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New Year, New Insurgence

Happy New Year, everyone! Have you all been enjoying your holidays and Sword and Shield? If social media is any indication then perhaps I shouldn’t be opening that can of worms… moving on then!

I’m sure that some of you are confused by why I’m the one posting the new patch this time instead of thesuzerain and more importantly why it’s taken so long for a new patch to be released in light of the numerous game-breaking bugs that existed in the previous patch. For that, I will direct you to a bit of a personal message from myself below:

Foreword and an apology

Has it really been nearly 2 years since the last patch was released? Time really does seem to have gotten away from me since May of 2018…

Some of you who don’t frequent the Discord server probably don’t know me as anything more than the guy who edits the wiki or who posted here occasionally, but as of May 2018 I have assumed the lead developer role for this project which, as you have probably at the very least guessed, means that thesuzerain has stepped down from his role as lead developer and has left the development team to pursue other things in life. From the state that the game was in when it was released as “complete” and the fact that patch 1.2.4 never made it beyond a testing patch on Discord, it would be reasonable to assume that assume suze’s departure was not accompanied by a sense of fulfillment.

However, as much as it has become a meme for people to blame suze for bugs and other problems that this game has had, I would rather not see a person defined by something produced while suffering from burnout. If anything, the fact that this game was released in a somewhat complete state at all is more telling of the original passion that existed but was lost along the development process and speaks considerably of suze’s desire to give his fans and followers an ending to the story that he had created, as he constantly pushed himself to work even when he legitimately did not want to anymore.

But at the end of the day, working on Insurgence was and always will be a hobby. We can make excuses for enduring a job that we don’t enjoy for the sake of allowing us to provide for ourselves but when a hobby no longer results in a sense of satisfaction or bursts of creativity, then I would say that it is necessary to move on and find something else which ignites that spark again.

So please, do not view the game’s state after the 1.2 update compared to the 1.2.5 patch as an indication of suze’s capacity as a developer. Had our roles been reversed I cannot say that I would be more or less inclined to ensure that the game was released in a more complete state, especially as I have only just begun to understand the stress and expectations that come with acting as a lead developer.

At this point I genuinely wish the best to thesuzerain and hope that he is enjoying himself more now than he was at the end of the 1.2 development process. There are a number of things that I wish all of us had handled differently but I think that, for better or for worse, most of this was a learning experience for a bunch of goofballs who just wanted to create a parody of a game that they all loved and enjoyed.

When I first started working on 1.2.5 some time in May of 2018 I never would have guessed that 1.2.5 would have taken as long as it has to complete. I entered this with next to no experience in RPG Maker XP or Essentials and had no idea of what really awaited me when I sat down to start. 1.2.5 was originally meant to just be a bridge between 1.2.4 and what we had planned for 1.3 to tide over the playerbase until then, but at some point the bug fixing journey became a lot more of an adventure than I had bargained for.

From the beginning it was decided that, new major bugs not withstanding, 1.2.5 would be the last 1.2 patch before 1.3 was released. We decided to do one massive patch for this in order to give a sense of closure and to prevent lingering feelings of needing to fix just one more bug before signing off to work on the next update. I think that doing things this way also encouraged us to make sure that everything was right (or as right as possible) before releasing.

To those of you who have been patiently waiting for this patch and have continued to believe in us over these years, you have my sincere gratitude. To those of you who experienced a lesser or ruined gaming experience prior to this patch’s release, I deeply apologize both for your experience and for fixes taking this long to complete. Communicating on social media is not something that I am used to but I will try to be more transparent with progress in the future.

It feels lonely going forward as the majority of the rest of the developers move on to other (hopefully better) things, but I’m still not ready to close the door on this game yet.

If you haven’t already, visit the 1.2.5 download post here for more details on what to expect with the latest download.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what to expect moving forward, more specifically in the 1.3 update. 1.3 has jokingly been referred to as the “DLC update” amongst us developers but in truth that’s close to what it will be. A fitting comparison would be comparing 1.2.5 to Diamond/Pearl and 1.3 to Platinum, though when all is said and done it will likely even go beyond that.

