Games are tricky, aren't they? Updates from John and Josh
Hello, dear backers. Developer John here.
Where has the time gone? Where have I been? What's going on with the team and the game? Important and valid questions.
First, I owe everyone an apology, for being a huge jerk and going silent for so long. I've been fighting some pretty heavy depression and anxiety issues, plus the awful Texas summer heat, and frankly my productivity has been in the dumps. That's not an excuse, but it is an explanation. I've felt awful about not keeping you all in the loop. So, I'm sorry, folks. I've been working on getting back on the horse, and things seem to be looking up.
Now, the game:
Due to above personal problems, development stalled from about the time the last CharaMaker update was pushed, up until a few weeks ago. I've been working as I've been able, but it hasn't been nearly as much as would have been preferable. That changed two or three weeks ago, and I've been back on a roll, getting the dungeon build ready.
I've completely re-written the dungeon generation algorithm to be much more sane than it had been, and I'll make another post (maybe this weekend) about the technical details of that, since it's pretty fun. The new generator should allow for much easier procedural design as we go forward, so bonus.
We're aiming to have a dungeon release in the next three to four weeks; we are discussing a specific deadline date internally now, but it will be sometime in October for certain. Depending on the polish we can put on it in that time, this release I will consider either as "Alpha 2" or "pre-Beta." That means the first dungeon release may not look quite as finished as the CharaMaker did at first alpha. As the adage goes, the last 10% takes 90% of the time. Polish takes a while.
We're mostly past the technology test phase, which is ultimately what the CharaMaker served as. I know there are still a number of devices which have problems of one sort or another. I'll continue working to resolve these going forward, but that's going to take a back seat to getting the game made.
Once the dungeon release is out, I'm going to be much more aggressive about pushing updates; essentially after every day of feature adding or bug fixing, depending.
So, what has the team as a whole been up to? While waiting for me to quit being lame, the art team (Severin, Ian, Matt) have been putting together something Quite Fun on the side. It's a small Princess Panic-related browser clicky-adventure game that we'll be releasing this weekend. It's low on technical fancy but high on charm. Updates to it will be episodic (kind of an interactive web comic), worked on when we need a break from the DunPan pixel-pushing.
Also, Josh, Severin, and I are considering doing a Google Hangout for backers, if that's something you'd be keen on. Sort of a general Q&A; ask us questions about the team, the game, Princess Panic, Josh's comics, whatever you like. Let us know if that's something you'd be interested in, and we'll work out the logstics to make it happen.
All that said, feel free to ask questions here, berate me for being such a jerk and neglecting the forums, etc.
Josh here! I thought I'd follow this up with a (slightly revised) crosspost of a general update I posted recently on the Kickstarter message board:
The game's progress: The graphical assets for the game are finished,programming on the random dungeons are in progress, and well, John has all the details in his post, so no need to elaborate there.
Once that is done, we'll be coming up on one of the trickier parts of the game, which is implementing the character interactions and writing the storylines, which is the part of the game I'll personally be involved with the most, so I'll have a little more hands-on stories to tell by then. Up 'till now it's been mostly John and Severin. I do feel bad about not being more involved as I have been, but the team has been doing a great job.
I do apologize for being so off on the March 2013 expected release. Dungeon Panic was meant to be a quick, simple, and cheap project to help us warm up and yet we still underestimated how long it'd take. A lot of it has to do with bits of the game simply turning out a bit more complicated than planned, plus being new to videogame making in general makes these estimations a little tricky.
That said, it seems like a similar case with my comics, where I'll frequently have three-month projects turn into one-year projects, so you'd think I'd have learned this by now! At any rate, don't take the lack of communication to mean we're no longer doing anything. Videogames are just hard to be transparent with when you're directly in the middle of development. Which is pretty much where we are... directly in the middle.
When the game is first conceived, it's an exciting time and there's all these new designs and game ideas to talk about... and then when the game is almost finished, it is also a very exciting time because there's finished stuff to show and a big push to get people to play it. But in the middle... there's really just coding, getting everything assembled together, as well as various things that are best to keep secret until the game is out. It's tricky, and I can see why the professional companies tend to wait until they're near the end of development before they even announce their games.
This is also the reason I don't update the Tumblr with Princess Panic news much anymore even though I'm still working on that game every so often.
But it is time to get things moving again, and so we shall. As John mentioned, we do have a (no longer) secret minigame on the way, as well as the hangout, which we will post a more concrete date for in an upcoming update.
In the meantime, please bombard this update with any questions you may have!
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