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I like creating games and new worlds to explore, especially games with interesting mechanics or twists. I love indie games, anime, my wife and my cats!

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davidmaletz's News

Posted by davidmaletz - November 25th, 2019


The second (and final) backer planet is out, along with a second batch of “quality of life” improvements to the game. The new planet is called the Depths (for reasons that will quickly become clear), and once again anyone can travel to it by going to the new star system (it’s at the bottom right of the star map).


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This planet is mostly about exploration - the quests don’t guide you as closely as the science path. There’s a lot hidden, and it’s better to go into it blind, but if you get stuck don’t forget to try fighting some of the new enemies.


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We also added Difficulty Modes this update. Unlike in most games, you are not asked to set a Difficulty Mode when you start a new game, instead you can change it in the settings at any time. We’ve had people complain that the game is too easy, and others that it is too hard, so we decided to give players the flexibility to adjust the game difficulty up or down as they play. Is one planet or boss too difficult? Move the difficulty down. Too easy? Move it up. Since you can change it whenever you want, you never have to worry about choosing the wrong mode. Just be careful with the Permadeath mode - it will delete your save slot if you die - only the most hardcore players should attempt it!


In addition to the new planet, the following changes affect the full version:

  • Added three new bosses to the arena.
  • Added the ability to repair colony ships postgame (after the ending).


These changes affect the demo as well:

  • Added difficulty settings to the options menu.
  • Can export and delete saves right from the saves menu.
  • Added a hammer item that builds blueprints.
  • Added sound effects to familiars so they will occasionally make noise when idling (i.e., a cat will meow).
  • Holding the shift key now reduces your speed to the starting value (walking). This is useful if you’re zipping by with too many upgrades and need some precision, and can also be used with flying equipment.
  • Many other minor improvements and bugfixes.


This more or less completes the single player experience of the game. There are a few loose ends we’ll continue to add - like being able to build the science ship and entering the last incomplete postgame secret area, but these are not major game changers and may not be added until after the full launch. Our main goal from now until March 2020 is adding co-op multiplayer (and we’ll have a few betas along the way). The full launch will come soon after multiplayer is added.


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Multiplayer in Aground will be the ability to invite other players into your game. It’s completely optional and server-less, and will not affect the single player experience at all. When you invite people, they can help you fight enemies, gather resources and complete quests - the storyline will be the same, you will just be able to work together.


I hope everyone is looking forward to multiplayer as much as I am! We’re getting close to the full launch, but we will definitely continue to be active in the discord and post updates to the game even after launch! Thank you to everyone who joined us on this journey and trusted us in Early Access!


P.S. Don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:


Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


2

Posted by davidmaletz - October 25th, 2019


The first of the backer planets is out, along with a bunch of “quality of life” improvements to the game! The new planet is called Unnature Sanctuary, and is now reachable in the star navigator. It’s an optional side-quest planet, but check it out!


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In other news, we recently added Minigames to the research lab, and Chase (our composer) released the official Aground Soundtrack!


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For Mac Players: You may have heard about the new app requirements for Catalina. The good news is that Aground is already 64-bit, so the game will run. The bad news is that it is not notarized, and I will not notarize it given the complexity of the process for every update and requirement of an apple developer ID which has a yearly fee. From what I have heard, this means that you may have to go through an additional step to bypass gatekeeper. Hopefully this doesn’t cause too much trouble, and I’ll continue to update the game on Mac as usual.


In addition to the new planet, the following changes affect the full version:

  • Some vehicles can now move and attack at the same time.
  • Drone control can now be used while riding the mobile lab.
  • Talon Copse can now modify most equipment.
  • Cables and rails can now be placed on the same tile.
  • Added a mini planet - Mercury. This is the last solar system planet that I plan to add before the full launch (gas giants have nowhere to land, and Venus is very dangerous).


These changes affect the demo as well:

  • The starting quests now let you place the structures where you want to, and give you a blueprint for them when complete so you can re-arrange your base.
  • Most vehicles and bots can now be packed up and deployed.
  • Docks can now summon nearby boats.
  • Trader will ship items from one island to another for a fee (pre bombardment/endings).
  • Dragons can now land on water and never die by running out of fuel now.
  • Mouse buttons can now be set in controls - this allows you to attack by clicking (but clicking on a GUI element will interact with it as normal).
  • Surgery lab can now install vanity equipment.
  • Crops can now be re-arranged in farms.
  • Chests can be given labels.
  • Hotkeys are now sensitive to parameters/modifiers.


This is about half of the quality of life updates planned for the game, and half of the backer planets - so look forward to the other half by the end of November!


Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:

Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


4

Posted by davidmaletz - September 9th, 2019


What happens after you beat the final boss? What’s the resolution to the story? This update answers those questions, along with some post game content and areas!