Whereas 1.2.5 was (originally) meant to address the remaining game-breaking bugs that exist to make the game feel closer to being complete, 1.3 will take that a bit further and polish up the remaining rough parts. This wish list includes:

  1. Story progression and plot holes
  2. Character development and main character involvement in the story
  3. Complete overhaul of the Battle Frontier, including the addition of Frontier Brains, and the introduction of a more proper rewards system for the Battle Frontier: Ever wanted to visit an amusement park that’s stuck in a dark, dank cave? Me neither!
  4. More refined and calculated difficulty scaling. This includes both item/Pokemon availability and revisiting the level scaling, especially in the early parts of the game.
  5. Further map overhauls and personalizations
  6. Music and sound overhauls, which were otherwise mostly untouched in 1.2.5
  7. Even more Randomizer upgrades and settings (I can nearly guarantee that what you’re imagining isn’t even scratching the surface here)
  8. More AI improvements and customizations
  9. More personalized events for Delta Pokemon, and making the majority of them usable significantly earlier relative to the story progression.
  10. Much more clothes customization
  11. A more correctly functioning DexNav
  12. Overhauled Egg Challenge system
  13. Countless Quality of Life upgrades and convenience features

Preserving your saves will be given top priority during this process.

Basically, our aim with this update is to change old content for the better (while still being recognizable) or to add new content. Old content will be removed completely only as a last resort if it is deemed to improve the game significantly.

This is a pretty impressive starting list and requires the assistance of others unless we want 1.3 to release in 10 years. Once I have been given a bit of time to gather myself from 1.2.5’s release we will begin to assess what kind of a work force we will need going forward, with there being a high possibility of recruiting extra hands.

Let’s also briefly discuss one part of the game that regretably will be removed in 1.3: The Tube Challenge. Some of you who have read the changelogs for 1.2.5 will have noticed that a certain YouTuber who was involved in a scandal earlier this year has already been removed from the Tube Challenge and the game’s files completely, as we in absolutely no way support said individual’s actions. However, this event taught us a valuable lesson regarding putting faith in people who only show one side of themselves when in front of a camera, though this is certainly not meant to suggest that the remaining individuals present in the Tube Challenge are untrustworthy. In addition, it is unfair to other YouTubers who have covered Insurgence on their channels to not receive equal recognition simply because they covered the game after 1.2’s release. Having said this, for those of you have supported our game on your channels and aren’t he who shall not be named, we sincerely appreciate your support both now and in the future.
With these two reasons in mind, the Tube Challenge will be removed, and the Delta available at the end will be available through other means. I have already planned for another attraction to replace the Tube Challenge which I sincerely hope is a sufficient replacement.

The development process up to this point has also shown us the importance of adhering to a story and its vision. The two biggest examples of this would be the decision to include the “Traditional” story mode as well as Purity mode following feedback from 1.0’s release. Both of these modes were largely forgotten during 1.2’s release and thus made the decision and effort spent in including them questionable. Therefore, both of these modes will be removed following the story fixes in 1.3. For those of you concerned with this making the story too dark or “mature” for your tastes, we will be using better judgment to decide when darker story elements add appropriate signficance to the story and when they’re unnecessary.

Beyond this I will be reserving secrecy for what is planned. Personally, I like to surprise you all as much as possible so that the experience of the new update is as impactful as possible, but I will try to post teasers of things that we’re working on when I can. I am significantly more active on Discord than Twitter or these forums.

There is no ETA for any of this (and if 1.2.5 has taught me anything, it’s that my initial time approximations are hilariously wrong), but you certainly should not expect any of this to be completed within the next year.

I feel like I have overstated this at this point, but I would like to offer one last thank you to those of you who have supported our game both in the past and in the future. For better or for worse, I do read and listen to your feedback and use your experiences while playing to improve this game even if it results in more work for myself in the long run.

Credits to the following for this patch (would this also be a good time to mention that the in-game credits sequence is planned to undergo a massive overhaul as well?):

SailorVicious for tiles that have been used but not credited
Random Talking Bush for missing Gen 6/7 item and Pokemon icons
Tai Mao for the pbUpdateSprites script used in this patch
KleinStudio for the footprints script
Guest Artists in Discord for touching up several sprites that were missing or needed improvement
My Alpha Testers for continuing to check up on my sanity and made sure that catastrophes didn’t strike on every new patch.