010823 Shield Cat Chapter 1 Build

Howdy! Coming at you today with - yes - a build of Shield Cat! I went back to the demo version and made a ton of quality of life improvements, to bring the game up to the standard I wanted for the SAGE 2022 demo, but did not have time.

First thing's first: In this version, I've revamped the lighting system. Lighting on every screen has been tweaked and adjusted with the new lighting system, and I'm able to make much richer colors than I was before. You'll also see that visibility on some screens has been improved greatly, while still maintaining the vivid colors I was going for originally. Also, I improved the echo effects in caves to use the new Gamemaker audio effects.

I've also made a lot of changes to the dialogue and cutscene system. Dialogue renders much more smoothly now, with better text box resizing to make it easier to read. Cutscenes have also been improved, with more dynamism to really sell the game's most crucial moments. Finally, I made general gameplay improvements, including several improvements aimed at making traversal and platforming easier.

Next: I've made quite a few changes related to stage layout and progression. I've moved around a few things to make it easier to 100% the game, as well as added two new Train Stations to allow for more fast travel, making it easier to get around the current game world. You'll also find Mr. Scaleman in much more optimal positions, making it much easier to turn in your Fish Scales for the Cat Coin. All of these changes, however, mean that  any file that was 100% in the prior build will no longer be 100%. Sorry!

Speaking of Mr. Scaleman, he can now give you a hint as to where Fish Scales are! One of the most requested features of the demo was some sort of way to be able to track down the last few collectibles that you're missing, and I'm hoping that this helps you out! However, these hints don't come cheap, so only get the hint when you're ready to throw in the towel and just want to move on.

As an aside, I'm sorry to say that the Linux version of Shield Cat has been discontinued, and subsequently has been removed from download. It was just too difficult to maintain a Linux version with it's many, many quirks, as a solo developer. However, you'll find that the game runs just fine in Proton, so you can still play it that way. If you're concerned about the map rendering bug that specifically affected Proton players with certain hardware, don't worry: I fixed that.

I should note: This version is more or less the same as the SAGE 2022 demo, so if you're expecting a major expansion or to visit a new area, you will not find it here. Instead, I've gone back into the game and tweaked and updated a ton of stuff to bring it more in line with the original vision I had for the demo. I hope that you enjoy the updates and having a second run around on the game. And, if you didn't get round to playing it the first time, well, now is your chance!

As always, here are the patch notes:

===== IMPORTANT =====

  • Some of the changes made to this version of the game add or change existing collectibles and map tiles. For this reason, if you've gotten 100% on a prior save game and load it up in this version, it will no longer be 100%. Sorry!
  • However, you can take this time to run around and check out the new stuff, or maybe replay the game if you so desire.
  • I did a lot of behind-the-scenes changes to how dialogue is parsed. If you see something like "Error Dialogue Parser" anywhere in the game, please let me know!

===== Special Notes =====

  • Enemies will now respawn when you leave a screen and come back. This was always the intended experience, but I couldn't get it to work before.

===== NEW =====

  • Mr. Scaleman can now give you a hint on where a random Fish Scale in the stage that you haven't gotten yet is. Should make getting 100% a bit easier! (The hints aren't free though.)
  • Added a new save point in the River Path.
  • Added a new save point in the Autumn Grove.
  • Added a new Train Station in the Deep Woods.
  • Added a new Train Station in the Abandoned Mines.
  • The game will now show a pop-up when you get all Fish Scales, Cat Coins, and 100% stage completion.
  • A new option has been added to allow you to disable text animations in dialogue boxes.

===== IMPROVED =====

  • The lighting system has been overhauled. Now, much richer lighting and colors are possible, and as a result, most screens in the game have been touched up and enhanced.
  • Rewrote existing audio effects (like echo) to use the new built-in audio effect functionality of Gamemaker, as well as added new audio effects.
  • Echoes have been added to one part of the minecart challenge.
  • Audio effects have been added for when you ride the train.
  • More water shine has been added to water (it was in the SAGE 2020 demo and I just somehow forgot to bring it back.)
  • Particles have been added to waterfalls.
  • Made some routing changes to allow for more shortcuts and overall make it easier to get around.
  • Marcus and Mr. Scaleman both have unique markers on the map screen now.
  • Train Stations will now be dark/unlit until you find Parker.
  • Dialogue boxes now dynamically scale to their content.
  • A notification is now shown when you find all Fish Scales or Cat Coins in a stage, as well as when you get 100% in a stage.
  • The place where you last saved with Willow now has a glow around it to show where you'll start the game next time if you save and quit.

