We've run into several delays involving the final touches of development. For this reason, I've decided to push back the release date at least 2 weeks to June 14. I'll update you on our progress as we approach that date. Let me explain a bit about the release dates.
As you all know, in the past I have set pretty rough deadlines. I'd set something like "April of next year" or something like that. That in conjunction with the personal issues and anxiety I have explained in previous updates caused me to become numb to the urgency and priority of finishing the game. In 2017, not much got done development wise. I would always think "oh, I still have several months" and keep delaying what I need to get done. So I apologize again in the past I wasn't developing as efficiently as I could have at that time.
Mid April of this year is when I decided to set a hard deadline of June 1, at least in my mind psychologically. It has worked wonders so far and I have a ton of momentum going on at the moment. I did have a rough idea of what I had left to do, and it didn't seem to be a lot on paper so I thought 1.5 months was enough, but of course getting down to the nitty gritty of things it always takes longer than I think.
For example, I thought finalizing the main menu's functionalities would take me less than a day. It took me three full days of 8-10 hour work days. A lot of it comes down to getting things working exactly the way I want them to, smoothly, and bug free.
Another example is optimization. Unity has a great built-in profiler that identifies exactly how long scripts are taking to execute per game update. I thought my optimization fixes would be a breeze, but it turns out I had to upend a lot of deep-rooted code and optimize it at the memory level (for you programmers out there, I basically had to create a giant 2D hash map to store physical objects for collision detection - I do want to write this up someday in a post-mortem. It's super cool). So in effect I rewrote the physics engine again for the 3rd time which caused a 7x increase in speed. My friend who has an old laptop from 2011 who can play League at 60 FPS couldn't run my game smoothly at all. Now it runs at maximum speed (capped at 150 game updates/sec).
Finally, all of this has to be tested internally by my awesome co-dev Justin who meticulously tests the levels over and over and OVER, trying every possible thing that players could try or accidentally do, for any emergent bugs that appear - often times fixing one thing breaks another. If you've ever played a game and wonder "How in the hell did they possibly break THAT?!" after a patch, I feel that pain and understand it now. Every time something breaks, I have to spend time to fix it. Thankfully, the game seems *nearly* bug free at the moment.
There are numerous other examples, and there's still a bunch of polish I have yet to do (for example something as little as randomizing the initial transparency of fog that appears in game). I am staying aware of making sure I don't get caught up in endlessly thinking of things to improve, and things can always be patched after release. However, I want to make the best initial impression possible, and so it's going to take a little bit more time. Also, the final artwork and sound design still been finished, and we're constantly iterating on that so that everything feels put together and synergized.
Okay, so off the top of my head since the last update here's what was accomplished:
Story paintings are done
- Last 4 levels' backgrounds are being worked on (it involves a more complicated process than previous backgrounds, but it'll be pretty awesome!)
- Sound design is still pretty all over the place (we had a first pass done before but a lot of it just didn't fit in right), but we're zeroing in on something good I think
- Graphics settings are in the game such as disabling the animated backgrounds, fog, even making the background purely black and white
- New weather system for rain/snow/ash is in. Has multiple layers going at different speeds for immersiveness
- As mentioned before, lots of optimization. A lot. And a bit more to go actually!
- Got a bunch of great feedback from a closed beta that I'm going to go over to improve the game even more
- Laundry list of bug fixes / polish
Okay, that's it for now. Sorry to disappoint for that initial release, but please keep in mind the game is being fervently and actively worked on until it's finally done!