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I don’t want to spoil much - but after beating the final boss, try talking to all the NPCs - almost all of them have dialogue changes. You can also choose a homeworld if you talk to the CaptAIn.


At this point, the questlines for magic and science path is more or less how it will be at the final launch, but we have the two backer planets, some additional post game content, the quality of life update (general improvements) and multiplayer still to come!


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If you haven’t heard, Aground is now on the Discord Store as well! Definitely drop by our discord, we’re very active there if you want to chat - and you can now see announcements and buy the game directly from our discord server!


Update 1.8.2 Includes the Following:

  • Endgame dialogue/cutscenes for all NPCs.
  • You can now choose a homeworld.
  • Added a third tier hut upgrade for post-game science.
  • Added more destroyed versions of structures for bombardment.
  • Added one of the two post-game secret areas (the key to unlock it was added to the golemech factory, if you know where that is).
  • Added 4 new bosses to the arena.
  • The Exo Mech can now have a shield or light installed.
  • Changed collision detection - it should now lag less with large moving objects (like in fleet battles).
  • The equipment window now shows all status bars as numbers (scaling them down if necessary).
  • Added new SFX.
  • Many bug-fixes, tweaks and minor changes!


Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:

Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


4

Posted by davidmaletz - June 26th, 2019


Update 1.7.1 is now live! In this update, we finished the incomplete areas on the colony ship and did some overall improvements and bugfixes for the science path to end update!


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The biggest additions are the cafeteria (pictured above) and the museum. These are fun optional areas that flesh out the colony ship and give you a few more options for the tough fights at the end of the game. Speaking of tough fights, a lot of people thought the final boss was too easy... so we made it harder!


We're a little behind now, so we updated the Early Access Roadmap, but we are still confident we'll make the March 2020 full release date.


In other news, we're also on sale for 10% off in the Steam Summer Sale! If you haven't gotten the game yet, or have a friend who wants it, now is a great time to get it!


We're back to working on the Magic Path to End update, which we hope to release by the end of July, so I hope you're looking forward to that!


Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:


Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


2

Posted by davidmaletz - March 5th, 2019


The first new major planet is in, and it’s an exciting one! We think you’ll be very curious to see what happened to this familiar planet - along with new NPCs, quests, and features. This planet focuses entirely on the science path - but don’t worry, we have plans for the magic path too! This planet took a little longer than we would have liked, so we adjusted the roadmap, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it. We’re getting closer to the end of the game in terms of content, but we have lots of additional updates planned before we leave Early Access (including the highly requested multiplayer update).


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The full changelog for this update is as follows:

  • Added a new star system + major planet to the game! This also includes a new music track!
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  • Added drones, a new kind of vehicle that can be piloted remotely.
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  • Added a whole new spaceship… and it’s a big one (no spoilers, it should be obvious if you do all the new quests).
  • Added new quests, NPCs, items, crafting, structures and a research lab. No spoilers, but… I will tell you a com device helps.
  • Teleportals can now be renamed, and are sorted by name. You can organize them by using special characters/numbers before the name, and use this to make a note about important parts of islands. Teleportals are now also locked to the star system they were built in, so the list will only show teleportals in that star system.
  • Added an FTL jump animation for vehicles.
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  • Placing items in vehicle interiors (workbenches, furnaces, etc) can now take items directly from the vehicle’s storage.


The following changes affect the demo as well:

  • When you discover an item for the first time, the game now tells you! It doesn’t know about items you already discovered in old saves that aren’t in your storehouse or inventory, so it might come up a lot when you first continue an old save, but eventually it will work as intended.
  • Crops and pens can now function without a barn (and be placed without a barn). The barn structure is now just a convenience, where you can harvest them all at once.
  • Added many new sound effects, both to the demo and the full version. We’ll be adding more in the next few updates, fleshing out the sounds for all the attacks, enemies and items.
  • Added a gameplay option to make steel walkways un-mineable (so you don’t mine them by accident). Just toggle the option to make them mineable again when you want to change/move/collect them.
  • Added a gameplay option to hide blueprints from the “All” tab in your inventory. A lot of people complained that blueprints cluttered the inventory and could not be removed - well now they can be hidden, unless you intentionally go to the blueprints tab.
  • For people playing on the keyboard, shift+Z now moves the current object/vehicle to the back. This is useful if you have two large vehicles on top of each other.
  • Many bug-fixes, tweaks and minor changes!


You can play the demo right here on Newgrounds: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/701110 !


Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:

Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


1

Posted by davidmaletz - January 8th, 2019


Update 1.5.5 brings a lot of new features, and some new content (including a small dwarf planet), and I'm very excited for it as it's the backbone for what will be the final stage of the game - travelling between planets! Spacefaring has always been one of my goals in Aground - I wanted you to be able to eventually build up to travelling between planets, but start the game having no idea that was even possible.

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I also set up a Patreon if you want to support my work! It might not seem like much, but every dollar counts!

The full changelog for this update is as follows:

  • Added Orbit and the ability to travel between planets
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  • Added a new planet.
  • You can now build space stations in orbit.
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  • Added underground structures (and an event that will make them very useful).
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  • Added ladders and walkways for stacking surface structures.
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  • Added several new songs! Here's a preview of Chase composing one of them:

     

The following changes affect the demo as well:

  • Cables and rails can now be placed vertically.
  • Structures now operate even when away from the island.
  • Blueprint error guides (they visually show you what is blocking the structure from being built).
  • Combat update! I tweaked how combat works yet again - it is now easier to defeat enemies without taking any damage (by dodging), but also more dangerous to blindly mash the attack key as they will knock you back out of range.
  • 4 more hotkeys have been added by popular demand.
  • Miner now gives a quest about minecarts.
  • Builder will explain sticky items when you build the storehouse, and sticky items now are placed above others in the inventory.

Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:

Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


7

Posted by davidmaletz - October 23rd, 2018


Update 1.5.1 is here, and it’s a big one!! You can now follow the magic path all the way through many new quests and areas, right up to launching into space! This means that the entire starting planet is now complete, besides a few side quests and optional features we still want to add.

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Alongside this major update to the game, we have a very exciting new trailer to share with you! Made by the talented M. Joshua and scored by our very own Chase Bethea, we are thrilled with how it came out!

What do you think? We hope you love it as much as we do!

In other news, back in late August/early September we showcased Aground at PAX West, which was an amazing experience. We were a part of the Indie Megabooth, and had a very steady crowd of gamers, press, and industry professionals stopping by to chat and try out the game. Pictures from the event are here (featuring our Miner and Alchemist cosplays!): https://www.flickr.com/photos/166774367@N06/sets/72157695274883630/.

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A huge thank you to everyone who came by at PAX, especially the awesome streamers and Youtubers we met, who have released so many great videos which have helped to spread the word about the game - including SplatterCatGamingWanderbotsRufioGuy, and many others!

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The full changelog for this update is as follows:

  • Added a new magic island with new bosses, enemies, NPCs, sub-areas and structures. Rest in the purple hut after defeating the Old One to start these quests (and check out the place the Old One was defeated).
  • Added many new familiars and new types of nets to catch them.
  • Added spellbooks and a spellcasting skill.
  • Added a magic spaceship equivalent, and the quests to get it.
  • You can now mine the second layer of magic island (although we are still planning on adding caves there later).

The following changes affect the demo as well:

  • Added an indicator when the smelter/kitchen/pen/farm have items ready.
  • Allowed some weapons/items to work underwater.
  • Added spider familiar.
  • Some magic structures can now be uprooted and moved.
  • You can now collect items while riding the dragon (like helium sacs)
  • You can now aim dragonfire manually while riding a dragon by using up/down while holding attack.
  • Many smaller fixes and improvements, including color changes to the background art.

For Modders:

  • Added <loadAfter> tag to the mod metadata. This works just like <requires> (forcing the labelled mod to load first), but won’t cause the mod to fail to load if the labelled mod is missing.
  • Added the evalXml function. This parses the passed argument string as xml and then runs it after the current action block completes. Useful for dynamic xml generation.
  • Added setGlobal and getGlobal, to manage global variables that can be used between saves and in different scopes. These are not saved, and clear when the game is restarted (or you set them to null).
  • Added setPlayer and changePlayer functions. setPlayer changes the player to an already created player object, and changePlayer changes the player to a new object with the passed id. These are dangerous functions.

Enjoy, and as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or feedback - we are always happy to hear from our players. And don’t forget to join the social channels below if you haven’t already:

Discord

Reddit

Twitter

Facebook


9

Posted by davidmaletz - August 8th, 2018


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The early access version of Aground is now available on Steam and Itch.io! Join us on Discord, Reddit, Facebook or Twitter today for some launch day festivities!

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It has been a wild ride getting to this point - from the initial prototype over a year ago, an underwhelming reception to the early versions, to an incredibly enthusiastic response to the browser version, an amazing crowdfunding campaign, and update after update of new content and improvements.

And - hopefully - this is just the beginning of Aground’s story!

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The early access version includes new quests, vehicles, enemies and areas not in the demo version. And we still have a ton of exciting content left to add before the game is complete.

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As we mentioned before, Aground now also has support for mods with the help of mod.io! While we haven’t written a guide yet, there are already a few mods uploaded, so feel free to subscribe to them or join the #modding channel on Discord for help making your own!

