• added assets for new type of enemy
  • implemented corresponding AI

Adding new creatures is usually good fun, but it can also be quite an exhausting task to tweak all the parts that make up that new enemy to have it fit well into the game. Sometimes it's the visuals that just don't feel right, the sounds or the actual AI controlling the creature. Sometimes it's just about everything that you don't seem to get the right way. Most creatures in Ulr have been done in a couple of days, sometimes even in a few hours. This time, we nearly invested a whole week for one new type of enemy! The good thing is that it definitely paid off: the Iceworld is now home to the ravenous Snow Sharks.

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Here, the Gunner is surrounded by a bunch of Snow Sharks. The sharks are circling the support sphere, waiting for their prey. They might not know that we're talking about an awesome Level 8 super hero.

  • implemented AI for Snow Witch
  • added two more Levels to the Iceworld

After many weeks of working on everything but on actual game content, we finally got our hands back on the Iceworld. The Snow Witch got a nice AI and we added two new Levels. We'll continue adding content right away, so the long awaited second preview/playtesting version is coming closer as you are reading this!

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Click here for a video preview


  • added assets (graphics, sounds, particle effects) for a new type of enemy for the Ice World: the utterly evil (undead) Snow Witch
Dev Features
  • added a particle system editor to the game

We added a new screen to test and edit the settings of the particle systems in ULR. This has been done in an external program so far, which was a limited (and buggy) Win Forms application. Having a particle system editor in-game allows us to test our awesome particles directly on a playfield. This time it's the evil Snow Witch's ominous sparkles revealing her destination when she teleports herself across the playfield to continue her iniquities:

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  • extended performance testing on several different machines
  • several fixes of issues that came with the performance optimization
  • improved debugging capabilities to allow instant level progressing (having to actually play each level makes planning/testing the overall game progress a very tedious task, once there's more than just a few levels)
  • significantly improved game performance at maximum graphic settings (i.e. graphics as they have always been)
  • added options to modify graphic settings
    • an option to disable lighting
    • an option to disable playfield border textures

The optimizations resulted in a performance increase of nearly 50% on an onboard Intel HD 4600 graphics adapter, which now runs the game at just around the magical 60 FPS threshold at maximum settings - compared to around 40 FPS before optimization. Lighting has still a big impact on performance, and turning lighting off boosts the framerate to above 100 FPS (an additional ~70% increase). Turning border drawing off (trees, giant fungi, ice, ...) gives another 40% increase (due to the dynamically generated shadows). This means that with both lighting and borders turned off, a HD 4600 can run the game at around 140 FPS. You won't see this happening in the release version because it runs with a fixed timestep at 60 FPS. Anyways, these numbers show that you will be able to play ULR smoothly even on your aged low budget PC!

  • heroes now have a dynamic walking frame duration (the animation speed now correlates with the movement speed)
  • tested and cleaned-up/refactored the recently implemented components for the transition from battle to review screen and the top-level game logic (i.e. the stuff from the last three weeks)
  • fixed some more, unrelated minor bugs and issues

As much as we'd have loved to work on something new to show off, several iterations of reviewing and refactoring bigger changes such as the new screen transitions are necessary to keep our code flexible. We aren't tied to any contracts so code flexibility has a high priority, allowing us to deliver more content and gameplay updates in shorter time in the long run.