EARLY ACCESS SUPER TRUCK LIFE

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Weekly Update: Post-Launch

Hi Truckers,

We hope you’ve been enjoying Mega Patch in all its glory. Over the last few days, we’ve been collecting feedback, playing through the game ourselves, and compiling a list based on priorities. Unsurprisingly, we/you found a few bugs we’re looking into. Surprisingly, there were literally only a few. We’re digging in and trying to fix the most offensive issues as quickly as possible, so quickly that Mike has already pushed a ninja patch to fix an issue with Fleet that is no longer a ninja patch because I just told you about it.

Either way, it won’t be long before Mega Patch meets our/your standards, we release the game into the wild with some marketing efforts, and collectively watch Mike spiral into madness as our servers crumble into the ground. Wee!

Now that STL has hit a pretty massive milestone being all feature complete and stuff with this patch we’ll be focusing on a periodic punch list to improve STL at a slightly slower pace while we plan for the future. There isn’t much else to say since Mega Patch went live on Friday, but know that we’re pumped to make it even better over the coming months while simultaneously working on a second game and occasionally reaching out to our significant others somewhere in the mix before they leave us.

Lastly, a quick thanks (again) for all your feedback and support. It’s a little premature for a post mortem but let me say that this has been a hell of a ride and STL is finally (almost) in a spot where it feels like a complete game we’re (almost) confident inviting many more players to experience. Until then, we’ve got some work to do, but as always we’ll keep you posted.

Can’t Stop Even at the Truck Stop,

Dan & Mike

Mega Patch is Live

Hi Truckers,

You read that right. Mega Patch is LIVE! After months of design and code and punishing our livers into oblivion we’ve managed to reach a major milestone for STL; Early Access! Holy s#@%!

This might be a good opportunity to go through every single solitary change we’ve made over the last few months but honestly there’s so much I wouldn’t know where to start. But I’ll try:

  • Redesigned UI
  • Refined Track & Scrapyard
  • New Minigame: Fleet
  • Refined ascensions/rewards/unlocks
  • New buffs
  • New recipes
  • New radio stations
  • Route balance
  • Bug fixes
  • MTX (shop) overhaul
  • Loot overhaul
  • Drone (auto-collectables)
  • Auto Buffs
  • Debug (cheat) menu
  • New Goals (rewards)
  • Refined Goals
  • New Badges
  • Refined Badges (rewards)
  • Optimization
  • Multiplayer wrap removed
  • Notes, Gifting, etc removed
  • Ad carousel removed
  • Cried a little
  • Full blown existential crisis
  • Drunk texted Mike
  • Put Mega Patch together
  • Shipped it
  • More…

Needless to say, we did a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Now it’s your turn. All you have to do is play the game, provide some feedback, and we’ll apply that feedback to future patches before we confront our insecurities and go public. Jokes aside, we can’t thank y’all enough for all the support, love, and contributions you’ve all made throughout this super stressful fun process. Where do we go from here, you ask? Well, STL still has a ways to go, we’re prototyping another game (not STL2), and restructuring Discord. Exciting things. For now though, it’s time for a drink. Or several.

It’s several.

Much Love,

Dan & Mike

 

Weekly Update: Mega Patch IX

Hi Truckers,

Happy Tuesday! We’re still on track for Mega Patch release which is pretty cool. Also pretty cool? New radio stations. As we wrap up polish/optimization/content we went ahead and added two new stations; Overdrive and Truck FM. The former being a hard hitting EDM station and the latter basically being the opposite of that; a talk show with a lot of hilarious skits that Mike put together with a few friends while I was probably at home binging Community for the 13th time after humbly declining the offer to join them or while I was “sick” which is what I told him when he invited me. Anyways it’s damn good content, and a nice break from the anxiety-inducing adrenaline-fest that is Overdrive. We also reordered the radio stations so there’s a nice contrast as you flip through until you find the right genre for your mood or whatever.

The final two heavy lifts remaining, which are really not heavy are balancing/improving Goals and Badge requirements. That’s basically it. There are little things on our wishlist but the vast majority can wait until after we ship this fatty. Beyond that we’re looking at literally the same thing we’ve mentioned a thousand times: packaging the patch and shipping it which is not exactly a simple task. However, we’ve discussed preloading a lot of the effort throughout the week so we aren’t in panic mode and/or destroying any semblance of a weekend and we can spend that time playing the game for funsies if that’s even possible after staring at this god damn thing for two years.

Probably.

