Last night I submitted the Beta version for Birth of Shadows to the IGF competition. I guess I cut it a bit close, uploading the release about 1 hour before the deadline
I think I’ve provided a version of the game that is fun and contains enough polish to show its potential. I got a lot done between Beta releases. The first board is now finished. In addition, NPCs and strongholds are all in game. The net games I played during the week helped a lot. We caught a few nasty bugs and I made some gameplay tweaks too.
The multiplayer games also provided a chance to try out different strategies with encounters. I’m really happy with the stronghold design. They can be configured in many ways that require different strategies. At times, I felt like I was back in EQ coming up with strats to beat an encounter. Sometimes we failed 4-5 attempts in a row, before finally coming up with a good strat and executing it for a victory. It was a lot of fun
Next, I need to finish up the remaining major features and get all of the art assets in game. I still need to add the “boss” creatures and finish the portals. The bosses will be similar to strongholds, but there will be some additional tactics required. I may also spawn creatures indefinitely until the boss is defeated. I’m not sure yet.
Portals will enable players to travel between campaign boards. They will also speed up travel within a board. Players will need to unlock the destination portal and optionally obtain a required item for the source portal. This mechanism will be important for multiplayer games. I may even allow players to respawn near an unlocked portal.
I need to finish the file design so campaign boards will work beyond the first. I have most of the design implemented. I’m hoping to provide an IGF update in about 3 weeks that allows the judges to continue from their current progress. I tried to think ahead and ensure the file design was in a state that would work for that goal.
The user interface needs some more work for the game setup as well as a few other places like the editor and character window. I would like to display more player stats, especially for the items you gain. I hope to finally add the cinematic intro in the near future. The GUI could use some more polish too.
Finally, I just need to finish the game. I have to add all the quests, boards, NPC dialog, etc. I have most of the major quests and lore already defined. It’s a matter of setting aside the time to add the data.
Anyway, hopefully the IGF judges like my game