Post Next Fest

Next Fest went great.
Heard some nice things and got good feedback.
(For any devs participating in future Next Fests — I highly recommend using something like Easy Feedback Form in your game — it allows players to submit feedback without leaving your game. Our players strongly preferred this way of leaving feedback.)

Here are some of the larger changes since then:

  • The most common Next Fest request: better keyboard/mouse aiming. This is still WIP, but the game now has 2 mouse aiming schemes: simulate-joystick, and the new aim-at-cursor — as specifically requested by a couple people. Also the cursor now wraps around the levels… which I think is a nice touch…
  • A somewhat common request during Next Fest and prior: the ability, like a lot of other platformers, to automatically pass through platforms while jumping upwards. Honestly, I’m a bit conflicted about this. I’m currently planning to provide it as an option but not the default.
  • All character customization (hit, ghosting, throwSword, inputMapping, etc) now works online.
  • On platforms that support it, character options are now saved so they’ll persist between game sessions.
  • Online: when in limbo, you can now kick nearby items with your feet — useful if you’ve lost your sword
  • A bunch of polish and bug fixes
    • lots of improvements to online visuals syncing, stability
    • if doing the QuickStart tut solo: losing to a bot will trigger “try again” rather than just forcing you onto the next tutorial level
    • game setting: screen shake (off, on, always)
    • and lots of more tiny things

Thanks everyone for your help and feedback!

Next Fest + online enabled

Some news here:
We’re in Steam Next Fest! So from June 19th (today) to June 26th, the Bomb Sworders demo is publicly available. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Bomb Sworders Steam page
(PC and Mac. Linux users, please see the note below)

What’s in the demo?

  • Pretty much everything
  • Plus a bunch of online stuff I’ve been working on:
    • Public matchmaking –> get paired against whoever is around. Press the d-pad for emoji. Try to explode your opponents, etc etc.
    • Private matches –> join up to 4 Steam friends. You can even have multiple players join from the same computer.
    • PublicLink –> copy a link to your clipboard and then share it to recruit outside players into your match (feel free to use our Discord). To accept a publicLink invite, just paste it into a web browser and press Enter.

What’s not in the demo?

  • It doesn’t have all the levels
  • It doesn’t have all the characters
  • It doesn’t have the final, polished online experience

Why are we doing a demo?

2 reasons:
1) To test the online. We’ve been playtesting for a number of months… but there’s nothing like more people playing to find more bugs. (Press F10 to leave feedback + automatically send useful debugging info!)

2) And, of course, we’d love to get more eyes on the game. This could help us bring it onto more platforms too so really every positive mention, tweet, whatever does us a world of good. Thanks!

For those already with Beta keys

All the online modes are now enabled!

One limitation: Unfortunately, Steam Networking doesn’t allow people in the full game to play online against those in the demo. So, if you want to find a match during Next Fest — you might want to download the demo. Unfortunately, Steam also makes this perhaps a little trickier than it should be. The best advice I’ve heard, which has apparently worked for a couple people, is to go into the Steam Console and then force install the demo with app_install 2474580
(2474580 is the appId for the Bomb Sworders demo)
Thanks to Spiked Games for the tip!

For Linux folks

The Linux version overall seems to run well… but isn’t available quite yet. Why? I need to fix the video playback. It shouldn’t be a huge deal, but videos are heavily used in the QuickStart tutorial. I suppose if anyone might figure out the game without a tutorial, maybe it’s Linux folks, but for Bomb Sworders especially a working tutorial does seem important.

Online Progress

Coming soon to Bomb Sworders — online multiplayer!

And a bunch of other stuff too:

  • A better QuickStart tutorial (Along with writing a post about developing the online for Bomb Sworders, I’d especially love to discuss development of the tutorial: from horrible initial attempt to starting over and improving it across several conventions)
  • Bot Battle: a single player mode that sets you against bots on 7 progressively more difficult rounds.
  • 1 or 2 new levels, more level bgs
  • Perfect hit: time your swing or sword throw for extra power
  • Cannon behavior tweak: the death-beam will now immediately explode any bombs of the same color. This makes cannons much more useful for higher-level play.
  • Plus lots of bug fixes of course

“Bomb Sworders — holy s#$! they have it!”

Favorite quote @ Midwest Gaming Classic 2022

v0.8.0.12 wrap fixes

Early design decisions can lead to headaches later on and for Bomb Sworders having wrap-around was one of these.

The problem separates into a visual side — getting the wrap-around to appear seamless — and into a physics side — having items at the wrap-around point interact exactly as if that space is no different than any other.

The visual side was “solved” awhile back. This new update attempts to solve the physics side.

It wasn’t absolutely terrible before — maybe a sharp-eyed player would spot a missed collision or a missed jump once-in-awhile. Of course, if players spent a lot of time right at the wrap edges, they’d encounter these issues much more frequently. But often the mistake would happen so fast that it’d lie in kinda an area of uncertainty for the player — “I guess *I* must have missed that jump…”

The worst issue was that there could be “unearned” trap shots — 2 bombs moving rapidly in succession across the wrap-around might trigger an extra (errant) collision event, which could result in an explosion. Super rare, but very annoying. This update should fix that too.