Get Your Ass to the Endless Road (Mars),

Mike & Dan

Weekly Update: Mega Patch VIII

Hi Truckers,

Aside from regretting using Roman numerals to title these posts, I have nothing but good news today. Let’s just get to the point, for once.

Super Truck Life will be in Early Access in just a few short weeks, and we’ll be inviting some returning testers back to experience the all new Mega Patch in its mother trucking glory. This phase of the plan will give us the feedback to finally ship this bitch and finally spend the marketing budget we’ve been holding onto because Mike said blowing the budget on a baby pool filled with ramen noodles was “fiscally irresponsible” whatever that means.

;(

As most of you know because we made the mistake of setting a weekly blog schedule, we’ve been wrapping up the sheet with a few remaining items that have been hanging over our heads like the baby pool filled with ramen not sitting in my back yard right now. Recently, we balanced the Scrapyard a lot. Short version; we made the upgrades more expensive while increasing the reward increments drastically. It feels more fun to upgrade in general. Along with that, there was a nasty Scrapyard bug that led to a lot more scrap than we intended you to get and if you didn’t know about that already now you do except it’s gone so nothing has actually changed and I don’t know why I’m still talking about it.

But that’s not what I’m so excited about, although Scrapyard needed love and that bug was… a problem. What I’m beyond pumped about is what Mike did this last week that wasn’t on our sheet. At least, not specifically.

As you may have guessed by now optimization and polish is an ongoing thing that will never end and we kind of keep it around in our heads as a given so it doesn’t always get its special little home on our punch list. The first thing he did was fix the occasional “tear” in the background. This tear showed up as a black line for a second and it was very distracting. He refactored the scroller, replaced some assets, and guess what it’s still there obviously it’s not there I mean where did you think I was going with that. He also slowed down the backgrounds a lot, so they feel much smoother while simultaneously giving the whole experience a much more realistic approach. Instead of flying by the same looping elements over and over, making it feel “cheap” and unrealistic, they now move much closer to reality based on scale and distance. I wish I could demonstrate that but every time I try to put a 20MB animated gif in a post I get yelled at. It’s like the ramen thing all over again. On top of all of this not only does the game feel better but it looks better and runs better. We checked the resources and it’s noticeably less demanding. Not everyone is going to notice everything we did, but I can honestly say our returning players are most likely going to feel it even if they can’t pinpoint exactly why (I literally just told you why).

This is all heading towards the EA release in a few weeks that I spoke about earlier. The last thing we need to do is some balance changes to badges and goals to make sure they’re ya know, balanced (and fun). That puts us in a great spot to preload some efforts and prepare for the week after which is getting Mega Patch all packed up and ready to ship. That’s where you come in. We’re so close I can taste it. Not the ramen though, god damnit.

Almost There Seriously Though We Mean It,

Mike & Dan

Weekly Update: Mega Patch VII

Hi Truckers,

That’s right; it’s blog post time, and it’s gonna be a short one. But we miss your jokes and long-winded explanations, you say sarcastically. Well don’t worry because there isn’t much to talk about. We’ve managed to knock out almost everything on our remaining list. We’ve got 1 bug in the queue that Mike is super excited about, or in his words “I’m not super excited about” and that’s the end of the bugs. We’re also working on/have worked on optimization across the board, including a smoother experience while not physically setting your computer on fire due to resource demand. We’ve also added some polish to the overall experience, from stupid but necessary shit like wrapping buff timer text to scaling goal rewards by ascension. It’s about as exciting to read about as it is to design/code, but while we’re on the precipice of shipping Early Access, they’re all the final touches that need to be touched which is a weird way to phrase that.

With that out of the way, we’ve got a few weeks of final tweaks, and then it’s time to ship; a super simple procedure that’ll only monopolize an entire weekend of migration and testing and Drizly orders followed by inevitable Doordash orders because we got carried away on that first thing.

The point is, there’s light at the end of the route and it’s almost time to unleash whatever the hell this thing is into the world. If you’re reading this, and you’ve kept up with the blog/discord for some strange reason for over two years, you know that STL has evolved from a simple concept to a massive, majestic beast with a thousand moving parts and we hope like hell you’ll enjoy it as much as we (mostly) enjoyed making it. Now if you’ll excuse me (I wasn’t asking) I’m going to go play someone else’s video game with a belly full of bad decisions.

