1. Inkbound
  2. News

Inkbound News

Inkbound 1.1 Coming June 25th!

[h2]Inkbound 1.1 Coming June 25th![/h2]

Inkbound1.1 is officially coming to Steam on June 25th! In just a few days, players will get to enjoy all the cool new content and features the team has been working on!

Here are a few things you can look forward to in Inkbound 1.1!
  • New Authored Challenge Feature with ten new dives
  • Casual Rank Feature
  • New Bindings
  • New Trinkets
  • A shiny new Vestige
  • New Victory Board
  • Added Cosmetics

And that’s just the beginning!

If you’re interested in seeing some of these new features in action, Shiny Shoe team members Marimo and Albert show them off in this Youtube video: “Mahjong, Cosplay, and A Special Challenge Run.”

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or ask the team on Discord. You can also subscribe to the Inkbound newsletter for new content deep dives and closer looks at new features.

We hope you’re just as excited as we are for Inkbound 1.1’s launch and we’ll see you on June 25th! As always, thank you so much for supporting Inkbound and the Shiny Shoe team.

See you in the Atheneum!
Community Manager for Shiny Shoe

New Features Sneak Peek!

Last Friday, team members Marimo and ShinyAlbert unveiled information about the next Inkbound update on stream. You can watch the vod on our YouTube channel. Today, we’re excited to share a sneak peek of what's to come in Inkbound 1.1!

[h3]Authored Challenges[/h3]

WIP screenshot. Contents subject to change.

The biggest new addition to Inkbound will be the Authored Challenges feature. Each Challenge provided to the player originates from some character or concept that you have encountered during your game.

There will be a number of challenges available that you can engage with, all of which will have unique modifiers to make your runs new and interesting. You’ll have to use your knowledge of the game to navigate through each one!

Challenges can be done solo or in co-op. Completion of a challenge will grant you 150 Vault Dust, which you can use in the Cosmetic Vault. We hope you try this out and have fun with it!

Do you have an idea for a cool challenge to add to the game? Let us know what you’d like to see in the comments and we will consider it for future updates!

[h3]More Starting Run Variety: New Bindings and Vestiges[/h3]

We have heard your feedback on wanting more variety in draft choices at the start of runs. To accomplish this goal, we are adding two new draftable Bindings to the game. As with all Bindings, each Binding will have three Ascensions and nine Augments. These Bindings are not specific to any Aspect and can be used across all of them.

Additionally, we are adding in a few more Vestiges to the starting pool. We are adding five new common Vestiges and one new uncommon Vestige to the game. These new vestiges should add some early-run variety and give some more access to certain sets or mechanics that are a bit underrepresented in the current pool, such as Fabled and Executioner. As with the Bindings, these Vestiges are not designed specific to any Aspect.

[h3]Developing the Smite Mechanic[/h3]

Smite is a mechanic in game that is quite cool, but it has not gotten the same level of visibility as some of the other status effects available in the game. We’re focusing on more content for Smite in specific. As part of this, we are adding a Smite-focused Trinket to the game. Additionally, Smite damage as a stat will be visualized better within in-game menus.

[h3]Victory Board Refresh[/h3]

For this update, we are not going to reset your player level. Instead, we are increasing the player level cap from 999 to 9,999. Additionally, we are refreshing the Victory Board with entirely new quests for you to complete. This includes new Cosmetics to unlock, more on that later.

[h3]New Cosmetics[/h3]

WIP screenshot. Contents subject to change.

As is tradition, the Cosmetics found in the previous Victory Board will be found in a new page in the Cosmetic Vault. To make navigating the Cosmetic Vault easier, we are adding filters, rearranging pages, and providing additional navigation options.

We are also adding new Cosmetics to the game. These Cosmetics will be available as rewards for the Victory Board, as well as a new page in the Cosmetic Vault. We will also increase the spawn rate of Stylish Treasure. Between these changes, and the Vault Dust reward for completing Authored Challenges, we hope that all players will be able to unlock all Cosmetics by playing the game.

On the Friday stream, we showcased two of the new Cosmetic items. They are seen below.

[h3]Nekomimi Mode[/h3]

Nekomimi Mode is a pair of cat ears you can put on your player. However, it does not belong to the Head Slot. Instead, it is a Head Effect. This allows you to pair it with existing helmets and the like. Some of the combinations, such as the way we showcased on our Friday stream, are quite fun!

[h3]Immaterial Wings[/h3]

The Immaterial Wings are a new, uniquely animated item for the Back Slot that have a fiery, ethereal presence to them. These wings are the reward for completing the new Victory Board. Do your best to earn them!

[h3]QOL and Bugfixes[/h3]

Finally, as always, we will deploy a number of improvements to the game. The most notable one is that we will disable the End Turn button when targeting. This should help prevent accidental run-ending misclicks from happening. Thank you to everybody who diligently reported this problem.

