Friday, February 10, 2012

Game Development Blog #66

Game Development Blog #66

"Have I Made It Clear That I Detest Coming Up With Blog Titles Yet?"

Hello, heavens to murgatroyd, and all of that good stuff. It's time for another fancy-pants blog update to see about the highs and lows of independent game development, so without any further adieu let's peel this onion open once again, shall we?

Development on all fronts continues along steadily, or as best as can be expected. I officially have too much on my plate (and then some) right now, and it's certainly affecting progress on everything. I am always saying "I don't wanna be the bottleneck of the development process," but, ta-da! Anyway, everything I do, I do for good reason. I'd prefer to have a little bit "bursting at the seams" going on, than "cricket-chirps" if you know what I am saying. On that note:

GunHead - coming rocksteady, overall. If you've not seen it, there's a video capture of the latest build running on Xbox showing on our YouTube page. It's quite early, but should give you a crystal-clear idea of what to expect from this title. I am quite satisfied to say that we've overcome some huge "will this even work?" philosophical quandaries in regards to how this will perform on a touchscreen - the answer is, and not any kind of hyperbole here, spectacularly. We've got it feeling very wonderfully on the current iOS build and I could not be happier, because we are doing something fresh and unique with our control setup and not only does it work, it feels great. I know all devs say this these days as a big selling point "our controls are flawless" on their touchscreen platform games with a virtual D-pad. You are all liars! I have seen some which are alriiiiight, but nothing which has made me feel it's an acceptable replacement for buttons. We've definitely nailed it with GunHead, to this current point.

The downside? In it's (still early) state, I can not yet give the game to a random joe-schmoe and have them intuitively grok they control layout. It's not particularly complicated (this is the point!) but it's also not not something which is immediate in its self-explanation. Research has shown that this is a tough hurdle in mobile development, so we will need to work quite hard to craft a compelling "teach you how to use the controls" experience. Fine. I can do that :)

Trapdoor - likewise, YouTube buddies, there's a very recent build up for viewing on our channel, so have at it if you so desire (and why not?) I'll be honest, watching gameplay video of this particular game may not be exactly heart-stopping, but even in it's current unpolished state the game is already extremely fun; I've been showing it off a bit and more than a few people have told me "I like this better than anything else you have done before." That's at once encouraging and disheartening, as Trapdoor was designed to be a realllly simmmmple game, but then I suppose that is sensible considering the platform these apps are designed for! Anyway, we've been in the home stretch with the Android build for awhile, but I have been slowed down on my work with that as I've been rapidly working to get the iOS port off the ground, it's literally gone from nothingness to actual measurable progress in a very short time (not playable yet!) and, let me tell you, there's worlds of difference between iOS and Android, such as screen real-estate - and so I have been trying to reasonably uprezz all the assets, and still nailing down the design in the meantime. Almost there!

Hop Cop - coming, I finished my docs for this about a week ago, and I was supposed to meet with the staff to get moving on it in the past couple of days, but.. too busy! So hopefully we can get it into actual production next week.

That's about it for production notes. I've always got "180 maintenance stuff" that pops up fairly regularly, and it's a good thing (making money!) but does really make me desire to enlist an intern (hint, hint) to help keep tabs on everything and deal with it a little more smoothly. Also I discussed "Tic Tac Jack" with Ben the other day, and we are hoping to attack that thing in short order near the end of the month maybe. We'll see.

Otherwise... lots on my mind. My birthday was a week ago and my girlfriend was kind enough to get me a Nintendo 3DS, which is actually very very neat :) It's a very slick toy, I'll say that, and something I've been interested in since pre-launch. Now that there's a few solid games out for the thing, I am feeling justified in wanting one! Currently enjoying Mutant Mudds (my favorite!), Mario 3D Land (it's cool, esp if you love 3D Marios - I still prefer the old 2D games though!) and a couple of 3D Classics as well. These are AWESOME, please make more of these. My dream list which will never happen? Mega Man 2, Castlevania, Life Force, Commando (or something along those lines), 1943 would be awesome as well... Double Dragon! Damn now I am sad I started thinking about this stuff.

I never had a DS before, so feel free to send me some suggestions of games to pick up. I grabbed Advance Wars DS which I love already, Days of Ruin and Contra 4 are in the mail.. and back to 3D I won a bid for Starfox 64 and am in pursuit of Shinobi 3DS as well.

PS Vita launches inside of a couple of weeks I believe, I am completely disinterested, there's things I can say about it (both positive and negative) but this post is getting pretty overlong so I think I will sit on it for now. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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