Cheers,

Dan & Mike

Weekly Update: Mega Patch VI

Hi Truckers,

Happy whatever day it is. I’m pretty sure it’s a Tuesday because my phone reminded me to post, but to be fair it’s been a bit of a blur. While Mike has continued to grind away on Mega Beast in his limited spare time, my spare time has been replaced by a new gig doing art things for money, inadvertently rejecting a normal human schedule, and celebrating my birthday on Sunday by being mad at the Superbowl for getting all the attention. Regardless, we made even more progress on Mega Butts despite our ridiculous schedules. Although, much to the dismay of literally no one, this will be a short post; with Fleet in the polish phases and the punch list dwindling down to minor tweaks and bug fixes, there isn’t that much to talk about. But that’s a good thing. Let me explain.

When we built Mega Sheet we excluded everything on our wish list, included everything required to ship, and only added new line items reluctantly or because we thought of something that was low effort/high reward. Believe it or not, we didn’t add much; the sheet has somehow survived mostly intact. If you’ve been following the blog for the last few months, we’ve talked about Ascension unlocks, MTX overhauls, Fleet from concept to completion, Track improvements, offline progress, new buffs, and everything in between. A lot of awesome shit, honestly. But the majority of the remaining items are balance tweaks and bug fixes aka the boring shit. This is our final sprint before we ship the Early Access version of STL and while that’s really exciting, the boring shit isn’t. However, here are some less boring things we knocked out last week:

  • Improved badge rewards
  • Removed MTX badges
  • Moved free crate badge to crates category
  • Increased user goal count
  • Revamped goal UI
  • Added buying a buff to tutorial goals
  • Removed social badges
  • Final goal reward (rarity) now scales with ascension
  • Fixed a few bugs, including Endless part drops

Like I said, they aren’t the most thrilling things but another step in the right direction. The only things left on our list at this point are a few outstanding bugs, optimization, and general balance. The most cumbersome left at this point is deploying Mega Nerd itself, since we’ve practically redesigned the game at this point. We’ll likely need an entire weekend just to push the bastard but that’s a weekend we both look forward to.

Until next time.

Mega Tired,

Dan & Mike

 

 

Weekly Update: Mega Patch V

Hi Truckers,

Happy Tuesday. At this point, you’re probably wondering how long this whole Mega Patch thing is going to go on before we actually ship it. Maybe you’re even starting to question whether or not this whole thing has been a clever ruse and there is no Mega Patch. Maybe there isn’t. Or maybe, just maybe, Fleet is done! That’s right kids, Fleet is in testing and fully functional. Here’s a current shot of the recent build:

Yep, we’re balancing Fleet and it actually works (also, it’s a lot of fun). Drivers contribute their progress to the total progress bar, crates can be claimed, levels can be gained, and even trained. Unintentional rhymes! Yeah, that’s another thing we built. Check it out:

You can now invest in your current drivers and level them up manually by spending scrap. You can also customize their appearance and install new parts to make them even better. Or, of course, you could just be lazy like I am and hire a team instead:

We’ve seen this screen before, Dan. Show us new shit, Dan. I know, it’s totally the same thing I’ve shown you like four times now except nice try you son of a bitch it is most certainly not. Notice the upper right corner? Every ascension increases the max hire level which means you’ve got some choices to make. Do you hire the driver with the best stats and the weakest gear because you’ve got a nice engine on hand? Do you hire the highest level available regardless of stats and manually level them beyond the cap? Or do you reroll until you’ve got the best driver stats regardless of their level and level them up manually, or watch them get stronger on their own? We’ve given the player a lot of control, is what I’m saying. It’s up to you how you want to play it, and we’ve provided every min-max option in the book.

The list is getting… smol. We’re balancing. We’re polishing. Badges. Goals. There isn’t much else before we reach EA and holy truckballs (fuzzy dice?) it’s been a long sprint. As many of you know, Mike and I both work full time gigs outside of this beautiful, stupid, recklessly ambitious video game but we’ve always found time to make improvements, communicate, and effectively slaughter the scope with new ideas, features, and let’s be totally honest, OCD. But still, we’ve managed to hit the home stretch. Sure, you’ve heard that before in one version or another that we’re “almost there,” but we haven’t added anything to the list since project Mega Patch launched. A few bugs, sure, but no new features. Fleet was it, and it’s being tested. Once we get a few extra pieces of content and balance, we’re ready to roll. Literally, because wheels.

Seriously though, thanks to our amazing community. We know you’ve been waiting for months for this thing to finally go live and we’re forever grateful for that. It’ll be worth it. The game has changed so much and we can’t wait to share it with you. I know with the consistent sarcasm that it’s hard to take us seriously when we’re being sincere, but y’all are amazing. Next steps: polish, balance, and bugs. And we’re live. Let’s gooo!

