October is now officially half way through. Doing my best to stay on schedule and get the game ready for the October Challenge. If I can make the deadline, then perfect, else I'll keep working on it till it's ready. One thing I'm trying to avoid is releasing it unfinished and unpolished. In the previous post I've talked a bit about how the AI works. I'll have a new blog post soon with some updates and information on the next version dubbed Irene. For now, I will focus on the game editor and the goals I hope to accomplish with this game.
First of all, I would like to mention that I'm going indie. Actually I went indie 4 months ago, but Mutant Gangland represents the first game I will release that is developed for myself, by myself. I have no experience with releasing a game on any platform so I'm getting ready for one hell of a ride. I'm writing this blog posts for two reasons:
- To relieve some stress and tension that has accumulated during development.
- To ease you guys into the game and hopefully get some feedback before I release it into the wild.
Right now I'm working on version 0.2.0 of the game. There have been a number of builds released on #Devsofa for a restricted number of (awesome) people and their feedback really helped in shaping the game. As November draws closer and closer I need to get some more fresh eyes on the game. The current version of the game focuses on usability and responsiveness. This actually refers to everything that's meant to make the game more enjoyable outside of the core mechanics. Since the game is "marketed" as a coffee-break TBS (aka meant to be enjoyed in short bursts) I want to make it as easy as possible to interact with it, meaning that I want you to start playing it as soon as you execute it. I'm doing my best to not have any noticeable load times and so far, things are going great. You can enter a battle in less then 4 seconds after starting the game ( from your phone's dashboard/pc's desktop ), even on older devices.
The biggest challenge I'm facing at this point is getting you to understand the mechanics without reading any manual ( although I am planning on providing one ). The game is indeed a Turn Based Strategy game and requires strategic approach and some planning but, on the same time, the rules are more relaxed and newcomer friendly. Terrain plays a role during the fight, but mostly it affects how far a unit can travel. The idea is to streamline all that data in an easy to use fashion and not clutter the interface with all kinds of numbers. As far as I'm concerned, having only a counter for how many money a player has and how much health the enemies have is all that is needed. Then again, I realize many experienced players and fans of the genre love more complexity in their games, and the ability to control and plan every movement while keeping track of all possible outcomes. And I will try to provide such complexity possibly through a "Game+" mode.
I'm planning on offering 11 maps for the campaign mode (ranging from a short intro tutorial, to skirmish battles, conquest maps and challenges) and 30 to 50 free battles maps (free as in not-campaign related. Think Quick Battles), with more to be released later either by me, or by players. In order for this to happen, I've integrated the Level Editor into the Game and it can be accessed from the Main Menu. There are no scripting capabilities yet or built-in map sharing but I hope to address this issue with an update. PC players can just zip their own maps and send them to who they want, but sadly, mobile users will only be able to play their own designed maps, for now. As far as the editor goes, you can select the size of the map (between 10x10 up to 45x45 tiles), fill it with land, or place gaps. Place rock formations or cacti, temples, house and units. By adding new tiles in the texture atlases you can create new terrain's and add collision to it (from the editor. Note the red squares on the image above). I might also expose LUA API for the game for those who want to add new units and or make their own AI or game modes, but that's just a idea for now. I really do not want to overreach with my first game.
I've recorded a video showing off the current status of the game. I do want to apologize for the audio recording but I do not have access to any mic, besides the one built-into my laptop. It shows footage of the editor and gameplay on a new map I designed a few days ago. You can view it on MGL's indieDB page.
If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment bellow. I'll do my best to make things more clear and, to be honest, I'm dying to get some new, fresh, feedback.