August 3 update notes

A couple days ago, I released a new version of Run 3, stretching the definition of “balance update” in the process. Here are the things I “balanced”:

+ The Student
+ The Gentleman
+ The Child
+ The Angel
+ The Runner
+ The Student’s unlock cost
+ The Gentleman’s animations
+ The “free respawn” upgrade
+ Cloud saves
+ Infinite mode
+ Infinite mode’s end-of-run statistics
+ The level editor

− The Student
− The Bunny
− The Lizard’s, Bunny’s, and Child’s unlock costs
− The Lizard’s sleepiness
− Part 24 of the Low-power Tunnel
− The length of a meter in Infinite mode (for compatibility, the leaderboards are unchanged)
− The box-pushing challenges

In this post, I’ll be going into detail about what the changes were and why I made them. Well, except for the Student, who I’ll address in a separate post.

The Gentleman

is now a bit better at maneuvering and has a higher maximum speed. When playing as him, batteries spawn about 1% closer together.

That last part may not seem like much, but it adds up faster than you’d expect. I need to be very careful about these sorts of changes, because with enough batteries, the Gentleman could go forever without touching the ground.

The first change gives him more control over which way he goes after collecting a battery, meaning you’re less likely to have to jump off the battery. The second and third changes help boost his batteries collected per minute.

I made these changes because I designed the Gentleman as the most efficient way to collect batteries, but most players felt it was too hard to keep the batteries. I did intend for him to be hard to use (because if he was easy and efficient, he’d be the only choice), but not so hard that everyone avoided him.

We’ll see how much these changes help.

The Child

no longer has to “bounce” multiple times to reach his full jump height. (A “bounce” is when he jumps instantly upon hitting the ground, like the Bunny does.) In the previous update, he bounced a bit higher each time: 5% on the first bounce, 8% on the second, and 10% after that.

I decided that was unnecessarily complicated, that people would almost never do three bounces, and that the 5% difference was too subtle. Now, instead of building up height, he skips straight to the third bounce.

In this version, when the Child bounces, he always pushes 10% harder than normal. Thanks to physics, this means he jumps ~18% higher, and the extra height lets him float ~41% farther. Not bad!

The Angel

now gets a little more speed when he dashes. Also, he doesn’t slow down as much at the end of a dash, so by dashing repeatedly, he can break his usual speed limit.

This was only a small tweak, meant to emphasize the Angel’s strengths. The difference probably isn’t obvious, but it’s there.

The Runner

performs better while on the ground. She runs faster, runs sideways faster, and is better at changing direction. As a result, she can now earn The Lazy Way.

The tough part about designing the Runner is that she has to seem bad at first. When you unlock the Skater at level 10, I want him to feel like a big improvement, but as you get better at the game, I want you to realize that the Runner is a solid choice too.

I’ve decided to approach this by making the Runner good in subtle ways. She can’t make big jumps, but she’s the best at small jumps, and sometimes, that makes a big difference. Maneuverability isn’t the most important trait, but it matters when you suddenly realize you need to change course, and the Runner is good at it.

This latest change follows the same reasoning: you don’t usually stay on the ground very long, but when you do, the Runner will benefit more than most other characters. And it just makes sense: of course the Runner should be extra-good at running.

The Student’s unlock cost

is now 10000 rather than 4000, since the Student is one of the better characters in the game. I still want all the characters to be viable, but the Student is – and will continue to be – above average.

She went to the trouble of understanding the Tunnels, and used this knowledge to make a device to make her life easier. Others, like the Duplicator and Pastafarian, just take what they’re given without really questioning it (oh, and the Skater knowingly sabotages himself). In my opinion, the Student ought to have at least some advantage.

The Gentleman’s animations

are not actually new. I made them over a year ago, and they’ve actually been in the game for most of that time. You can see him do a backflip in one cutscene (click the battery on the map to see it). The new part was adding those animations to his gameplay.