Mega Patch Incoming,

Dan & Mike

Weekly Update: Mega Patch IV

Hi Truckers,

Happy Tuesday and welcome to another post right on schedule. “What an unbelievable achievement,” you say sarcastically.  Look, man, it’s been a busy few weeks. Mike had family in town, I was dying, and STL is our vehicular mistress; we have to constantly cheat on it to go do real jobs that pay real money so we don’t end up real homeless.

Speaking of real money , did you know that some game developers actually monetize their games to the point that people get upset? Yeah, I know it sounds crazy because we’ve definitely never ever experienced anything like that the first time we advertised our game on reddit.

Haha just kidding. Some of these were brutal. Though they also weren’t wrong… mostly (there will always be entitlement and freeloaders insisting everything should be free in any industry).

As I mentioned in November, we ripped everything out of the MTX shop, moved the nav icon, and destroyed the carousel altogether. We then consolidated most of the items (including paints) and combined them into a “Booster” pack and a “Works” pack. We decided to limit the amount of cash you could spend in the shop to $10, before you’d effectively buy out the stock and no longer be able to purchase anything.

Yep, it’s like we’re just begging to be poor. But the truth is we’d rather build a positive reputation with our amazing players and focus less on short-term goals. As you know, we also actively listen to feedback so having a vocal majority ready to burn our houses down for adding excessive, distracting MTX was more than enough to try a new approach.

Regardless, this is what the shop looks like now, fully functional on staging:

Here’s a quick look at the “more info” views:

If you purchase the Booster pack, you spend $5 and receive an immediate $5 discount on the Works. Buying the Works outright is $10 and includes the booster pack so like I said, $10 is the max you can spend. Want to spend more anyway? Tough shit:

Yep. We figure if people want to donate, or join our Patreon that we don’t actually have yet or join our Twitch stream that’s also work in progress then we’ll find a way to accept that monetary love. Otherwise, you’re capped at $10 in STL and we hope you had fun and thanks for playing, etc..

We’re focused on Fleet now, and getting those final changes in (including manually leveling up drivers) because damn it feels good. I’ll cover that in more detail next week.

Moderately Monetized,

Dan & Mike

Weekly Update: Mega Patch III

Hi Truckers,

It’s that time again if that time was two days ago, when we usually post an update on the blog, but sometimes life gives you lemons and instead of making lemonade you make depression-water with a splash of honey. That’s right, after hiding indoors for two years like a f’ing mole person trying to avoid the plague, I finally got my ass handed to me. While admittedly the symptoms were manageable, the schedule wasn’t, as evident in the two-day delay. Special thanks to our long-time trucker Spooble for bringing this to my attention in the Discord, which I have confirmed was an actual reminder from a real person and not a fever-dream induced hallucination. Regardless, to the community, please accept my apologies for the delay. With that said, let’s keep truckin’.

Today we’re going to explore auto-buffs, but first a progress update: Last week Mike and I made even more headway on the Mega Patch. A lot more. All ascension unlocks, including mini-games are fully functional on staging. Bam:

What you’re looking at here is the nav prior to your first ascension. Once you ascend, Fleet unlocks as a mini-game (along with a lot of other things like crafting recipes, loot tier, buffs, and so on). After your second ascension, the next mini-game (Track) unlocks. By the time you’ve ascended 3 times, all mini-games are unlocked. We’ve mentioned this briefly before, but now that it actually works it’s a lot more exciting. If this wasn’t rad enough, we also managed to get the “end” screen/loop done, which means after you’ve ascended 6 times you’ve effectively beaten the game and placed on the Endless Road where you can still chase a few things only available there.

Lastly, we made a handful of tweaks to Fleet including balance, UI changes (to be more informative/intuitive), and the ability to level up your drivers manually. I’d love to cover this in more detail but since it’s easily our biggest mini-game, I’ll save that for a future post as we get even closer to the release of Mega Patch.

After unlocking all three mini games you unlock the Drone which is also fully functional, then auto-buffs. It’s almost like I crafted this entire post in a specific order so we could land on that. Weird. Auto-buffs are exactly what they sound like:

After your fifth ascension, you’ll never need to hit up the diner again for buffs, which means more time on the road, less clicks, and buff timers no longer exist. I mean, they do, but they just refresh themselves when they run out. Your buff area will look something like this:

After your sixth ascension, the final buff (the Donut) will appear in that empty slot and you’re now driving with 9 permanent buffs at all times. Unless you want to turn them off, which is an option but also

So buff. Anyways, next week we’ll dive into Fleet changes and/or MTX and keep rolling through this beast of a patch.