[h3]Release Date[/h3]

We will announce the release date of the Inkbound 1.1 update at a later date. We have more content to showcase as well, from Authored Challenges to new Cosmetics, which we also will do at a later date. Having said all of that, you can expect 1.1 to launch sooner than later!

Thank you to all of you who have played and enjoyed Inkbound up until this point. We hope you enjoy this exciting new update to Inkbound!

The Story Behind the Music

*frantic guitar noises*

Oh hey there, Needless! Didn’t see you there. I’m Jordan Chin, audio guy for Inkbound. Let’s talk about the music, sound, and voiceover in our game.

[h3]Sonic Landscape[/h3]

Very early in development, I worked closely with our writer, Brendan (Redbeard), to understand his high-level vision for the world. We spent some time sharing references and coming up with a few core pillars – rules about what should and shouldn’t be a part of Inkbound’s audio aesthetic. I usually find that by defining these creative boundaries from the start, it becomes a lot easier to write freely without straying too far from the mark. After that, you just throw ink at the well and see what sticks.

Here are those pillars:
  • Sound effects should read less “literal” and more “magical,” often venturing into “musical.” I’ve always loved the concept of blurring the line between a game's soundtrack and its sound design. Inkbound had a lot of great opportunities to put this concept into practice. Your Kwill chirps synthesized melodies. Picking up Kwillings plays random notes along a major 7 chord. The “singing of the sea” is something that is often referenced by NPCs in the game, and even the Uhn pillars that augment your bindings emit sounds made from guitar harmonics. We wanted players to feel like there was some magic to the world itself, but enforce the idea that this magic felt normal to everyone living within it.

  • Any “non-book music” should be aesthetically tied. There are two types of music in Inkbound - the tracks that play within the books, and the tracks that play outside of them. This pillar is about the latter. The environments contained within the books themselves are quite varied, so I knew that cohesion was going to be a challenge. It seemed important to try and ground the world outside of the books with common instrumentation. You may notice that each of these tracks – The Atheneum, the Sea of Ink, and the Bottom of the Sea – have a similar vibe and prominently feature synths, woodwinds, keys, and vibraphones.

  • Each piece of “book music” should sound unique. In contrast to the above pillar, we thought that the individual books should be as distinct from each other as possible. After all, they represent worlds created by very different Binders. Fortunately, the structure of a typical Inkbound run allows this to work. Players return to the Sea of Ink between books, and back to the Atheneum between dives. So even our more eclectic tracks, like the Derelict Starship or the Radiant Market, will always be sandwiched between something more familiar sounding. In fact, I think their stark contrast to the main “Inkbound sound” is what allows the Atheneum and and the Sea of Ink to feel like a home base.

[h3]Use of Musical Motif[/h3]

From working on Monster Train, I knew that our players would latch onto a recurring musical motif. I got this very nerdy idea to create “bookend” motifs for Inkbound – a catchy melody or phrase that would be both the first and the last thing players heard – and plant them throughout the game loop. So for example, the central melody you hear in the menu reprises in the villain theme, the final boss fight, and the credits track. (I actually tried to Inception™ it into your minds as early as our announcement trailer). The “bookend” structure lends itself particularly well to roguelikes, where players might squeeze multiple runs into each session. Ideally, the setup and payoff of those musical motifs should happen multiple times each time you sit down to play. There are more motifs to be found, and even a nod to an older project of ours called Death’s Door, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves.

[h3]Fully Voiced Cast[/h3]

This was a tremendous opportunity that I feel fortunate to have been a part of. Each member of our cast brought something new and exciting to their characters, and I can’t speak highly enough about them. Check out the credits sequence for a full cast list. But before arriving at the decision to fully voice the game, there were two interesting (failed) iterations of our dialogue system that I think should be discussed:
  • First, we tried voicing a conlang (constructed language), a process during which I somehow managed to rip off Hollow Knight and every Zelda game at once. The main problem here, aside from my acting, was that there wasn’t enough variety, nor could we make a strong connection between the voiceover and writing. You’ll notice that the voice of the player’s Kwill is a made-up, melodic performance. Even with the Kwillspeak text obscured, it was challenging to find enough variety. Multiply that problem by the number of characters in Inkbound, and you can imagine how difficult it was to connect with them using this method.

  • Next, some members of our team recorded one-liner “emotes” – things like “Hmm…” to indicate contemplation, or grumbling to indicate frustration – and we applied them broadly throughout the game to approximate the emotion behind each line. It quickly became repetitive and didn’t convey the nuance of the writing well enough.

Once we decided to fully voice the game, Brendan and I took the opportunity to expand on a principle that we first enforced during Monster Train: our voice actors are our collaborators. Aside from providing some artwork and character details, we gave them complete freedom to interpret their characters. We began every session by encouraging them to bring their own creativity to the table. Some of them would improvise radically different voices on the fly. Others would suggest line edits mid-session (all of which we took). Ultimately, the cast connected deeply with their respective characters, and helped to bring out something that we never would have achieved alone.

