November 2020 Newsletter
Better Late Than Never!
As you may know, this year has had its fair share of troubles. Unfortunately, some of that led to the absence of our October newsletter. Do not worry; we still have something Spooky for you!
There he is! Jokes aside, we hope you all have had a happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, and overall fall/spring season! We have been quite busy at Havoc Studios and are eager to share our latest updates!
If you’ve played the Havoc Fox test demos over the past couple of years, you may have noticed the greyed-out “Adventure” selection above the Stage Select. At long last, we are finally ready to unveil the plans behind the game’s Adventure Mode!
Havoc Fox will feature two separate adventures: Grey’s campaign and Venice’s campaign. While the two stories are intertwined, they tell different tales. Some stages, cutscenes, and in-game dialogue will differ between the two adventures, so be sure to check them both out! Because we know that some players will want to experience both sides of the story, we’re allowing for up to six different save files. Your progress, collected gems, and playtime will be tracked on each saved file.
Once your adventure begins and you’ve made it through the opening stage, you will come across Havoc Fox’s travel system: the World Map. On the map screen, players will be able to enter any stage that has been previously completed, as well as the next available stage in the story. Once a stage is completed, you may want to return to it in the future to find any secrets you may have missed!
Finally, we’d like to share one last Adventure Mode feature: hub stages. These small, safe environments are set up around key areas in Vanalia to give players a place to relax, spend their gems, and learn more about the world by interacting with various NPCs. Get to know your friends and foes alike!
We’re very excited for Havoc Fox’s Adventure Mode! Level Select will still be available for any stage previously completed for quick access and replayability. Keep an eye on our Twitter; we’ll announce when you can play this build in the coming weeks!
Current Development Update
This month, we returned to Retro Ravine.
Retro Ravine, the stage following Aqua Rocket Base in Grey’s campaign, takes place within the world of Macaron Magic. If you were with us for SAGE 2019, you may have noticed that this stage was “under construction” for the SAGE 2020 demo. Retro Ravine has been overhauled in terms of visuals and layout. While the stage is still a work-in-progress, we have a couple of things to share! First on the list is a new enemy: the Monkey.
These primates reside in the jungle-like world of Retro Ravine and cling to the large bamboo stalks that decorate the stage. They are territorial and do not like visitors; unaware adventurers will suffer the monkey’s wrath as it fires homing missiles at them! Keep your eyes peeled!
Throughout Retro Ravine, new obstacles will pose new challenges. The glowing orbs in the above image are present throughout the stage, giving Grey his primary method of travel through the arcade jungle. If you see a pulsing green orb, be sure to touch it!
Aside from Retro Ravine, we have been working on the visuals of other stages. Aqua Rocket Base’s engine room has been given a new background, depicting the ship’s engine in all its glory. Miracle City’s background has been updated and expanded, and a couple of large trees help to decorate areas of the stage as Venice progresses through the city.
What might this be? Who are these cats? Well, you’ll have to find out when you encounter them for yourself! Be sure to explore all the stages to uncover everything they have to offer when the next demo is released!
Community Spotlight: Levie
In each edition of the Havoc Studios monthly newsletter, we will highlight the works and/or relations of a member from the community or studio. We are grateful for everyone within the community and would like to recognize those of you who help bring life to the community. Our October community spotlight features Levie, one of our pixel artists/animators!
("Step the Mouse" by Levie)
How did you get involved with Havoc Studios?
"I've deeply loved Freedom Planet, and I was told about an indie game called Havoc Fox from my ol' pal Event Horizon (a moderator for the Discord server) earlier this year that was partially inspired by that game, so I joined the server to have a look! Later that year, he told me about a pixel art job position drawing cutscenes for the game that I should apply for, so I did that, and I was surprised to actually be hired as part of the art team! Since then, I have made some good friends, and I have found that there are super wonderful individuals here, devs and non-devs!"
What do you like the most about the Havoc Studios community?
"I really enjoy hanging out with everyone here, and everybody seems very passionate about not only Havoc Fox but also their own interests and projects. There's a really good positive atmosphere here, and the developers are really open down-to-earth individuals with the community, which was great to see. It's very relaxed and welcoming."
How long have you been working with game development?
"I have been doing game development for as long as I can remember, even though I didn't fully realize I was even doing it at the time. Thinking back to my childhood, I had always been messing around with game concepts, using the beginner-friendly Klik'N'Play game engine in the 90s, and an early version of Game Maker (the old old grey & red Game Maker). One of my first games I can always remember making was a very very easy top-down game where a static winking sprite I drew of Kirby floats through a maze, trying not to touch spikes (which don't even move), and collect all the wads of cash around the level to advance to the next level (there were about 2-3 levels before the game just abruptly ended). Later, I worked on little game/movie-style soundtracks for my ideas as well (I've worked on music since I was about 11 years old back in 2002), but I had always ever just been messing around casually for fun."
"During my university dissertation in 2013, when I was pursuing a music career in games, I realized I wanted to take game development a lot more seriously as a whole and to focus on not only the audio side, but also the art, the programming, and the character/story design. And so the years that came after that were spent on learning a lot of this new creative technical stuff I really wanted to do in my life. Over that time, I have taken part in several game jams, participating both as a solo game dev and in game dev teams on-and-off, I have done a lot of networking and friend-making over the years with other game developers (back then it was very Twitter-heavy and it was a blast) and I have been working on a couple of games with Bounder Games since around 2013 after we became friends in uni. From 2017, I've been making a lot of chat emotes for streamer friends of mine, and I also picked up non-pixel-based art when my parents bought me an affordable tablet, so I wouldn't have to keep drawing with a computer mouse! After drawing myself an animal persona in 2018 to be silly, I discovered a deep love for the art form, and it quickly became my favourite kind of thing to draw."
You've provided updated pixel animations for some characters in Havoc Fox. Would you like to share anything about the process?
"Sometimes, as an artist, you're asked to draw something fairly standard - something you know that is within the boundaries of your comfort zone, so you may just follow a simple process you're used to reach your goal, but spriting Grey was not one of those cases: He is a sprite of a larger resolution than I'm used to working with (many more pixels to think about; much more detail you're able to add compared to smaller canvases in pixel art), and the sprite's quality was to be updated to meet the standard of that seen in other high-level pixel art games - mainly games that have been big inspirations for Havoc Fox!"
"As challenging as it was, this challenge made me learn a lot of new things through closely studying and referencing those industry-standard examples I was given to help improve Grey (including games I've always personally really admired art-wise). But amazing inspiring examples are never perfect; Sometimes there are things your examples can't teach you that are missing from what you need to reach your goal, and those are times where you need to think on your feet, follow what you know, and just do your best."
"I did my best with Grey, but it's important to remember that someone's best at one point in time is never someone's ultimate best: There's always room for improvement, and there is 100% always a new way you can approach something; You can only ever do what you're capable of at that point in time. I hope to continue to draw great things for Havoc Fox and help Dusky and the rest of the lovely team create an unforgettable game."
Anything else you’d like to add?
"I'm just so excited to see the whole Havoc Fox adventure be developed, and have the story come to fruition! I'm excited and honoured to be along for the journey with the team and the community. Thank you all so much for having me, and for treating me with such kindness."
That's all for now!
The year is almost over, but we’re not done yet! If you haven't already, be sure to follow us on Twitter @havocfoxgame. Join the conversation on the official Discord server. Support us on Patreon! Check out the original soundtrack and development live streams on our YouTube channel!
Thank you for reading the November edition of the Havoc Fox Newsletter. Stay safe, stay healthy, and we hope to see you again in December!