One of the most important aspects of game design is creating a believable word. Oddly, the more bizarre and incredible a game is, the more world building it requires to carry it all. Developer Ashtree Works understands this. Which is why, despite the protagonist of Paradise Lost: First Contact being an alien plant, they still wanted to create a diverse cast of NPCs to round out the world.
In their latest Kickstarter update, the devs revealed that their desire for diverse representation hasn’t been without its flaws. Most notably in the way their pixel sprite shaders have been reacting. After releasing a demo to backers at the end of the year, Ashtree noted that they planned to add new variations of male and female NPC characters. In addition to alternate hair and outfit styles the team was also keen to include more racial diversity to the secret bio-engineering facility their plant protagonist must escape.
A Work In Progress
Due to some limitations with the way shaders are applied in Unity2D, they’ve been encountering some issues with this plan. The issue is most prevalent when it needs to work together with the vivid alarm tint effect triggered by enemies. Since their current system only allows for a single shader per texture they are still working out how to account for the variations in color palettes.
Of course, Ashtree is still devoting plenty of work towards gameplay mechanics as well. After releasing two demos, the team has used the feedback received to calibrate the difficulty level in Paradise Lost: First Contact. Subject W’s skills and abilities have seen extensive reworking to make them more enjoyable and less frustrating for players.
These updates lead the team to adopt and change the skill menu. Now it has a cleaner look with abilities grouped by whether they are stealthy or offensive.
Conspicuous by its absence, of course, was any mention of a release date. After their successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, Ashtree has constantly pushed back their expected release date. This is despite having raised $144,960 (well above their funding goal) for Paradise Lost: First Contact. Fingers crossed that 2017 finally brings its 5,953 backers some resolution.