I started 2015 with enthusiasm, big ideas, and tons of time. As 2015 came to an end I sat at my desk and reflected on “Where did all the time go?!” For those who missed it, or are just curious, here is a summary of the game's development progress. I guess you could say this post is like the "making of" documentary! :-)
Movement and Town generation
Since I started the project the world would generate random towns on a pre-painted map. Movement was a simple distance calculation. But it is more realistic to have a road network for faster movement and AI movement calculation. This pic is the first attempt at that. In the end I had all towns connected to at least one road. This allows the player to move realistically throughout the world.
Unfortunately, by the end of the year I’d have to scrap the whole thing. :-(
Trade and Economy
With the ability to move came the ability to trade with merchants. AI haggling, inventory, supply-demand economy. It’s very important the player has multiple paths to wealth generation, not just killing and looting.
I took my first stab at the dungeons and locales the player can visit for adventures. It totally sucked. Had to be scrapped. I played some Darkest Dungeon and it gave me some ideas on how to fix it that I still need to revisit.
I went to GDC for the first time. It was amazing. I was very impressed. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it back in 2016.
Combat involves many components to work. Beyond the spell and enemy design is the niggley under the hood stuff of timing and sequencing the visuals. After months of work I finally created the robust sequencer tech I can use for combat and anything else in the game. This was the least obvious part of game dev and I appreciate the help some AAA’s gave me in explaining the concepts.
Playable Demo Build
I managed to piece together enough of the game to show it for the first time at CGDC in Portland, Oregon. The power went out in the middle of the demo, but people seemed to like it.
Live demo on Twitch
With a playable game (at least by me) in hand, I ventured into the streaming world of Twitch with fear and trepidation. Thanks to everyone who came on the live stream and asked questions as I showed the game off. The whole livestream was pared down to the essence in 5 short videos on the new Youtube channel.
With a playable build the website no longer reflected the state of the game. I needed something more extensive that I could post updates, screenshots, and more to. And one day take pre-orders on!
I could show a picture, but you are already on it, so there’s no point!
World State Saving
I couldn’t save a game world. What used to work in the prototype was broken in the Unity build of the game. I put off rewriting it as long as I could, but it had to be dealt with. Fortunately, with the help of a fan Don Bloomfield, I have smooth world state saving/loading tech.
Baby James Arrives
Baby James was born Oct 9 and development diminished to almost nothing for the rest of the year. James is our third child making it official: I now have 3 kids three and under. My home is a circus crying, dirty diapers, bottles, and flying Duplo.
Good news: I'm not having anymore kids! We've got plenty!
With a playable build it was time to shoot a new trailer for the game. Unfortunately making trailers is REALLY hard because it is a creative iterative process. We started in Aug and over 3 months scrapped at least 3 or 4 different versions until we finally got one that best describes the soul of the game. Maybe it isn't the greatest trailer ever made, but it certainly is the best trailer of Archmage Rises ever made! :-)
Well there you have it, a whole year distilled into a few paragraphs. As I look at it I guess I did get a lot done. The difficulty is that I also see the MOUNTAIN of work still to go. But I’ll leave how I’ll tackle that for another post.