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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.