Hi friends, fans & family!
I realised recently that I was putting way to much time in on details that don’t really matter yet and I was feeling like the project wasn’t moving forward fast enough. I am doing progress no doubt but recently it was the “wrong” kind of progress. My strategy for finishing the game has been to first put all the pieces together and then start polishing like crazy and adding content but lately I’ve been doing far too much polishing and I decided to back off and focus on getting something playable out there. So first of all, let’s loudly declare that I’m aiming to get a VERY EARLY demo out before the year is over. I will most likely upload it to itch.io but perhaps this plan changes. The deadline will not however. I’ll have something out before the year ends dammit!
My newfound focus led me to start work on an actual structure for the game so here’s the stuff I’ve been doing in the last weeks:
LEVEL UP SCREEN
My current intention is to let all characters in a mission gain experience points after each level so the first thing I had to do was to get something in place to show that and set up a simple architecture for it. When characters get more than 100 XP they level up and their XP amount is reset. Characters will most likely gain the same amount of XP per level each but different levels and objectives will grant you differing amounts depending on difficulty etc. The code for this part was fairly straight forward so most of the work was layout & graphics related. Here’s the result of the first iteration:
The way the code was setup I could only present one level and that’s it and I had been waiting for the “perfect” moment to structure things so you can present levels one after the other (only for the demo, there will probably be some strategic choices in-between missions etc later). I was clearly putting it off for a reason. Game started to fall apart on my first attempt and I had to create a lot of code for resetting stuff between levels, saving and creating things. My advice would be to think about this from the onset but I built this based on a tutorial and well… It was just messy. It did end up well at least and I can now create levels at will at any given point.
My first pass with the dialogue was just to mess around and see if I could get something in place but now I wanted to improve this and make something similar to Fire Emblem: characters talking in the beginning and end of the missions and in certain order. I added a dialogue array in the JSON for the level and now it’s all tied to the level. When the level is loaded the dialogue is presented in the correct order. On top of that I added some code so you can speed up the talking and also click to get to the next talking character. Here’s an example:
The whole project has been a mess since the beginning because of what I mentioned earlier about it starting off from following a tutorial so I had files from the tutorials all over and folders that didn’t really belong where they should etc. Worse than that there were a lot of architectural things that I did not really approve of anymore now that I’ve gotten to understand Unity a bit better. A BIG part of the work recently has been to throw away code and restructure stuff to make it fit my plan better and it is MUCH easier for me to do stuff like creating new enemy units for example. It is always important to find a balance when it comes to how much refactoring (code improvement without new features) one wants to do since it takes a lot of time but if done for the correct parts of your code you will be well rewarded in the long run. The trick is to recognise which parts of the code you will be messing around with frequently. Those parts need to be robust and easy to change!
I started putting together skill trees for the characters and getting some kind of foundation in place. This part will most likely change a lot between here and release but I needed something for the players to screw around with for this first demo. There won’t be many choices or anything now at first but at least it gives a taste of the much better things to come… 😉
FINISHED PROMO IMAGE
Saving the best for last. The illustration for the game is finally finished! It will be used on the website and on the different store pages etc so it was a very important part of the marketing.
I am super pleased with the result! What do you think?
I have a friend working on the logo and once that is done I will finally be revealing the name of the game! In the meantime I will be updating the website a bit to accommodate both released games and to look a bit better.
Until next time! // Luis