v046 - End of the Decade

This decade is ending, but Super Hockey Ball is just getting started! We hope everyone enjoyed some holiday festivities and are ready to rock in 2020! We know we're ready. It's been 100 days since we gave you a shiny new version to play. So, without further delay, let's talk about what's new.

Everything looks better! Everything plays better! Everything is exactly the same! (well, that last one is a complete lie... everything is way more more awesome!)

This update brings lots of improvements that we've been polishing over the last few months. We've been working tirelessly (another lie: we're super exhausted) to craft Super Hockey Ball into  a fully polished experience. There's still a TON of work to do (not a lie: we're just ambitious). Read on to see everything that's changed since the last update (hint: a bunch of stuff changed).

To start things off, we're rolling out improved level progression featuring unlockable levels. This is a big step toward what the flow of gameplay will be like in the final release. In this build, you'll get the chance to play through each of the first 3 levels. Tutorials are more colorful and easier to read. So, you can use the improved tutorials to learn the basics and improve your skills. Or you can skip the tutorials and play around as much as you'd like!

We've also added some features suggested by our awesome community, such as improved grip functionality. Holding only a forehand grip now makes ball control easier, backhand grips offer harder shots, and gripping with both hands is a great balanced option for improved accuracy.

New power-ups transform the game by allowing you more control over how you play. The newest power-up, Chain Lightning, zaps nearby targets with blasts of electricity! Bombs and Anvils will be joining Chain Lightning as random power-ups. And, of course, the Magnetic power-up makes it easier to collect hard-to-reach coins and go for a high score.

We also spent a ton of time improving the overall look and feel of the game. There's prettier and more dynamic foliage. There's a more beautiful sky. Sidewalks and fences are greatly improved. The scoreboard reacts to game conditions and changes color when you're running low on time. Speaking of the scoreboard, there's a new pop-up scoreboard that can be activated by looking at the butt of the stick. Glance over that way and the current time/score will show up!

Performance has also improved significantly. If you're on a GTX 1060 or better, you should be able to pump the graphics settings up high and enjoy a beautiful experience! You'll need to drop the settings back a little bit for an entry-level GPU like a GTX 970, but the game plays great on lower quality settings as well. Performance is something we touch on in every single update, and with good reason! Ultimately, we want Super Hockey Ball to look and play great even on all platforms. Little by little, it's getting there.

There will probably be one more major update before we release a final demo. There are still some key features to polish and we've got some good stuff in the works. We'll be heading back to California soon, for the conclusion of Oculus Launch Pad. After that, we'll be able to offer more clarity on the future of SHB. 

If you've read this far, drop by our Discord server and send us a message. We'll hook you up with some goodies (like maybe a free copy of the game)!

Check back soon for more awesomeness! As always, thanks for playing and have fun!

v046 - DevLog

Gameplay Adjustments
+ Modified Hand Selection text for clarity
+ Added Level Select screen
+ Added unlockable levels
+ Added new level progression system
+ Stick collision disabled when ball resets
+ Grip state now affects Ball control
+ Removed Sprint in favor of always moving fast
+ Replaced effects Targets with Powerups
+ Bombs are now Powerups instead of random
+ Bushes can now be entered, causing a rustling sound effect
+ Added Chain Lightning Powerup

+ Added Unreal Engine intro graphic
+ Improved stylized grass
+ Improved clouds
+ Improved stars
+ Reduced shadowing artifacts from bushes/trees
+ Added random color variations to bushes/trees
+ Added Birds (placeholder / will be improved)
+ Added <pink>Rich Text</> to Tutorials
+ Added level number to loading screen
+ Updated loading screen game descriptions
+ Updated sidewalk meshes
+ New Fences
+ Added status pop-up to back of stick
+ Animated scoreboards based on circumstance
+ Bushes shake when rustled
+ Added Chain Lightning
+ Added color variations to mountains
+ Removed Clear Coat shaders

+ Added Unreal Engine intro sound effect
+ Corrected menu button pitches
+ Added haptic feedback when Control Hints and Status pop in/out
+ Music pauses properly when Oculus Dash is opened
+ Added Lightning sizzling sound

+ Improved grass density with less GPU impact
+ Layered grass to increase perceptual density
+ Reduced overall grass triangle count
+ Improved performance of trees
+ Improved performance of sky sphere and stars
+ Improved performance of sidewalks
+ Improved performance of driveways
+ Improved performance of bushes
+ Improved performance of invisible shader
+ Improved performance of pause box
+ Reduced shader instruction count

Bug Fixes
+ May now change SteamVR controller types mid-game (e.g. from Vive to Knuckles)
+ Fixed SteamVR input not working on initial load
+ Movement paused while first control hint is displayed
+ Game Complete particle effects are now destroyed properly
+ Added lost tracking compensation :)
+ Adjusted hands position on Vive
+ Fixed WMR error on game load
+ Gates now reset properly after restarting a level
+ Fixed an impressively stupid level generation bug
+ Can no longer trigger Grip sound effect on Intro screen
+ Oculus Dash is now handled correctly on the Main Menu
+ Workaround for Oculus Performance Issues
+ Laser pointers should now be aligned properly. Emphasis on "should".

+ Updated engine to UE4.23.1
+ Reduced overall package size
+ Level flow tweaks
+ Enabled logging in shipping builds


superhockeyball-v048-win64.zip 1 GB
Version 29 Dec 30, 2019

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