I don’t really have any time or reason to make a video update, but I’ll give the low-down on what I’ve done during this extremely busy year.
First, I developed the story a lot. The story and world of the game is totally different to when I started this blog. I’m not going to release any details but I feel like it’s nearing the point when I can share it publicly, update marketing info, and whatnot. The name “Soratobu Kaichuu” is becoming a bit meaningless too.
The player now has the ability to zoom in, allowing you to see things like books, messages on walls, and paintings in finer detail, revealing clues to puzzles, fragments of stories, history and culture. A great deal of fun in point-n-click games is exploring the world through clicks and finding secrets, and the zoom feature can replicate this. The camera mostly remains fixed on the centre of rooms now, rather than following the player non-stop. This is a massive aid in navigating around the world, and allows me to guide the player around much more easily.
I finessed the combat. You can manoeuvre the tail with far more precision, and it plays a much deeper role in combat than before. The longer you hold the bite button, the more your bite will “charge up”, ending the button-mashing and making a stealthy ambush far more rewarding. This all maintains the intuitive one-button control scheme.
My home-baked collision detection system was not really very complete, so I implemented a full, commercially-utilised, physics engine; box2D. Other games that use this include Limbo, Angry Birds, and Amygdala. It’s saved me probably hundreds of hours getting my own physics up to scratch and allows me do some things far more elegantly. For example, instead of a door automatically opening whenever you get near it on the correct side or with the right key, it’s now a simple matter of pushing it open from the right position/with the right item. Some items also work dynamically with the physics, affected by gravity and whatnot. The difference is incredible.
I also did a lot of internal work on the game engine. It’s hard to explain what unless you’re versed in software design, but the results show. For example, where the game used to use up to 2.3 gigabytes of ram, it now rarely exceeds 1.6 gigabytes. I can probably get that even lower - but of course, one should always leave optimisation last in game development.
Outside of the engine, I drew and painted probably more than 100 art assets just for the prologue. I haven’t counted exactly but that’s a conservative figure. And last but not least, I graduated from high school with good enough grades to potentially make it into the advanced computer science course at Adelaide Uni. Offers for positions haven’t been made yet, but wish me luck :)
As for the future, I’d said to a couple of people that I would release the prologue as a demo, totally separate from the final game, sometime toward the end of this year or early next year. This is unlikely to happen now within that time frame, because I’ve decided to work on extending the core engine until it’s really polished and beautiful before completing more of the game demo. I’ll announce a proper release date later.
But as of now, I’m really tired of marketing, I can’t figure out how to use Twitter in a consistently interesting way. I think I will take a break over the holidays to work on the game itself. The next time you hear from me will probably be a reasonable-sized update, so see you on the other side :D