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Patch notes are imported from steam. There may be errors. This mostly exists so I can stay on top of them to update the features in our tags and scoring categories (which I do manually), but since many of you liked the idea of staying up to date with all the games in one place I'm working on making this data automated (right now I manually hit it every couple days) with better info and linking in with the game views.

There will be more data and proper atribution here (original author, steam link, original post date, etc) real soon, I promise. This is just like a technical test to see if they're coming in ok at all.

Keep Those Bugs Away From the Bomb » Devlog #1 – From B.I.O.T.A. Swarm to Keep Those Bugs Away From The Bomb

Hey folks, Ivan, a.k.a. small bros here, welcome to my first dev log!

From now on you can expect regular updates on the game I’m currently working on, as well as some behind the scenes info about the previous iteration of Keep Those Bugs Away From The Bomb, which was B.I.O.T.A. Swarm.

Those who have been hanging around here for a while, or have followed my previous game, B.I.O.T.A., probably remember that “Swarm” was planned as a direct spin-off of the original B.I.O.T.A., retaining its art style and core mechanics. After the initial work on the vertical slice, which is basically a playable part of a game, like a Demo, B.I.O.T.A. Swarm had its first playtests, both internal and external.

The overall feedback was less than comforting, and it pushed me to take a few steps back and rethink the game’s direction. Many players pointed out that they had trouble understanding the gameplay loop, recognizing their goals, and most of all, were confused by the visuals.

The chunky pixel graphics that you loved (or hated) so much in B.I.O.T.A. simply didn’t work this time, due to the game’s visible area being bigger and zoomed out, the increased resolution made everything seem very flat and confusing.

Furthermore, the fixed 4-color palette was not the most suitable choice for this genre, or type of the game. It failed to highlight important game details, which I felt was vital in this type of arcade arena-shooters, such as your character for example! Yeah, playing without being able to clearly distinguish your character from the background would have been… difficult to put it lightly.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it by saying that I was glad to receive such feedback and instantly got to work on improving my game. It was really quite the opposite. I was pretty discouraged after reading through all of the feedback and it took a few weeks to realize that the only way forward was making a complete restyle of the game and abandon the initial idea of reusing assets, code, and characters from B.I.O.T.A. and start completely fresh.

I decided to start with a visual overhaul. I went from a fixed 4-color scheme to a 56-color palette. However I didn’t stop there, I added some features that I thought will make the gaming experience more fun and more approachable.

I have also moved away from the concept of randomized campaigns. In “Swarm” the idea was to create a tiled map, where each tile represented a chamber (a level). You could choose your own path at crossroads to fight in different settings. It was also a remnant of B.I.O.T.A.’s design, and in this case it felt pretty pointless and added nothing to the game experience. In its place I added a linear level sequence with increasing difficulty, so each level you play will feature an ever-increasing number of enemies on screen, their health and spawn frequency. I’ll go into more detail about this change, as well as other features in the future devlogs.

Finally, one of the key features I landed on was… the BOMB!

So… where exactly does a bomb fit into all that?

The concept is pretty simple, so simple actually, that it made sense to include it in the title. Or more like “as the title”. Brainstorming that idea took some time, and there were a handful of titles I had in mind, but this one stuck. Not only is it descriptive, but it also feels like ripped straight from the 80’s, which suits the game. You plant the bomb, then keep the bugs away from it. And that’s how Keep Those Bugs Away From The Bomb came to be. KTBAFTB for short, no dots this time.

Now: what should you expect from KTBAFTB?

Your job is to plant a very powerful bomb to wipe out a chamber full of the alien swarm (yes, swarm is still in the game, just not in the title!).

Unfortunately, the only kind of bomb they had at the bomb store was a time bomb, so you will have to defend the device until it explodes. The bugs however will do everything in their power to destroy the bomb so that it fails the sole task it was created to do. Yeah, I know what you’re all thinking. Unfortunately due to the delicate nature of the detonator (and more accurately – even more delicate nature of the game’s premise) – you can destroy the bomb without setting it off. So just letting the bugs have their own way with the bomb unfortunately won’t do.

While the game retains what Discord user Coco described as a “platformer bullet hell”, there is still quite a lot to discover when it comes with what initially seems like a simple premise. The bomb detonates, the bugs swarm, the player autoshoots various weapons. What we want to make sure though is that the progression of difficulty, unlocks of power ups and pick ups and the ever growing list of combos provides enough variety to go for a round after round after round of KTBAFTB.

The reveal trailer of Keep Those Bugs Away From The Bomb was first shown last Saturday at Realms Deep 2023, check it out if you haven’t yet:

I’m planning to share more details about the game in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for more and in the meantime Keep Those Bugs Away from the Thing you want to keep them away from at home.

Also – make sure to drop by our Discord to share your thoughts and ideas – I’d love to see and discuss them!

Take care and until next time!