Devlog 22

SMYS finally released on Steam Early Access after almost 3 years of development, and has received its firsts 3 major updates already.

Vanta Black – Adding AI to the game and a new Vanta Black game mode
Arsenal – Adding new bonuses and the game configurator
Yums Book – Adding a yumyum collection system, achievements, and Steam Cloud

Now that the main feature updates are live, we’ll be taking a break on the roadmap to focus on polishing updates to refine what is already available in the game. It desperately needs a new trailer and soundtracks, so we’ll start with that as the first big polishing update, then we’ll improve little things here and there. Feel free to use the feedback panel located in the main menu of the game to share with us what you’d like to be improved.

Also we think the game would benefit in having more picking phases so we’ll probably add a few nodes to the roadmap as we progress towards 1.0.

New asset releases

Voxel – Nature Bundle released on May 27th, it includes Voxel Meadow, Voxel Mountain Forest and Voxel Desert. Getting the bundle instead of buying each asset separately saves you 33% on the total price. 

It’s currently available on the Unity Assetstore and the Unreal Marketplace.

Voxel – Simple Dungeons released on July 13th, it’s a lighter version of Voxel Dungeons and offers similar looking models but way more optimized, which makes it my first voxel asset to be usable for mobile games. I’ve made a little prototype and it’s running 90+ fps on a low end device.

It’s currently available on the Unity Assetstore, the Unreal Marketplace and Itch.

Voxel – Simple Nature released on September 1st, it’s a mobile ready nature voxel asset pack. The Unreal version has more models for now as I needed to make an update to fit in the store guidelines to publish it, the update is on its way for the Unity Assetstore and should be available soon.

It’s currently available on the Unity Assetstore, the Unreal Marketplace and Itch.

Voxel – Classroom released on September 4th.

It’s currently available on the Unity Assetstore, the Unreal Marketplace and Itch.

Voxel – American Diner released on September 4th.

It’s currently available on the Unity Assetstore, the Unreal Marketplace and Itch.

Itch voxel assets port

All of my voxel assets have been published on Itch earlier this year following the recurring request for source files that have now been added to every single one of my voxel assets, both on the Unity Assetstore and on Itch.

You can check out my Itch publisher page here :

I also recently updated my website assets’ page, which on you can now see and access every asset on every store they are available.

Unexpected events

With all the Unity fiasco happening, I had to change my plans and pause everything I was doing to start porting all of my voxel assets to the Unreal Marketplace.

I had it planned for January 2024, but the odds of Unity changing the rules again, so bad that I would be at risk, spiked to a point I felt the need to have more backup plans as fast as possible. This event also made developers skeptical, which impacted asset sales on the store.

Now that leadership has changed, I hope Unity will get back on track, especially considering the amount of ungoing projects I have with Unity that are years into development and that would be too costly to migrate to other engines.

I still need to port Voxel Planets and Voxel Modular Chalet on the Unreal Marketplace, unfortunately I’m afraid Voxel Planets will not make it as the store guidelines require at least 50 models in a pack to be published (which Voxel Planets does not have), I will however add the Unreal Project to the package you can buy on my Itch page. On the other hand, I had an update planned for Voxel Modular Chalet so it will be ported once it’s ready.

All of my mobile apps monetization have been moved from Unity Ads to Admob, which led to some crashes here and there the first day, but I eventually fixed enough stuff that it’s stable again. Somehow switching to another ad provider cut all my apps crashes by half and increased my ads revenue. I still need to re-enable some features that were not working due to the switch but I guess this change was a good decision in the end.

The Unreal community has been welcoming and I’m quite a fan of the publishing process, this is definitely the engine I’ll switch to once I’m comfortable enough with it to start a long time project.

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Devlog 21

These last few months have been pretty intense for SMYS, we started the year with a graphics update for the game while preparing the february’s Steam Next Fest, then using all the feedback we received we had to prepare the game for Early Access, it’s been a wild ride to say the least !

Graphics Update -

There have been multiple graphics updates for the game since the start of its development, and I think we’re now pretty close to our final look. We left the vector style we were sticking to for a more hand-drawn organic style with outlines.

Preparing for the festival -

This graphics update was not planned as we were already preparing for the Steam Next Fest, and the demo trailer was already done, which led to the Steam page having different graphics in the trailer and on the screenshots. This difference already being misleading we decided to go for description headers featuring elements that were not even yet in the game : Yumyums. Those are a big part of SMYS’ lore that is not yet public as we’re focusing on gameplay first, but anyway the Steam page was kinda weird entering the festival, which fortunately no one noticed.