  • bug fixes: physics interactions near wrap-around
  • thrownSword “trail” turns off when the thrownSword is unowned
  • optimizations to wrap-around checking
  • at the end of a round, the stats-boxes for each player now position themselves correctly regardless of the level’s aspect ratio.
  • bug fix: under fairly specific circumstances, it was possible to receive “cold” damage — an idea that we explored in the past but, for the time being, are not developing. (I guess this bug does show that that functionality is still very much in the code base…)


for whom the toad comes?
it comes for thee

A few small updates


  • bug fix: character animation doesn’t play properly when on a vertically moving platform
  • bug fix: when horde mode characters are stacked on top of each other, it’s possible to “fly”
  • the swing animation will only play when it’s possible to hit things (e.g. the animation no longer plays for frozen characters)
  • minor performance improvement


  • the first press of the random button will exclude the just-played level
  • bug fix: potential for a loud, stuttery sound effect to play after a round victory
  • bug fix: unable to generate a trap shot from two currently-touching bombs
  • bug fix: items failing to wrap-around properly


  • improvements to sound system (prevents some very loud audio spikes)
  • better support for 4k resolution
  • automatically uses a better replay resolution if the hardware can comfortably handle it
  • “doodle” effect added to character avatars
  • fixed some avatar layouts
  • thrownSword: added faint trail (WIP)
  • level tweaks
  • bug fix: collided by moving black-bricks when in limbo
  • physics simulation generates less junk

Update v0.8.0.5

  • AI improvements
  • 2 new levels added to Experimental: “X Marks the Spot” and “Lava Gap”
  • 1st pass at backgrounds for “Elevation” and “Penrose”
  • Tweaks to spawner placement and item weighting on several levels
  • Fix: unable to hit freezer for a bit after appearing
  • Fix: thrownSword graphic clipped on y-wraparound

A couple small updates


  • fixed overlapped text on trapShot tutorial (thanks Chaddog)


  • added better support for Steam Controllers — still not great… but better.
    • instructions: in the Character Options menu, set the “manual sword” mapping to the right-stick-button. Then hold that button to aim sword and release to swing
  • fixed a rare bug on level select (thanks Blazecc and goggleOgler)
  • added 2 big experimental levels: Burning Divide, Chute
  • improved AI
  • spelling fix, 2 more levels accessible in Horde Mode

The Quick Start Update

This update (v0.8.0) focuses on the game’s early experience for new players.

Quick Start Tutorial

The new “Quick Start” Tutorial is an attempt at 3 things:

  1. Get new players into the actual game as quick as possible
  2. … while making sure they have a basic framework in place for understanding/playing the game
  3. … and hopefully without being too boring.

It’s made up of a few explanations interspersed with practice levels — some of which provide guidance to players as necessary based on how they’re playing. e.g. If the tutorial notices that a player isn’t swinging their sword, it’ll gently remind them of the control/action.

Also, throughout the game, the control/action text is now shown correctly for each individual player’s (possibly custom) control mappings.

New Experimental Levels

* Experimental = W.I.P.

Lavarinth — bombs/dynamite generate in the inner area while there’re mostly cannons in the outer area
Penrose — vertical wraparound! (Thanks kiaten for the idea!)
Elevation — really helps to have bounce-jumping down pat
Roam — moving platforms provide some challenge getting to the top while also shielding anyone below

Misc Stuff

  • New Characters — Ticket, Bully, and Toad (Thanks to goggleOgler for Ticket and Bully concepts!)
    • Bully and Toad are unlockable characters
  • Random Level Select (Thanks Blazecc for the idea!)
    • Additionally, you can choose which levels will be in the random-selection-set by highlighting the Random button and pressing Menu/Options
  • Refined sword swinging
    • Canceling a sword-swing now acts as kinda a pump-fake (“canceling” can be turned on in the control mapping section)
    • Swinging rapidly many times in a short period will lead to temporary “exhaustion” — a slower rate of swinging
    • You can get the strongest sword swing by releasing within 0.5 seconds of the charging-sword animation reaching its back-most position
  • New song: Luwuk Logic Bomb
  • Options menu for Practice Mode
  • Smoother/more-efficient camera movement in Race Mode
  • Additional sounds
  • Music continues (doesn’t reset) through Race Mode restarts
  • Revised limbo behavior — killing a stunned character while in limbo will cause revive
  • Character Select: pressing Options/Menu while in a READY state will kick immediately out to the non-ready state with Options menu shown (previously this button press would be ignored)

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed stuck-on-pillars in Roam level (thanks Blazecc)
  • Fixed issue where axisElements (L2, R2, triggers, etc) couldn’t be assigned to jump/dash actions (thanks Blazecc)
  • Fixed where cannon could kill players for 1 frame after the cannon was visually gone from the scene

Also — thanks Chaddog for feedback on the Steam controller!