After its launch in December, one common Boneworks gripe was the lack of any mid-level checkpoints, which meant players had to complete entire levels in a single play session otherwise they would lose their progress and be forced to restart the current level. A big update released today introduces a mid-level checkpoint system and brings new content, climbing improvements, and more.

Boneworks update released today brings a range of improvements; as outlined by Stress Level Zero developer Brandon Laatsch in a developer update video, the update focuses on three major themes: fixes for players not having a good experience, new content for players enjoying the game, and foundational improvements to the game’s tech to improve Boneworks and future titles.

Checkpoints and Saving in Boneworks

Perhaps the biggest quality of life improvement in the update is the introduction of a mid-level checkpoint system. At launch, players could only progress by reaching the end of a level in a single session. If they got interrupted for any reason (whether by a crash or simply not wanting to spend so much time with the game at once), they would have to start from the beginning of their current level.

The update released today adds new checkpoint stations inside of levels which players can use to save their level progress. Players activate the stations by grabbing both handles and holding the controller triggers at the same time. The save stations save everything in the player’s inventory and any saveable items placed on saving bins next to the station.

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Stress Level Zero said that the lack of a mid-level checkpoint system in the game was an oversight as it turned out that players were taking longer to complete levels than the developer had expected.

New Arena Mode and Sandbox Content

The Boneworks update also adds a new ‘Brawl’ scene to its ‘Arena’ mode. While initially the Arena mode allowed players to battle enemies in pre-set wave scenarios, the Brawl mode lets the player customize the encounter and decide which enemies they’d like to fight.

In the ‘Sandbox’ mode, Stress Level Zero says 50 new items have been added, including many of the ‘gym’ pieces found in the campaign, which can make for easy stacking and building of large structures. These and other items can be found in the Boneworks campaign to then be unlocked in the Sandbox mode.

Image courtesy Stress Level Zero

And, while you’re at it, a new display case in the game’s main menu will show you how many items you’ve found and unlocked in the game. And if you think you already found it all, think again: two new melee weapons, the Pickaxe and Katar, have been added with this update.

Boneworks also got a new Sandbox scene called the BlankBox, “a completely open sandbox with minimal environment pieces for maximum performance.” Additionally, the Museum Basement Sandbox scene has been improved with an ammo spawner, health setting machine, and some other changes, and Stress Level Zero says the scene will continue to be improved over time.

Core Tech Improvements to Climbing and More

The update also addressed the underlying physics-driven systems powering the Boneworks game, which the studio says it plans to continue to build on top of for future projects.

One of the most impactful improvements is likely changes to climbing which is now said to be more stable. In the launch version of the game, climbing could be extremely ‘springy’ and yank the player around, making it difficult to climb and potentially leading to discomfort.

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Additionally, changes to the inputs have been adjusted to improve hand responsiveness to “quick actions.”

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That’s a lot of improvements in one update, and there’s even some bits we didn’t cover here; check out the full patch notes if you want to see it all.

Stress Level Zero called this the “first major update of 2020,” and said that players can expect “more frequent videos in between updates” going forward.

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  • Immersive Computing

    Very interested to try Boneworks after this update, especially to see how the climbing mechanics work.

    As point of reference I was in “Dollworks” on Monday and needed to climb up a series of ladders and pipes, including ladders I had to hang from whilst moving backwards.

    Their climbing mechanic is excellent with Index controllers, with their own physics – which feels to have been tuned carefully to not be too “realistic” you get a good solid grip and not unwanted wobbling about.

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  • Adrian Meredith

    This is great news, I’m guessing it still does work with alvr/vd though

  • wheeler

    Glad to hear they’re going to keep refining the mechanics and utilize them in future projects. Love the game and where it’s taking VR. Hopefully that unhappy 12% is constructive in their criticism and isn’t getting the team too down. It’s always depressing to see devs disconnect from their community due to user toxicity.

  • Alextended

    Unfortunately this doesn’t fix any of the game’s primary issues as outlined in the Road to VR review, it only puts a band aid on a couple of them to little effect. Ok you can save mid-level now, but the horrible level progression with losing all the stuff and having to buy them with a clumsy vending machine system manually inserting your ammo as currency magazine by magazine remains. Ok the climbing has been made less dumb, but the underlying game physics that have you bouncing around at the slightest touch of objects or how furniture and other stuff have apparently near 0 weight so you drag them around when you just try to open a drawer or a cupboard etc, it’s all still there. As if the horrible level design with juvenile puzzles straight out of 2004 Half-Life 2 fan maps. And the bad gameplay design where features like the slow motion totally trivialize every gunfight in the game. And so on and so forth. The only thing the devs did right was the marketing.


    I’d like one of those 1980’s style HMD’s. That’s the best way to get a full FOV without making people sick…

  • Cool job, especially for the climbing, that was super-nausea-inducing in the original version