Have you seen him do a full flip yet? It’s possible if you set it up right!

The “free respawn” upgrade

now lowers all respawn costs by 10, instead of just the first.

Cloud saves

are now more reliable. In the old version, they wouldn’t necessarily trigger, even if there was new data to save. Now they do. Yay!

Infinite mode

gives you a greater variety of levels early on. This also means it’ll probably start out harder, but I think it’s worth it.

Plus, I added more levels to the pool, which adds even more variety. (For the record, I do this every update, even if I don’t mention it in the update notes.)

Infinite mode’s end-of-run statistics

are better in every way. Let’s be honest: just seeing the batteries/minute statistic wasn’t enough, and it’s annoying that it replaced the gameplay tips and story tidbits. The new UI shows you a bunch more information, and lets you see per-character information while you’re at it.

Let me know if there’s any other statistics you think the game should track.

The level editor

now shows you the route you took the last time you playtested. Also, when you stop playtesting, the camera scrolls to where you were when you quit, letting you tweak that part.

The Bunny

slows down a tiny bit faster, and fewer batteries spawn in Infinite mode when playing it.

While testing the new statistics, I noticed that I was getting batteries faster with the Bunny than the Gentleman, which should never happen. I want the Bunny to be the best at many things (speed, jump distance, jump height, changing direction in midair), but it shouldn’t get lots of batteries on top of that.

I think what happened is that since the Bunny was so hard to use, I was fine giving it lots of batteries. Then I kept buffing it for balance, and I forgot to decrease the batteries. Oops!

The Lizard’s, Bunny’s, and Child’s unlock costs

are lower, except not quite. It seems I forgot to update the Bunny’s cost, so it’ll have to wait until the next release. (I’m going to set it to 2000, like the Child.)

Since there’s another way to get all three of these characters, they don’t need to be as expensive as they were. The Lizard was 2000, the Bunny was (is) 4000, and the Child was 6000, but most players would unlock them in Explore mode before earning that many batteries. Plus, if they did buy the Child, they might regret it once they finished the Low-power Tunnel. I certainly don’t want people feeling like they wasted 6000 batteries…

The Lizard’s sleepiness

has gone down by 67%. That is, it used to sleep for a half hour, and now it only sleeps for ten minutes.

Part 24 of the Low-power Tunnel

got a few more tiles at the end. Since you only get a brief flash of light, these tiles make it easier to spot the final platform. Plus, they give you a little more leeway to keep you from running off the side of that platform.

The rest of the level is still just as hard, but that’s ok. It isn’t so frustrating when you fall at the beginning or in the middle, because at least you don’t have to replay the entire thing. If you do fall at the end of a level as long as this, it needs to feel like you got a fair chance.

The length of a meter in Infinite mode

is now half of what it used to be. In other words, the distance counter ticks up twice as fast. In other other words, the average tile is now 2.5 meters long, not 1.25.

This change has been a long time coming, and the reason I didn’t do it earlier is because I was worried about messing up highscores. Then I realized I didn’t have to mess up highscores; I could just divide scores by 2 before submitting them. Now Kongregate’s leaderboards show scores in units of “double-meters,” but at least they’re compatible.

I’ve been planning this change ever since I started thinking about the characters’ physiology. I realized that the game’s physics would be more believable (or at least less unbelievable) if the characters were closer to a meter tall, so I changed it. I’d picked the old length without really thinking about it, so there was no reason not to change it. Well, no reason besides the fact that it would confuse people.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how tall each character is:

The cast of Run 3
(Click to zoom in.)

The box-pushing challenges

are easier thanks to the Student’s changes. Also, the Runner’s parts are now 100% optional.

I made these changes so that more people will be able to see what comes next. Before any elitists complain, I’m not trying to make the game so easy that everyone in the world can beat it. I just don’t think a minigame should be the game’s ultimate challenge.

That’s all for now, but I’ll put a link here once I write the post on the Student. Hopefully you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes!