In between digging out of the big snows that have plagued the East Coast (we got over 16 inches a couple of weeks ago in central Virginia), we've been very productive this past month. We have reached our Alpha milestone!
This is huge because it means that every game play-related feature is in (in one form or another) and now we can concentrate on working toward our beta. It took a little longer than we expected but we’re pretty happy with the results!
While there are tons of things that have been done, here are just a few of the bigger things we accomplished since our last update...
- Darkness: This feature required all-hands on deck for implementation. It touched all aspects of the game: graphics, scripting, and PAC engine. Take a look at what Sarah has put together in the latest video update to see how this is looking. We are still tweaking this graphically.
- Organizational Refactoring: Our programmers have refactored the structure of game files. This is so we can easily support the various difficulty levels, tutorial mode, localization into other languages, etc. More of an under the hood piece of work, but important nonetheless.
- Animation Prefabs and Spawn Points: We have added spawn points to all the rooms so that differing animations can play as necessitated by the script. This allows us to share one animation or particle effect across multiple scenes without having to add it to every scene. A real savings on the footprint for each scene load.
- Animations and particles: We continue to finalize our 2D animations and insert the particles effects that are needed for object specific interactions (like burning a burnable object) and various room ambiance (like fog and rain).
So now we move on toward our Beta Milestone and the full implementation of features that are only mostly in the game. This includes the following...
- Achievements: The support for our in-game achievements is currently being added to the game engine. We need to then input this into the script where necessary and hook in the visual display of each on the achievement page. And of course, part of this process is to add the support hooks for external achievement systems like Steam.
- Tutorial: While the design, xml script and assets are completed, we will be tying this together with the code (based upon the refactoring mentioned above) and begin testing it.
- Visual/Audio Tweaks: We are going through the game and polishing all the animated sequences. This includes adding missing audio, tweaking animation durations, and adding delays so things sync up properly.
- Play Test and Polish: Before we release the game to beta testers, we intend to play test and polish Shadowgate as much as possible to make it an awesome game.
We now have word that our game boxes have been cleared from the Port of Richmond. Talk about your slow boats! Hopefully we'll get our eyes on them soon!
And again, if you didn’t get your Humble key, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be sure to get that sorted out.
We are thankful for the continued support you have shown for our small company. We know it’s taking longer to develop than we had hoped but with the addition of extra rooms and features, we feel that we are giving you a much better game. Feel free to drop us a line (or post a comment) and let us know what you think.
We very much appreciate your feedback!
Karl and the Zojoi Team