are probably the best moments, it's just been tough trying to figure out how to do that in an auto-runner without getting repetitive! Definitely one of those "ideas are so much easier on paper than in reality" things. I'll probably try to get more of them into the game though.

Someone else had the same issue with the heart / medkit thing in the past and I actually very much thought about changing this but I couldn't really think of anything else that represents love better than a heart, and then I kind of forgot about it. It would be somewhat easy enough to change IF I could think of a good change.

I think you're probably right about having a lot thrown at you, though keep in mind this is a demo that skips stages, in the main game you would have more practice with certain moves before having other complexities thrown at you. I definitely feel like I just jammed too much into this game though, it's a bit tough to extricate it now but in game 2 I'm hoping to do more with less, so to speak.

Is it still super hard?! I tried to make it even easier than last time. I was worried it might be too easy now, lol. Again, there are more stages in the final game that build up to the challenge (stage 7 is actually probably the 2nd hardest stage in the whole game?) but yeah, balancing challenge is tough because I have NO context for it now. And I was even just thinking that I can't just play the game and take my experience and scale it down, because difficulty doesn't always scale linear... some things are super hard until you figure out some trick that makes them super easy, etc.

But yeah there are some points that you get stuck in a pounded into oblivion loop and I've tried to remove as many of those as possible but I'm sure some still exist. I'm wary to play around with the damage animation loop (in which you temporary lose control) too much at the moment because there were a LOT of bugs related to it early on and I think it finally works pretty consistently so now I'm all like... not wanting to even touch it, lol. But I probably could just speed up the animation so you get out of it faster or something.

Definitely want to sync more to the music but to be honest it's only recently that I've even gotten the music syncing that consistent... and the further into a stage you get, the less likely it is to be consistent (in the past I mean, though I THINK it's pretty consistent now!?), so that's why I stuck that part right at the beginning of a stage! Obviously as a music / game guy I love the idea of syncing music and gameplay but I think in the future I won't do it in such a PRECISE way, because it's such a hassle to get it consistent, especially on PC since everyone has a totally different set-up!

But there is some more cool? syncing stuff in the game in other spots too. Stage 8 has what I think is a really neat part at the end, and it works pretty consistently because it doesn't rely on precise player position.
Posted: 12/18/20, 06:43:34  - Edited by 
 on: 12/18/20, 06:55:43
Regarding Love/Health, I think two small changes could make all the difference. Making the health bar Health green instead of Love red would sort of subconsciously link it to that pickup, I feel. And some sort of subtle sparkle/healing effect on the character upon picking up a Health bubble could also make that connection more immediate.

The main parts where I had difficulty were the ends of level 6 and 7 in the demo. The rest of it was pretty manageable. Admittedly, I kept forgetting about my Spirituality shield when playing! (I like how that's one of the pickups, by the way! Made the game feel a little custom-tailored to religious ol' me) The back half of stage 7 is really what murdered me repeatedly, particularly the Angry Sun melting me away. It's a cool stage and homage but I would get a little tripped up between leaving the water and jumping upward. I like how detailed the whale's innards are!
Posted: 12/18/20, 18:21:54  - Edited by 
 on: 12/18/20, 18:22:32
Ohhh green health bar. I actually love that idea EXCEPT... right now there is a part where you power up at the end of the game and essentially get like 8 health bars on top of each other (you know like in SHMUPs and such?) and it just follows the rainbow colors... red orange yellow green blue purple pink white or something like that? If green became the default I'd have to rework that entire thing and it'd probably end up feeling like a more arbitrary order.

I think the sun might be OP, especially if you play in hard mode... that's about the only part of the game in hard mode where I still die a lot when testing. I guess I should make it a bit less powerful. Could also extend the time it takes coming out of water before it starts damaging you again. And actually, the way I did it is maybe not intuitive either... like, I'm curious how you think the water works, because I doubt is is very clear. Because I think what most people probably think is it completely resets things so you get out of the water and have the same amount of time before the damage starts again. But what I actually did, which might be silly I dunno, is that water slowly adds to that "safe" buffer so the longer that you stay in the water, the better it is. So if the sun is damaging you and you pop into water but only for an instant, then there will be a much smaller buffer before the sun starts damaging you again than if you had stayed in it longer. Which makes a sort of LOGICAL sense, but is that what the player would be expecting? So yeah, curious how you expected it to work and if it was different from how it actually works. That too could be changed fairly, of course, though I kind of like that you can't just hit the edge of water and pop back out again. To me it made sense that you needed to stay in the water as much as possible.

I also had this idea for a SUPER HARD one hit death mode that probably no one but me would ever play but I'm not entirely sure how it would work with the sun part, because as it stands it's technically possible to never take sun damage if you do things pretty ideally, but it'd be significantly tougher than anything else in the game to get through that entire part without the sun even once damaging you.

Though the spirituality shield would be the trick there. I think that would be the best alignment to go for in a one hit death mode. And in fact, the longer health bar you get from a health alignment would be worthless in a one hit death mode.
Posted: 12/18/20, 21:10:42
Yeah, I think that hidden meter for the water works fine; generally speaking I was trying to stay in the water as much as possible, so it didn't really affect the way I played or anything, but I do think most players will think it works the way the air meter works in some games (where it resets upon entering/leaving). The main thing I struggled with there was jumping out of the water upwards into the higher blocks, since I had to quickly alternate between the up key (for water) and the jump key (for air).
Posted: 12/18/20, 21:39:15
Oh, I probably should have mentioned this, but the game has controller support!

Although I really don't know how that works exactly. It's support for the default Xbox 360 controller which apparently? means all kinds of PC controllers since they all are compatible or something? but on a Mac uh... not sure it would work.
Posted: 12/18/20, 22:22:38  - Edited by 
 on: 12/18/20, 22:22:52
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