Summary: The Month of August and Beyond!
Dev Log 5 is now here! There is a NEW demo out with a ton of updates, including music made by none other than Matthew Kiichi Heafy of Trivium!
Want to learn more? Read on!
We are excited to present the newest demo of The Devil Within: Satgat for you to enjoy! Since the last demo, we received a lot of feedback and support from all of our players, whether it be in person at events, the Steam community, Discord and more. Messages and feedback submitted to us gave us a lot of motivation to improve the game and make the necessary adjustments for all players to enjoy the game.
As the demo is now ready, we would like to introduce the key points with some explanation as well!
Unreal Engine 5.2 upgrade!
From the beginning, we were using Unreal Engine 4.26 and planned on continuing to use that version all the way to launch. We didn't really have any upgrade plans, but once we saw the potential of Unreal Engine 5 (performance, reliability, work efficiency, etc), we decided it was worth the time to upgrade our engine. This demo is the first version of The Devil Within: Satgat on Unreal Engine 5. We hope you enjoy!
Matthew Kiichi Heafy
We got to work with Matthew Kiichi Heafy of Trivium fame in composing some tracks for us! 2 of those tracks can be heard in this demo: at the start of the game's menu and during the Lee Choong boss fight! Check out 'The Origin of Kiichi' here:
A big shoutout to Matthew for providing tracks that we absolutely fell in love with!
Story Telling Adjustments
Our goal was to introduce the world of The Devil Within: Satgat and tell the story of Kim Rip, the main character of the game. However during the last demo, we received feedback where there was a gap between "the lore of the world" and "the amount of information a player is able to absorb at a given time." This gap was so large that it made it difficult for players to understand the information presented to them. In conjunction with this, we found that many players were leaving during the intermission-like area (Miraboel).
Based on user feedback and data, we realized that the way the story was told was against the design principles we have and decided to rework the initial part of the game.
The structure of story has been changed so that the conversations between Kim Rip and those around him are easier to understand. Changes have also been made so that players can enter the combat sections of the game faster than before, while balancing it with the lore and tutorial of the game.
We received a lot of great feedback regarding the combat of the game, but there was also feedback on the short-comings of combat. When looking over all of the feedback, we balanced it with the direction of the studio and made significant changes to make combat even more enjoyable!
Weak and Strong Attacks
The Devil Within: Satgat had two basic attacks: weak attacks (can be used at any time, no knockback and does not cost AP) and strong attacks (more damage, needs AP, but it can knockback the enemy). These two attacks were meant to be used in conjunction with one another and create a flow in combat.
However, when we watched players play the game, there were a lot of players who were frustrated with the mechanics. We thought, at first, that this was because players didn't know what our intentions were, but we took the wrong approach in this. We were concerned that either attack would become too strong and efficient, so we put in a punishing system -- weak attacks had no knockback and strong attacks needed AP, while both attacks could not be animation cancelled. However, this (amongst other reasons) didn't make the combat fun.
Therefore, after multiple tests, we made it so that weak attacks can stun an enemy and strong attacks can knockback an enemy. Also, weak attacks can be cancelled into a guard/evade/dash so that the flow of combat can keep going. We feel that this way, the attacks are balanced and combat is more fun this way.
We will keep a close eye on the feedback of this new demo, so please do let us know!
Damage Balancing and a Mean Personality
In conjunction with our thoughts about the attacks, we found that the monsters didn't really "greet" themselves to Kim Rip. This may sound odd, but most monsters died as soon as Kim Rip did a strong attack. This led players to feel like they made a mistake if they didn't preemptively strike the enemies. Alongside the fact that the amount of monsters was quite low, we felt that something needed to be freshened up.
So in order to have the monsters "greet" the player properly, we gave them a bit of a meaner personality when encountering the player, adjustment some damage numbers, and after some internal testing, we felt pretty satisfied with the results. Let us know how you feel!
It is no secret to anyone who talked to us or met us: we love parrying. The Onimusha series holds a special place in our hearts and the way parrying worked in those games.
We've had a lot of feedback regarding parrying in the last demo and despite getting a lot of feedback, we really couldn't find the issue. This hit us really hard because as much as we love the parrying mechanic, we also know just how frustrated players were getting. So to be frankly honest, we haven't really found what the solution is to that problem, but we did add some stuff to help us get closer to the answer and resolve certain feedback:
Parrying happened but didn't register
Parrying happened but the concentrated counterattack didn't pop off
Parrying... just didn't happen
So to get closer to the answer, we added clearer indicators that tell you not just when a perfect parry happened, but also exhaustion and when you are out of bullets. We hope that with these indicators, we can get a better grasp of how to bridge that gap. We also hope that players will also get the timing down faster with these indicators in place.
Hello Mega Weta, My Old Friend
This boss had the most feedback in that this was where a lot of players had the most frustrations. Internally, we have done so many tests that we didn't get to see the difficulty spike at this point of the game.
So rather than just nerfing the boss, we made a lot of adjustments to help the player prepare for the boss before the fight and during the fight. We feel that a lot more players will get the hang of it this time with the adjustments that we made!
Skill Tree Renewal
In the previous demo, tech points were awarded to gain new skills and boost stat parameters. However, though the idea was to let the player have total freedom in how they build their character, we also found that players pretty much soft-locked themselves and made a very difficult build. This wasn't because there is a certain build to play, but rather players didn't have the knowledge of what the skills did or how they would work. In doing so, the players were not able to progress past certain points.
So in this new demo, the way to learn skills has somewhat changed. Instead of tech points, players will now gain "factors", of which there are 5 different types. This allows us to help guide the player towards certain base skills, but also gives the player enough autonomy to make their own build still. Leveling up will earn you these factors, but they can also be found be defeating certain enemies as well as exploring the map.
There are also artifacts that can be found in the game! These special artifacts can open up new skills that can be used in conjunction to what the player learns on their own.
As mentioned about artifacts and factors that can be found in the wild, we knew that we had to improve the map as a whole. There were certain parts in the previous demo where it felt slightly static, so we added a few environmental gimmicks for players to solve.
These gimmicks will help unlock shortcuts, reveal hidden items, as well as solving certain missions. We hope you find everything that is out there!
Character models have also been improved drastically. There were scenes where Kim Rip has an odd expression and it just takes you out in terms of immersion. There were also divisive opinions of the mysterious lady at the end, so she has been remodeled as well! Those cutscenes have been improved considerably!
Also, we added a costume change system! In the full version of the game, you can get different costumes to alter the appearance of Kim Rip.
We are working on optimization as we go forward and this demo build is considerably better in terms of performance in comparison to it's predecessor. Optimization efforts are ongoing, so please let us know if you encounter issues!
This was a huge endeavor, but we want to say thank you to all of you who provided feedback and support. We hope you fall in love with this demo the way we did (and get a chance to listen to Matthew's 'The Origin of Kiichi' during the Lee Choong fight!).
Stay tuned for more announcements, try out the demo and wishlist the game here:
Thank you again!