We are also pleased to share that a new member has been added to the Aground team! Megan has joined us to help out with social media and marketing. Together we’re working hard to spread the word about the game!

Update 1.4.0 is now Live!

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This update includes lots of new content for the early access version (see above), but we also included an update to the free version too! This update includes swimming and many small improvements and tweaks to the game. I also added a secret to the game on Newgrounds to thank them for all their support - can you find it?

I hope you enjoy the early access version and demo updates! And if you played the game, help show your support by writing a review or posting a screenshot! I hope you’re looking forward to the magic path update, which will include the magic path between the demo and outer space!


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Posted by davidmaletz - June 14th, 2018


We’ve been hard at work on the Early Access version of the game, but we decided to do another small free update with improvements and vehicles!

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We also now have a Steam Coming Soon Page! Feel free to wishlist Aground there, or you can pre-order the game here and get a steam key when the game goes live! 

Speaking of pre-ordering, we are now only a little over $500 away from the Co-op Multiplayer stretch goal (you can see our continued funding progress here)! Can we make it before the early access launch when pre-orders close?!? Be sure to spread the word, and pre-order/back the game above if you want to help us reach that goal!

At the end of May, we had a blast showcasing Aground at Phoenix Comic Fest!  Over the 4-day weekend, our stations were almost never empty. We received amazing enthusiasm for the game, met a few fans who had already played on Kongregate, and got a lot of helpful feedback and ideas for making the game even better (many of the improvements were from this feedback). It was an excellent experience overall, and while we were exhausted by Sunday evening, we were so pleased to have been at the event! We uploaded some photos of the event here: https://imgur.com/a/ohAsyhp!

The full changelog for this update is as follows:

  • Vehicles! While most vehicles are for the early access version only, you can now sail your boat and fly your dragon using the vehicle system! The dragon is quite awesome to fly - it can even breathe fire - just beware of skyfish!

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  • Intro Video - It’s deliberately left vague, but the start of the game has been changed and a short cutscene added to give you a little context for what’s going on at the very beginning!

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  • Chase - our composer - added a new track for the Magic island!
  • The combat system has been tweaked and improved. It is now possible (although difficult) to defeat melee enemies one-on-one without taking any damage!
  • Stamina has been doubled, and you now auto-eat stamina restoring foods (useful especially for new players and to make the game less about focusing on your stamina bar).
  • If you select a quest in the quest log, it will now show an indicator for locating the quest giver. No more getting lost trying to find the NPC needed to complete your quest!
  • The farmer now explains how to use seeds better when you complete the orchard quest, and is now always capable of crafting seeds for you (just keep talking to him until it pops up).
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.

The early access version of the game is still on track to launch in July, but we’ll keep you updated on our progress towards that goal. The vehicle system is already quite fun to play around with!

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


7

Posted by davidmaletz - May 11th, 2018


All of the loose ends for the free version have been tied up, the science path now has an ending, and we added many new features too!

While a smaller update than the last two, this one includes some new things I've been wanting to add for a while!

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The full changelog is as follows:

  • Science Path End. There is now a definitive end to the science path (where you'll be able to continue from in the early access release). Check out the Mirrow's Lab to see it!
  • Blueprints. You can now use blueprints to build and dismantle structures! You can play the game without ever finding or using blueprints, but they can give you flexibility over building placement and allow you to build a kitchen if you don't have the builder.

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  • Seeds. You can now plant crops, bushes and trees with seeds. Seeds allow for flexibility of crop placement (similar to blueprints), and they are now an integrated part of the farm (plant instead of upgrade). Plant where you want - even on new islands!
  • Hair Styles. There are now 7 hair styles to choose from (8 if you count bald)! When first loading an old save, you'll be able to customize appearance again to select your hair style.
  • Resting/saving no longer skips to night from the morning. This was causing new players to encounter night too early, and made night too easy to get to. You can still skip night by resting though. There may also be a few new night-only things added.
  • Added 2 bird familiars. There are no enemies to trap to get birds from yet, but you can buy them.
  • A bunch of other minor improvements and bugfixes.

We'll also be presenting the game at Phoenix Comic Fest, May 24-27! If you're nearby, come say hi - we'll be in Hall 1 with the Southwest Videogame Showcase. There may even be some exclusive giveaways!

From now until June/July, we'll be working on finishing the first planet for the Early Access release! We have some pretty exciting things planned, and if you want to see where we go with the game, you can pre-order the full version here: http://fancyfishgames.com/Aground/ (it will include all future updates)! We'll also continue to post bugfixes and non-content updates to the free version (you won't get new islands, but you will see some new features, including some relatively large ones like seafaring).

Enjoy, and as always, let us know if you have any feedback!


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