Do you know Spelunky? It’s a mongrel platformer that takes the skip in its step from Mario, the crack of its whip from Castlevania, its environmental variety from Minecraft, and its bureaucratic cruelty from Nethack. It was one of the best indie games on PC in 2009, when it was freeware, and remained so for its Steam remake last year. In recent months, it’s found a growing YouTube audience thanks to a Daily Challenge feature that saw its randomised levels standardised for competitive play.
That’s something creator Derek Yu seems to have recognised. In a rare update this week, he’s introduced an on-screen icon to indicate when somebody’s playing a Daily Challenge, fixed a related bug, and added a “less intrusive” Pro HUD option in the graphics menu.
He’s done plenty more besides - tackling a host of bugs and some persistent Windows 8 issues.
Yu’s honesty is refreshing, if a bit unnerving - he says he’s “attempted to fix” some of the game’s recurring crashes, which occurred when changing resolutions or when playing on laptops running integrated Intel graphics cards. You’ll have to run the game on your rig to find out if he’s succeeded.
He’s attempted, too, to fix Windows 8 compatibility problems that at worst saw the game crash on startup.
Infinity is an inherently terrifying concept, and Yu has done his bit to keep it from terrorising his game. Alt-tabbing during the Ankh artifact’s animation no longer causes it to grow endlessly - and the occasions a dead shopkeeper or black knight's corpse would clone infinitely are now, thankfully, in the past.
The Ghost - the near-invincible opponent that enforces Spelunky’s level timer - had been known to kill players during a cutscene, which must have been particularly galling, so we can be glad to see the back of that. And rare ghost deaths will now be properly recorded, too.
Finally, Spelunky will no longer crash if the mouse or keyboard aren’t detected. Yu’s sure about that one - it’s gone.
In fact, the only crash Yu doesn’t seem to have tackled is the one that sends you right to the very beginning of the game upon colliding with a spider or lava or spikes. Sort it out, Yu, will you?
Here’s the changelog in full:
v1.4 - 2/10/2014
- Added less intrusive "Pro" HUD option in graphics menu
- Added icon on screen when playing Daily Challenge
- Added backup save file system
- Daily Challenge seed will no longer repeat
- Attempted to fix crashing when changing resolutions
- Attempted to fix Windows 8 compatibility issues
- Attempted to fix crash on Intel integrated graphics cards
- Game will no longer crash if mouse and/or keyboard are not detected
- Fixed freezing/losing input control when changing resolution on graphics menu
- Allows multiple upload attempts of scores that fail to upload to leaderboards
- Fixed bug where legitimate scores were sometimes set to $1
- Alt-tabbing during Ankh animation no longer creates infinitely growing ankh
- Fixed infinitely growing shopkeeper/black knight body bug
- Bots can pick up royal jelly in deathmatch mode
- Monkeys no longer play stealing sound when stuck to worm tongue
- The "So It Begins" achievement will retry to unlock if the tutorial is replayed
- Throw damage is no longer stored if the player does not hit a wall when thrown
- Ghost deaths are reported correctly
- “Desafío ciario” changed to “Desafío diario” in Spanish translation
- White "cruft" on edge of green player sprite removed
- Ankh activates correctly when player falls into Abyss while frozen
- "Entire Gang" description corrected to read "16 hidden characters"
- Skeletons play "bone shatter" effect when killed instead of "pot shatter"
- Anubis II portal sound no longer plays briefly before cutscenes
- Anubis II will no longer attack during the Yama cutscene
- Added graphics for destroyed Moai head
- Allow spawning inside Moai head with ankh even if player has already entered
- Added "invert run" control option (Must hold button to walk instead of run)
- Times display with decimal point in front of milliseconds instead of colon
- Shopkeepers no longer glitch after being eaten by a mantrap while patrolling
- Damsels should no longer get occasionally stuck exiting levels
- Ball and chain will no longer float when thrown with pitchers mitt
- Can no longer become stun-locked while hanging from chain stunned
- Ball and chain now works correctly when being resurrected with ankh
- Music will transition correctly when teleporting in and out of shops
- Ghost no longer kills the player during the Olmec cutscene
- Cavemen no longer explode in one-tile-wide underwater areas
- Corrected upper left tile of kissing parlor
- Hired hands can no longer whip players in the tunnel transition
- Shotgun bullets are destroyed when hitting lava
- Removed black "cruft" on edges of some items
- Olmec can no longer crush the platform under the exit in his lair
- Fixed collision error when many objects overlapped
- Shops should no longer be able to generate with a blocked-off entrance
- Teleporter no longer floats in midair after teleporting into a wall with the ankh and a jetpack on