Nothing announced, not even a name decided, but I want to vaguely blog about it as a means of brainstorming with myself. I’ll be vague as heck until I’m sure I have something worth “here’s a new game”, if that ever turns out to be the case.
So this week’s it’s progress on my “on-going not yet announced game because not ready and might be bad” game, which I decided to for now on call Game5 here, so it’s easier to know what we are talking about.
I haven’t been able to do make progress during the day because of contract work, so it’s mostly nights and weekends when physically possible. And I’m actually feeling a bit bad about this, so this might take a while. There’s been weeks of good productivity followed by weeks/months of just “seems to be the same”. To be honest some design decisions were also blocking me, the initial plan was enough to start but there’s always some roadblocks ahead.
Death by a thousand buttons
After QoD I specifically remember saying “My next game needs to have as little UI as possible”, but here we are, this game will (probably) live or die depending on how bad it is to use it. I mean the “game” part has to be fun as well obviously, but there is a lot of interconnection between both. You’ll understand what I mean by that later. No it’s not an RTS etc.
Slow progress is better than none
But the past 2-3 weeks I got a little lightbulb that gave me a general direction of a way to solve some stuff and it’s on a good track again I feel. And while there’s no real need for the UI to look good at this point, I already have 2 iterations of it, mostly from a functional standpoint.
I did a first prototype with the general idea, not all features, but turned out incredibly cumbersome to use from a UX standpoint. But this was good, I felt there was still something there in terms of “game”, just needs iteration.
I “quickly” remade it into a different one recently, and now I feel it’s much better, there’s still a lot to do in terms of making it coherent. But this is also the part where I feel I have to focus on the “toy” part of the game itself.
A lot of my problems sometimes come from lack of planning some details more carefully, in a way it’s good to just jump in and get it rolling, but other times it comes back to bite you. With that in mind, and since I now have a general idea of functionalities and a barebones UI, I hired someone to freelance work with me on their spare time on the UI. At this point it’s compartmentalized enough that if they need to leave to other things I can carry on, and also I can focus a bit more on the gameplay components.
Iteration and Automation
I do a lot of notes and value on spreadsheets, that end up on the game, for testing, and especially during prototype phase I found myself copying pasting values around. So I took a couple hours to write some python scripts that grab cvs, parse them and export the proper ScriptableObjects for what I need. This speeds up quick testing and changing values. I was getting tired of changing them directly on Unity inspector.
My next move is balancing out a initial progress/difficulty ramp. Right now I have most stuff “just there”, in a sort of chaotic way, to test out the fun of it, but I need to make a proper vertical slice. At this point I do have several mechanics in place, but a lot buggy and a bit all over the place, so I have to streamline that to make it more cohesive. I don’t have any new mechanics still missing (so far), so just cooking up a small prototype that I could just hand over to someone and have them play, and see what happens.