Atmosphir Future Theme Pack Revealed! Coming Very Soon!

A big new update to Atmosphir is comming!

Dave Werner published this image on facebook

Today, the morning of Tuesday February 8, 2011, Dave Werner, creative director of Atmosphir, posted this image on the Atmosphir Facebook fan page. In this picture, the new content that Atmosphir has to offer are much more clear.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this is the new firearms that is shown in the picture. These weapons will use a special type of ammo, unlike lasers and bombs. The space suit provides a “Halo” like experience, at least in my mind. In Atmosphir Forecast audio podcast last week, Mr. Werner talked about new enemies and hazards. I can certainly see a robot like enemy in this picture. This sort of reminds me of a futuristic skull; at least I think the two might behave similarly. But we will have to wait and see. The new crates and textures really add to the experience of Atmosphir.

I am anticipating a good update. We will soon start seeing some fresh levels, levels with a different tone to it. 🙂

I will be sure to keep you posted as we find more information, released quietly by Atmosphir developers.

—-Older News—-

daimon unlocked this picture using the secret code found in the game's loading screen

Friday February 4th, 2011

Community member daimon deciphered the code found on the game’s loading screen. The code was a part of the URL that reveals the future pack, which should be released in a matter of weeks!

Monday January 31, 2011

According to Kotorna, “Atmosphir is a growing, living, organic project. :D. So expect more to come really, really, really, soon ;D. (REALLY)”. He also mentions that it will be between one to three weeks when we should see this “awesome” update

A tweet from Dave suggests a new update is definately on the way. He tweets: word on the street is more new content shouldn’t be too far away…

Also, fooker (@Fokker680), another dev member, mentioned on twitter this morning “Had to come a little bit earlier than usual… got a big surprise lined up for today :)”

So, how about we guess what the big update that will come “really, really” soon. We can find out how right we were? Want to try it?

UPDATE: fooker either was referring to today’s CNET update or the new trailer. However, Dave and Kotorna is very likely referring to a new game update.

I guess the return of the main menu music and, perhaps, the saws. But if we are lucky, I am guessing it will be the future theme pack!
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What else do you think will be released with the future pack? Saws? New Music? Ranged enemies? Leave your thoughts below!

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Atmosphir Vehicles Sneak Peek and Discussion

For having more than 1,500 likes in Atmosphir Facebook Page, Atmosphir has released the surprised as promised.

Check it out for yourself!

Here are some additional notes

This is a prototype. This is not even close to the final version. The vehicle is most likely a placeholder. I would prefer that we have a discussion on vehicles in Atmosphir rather than how this specific example is like.

Also, I would like to point out that Dave mentioned in the Atmosphir Live, in which he showcased the desktop version, that they were thinking about ways to create your own vehicles. Because that’s what’s Atmosphir is all about: going creative.

Now, what if we have a vehicle browser, where users can share vehicles they create. For example, players would be able to import vehicles from the vehicle browser into their designs. That would be epic.

Perhaps a vehicle property would allow us to change its speed, type, number of players that can be in the vehicle (think Halo), and, perhaps, weapon. How about vehicles that can fly.

We don’t need to ask what type of vehicles we want. We need to ask ourselves what type of vehicles we can create!

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Community member turkeylurkey had some great and descriptive ideas that I think are worth mentioning in the front page so that everybody can see.

Here are ways that vehicles can be implemented, according to turkeylurkey:
1. Put together some sort of structure, select it all, and set it as a vehicle, then little wheels appear on the side.

2. A picture of that vehicle will appear on the powerup (much like how you select a level screenshot, you select a vehicle one)

3. Collect the powerup, you’re in the vehicle

4. drive with your regular arrow keys, I’ll get to the rest later.

5. Exit the car by pressing a button of some sort.

6. Vehicle Properties So you’ve selected the vehicle and now your powerup is ready to be collected. In that powerup’s properties, you can edit the speed, handling, IF IT CAN JUMP, if it has weapons (I’ll get to the weapons in a bit), and how much damage it does when you run over a person or muka.

7. Vehicle Weapons: You can select from a few different things, lasers, bombs, spikes, whatever. Bombs mean that when you press the attack button when in the car, it fires a bomb out of it. Same goes for lasers, spikes will do damage to any car that hits it. You can also have no weapons.

8. If you’re lazy, or if you don’t want to drive around in a giant boxy tank, you can select from some pre-made vehicles like go-karts or whatever.

Expectations for Atmosphir Desktop Version

The desktop version of Atmosphir is right around the corner, and everyone is very excited about the drastic performance and speed to the game it promises. We can finally have Atmosphir leverage the full power of the PC. That being said, there are certain things that haven’t been talked about a lot, things that are, by itself, little things, but as a whole, helps shape a unified and positive user experience. These are the things I want to talk about here. These are the kind of things that, I believe, are expected form any, modern, professional desktop applications.

I am going to list these expectations in the order of, in my opinion, importance:

Red Carpet Experience and Ability to play in guest mode

Red Carpet Experience

Red Carpet Experience

In terms of Atmosphir, the “Red Carpet Experience”, RCE, is the new user account creation process. Atmosphir has implemented a welcoming experience that makes creating a user account, not only easy, but fun! It lets new users get engaged into the game right away by letting them pick a character, dressing them up, purchasing things with 150 free Atmos, and providing them with tutorial levels. This is one of the things that set Atmosphir apart from many other online games and puts in on par with other top games on the market. Now this is a feature of the Web version of Atmosphir. But it is only reasonable to expect the same, inviting experience in the Desktop version. Anyone should be able to download Atmosphir and get started right away without having to visit the Atmosphir website and creating an account.

