Archive for October, 2007

Dialog takes forever

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I’m trying to finish the new dialog for the second campaign area by tonight.  It takes a pretty long time to create dialog for NPCs.  I want the dialog to sound interesting and stay within the theme.  I also don’t have a script, so I have to come up with the story details as I create the new boards.

I really like how the second area is shaping-up.  There’s a lot of different stuff to do, and the story starts to gain momentum.  I have several main goals for the board and they are important to the story.  I’m anxious to finish the board so I can play it.  I think it will be a lot of fun.

I will have the IGF update uploaded before Saturday… maybe the judges will be able to check it out over the weekend.  Then, I will immediately work on getting the open Beta version ready.  I expect to spend a little over a week on that process.  If possible, I will get a movie recorded before I finally show my game to the public.  By the way, the open Beta release will not be shown on my site.  I will get feedback from another forum.

That gives me about 3 weeks to finish up the game content.  It should be enough time.  It’s usually not a good idea to give a precise date, but the November 30th release still looks good.

Quick update

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I want to give a quick update on Birth of Shadows to those wondering about its progress.  I am currently finishing an update of the Beta version that I will submit to the IGF competition.  I don’t know if the judges will have a chance to look at it, but the update will provide some significant additional content.  I also added portals and enemy bosses to the game.

In the near future, I will begin to list the exact items I am working on until the release.  I also want to add a movie to show the multiplayer game.  In particular, I want to show a few people attempting to defeat a stronghold.  I hope to convey how players must work together to take on some of the challenges.  It will also help show the multiplayer component of the game, which won’t be available in the demo.

I think I am on schedule to deliver Birth of Shadows by November 30th, 2007.  I’ll have to move a few “wish list” items to the first update.   However, I expect to have all main features and content ready in time.   I am focusing on polishing the campaign content and gameplay.  I can continue to improve the other parts of the game as I update it.  I will give some more specifics within a few days.

2008 IGF entries revealed

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

The 2008 IGF entries were revealed today.  As expected, there are many interesting games on the list.  It was another record year; 173 games have been entered into the competition.  Good luck to all of the indie game developers! :)

Birth of Shadows - IGF Release

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

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 :)