CosmoKnots v0.3.2: Control Upgrade, Looking Around, Knobs to Diddle, Reactive Lose Tunes

It is time!!  Time for a CosmoKnots update, this one focused on improvements to the controls. Generally, the inertial gamepad controls are much improved, we’ve added the ability to look around with a gamepad or mouse, and the control settings screen finally lets you choose and tune which kind of control you want.  We’ve also cracked the lid on reactive music, and made oodles of fixes, tweaks, and improvements all around.

New feature: know where you're going!

New feature: know where you’re going!

Read on for details:

Inertial Gamepad Upgrade

CosmoKnots currently has two different gamepad (360 controller) control schemes: one-to-one and inertial.  The one-to-one scheme matches your turning directly to the joystick movement, while the inertial scheme is indirect, pushing the ship in the direction of your input, with inertia.  Personally I prefer the inertial gamepad scheme, and this is the main way I play the game — but it’s been imperfect for a while, in that frustrating space where it feels like you’re working against it, controlling the ship in spite of the controls, rather than feeling tight and intuitive, otherwise known as “doing what you want.”  Hopefully you’ll agree that this update now gets us a lot closer to those ideal fluid controls.  Goals and details of non-one-to-one controls merit their own blog post, which I’m hoping to do soon, but overall the idea is to be able to make big, swooping, natural-feeling-and-looking arcs, while also having tight control and being able to make exact high-speed maneuvers.


Taking a Look Around

One of the biggest general gameplay lessons we learned from adding virtual reality mode (Oculus Rift support) to the game was the importance of being able to look around, instead of just having your gaze fixed in the direction you’re moving all the time.  We noticed that playing in the Rift is way easier than playing in non-VR, specifically because looking around would give you a better understanding of the space around you, and let you plan out your next move before turning in that direction.  So this update introduces the ability to look around using the mouse or gamepad: using a mouse, you can left-click and drag, or using a gamepad you can look using the right stick while still controlling the ship with the left stick.  When you’re looking around, a white circle will appear in front of the ship, showing you which way is forward (and which way the ship is still moving).  This solution prompted us to discuss again bringing the VR cockpit into the non-VR interface for the game, both to provide a more grounded way of showing you where the ship’s going, and also to bridge some of the gap between VR and non-VR mode; but that’s for another day still.

Surveying the land to be conquered.

Surveying the land to be conquered.

Settings Screen Fleshing-out

As part of this controls upgrade, the settings screen in the pause menu got a big upgrade as well: mouse and gamepad controls are now fully accounted for in their own tabs, with separate sensitivity for each control scheme, and most importantly, you can switch between the various control scheme possibilities: one-to-one mouse, joystick-emulation mouse, one-to-one gamepad, and inertial gamepad.

More knobs!

More knobs!

Variations on a Lose Theme, Cracking the Lid on Reactive Music

In not-controls news, we’ve also added our first bit of music which responds to your playing, something we’ve been wanting to get into throughout this project’s entire (long and windy) life: the lose music now changes depending on just how badly you lost — if you crash after completing a knot or collecting all of the barrels in a level, you’ll hear the “damn, so close!” theme; crashing after collecting half of the barrels and unlocking the easy branch will reward your ears with the “eh, almost” theme, and crashing before you do anything cool will leave you with the musical expression of us being sad that the game’s that hard.


And, of course, there are dozens of fixed little bugs, tweaked settings, and tiny polishes with which we wouldn’t dare bore you, though you’ll hopefully find the game overall to be that much slicker.  A notable one is an optimization to the world map which makes it load right away now, getting rid of a second lag that used to happen when you opened the map.  Another little thing which didn’t find a home anywhere else in this post is that you can now right-mouse-drag left and right to roll the ship.

That should cover it for this week; let us know through the in-game feedback, our social channels, or whatever other favorite outlet you have, what you think of our latest and greatest!

~ by Jono on May 16, 2014.

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