And that’s just about it! Inkbound is a game about the importance of stories. It ponders the threatening possibility of losing them, and it pushes players to think about their own. While my aim with the audio was to convey the weight of this very existential topic, I hope that it also leaves you with a little bit of the magic, wonder, and inspiration that I felt while making it.

Thanks for hanging out, and I’ll see you around the Atheneum!

Top VFX in Inkbound 1.0

Hello everyone! ShinyBrandon here, and I’m the sparkle/explosion/magic maker here at Shiny Shoe. I cooked up many new VFX with Inkbound 1.0 and I wanted to share some of my favorite additions to the game.

[h2]New Passive VFX![/h2]

We are always looking for ways to communicate game mechanics visually. Passives will only be noticed if there is a visual connection with the characters, so we wanted to step these up.

Here are a few of my favorites!


It was always hard to tell when Controlled Weaving was active, so I was thrilled to make it stand out more.


This one feels great! Visually telling when the spirit bomb was ready to BLOW for maximum damage was a big upgrade.

[h3] Magma Miner[/h3]

My all-time favorite right here! Heat has changed a lot mechanically but almost every iteration was built around gaining 10 stacks or so. It was always important to keep an eye on, but now you KNOW when you’ve got a big hit ready to go

Please note that the following section contains spoilers regarding the ultimate final boss in Inkbound.
[h3]The Unbound[/h3]

Our big bad final boss HAD to have some cool FX.

The environment FX were a lot of fun. We had to really sell that the land bits were falling through this unraveling dimension.

The head flames and glowing mask took a while to hammer out and get just right. It also had to work as a player cosmetic! Overall I’m happy with the results.

That’s all from me today! I hope you all have a wonderful day and I’ll catch you next time for more sparkles and explosions.

Programming the UI for Inkbound

Hey Inkbound fans, I’m Muhammad Abdul-Rahim, better known to the community as Marimo. You may have seen me on a few of the weekly streams, filling in when either Cami or Andrew are unavailable. Well, today, I’m here to give you an inside peek into what it’s like to program the UI in this game. I’ll try not to get super technical with these details, but it might lean a bit in that direction!

Let’s start by dissecting a simple screen: the StatHudScreen!

In game, this screen shows up in the bottom-right corner of the HUD. It displays a small subset of important game stats that you can quickly reference without having to open the more detailed Stats screen. So, first things first, let’s look at the layout of the screen:

The cubes represent objects in the hierarchy for this screen. Blue cubes represent prefabs, shared components that I can copy and paste as needed. Changes made internally to a prefab are reflected on all instances of the prefab, which is useful for visual components that are reused throughout the game. Let’s now take a look at an individual StatEntryUI component:

It’s actually quite simple: just an icon and a text label. The icon seen above is just a placeholder visual for the actual icon: the icon of the stat itself. This is where things get a bit complicated, as two invisible forces work to populate this simple UI component:

  • The numeric label is localized, such that it will display properly across all supported locales
  • The icon sprite is loaded via the addressable asset system, such that the image for the stat is not put into memory until it is needed, so as to reduce memory consumption and boot time of the overall title

Luckily, the numeric label is just that: numeric. As such, we can configure it to not support font switching between locales, as our other text labels support. This ensures the numeric display will be identical for this component across all locales. That is useful because the amount of screen space we have on the HUD is limited, so we’d like things to be the same across locales, if possible. We only hit that checkbox for purely numeric labels, and only sometimes, as the need arises.

Looking at the high level of the visual script, we see our references to the 12 UI components that comprise the StatHudScreen, but we also see a different reference above it, one to something called StatCategoryVisualData. Let’s look at what’s going on in there…

Wow, it’s kind of complicated! This visual data object contains a lot of information on all the stats we want to visualize throughout the game, the categories they belong to, rules on when they can show, if they can only show in the HUD or if they can also show in the more detailed view, and beyond. This piece of data is referenced in multiple places in the game!

Scrolling to the bottom of the object, we see our references to the stats we want to display in the HUD. It is this list that the UI visual screen uses to determine which stats to showcase. Any designer can go in and specify the data with the tools provided in the game engine editor. This allows anybody to make changes to the visual HUD display, both here and in the detailed stats view, without having to adjust code further.

This gets to the crux of why we put the effort in to expose functionality in the editor and outside code: we want the game to be easy for designers to maintain, and we don’t want to force the designers to learn how to code just to do something as simple as reordering stats in the HUD. The core of my work is not so much making the game directly, but rather, making the tools that make the game. In other words, creating a wrapper atop the engine, a framework, with which Inkbound can be crafted.

If you made it this far without getting bored, congrats! Thanks for reading this, and thank you for playing Inkbound. I look forward to crafting more and more content for you to enjoy!