Hello all and welcome to this first update of the year 2016!
We’ve reached feature freeze! Simply put what this means is from now on we stop adding new features. This is so we don’t fall into a loop of “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we did this…”. It is always very tempting to add little (and sometimes not-so-little) features and get caught up in what’s called in development terms “feature-creep” (which itself can ultimately lead to “vaporware”).
We now have a very clear idea of what the pre-release needs to be –as well as what it can live without. So rather than attempting to cram in every idea we have, we’re going to make sure that each feature which gets into the pre-release actually works as expected. I prefer the early access game to feel solid rather than overly ambitious and half-broken.
Unity’s new scene management system (introduced in 5.3) is a boon to us; as you may remember from the previous update it was a hard pill to swallow but it was worth it in the end. For me specifically it means I can now work on any area as needed and when saving my work, only the changed scenes are saved. So I don’t have to wait for the entire game world to be saved anymore; it’s a great time-saver. And it’s also much cleaner to manage.
Cyrille has recently completed his work on the trigonometry code for our new map system. To be honest at first I was thinking of doing away without a map; huge games like Dark Souls don’t have one. But watching some people attempt to play GoaT without a map system turned out to be an exercise in frustration for all involved.
So we now have map items in the world that you need to discover. Once picked up they allow you to see a 2D representation of the current area and to know where you are. It’s neat and it doesn’t make things too easy either. This is not an always-on-screen minimap; it takes a big part of the screen and you can’t see what you’re stepping into when you look at it.
Paul did a lot of work during the last few weeks polishing the quests and dialogs. It’s all coming together quite nicely! For example in this GIF, Tilo finds a mysterious message that triggers a new quest (sorry the picture is rather small, but that way you won’t be spoiled!).
Finally in terms of work left to do, the big chunks are: AI, 2D art, UI, animations and a couple of game mechanics that still need to be implemented.
But from week to week Ghost of a Tale looks more and more like a “real” game; I mean a professional-looking, pretty good gaming experience. And that in itself is quite rewarding!