Fun Infused Friday - Home Stretchiness
This week has been pretty much Volchaos exclusive. Something about getting near the end of a development cycle really motivates me to want to put the finishing touches on a game more than anything else. I'm still feeling good about an October release but it will be towards the very end of the month (and if I hit snags, the beginning part of November). I've done a little bit of playing with Unity3D again and I even setup a Mac and did some Objective C programming.
Volchaos is getting polished a lot this week, mainly the UI. The menu headers, text, and various buttons got some fresh painted added to them which individually doesn't seem like much but altogether really improves the look of the game. I even went and added a basic loading screen for the 1 second of load time the game takes.
All the expert levels are now finished too. These are more difficult versions of the existing levels that are unlocked once you collect all gems in a level (see video below). The levels themselves are given a black and white look and the lava speed is turned way up. Personally I find these to be some of the most fun levels as your room for error is so low. The levels really become a mad dash to reach the finish.
This week I also finally quit procrastinating and did work on the final boss. The final boss of Volchaos is a Tiki God that dances around the level, jumps up onto a platform above, summons some fire bats, jumps down, and repeats (until you discover the secret to defeat him). Before this week, he would successfully jump onto the platform but then continue to jump up and down and never return to the floor. After spending a good amount of time trying to fix this behavior (which was mixed in with the same code that handles all other enemy movement), I came to the conclusion that it would be easier and cleaner to just start over on his movement. This proved to be a good decision as his movement code is a lot simpler now (it doesn't include movement patterns he doesn't have like flying or being a thowmp) and I got it working in literally a half hour. He doesn't summon firebats yet and you cannot kill him, but the basics of his movement pattern are now completed. The hard stuff is done.
Sometimes in game development, for whatever reason, you need to drop features you'd thought about doing. For Volchaos, this week marked the time I finally decided that the game would no longer include multiple characters. While I thought it would be cool to have, adding more characters would be expensive (lots of new artwork) and cause considerable delay to the release of the game mainly do to re-balancing issues with the existing levels. If I ever do a Volchaos sequel, I'll hopefully be able to include multiple characters but for this version it just felt like the cost was too high and the benefits not high enough.
While I didn't do any work on Nastier, I did capture some new gameplay footage. It's kinda crazy that I haven't looked at this game in almost a year. I believe when I come back to it some day, with a fresh perspective on the game and more experience as a game developer, it will result and a much better game than had I finished the game when originally intended.
My Detroit Lions are 5-0! After years of being an NFL bottom dweller, it feels good to finally have a winning team. I believe I'm realistic when it comes to expectations, so I'm not penciling us in for a Super Bowl victory just yet, but the prospects of playoffs this year seems pretty good. It's been a long time since I've been able to say that.
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