Mega Buff,

Dan & Mike

Weekly Update: Mega Patch II

Hi Truckers,

We’re back, and we’ve been busy bois. In the last week we’ve maintained glorious momentum and knocked out a handful of big ticket items, which is a term I’m using incorrectly to introduce the first item on our list; The New MTX Shop. It’s done. We did it. Also we capped offline progress, got halfway through Ascension unlock functionality, built Autobuffs, debugged the debug menu, and other stuff that I could talk about in vague detail but why do that when we can focus on one thing today? Great question, me.

But first, some trivia. Did you know that the Track was never based on professional racing or NABISCO motorcars or whatever the hell that thing is called where cars go in circles until the people screaming at them are absolutely shitfaced. Ask Mike, that’s his thing. The Track was actually based on horseracing which is a thing I enjoy on occasion. It’s almost like everything we’ve done with this game is the biproduct of a biproduct drenched in weed-scented whiskey. I don’t even know what’s happening at this point.

Anyways, we had initially planned on making the Track a lot more robust with multiplayer elements, leaderboards, driver stats, odds, and other things you’d typically find at your average horse track. Make no mistake, while I just made fun of NASCAR stock car racing, the horse track is the exact same premise except it’s slower because horses. Either way a goofy race track with randomly generated drivers seemed both doable and fun and a great way to win (or lose) scrap. Let’s take a look at the current track:

There are two major issues here, and I’m not talking about the aesthetics, although as an artist I’ll always inevitably hate everything I make so yeah also the aesthetics but if you still can’t see it let me subtly highlight it for you:

We genuinely think the Track is fun, but when we initially came up with the payout amount and condition we went with something simple that couldn’t possibly have been a bad idea and Steve Brule’d the randomly generated names because we’re goofy idiots that don’t care if other people don’t get the joke. This is the joke:

For the tragically uninitiated, the Tim & Eric show on Adult Swim featured John C. Reilly as an oblivious dipshit named Steve Brule that butchers pronunciation and basically everything he attempts. Anyways, we ended up with shit like GLANDAL JORBOMBO which still made me laugh just typing that but also most people didn’t get the joke. The other issue is it’s kind of hard to remember a “favorite” driver when every one of them kind of blend together into a mishmash of gibberish or transcribed jazz.

The winning condition made sense at the time because drugs probably but we also weren’t putting together any odds and the driver performance was randomized so we figured an all or nothing payout was fun. The issue there is it isn’t consistent or thematic when it comes to the rest of the game, built heavily on incremental reward systems and dopamine drips and RNG and skinner boxes and I’ve made my point.

Allow me to derail myself for a brief moment and explain something about game design; effort ≠ impact. Just because something took you two weeks to build doesn’t mean it’s good. Star Citizen has been in production since I hit puberty and that game still looks like shit. Yeah that was a cheap jab but I mean what are they going to do about it? Ship the game? Part of this Mega Patch sprint is approaching smaller systems and features and making minor tweaks that make a world of difference. We’re no longer in gameception mode putting games in games (aside from Fleet) and putting a good portion of our time into tuning things like the Track, Scrapyard, Goals, and Crafting; things that could use just a touch of love that makes a world of difference. That’s why we did this:

If it isn’t obvious, we split the payouts into three payouts: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Side note: in horse racing this is called Win, Place, and Show, respectively, but the conditions are different. For example, betting Win on a horse means the horse must finish first or you get nothing. Place means the horse must come in first or second and the payout is the same either way with the payout being considerably lower than a Win bet. Show just means first, second, or third because of course it does, but it doesn’t help someone would 100% need to explain all of that to you before betting. We didn’t want the payouts to be complicated or pull in a bunch of strategy and a lifetime of dead dreams at the horse track. Instead, we simply broke the payouts into three possibilities that should be straight forward and self explanatory. Back to the theme, you win big in first, double your initial bet in second, and still break even in third. Fourth, well, we’re not just giving scrap away for free guys. That one’s on you.

We also rebuilt the first and last name list so drivers were easy to remember and racing-themed and a lot of them may or may not be references to the best racing movie ever made and by that I mean the only one I can physically sit through without losing my mind.

Next week we’ll either do a deep dive on the new MTX shop or Autobuffs which are fully functional and worth more than a brief mention.

Gotta Go Fast,

Dan & Mike