Hours of testing and feedback from the demo kept us busy to the very last minute before the festival and we did not have enough time to fix everything before it started. Minor issues were encountered by players during the festival so I think we did a decent job.

I also set up a dedicated page for the game so everything about it was regrouped in one place, you can check it out here.

Steam Next Fest - February 2023 -

Let’s get the numbers out right of the gate : SMYS started the festival with around 250 wishlists, and ended with close to 1100 wishlists. Considering the difficulty it is to market a game without online multiplayer I think it’s a great result.

The main feedback we got from the festival was not having enough tutorials and not being able to understand how to play right away, even though I added short tutorials before each picking phase and a panel with all the controls before the festival. The thing is the quick tutorials were easily skippable and the controls panel was only available in the pause menu. I even saw people playing without ever using a bonus or not rotating a bloc for 20+ minutes which told us right away there was an issue. 

The overall readability was clearly bad and as developers having already played hundreds of hours we miserably failed to understand how hard it was to jump into the game as a first time player. We did test the game with first time players before the festival, but as we were doing stuff they could see things were possible and they did not really have to understand them by themselves, they could ask while playing.

So on the second day of the festival a new race began : making a dedicated tutorials panel for a mid-festival update and improve readability as much as possible. It was hard, but I made it in time, unfortunately most players we got during the festival were from the first 3 days, which prevented the game to get enough feedback with the new panel available to know how big of a difference it made.

Festival Feedback -

Apart from the tutorials and readability, we were pleasantly surprised with the feedback we received. Every suggestion we received was on point and made it to our to-do-list or has been added to the game already. It really helped us getting the game more stable and easy to pick up. 

SMYS releasing in Early Access -

We decided to release SMYS in Early Access after the festival because we realized how hard it was to balance the game with so many different players trying it. We can’t go blind and balance the game without proper feedback from the community as we are adding new content.

The game is planned to release in Early Access on May 3rd with :

  • Building Phases : Meadawn and Jungle Night
  • Picking Phases : Canons, Trampolines and Thorn Fields
  • Game Modes : Local Multiplayer and Time Attack
  • Bonuses : Bomb, Upside Down, Rotation Locker and Weight Overload


Here is the roadmap for Early Access as we advance towards 1.0 release : 

As you can see Online Multiplayer is at the very end of the list, BUT, as we noticed a lot of players asking for it, I already started working on it and it might actually make it to the game faster than planned. If you have a decent internet connection Steam Remote is available for the game right now.

The game will launch with a 9.99$ price tag and the price will increase when exiting Early Access. It is really important to us that early supporters get a price reduction as it is what allows us to work on the game without having to spend time on other projects to get fundings. To be clear, whatever the fundings we receive from Early Access sales the game will make it to 1.0, the only difference is the time it will take.

Since the last devlog, 3 new assets were published on the Unity Assetstore : Voxel Meadow, Voxel Mountain Forest, and Voxel Desert. These 3 assets will be part of a bundle that is currently sitting in the review queue of the store and that I hope to release late May / early June.

Voxel Meadow released on December 16th 2022, it is the first pack meant to replace Voxel Nature.

Voxel Mountain Forest released on February 18th 2023, it is the second pack meant to replace Voxel Nature.

Voxel Desert released on April 7th 2023, a desert environment pack with cactuses, rocks and dead trees.

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Devlog 20

SMYS now has a Steam page, it’s been up for a few months now and I’ve been able to collect a few wishlists. Feel free to wishlist if you haven’t yet.

I’ve been working on a demo to participate in the next Steam Next Fest coming up in a few months, and I also made a short trailer for it. It’s maybe a bit too short and I realize that it may be hard to understand precisely what the game is about, but it will allow me to get some feedback for the final official trailer.

The game has reached its final state, and the name, formerly AHEAD, is now Libe.

Rebranding, Linux support, optimization, new graphics, new trailer,… a lot of work has been done for this last update, you can find all about it in this long post I published on Steam :

Releasing the game’s soundtrack has also always been something I wanted to do, so here it is proposed as a DLC for the game on Steam for just a few more cents using the game bundle Game+OST.

Voxel Sushi Bar released on July 9th 2022, a restaurant interior pack themed after chinese and japanese establishments.

Voxel Nature received a winter themed update, basically doubling the number of prefabs including versions with snow on top. I first tried to had snow using a custom shader but the results were pretty mediocre and I think it looks way better with dedicated snow blocs on top, and the geometry is about the same so it doesn’t impact performances.