The web version also allows users to play as guests, meaning that one doesn’t need to actually create an account to play the user created levels. This feature makes sense for the web version, but why do we need it in the Desktop version? I mean if we are going to bother downloading the game, why not create an account. Suppose a friend comes over and finds Atmosphir on your desktop. He might be interested to check it out but if he is forced to create an account, he might be turned off.  Most games has a “guest” system of some sort to accommodate “friends coming over”. The desktop version of Atmosphir will benefit by doing the same. But I believe that these features will be implemented. At least, I don’t know why the developers will intentionally remove a feature that is already well implemented in the web version.

Local draft storage and draft syncing

One of the main purpose of the desktop version is offline designing. An advantage the original, desktop version of Atmosphir had is that level drafts were stored on the user’s hard drive. This was good because users could play levels offline. In addition, users could email their drafts to other users and, that way, could collaborate on and design a level together. With the new, web version, of Atmosphir, all drafts are stored on the server. So emailing drafts to friends are no longer an option. I am hoping that the new desktop version will fix this. In fact, I believe I remember Dave Werner (Creative director of Atmosphir) mentioned that this can be done with the desktop version in a “Atmosphir Mailbox” video a while back.

Now, I want to discuss a feature that, I think, is a very needed feature with the desktop version of Atmosphir:draft syncing. It’s important to note that the web version does offer global access to drafts. This means that we can access our drafts from virtually any computer since they are saved on a server. So if the desktop version stores the drafts on the user’s local drive, this global access is no longer possible. To solve this issue, it will be neat to have some sort of syncing feature in the desktop version. This means that when the user saves his/her draft, it not only saves it to the user’s machine, but also uploads it to the server. At the same time, any drafts saved from the web version can be downloaded to the user’s local drive when the user uses the desktop version. This will allow us to continue editing all the designs we are working on using the web version.

Atmosphir user Prototype mentions that the pictures keep this blog interesting. So, I am going to go an extra step to draw out a diagram for this paragraph. 😉

Concept Diagram

Saving from the desktop version

Click to Enlarge

Saving from the web version

Click to Enlarge

A possible issue I want to mention with the syncing system might occur in this scenario. Let’s suppose an user edits a saved draft using the desktop version offline. Because he is offline, the draft isn’t uploaded. Now, the user uses the web version of Atmosphir to edit another part of the draft. What happens now. We now have, essentially two different version of the same draft. This can lead to loss of data if syncing occurs. If, for example, the draft is downloaded from the server to the local drive, any changes made to it offline from the desktop version will be lost. I am curious to see how MiSt will combat this scenario should they choose to implement draft syncing.

Ability to turn off the “Settings” that appears before launching the game
Typical of Unity desktop games, a settings dialogue box appears before launching Atmosphir that allows users to easily configure game settings that is right for them. However, once the user has the game well configured, the settings dialogue box does not need to be shown, as it will only be an annoyance. The user usually expects the application to launch immediately when the double click the icon; therefore, a checkbox with a label “Do not show this dialogue box the next time Atmosphir starts” would be a very good idea to include.

A smooth installation
First impression is very important. And to tell the truth, the first impression does not happen when the application first launches, but rather, when the user starts installing the application. The installer should be simple and engaging. It should have the Atmosphir theme to it. When it comes to installing programs, the simpler it is the better. According to Setup UIX guidelines from the MSDN website, the worst installers are those that are generic with lots of next buttons and useless information. Below are screenshots to help compare a “good” and a “bad” installer.

The Atmosphir installer should be like the one below.

An example of a Good installer application: This installer application is clean and looks appealing. Notice that it has the identity of the product.

This is an example of a installer that provides a good first impression. Notice that it is clean and simple.

And not like the one below.

This is the traditional installer with useless information and a bunch of "Next' buttons.

This is the traditional installer with useless information and a bunch of "Next' buttons.

In fact, I created a concept for the Atmosphir installer, just to demonstrate what I am talking about here.

I did all this in a short amount of time, so these concept arts are not polished. but an installer like this has the Atmosphir identity and is clean and very easy to use.

Good Installation UI

Atmosphir Installer Main Screen

Atmosphir Installer Main Screen

Custom Installation

Custom Installation

Installation Progress

Installation Progress

This kind of installer is good because all the user has to do is click install and Atmosphir installs all files and the user is good to go. Should the user choose to customize the installation, that setting can be streamlined. This s a much better approach than an installer with lots of screens and through which the user scrolls by clicking on the “Next” button several times before the installation can begin.

Not so appealing Installation UI


High resolution game icon

Most professional software today tend to have their application icons be high resolution. They look professional and modern. Here is an example. Notice that the how much better Atmosphir looks with a high resolution icon. The old Atmosphir did not include a high resolution icon, but I really hope that this version will.

I am anticipating the release of the Desktop version. I am curious to see how many of the things mentioned above will actually be present in the final release. While the things I mentioned are not as important as performance and optimization, I think they add to the overall experience of Atmosphir. If you have any more suggestions or things you would like to see in the desktop version, comment below.

Atmosphir Home Page

Check out my other posts, including a detailed review of Linden’s Metroidvania Caves 2D by Okaysamurai

Be sure to check out YouTube at YouTube.com/Exosphir for Atmosphir tutorials, tips, and tricks.

Follow Exosphir on twitter: twitter.com/exosphir