===== CHANGED =====

  • The File Select menu has been changed. Instead of showing you a bunch of empty slots, it will now only show you save slots with files in them with a "New Game" option at the bottom.
  • Because of this change, the "Copy File" dialogue will only allow you to pick the first available slot.
  • If there are no more slots available, the "New Game" option will not be available, and the "Copy Game" option will warn you there are no free slots available.
  • Removed the "Text Scaling" option. It caused some issues with rendering and also didn't seem like an option that was utilized much.
  • The "Dialogue History" option has been removed, and now simply defaults to the longest possible.
  • The "Stereo Sound Effects" option has been removed, since it didn't seem useful and also, the music is still in stereo regardless.
  • All references to "Vibration" have been changed to "Rumble" in the options.
  • Removed all social media links, except those to Discord, the store pages, and the game's website.
  • Moved Mr. Scaleman to the center of the Autumn Grove to make it easier to get to him after you get all the scales.
  • Moved Mr. Scaleman to a more optimal position in the Abandoned Mines (He'll show up after a specific story event occurs.)
  • Moved Mr. Scaleman out of the train station in the River Path and put him more closer to the center of the area.
  • Moved Mr. Scaleman in the Deep Woods to be in a more obvious spot for the player to meet him at the start of the game.
  • Fixed some issues with the dialogue like pacing, as well as edited some dialogue for flow and clarity.
  • Adjusted some Marcus' Adventure barriers to make it less obvious when they're blocking access to secret screens (thereby revealing the secret screen.)
  • The visibility of the watermark in the bottom right has been reduced to be less distracting.
  • Made some fixes to Lance's animations during the Mailbox minigame.
  • Swapped out some signs for NPC interactions.
  • Moved two fish scales in the Deep Woods to accommodate a new NPC being there.

===== BUG FIXES =====

  • Removed the OpenDyslexic font, as Windows was saying that it was a virus for players.
  • Fixed a bug where the Font Antialias function wouldn't work or only worked somewhat.
  • Fixed the bug where map rendering didn't work on Linux under Proton in certain situations (including Steam Deck.)
  • Fixed a specific spot in the Autumn Grove by the long vertical platform room where you could get Lance to respawn inside of the wall to potentially get out of bounds.
  • Fixed a bug where loading to save locations could play music louder than intended.
  • Fixed dialogue bugs that would cause the dialogue boxes to suddenly grow much larger than needed.
  • Fixed several screens which had light bleed from adjacent screens on them. If you find any rooms with unusual light bleeding in from the sides, please let me know.
  • Fixed a bug where the end demo music would sometimes not play.
  • Fixed a bug where the platform snapping that helps you to not fall off of them was a little too aggressive.

===== NOTES =====

  • Linux support for the game has been officially removed, and this time, it's not coming back. I'm no longer interested in maintaining a Linux version of the game, as it takes way too much time and effort, and it works well enough in Proton/WINE anyways.
  • The Steam Cloud will be able to move your save files from the Linux version to the Windows version. If you're not playing the Steam version, you'll have to either move them yourself, or download the Steam version temporarily to allow the Steam Cloud to get your save files. I apologize for the inconvenience. However, all save files are compatible (except controller remappings.)

Thank You!

Thank you very much to the following people, as well as everyone who supports me:

11Natrium, Ahty, Shadow8t4, Alicia Goranson, Arron Savage, AshiPaws, BabyPinkSnail, Barbara Fregia, BenTheDragon, Bizarre Machinist, Boozel, David Wolfpaw, Brandt Howard, Cactus Bat, Caliburn Absolute, Circlingnugget, Clover Arizona, Colonel Sandwich, DJ Otters, Vix-N, DimSumthing, Dizmus, DoricDream, EZGames69, Cloud Hop, EveryZig314, Fábio Fontes, Fao, FaultBat, Flake, Flaki, FoxyDude, Nutalie Frost, Galuade, Gri, GloopQueen, Goronhead, Gray Bell, Hazel Stagner, Holly 'Frinkel' Lotor, Jack O'Connor, JD Laclede, Jammy, Jennifer, Jo Polaris, Joanna Jones, Jyrki, Kabit, Kaylex Deer, Hulex Fox, Kirbizard, Kohaku Katou, Krazinsky, Trash, LF, Leo Gera, Lorxus, Lulla, Luna, Luna Moona the Little Kahuna, Maniko, phantomsqueaks, Mark Cope, Marlyn, Mello the Ferret, Little Egg Basket, nattydo, Nenekiri Bookwyrm, Axel Husky, NovaSquirrel, Nuck, Okesska, PicoriKirby C.A.L., Raegal Boggart, RawrParty, Rhaen, Vinyl, Roger Tyranny, Ryunohito, RAVE_R0Ak, Cam D'Arcy, Saxxon Fox, Scylla-Leeezard, Ansel Geisel, Spyduck, Some Egrets, SplotchDoggo, Spoony Doodle, Carlis A. Moore., Stitch The626th, Swirlate, Tala Cuthbert, Tarocco, Touku, Upscale Furry Trash, Vectrobe, ViveeFox, William 'Kenku' Swiftfoot, Xkeeper, breakthetargets, caseJackal, Kazy, meerm, megaRammy, morgan `indrora` gangwere, raine, rainedoe, Foxxhoria, ubuntor, sol

Now, to get back to commissions and Cosmogelica...


Shield Cat Demo - Windows 60 MB
Version 22 Jan 08, 2023

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