New Year For You All, Same Kinda Day For Us!
WOOOO! It is 2014!!! We wish that everyone had a hyper-safe holiday season these past few weeks! We don't have a lot to share on today's update, but we'll give you a general rundown as to how things are progressing. A lot of text coming up!
Designing, DESIGNING, DESIGNING!
We haven't made much progress since our last informational update in terms of content creation. Alan and Rob are still tweaking things in the game's design before moving on to creating art assets again. Design should never be taken lightly; the outcome of it can either make or break the game; it also leaves us mentally exhausted every day, although its very fun! (Though we'd prefer just making sprites and backgrounds in a perfect world.) We feel before we move on to getting back to creating animations and environmental assets, we want to make sure that everything is 100% solid so we're not forced to make changes later down the road.
The issue here is that we can't just design one area, finish it and then move on to designing a new area, finish that, and rinse and repeat, as much as we'd like to. Since this kind of game has no "stages", we have to design on a broader scale and all elements of the world need to rely properly on each other. One error in design and it can break the whole flow of the game. The other issue is that we want to show stuff but can't relatively show much without spoiling it, since Cryamore is pretty story-driven.
We're close to finishing and laying out each area, however. Once everything is throughly checked, we can get back to work and making the gameplay solid and visuals pretty. We're finally zeroing in on this, and we reckon that in about another week, we'll be finished with this phase of development and can finally start showcasing more actual fun things to whet your appetite again.
Programming Side of Things
The greatest news here is that we've figured a lot of the more complex problems out, and since Cryamore is a relatively huge game, that is what has taken up most of our time; figuring out the most proficient method(s) to making the rest of the game. A lot of what you've played in that GDC demo has been scrapped and reworked from the ground up, to be better.
Cryamore utilizes what we call a "World Object Hierarchy", where each object in the game has its own unique ID. Our system can call to each of these IDs and can be manipulated via our other systems. It gives us a way to maintain the state of our scenes (rooms/areas in the game) and the world objects within them (What doors have been opened? How many monsters and what variations of them have been killed? What shop is open at this or that time? What switches have been pressed? What puzzles have been solved? etc.). We don't have to manage and keep track of an index of system checks ourselves for each different scenario, puzzle, item, and cutscene. Each object has its own ID we can just reference through any other system. If this is confusing, we apologize, but basically this just means that level, event, and content creation will be a breeze from here on out.
We also pulled an additional programmer, Felipe Ramos, to help out on the more lighter systems we still need to code in, like shops and AI (of which AI is his forte!) Welcome, Felipe! But as a whole, things are going smoothly in this area. We also can't champion Unity enough, as it has made a lot of things easy thus far and we're not looking anywhere else when it comes to game development.
We also want to get some input from our backers and our audience as a whole. If you can answer or give your thoughts to the following questions, we'd greatly appreciate it. It'll help give us further thought as we're finalizing this aspect of the game's development.
- Do you prefer to have a bit of control when it comes to directing your narrative or do you not care? How much do you weigh "choice"?
- We're following a puzzle system to where a puzzle progresses the game indirectly (in the later parts of the game, as the second half of the game is completely non-linear). If you're stuck on a puzzle, you can leave and go to a different area, and come back and try again later. With that said, how frustrating do you find difficult puzzles? Does it turn you off from a game? Do you like the challenge?
- How meticulous are you when it comes to management? For example, we have our Fatigue system, Cryamore Currency Exchange system, and Ability (Learning and Organizing) system to manage, all at once. Do you find this overwhelming, or do you welcome it?
Please note that we do not cater to a general populous as we've set out to do what we've already lined out, but we do take these kinda viewpoints into account, and will help us make necessary changes to our game if the need arises!
Certainly something we can't say much on! We've posted this little tiny snippet on our dev blog a bit back, and we'll let you guys speculate as to what it could be. =)
With all that's said in this post, we're coming up close to a full year since we've launched our Kickstarter, and we're no where near to where we thought we'd be at this time. We call it ignorance, as we've never made a game of this scale before and our estimates were off. But alas, Ignorance is Bliss! We're not too worried about it since we still have a firm hold on everything! Things are finally going to pick up a constant speed, and as much as we'd like to hit the end of March for near-completion, it's probably not going to happen. We apologize in advance for those who were looking forward to the game's completion closing in around that time. However, as we move further along, you will continue to be in the know as always, and a lot more often than it has been now that things are speeding up!
We end this update with a new piece of music from Aivi!
Another thing: we've been getting a literal storm of emails and messages from those who have found our Kickstarter late and would like to show their support for the game. Please know that we definitely would appreciate that you want to help out any way you can, but we're focused on the game and haven't found time to set up a method for you to contribute yet. But it will be up soon and we will definitely announce when you're able to preorder the game!
Again, here's to a great 2014! We're personally pretty excited ourselves over here. =)