Working on an update for Voxel Nature I ran into an issue : this pack theme is too general and choosing which direction to go in when working on updates is difficult.

So I decided to depreciate the asset early 2023 and split it into 2 new nature themed asset packs in which the models of Voxel Nature will be included. Owners of Voxel Nature on depreciation date will receive the 2 new assets for free. The price of the 2 assets combined will exceed the current price of Voxel Nature so needless to say it’s a great time to acquire the asset.

On top of Voxel Nature’s models, the 2 new assets will have optimized custom shaders, subsurface scattering, and a ton of new models. For instance Voxel Nature features 9 tree models for now, and the first asset to replace Voxel Nature, Voxel Meadow, features already 60+ tree models, plus a lot more new models like tree trunks, mushrooms, flowers,… and that’s not counting the snow variants.

The point of all of this is to extend drastically the creation possibilities by adding loads of new quality models while staying in a set theme, which will also allow devs to purchase what they really need.

Voxel Camping released on October 18th 2022, it is a small asset pack meant to be used with other environment packs like Voxel Nature.

Defense of Humanity : Major Changes

This project has been under development for around 5 years now, it’s been put on hold multiple times and I’ve had the chance to change the gameplay radically everytime for the better. The project had an advanced prototype really close to what I wanted it to be, unfortunately the game still felt like there was something off even at its best.

It is when I started having ideas for sequels and that the game design documents for these future projects reached an advanced point that I think I understood what was the real issue with the game : the genre.

While the game had some original gameplay ideas as a 2.5D action platformer/tower defense, it was not enough. And as the sequels were all RTS games, it was so weird thinking about how confused the players of the first game would be, seeing all the sequels were too far from the first project gameplay wise. So I’m officially changing the game genre to a RTS.

I already have a lot done thanks to all these years prototyping RTS systems, from production management to units micro-management, grid building systems, procedural map generation and a ton more. A prototype only took a week to set up and it already feels better than the advanced prototype I had before the genre switch.

I’m on for a wild ride and I can’t wait to work on this project. All I need to do now, and that’s quite an understatement, is find a budget, so I might have to work on other projects before this huge one to be able to sustain myself and reach a playable demo I can show to publishers and investors. 

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Devlog 19

URP Support Update

A major update has been published to all my assets on the Unity Assetstore : URP support!

All the different shaders used for my voxel assets have been re-done in URP and you can now switch between the different render pipelines by opening the corresponding material package located in each asset pack under Models/Materials/RenderPipelines.

I am not planning on adding HDRP support, and I just removed it from Voxel Planets which was the only asset pack supporting it.

From now on, each new voxel asset pack will come with both Built-in and URP support.

Pixel Assets

I talked about it a while ago, and it is finally happening!

I am working on porting my voxel assets to 2D to be used on their own, or along the voxel packs of the same themes. I have seen great performance increase from using 2D assets for backgrounds in my voxel game projects, similar to what you would get with impostors or LODs.

The first 2 packs that will be published will be Pixel Planets, then Pixel Nature shortly after.

As I’m not working from scratch to make these assets, their price will be lower than the voxel assets of the same theme, something like 50% cheaper. Also I think it would be great if owners of the voxel packs could get the corresponding Pixel pack (e.g. Voxel Nature => Pixel Nature) for even a cheaper price so I’ll look into setting up a discount in the store once they are published.

Here are some WIP shots at Pixel Planets and Pixel Nature :

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Devlog 18

As I recently mainly published assets, I felt like it would be a great time to set up a newsletter specifically for these.
So you can now join my Unity Assetstore newsletter HERE.

You’ll be notified at least a week before an asset is published to the store so you can grab it with the launch discount when it’s available.
You’ll also have a say on what the next assets will be as I have many assets planned but not a clear idea of what developers really need right now, so I’d appreciate your feedback on what assets you actually need, or what I could improve on the already released ones.

If you’re still hesitating about whether or not you should buy my assets you can now have a taste of my work.
By joining the newsletter you’ll receive a free voxel sample pack, featuring unique models to go along my paid assets. You’ll be able to see if the quality of my assets meets your expectations and how I structure my packages.

Here are some shots at this free sample pack 1.0 :

You can find more screenshots on the newsletter joining page.

Everytime I publish a new voxel asset pack on the assetstore, a new unique model themed after this new pack will be added to the free sample pack.

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