Godus (Video) Update 36
The following blog-style updates will narrate the daily going-ons of the development team, they are written by Sam.
THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS
This is the last update for 2013 and what a year this has been. It’s common to make up an end-of-year list and I’m no different. This time last year we were moving into the final hours of our Kickstarter campaign and my stress levels were finally able to return to normal; both backers and pledges were still coming in thick and fast. We posted an open invitation to everyone in the neighborhood and beyond to come down to the studio for a small celebration (which we ended up broadcasting live for the world to see [link skip to 11 minutes 30 seconds]). In January we came back to the studio and each got given our own obsessions to focus on and after the prototype we built the development of GODUS started in earnest. Then only a mere five months later we released our first Alpha to our Alpha backers and the feedback we received from that was invaluable. While our Alpha was around 200MB to download, the Beta which we announced at PAX and launched on 13th September came in at 650MB. That’s a mere nine months after development started in earnest! While there is still a lot of work left to do (Followers, Living World, Connected Worlds, God Powers, the list goes on and on) we’re pretty happy with how it’s gone and despite popular belief, your feedback does get taken into account by all of our designers. No doubt 2014 will be just as crazy and exciting, with new updates to GODUS for PC and Mac, a mobile and tablet version that will be going into Beta and of course the LINUX version at some stage. And don’t forget Bryan once the ‘Connected Worlds’ become active.
The team has been working on and finishing their latest sprint this week, which focusses on polishing existing features and of course expanding on the Follower behaviour, the new timeline and Leash. Earlier this month, we all took the afternoon off and met up at Peter’s place, where he had cooked us a truly lovely Christmas lunch. I have to also admit that some of us enjoyed a little tipple before we made our way there, but it just made everyone very jovial. Gary, Russell, Paul, Peter, Tim, Jemma and Peter (there’s two of them!) were the cooks for the morning but unfortunately not one of them had realized that a turkey needs quite a bit of time in the oven and so lunch was delayed by a tiny two hours. They should have had a spreadsheet with it all planned out on there, nevertheless the turkey that was served was absolutely delicious and very moist. Something had gone wrong with Peter’s (in)famous bread-sauce though as it resembled more of a gooey slop-mix and so wasn’t served. Brussels sprouts, carrots, red cabbage, perfectly roasted potatoes and of course gravy plus cranberry sauce (without strawberries) were put on the table. This time last year more than half of the people at the table were there enjoying a Christmas lunch together and it was absolutely amazing to do it again and with a few new faces too!
The team are still working tirelessly on the game (Sprint 5 finishes today) but yesterday when the power went out for a brief two and a half hours everyone remained (in a dark office) waiting for everything to be sorted out. Card games came out, candles came out and overall the mood was quite jovial. Then when the power came up everyone stormed back to their desks to continue coding, making art assets and generally doing what a developer does best.
Now, I was keen to continue this update talking about the new Follower system and the animations that go with it, unfortunately Dimitri (code) and Tim (animation) have both started their end of year break so that’s a no-go. However, one new piece of information I’ve learned is that the Leash which was shown in video update #35 actually replaces the Totem! Let me go into a little more detail about it;
While the Leash serves the same purpose as the Totem it does behave in a very different way. Firstly, you hold the left mouse button and then drag it it onto a Follower or Abode which will activate the Follower Leash. If you continuously drag it then you will draw a path which will fade off shortly behind the drag point. Upon releasing the Leash at any point, all affected Followers will immediately travel to that destination where they will look for something to do, similar to how the Totem worked. The line disappears once the mouse button has been released. Now if the Leash is released on an activity such as a building plot or farm field, then that activity will glow or show to indicate an objective. Otherwise the end destination of the line will glow as a small circle. Followers who are traveling to a destination while under the spell of a Leash will have a unique glow effect so they can be easily distinguished from other Followers. Clicking on one of them will make them snap out of the Leash mode and they shall look for a job applicable to them before going back to their previous behaviour. Shaking the mouse pointer will deactivate the Leash completely which is very akin to how it worked in Black&White and just feels great.
Holding on an Abode (felt tent etc...) as it’s Leashed will display the occupancy slot in that specific abode, combine that with Follower types and behaviour I spoke about in a previous update and you can to see that Builders, Farmers, Miners, Traders and Breeders for example all will react differently to possible scenarios that this offers. If you then throw in the items of the world such as trees, rocks or belief bubbles and combine it with the Leash behaviour and Follower behaviour you can see how much gameplay this offers all of a sudden...
No doubt we will be sharing much more detail about the Leash (and more) in January 2014, for now all of us developers are returning to our families (abroad and in the UK) to spend some quality time together and look back at the year gone by where we’ve laughed, cried but most importantly were able to release GODUS on Steam Early Access and receive so much great feedback to work with in 2014 that GODUS is going to be the game of the year, next year, I believe!