Ok, so this post is definitely, definitely late. It was due. As in, me being late writing a post was due, not the post itself. I mean, it was, but- nevermind.
So it's been two weeks since my last update, and I've only barely sort of done some work. Real life, as ever, has come to the forefront and taken up the majority of my time and mental energy. But that isn't an OK excuse, and never is. A number of small updates have been made to the game, mostly visually, but it's all moving in the right direction. The risk at this stage of development is getting stuck doing these kinds of small updates for too long instead of focusing on bigger, more important tasks.
The two biggest tasks still remain - implement the new intro, and implement the ending. Progress has sort of been made on both these fronts. The new intro has been sketched out on paper, so I know exactly what needs to go where and at what point. In all honesty, this is probably what I should have done first, rather than write everything out. But I show no signs of learning my lesson as I spent a good chunk of the past weekend writing out the ending, which I was basically happy with.
Funnily enough I actually felt weird writing the ending. As I've said many times before, this game is not going to be some epic masterpiece meant to capture the hearts of millions. It's a HTML5 mini-game that could probably be finished in a half hour. That said, writing out what the final bits of dialogue and actions would be, I felt a sense of closure and satisfaction I didn't expect. God help me if I ever write something that has actual emotional weight.
A number of small art updates were also made, including the very specific addition of closed doors at the top of each level. In the game, as you moved from one level to another, you exited through a door. But when arrived at the new level, there was no door in sight. I felt that showing the door you just walked through would help make the game feel a bit more connected.
Another small change that I made was making it easier to exit a level after completing it. It's a small change that makes a big difference. On the PC, where I make and test the game, it's easy exiting a level as I have the precision of a mouse cursor to click the exact point I need to. But once I start testing on a mobile device, I am reliant on a fat finger, which is less accurate. And at that point it becomes more difficult to exit the level. Making the exit area slightly larger helps resolve this crucial problem, and makes the game as a whole feel smoother.
My end of April deadline for finishing all code looks like it may be missed at this point. I'm disappointed in myself for letting it happen, but as long as I keep pushing forward, I think I'll get over it.
I can't tell if this weekly post is late, or if it's within the week I was meant to post and I'm just doing it later than usual. It's probably late. Either way, here it is.
So I've been back in the UK for almost two weeks now and have been busier than expected with completely non-dev related stuff. My new goal/objective is to be done with coding completely by the end of April. With just about three weeks left in the month, that makes for a pretty tight deadline taking into account all of my other responsibilities. But I cannot allow development to continue spiralling on, especially considering this game is not intended for sale or to make money at all.
The biggest thing accomplished this week was two fold - the new introduction and tutorial was written and finalised (but not fully implemented), and new end game graphics were provided and added. So the end game no longer looks like it was design by some flipper handed child with a broken crayon.
The introduction and tutorial proved to be a bigger challenge for me than expected.Trying to get across the basic story, objective, controls and structure in a quick, straightforward manner can be difficult. Making sure the intro isn't too long that people lose interest is the top priority. Teaching the player the controls and the objects, is the second priority. I managed to come up with an intro that I was happy with on paper, and started implementing it. Hopefully I'll be done with it soon so that I know whether or not it works in-game.
Next was all the new art and animations for the end-game sections. Chris, despite now being situated on the other side of the planet, has still been plugging away with new backgrounds and sprites. And all of the new art has been awesome, even with me not being helpful and giving very little idea of what I thought would be needed.
So, over the next week I hope to get the rest of the intro implemented into the game, and after that will be the ending. The ending still needs to be written, but the finish line is in sight. Almost.