Sunday, March 17, 2013

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #8

Hey all! Happy green day! Back with the eighth development log.


Point of No Return: 

I wanted to start off by talking about what I call "The Point of No Return". I consider the Point of No Return to be the area where you get so far in the game development project, it would actually be more work to scrap it and cancel the project than it is to finish it. There's really no defining point in knowing exactly when the Point of No Return takes place, but you just kind of know.

With all of the people involved with Selatria, luckily we probably have passed the Point of No Return likely a few months back.

However, other projects developed in the studio don't share the same stroke of luck. Some get to the design phase, some have unintended difficulties or underestimated hurdles that cause a game project to be scrapped or sent to another team to finish it. Other reasons how games never make it past the point of no return can include: Insufficient knowledge of the game engine/tools that can cause delays, lack of constant communication between the development team and the producer, and when the wants and needs of one individual/party outweigh the goals and vision of the team.

There can be cases where a project passes the Point of No Return, but can still be scrapped by the people in charge. Those games unfortunately don't get to see the light of day, especially if developed within large conglomerates that own the intellectual property. However, when there's unused source code that the independent developer still maintains the rights to, it can be adapted and changed into a new unrelated game.

In the legal world, when life gives you lemons, you may not be able to have the rights to turn it into lemonade. So you change it into orange soda instead. 

That's all I'll talk about on that subject for now. Onto our projects! :)



Development of Selatria is coming along very well. We're doing a lot of polish and spending the majority of time getting ready for the long-delayed pitch for Indiegogo and eventually Kickstarter. I'm going to be meeting with one of the voice actors on Tuesday to record the lines for Shopkeeper and the Engineer roles, and another voice actor on Thursday in order to record one of our to-be-announced characters! Lots of fun.

I've posted this in one of the previous blog posts, but I'm going to take bloopers of some of the VA roles to post on our official YouTube page.

Here are some aspects of the game we're currently polishing.

A/ Making Mage's three spell classes more balanced and useful.

 It was common feedback from the first version of the demo that there was not enough diversity in Mage's three formes to justify changing unless it was absolutely needed to in the game. One of our game designers Jonathan Dishaw came up with an interesting way to balance the three classes and re-purpose them a little bit.

Changing of Elemental Spells: 

Elemental strengths and weaknesses will be amplified in upcoming versions of the game. If the player can figure out the elemental resistance of the foe, the damage will be amplified. 

Magician: Will have tier 1 and tier 2 Healing and Elemental spells. But will gain new spells deriving from the new "Psychic", "Spirit", "Light", and "Dark" types.

Psychic, Spirit, Light, and Dark spells will have a high base damage, but the damage from these spells will be lower than if one were to hit them with the proper elemental spells.

Whereas foes will have their own set of weaknesses to the elements. The weakness to types will be based on the type of enemy. Humanoids will be weak to Psychic. Ghosts are weak to Spirit, Undead is weak to light, etc...

B/ Chapter 1-5 Modifications:

Another common issue that players have brought up from Version 1 was that falling off the edge in Mt. Onyo in Chapter 1-5 was unfair. It originally kicked you out all the way to the Overworld. I had many different changes in mind. Taking fall damage and going to the beginning of the room, having a confirm menu asking if you really want to make the choice, but I ultimately settled on somewhat of a fun approach. I guess you could argue that this would be spoiling a secret, but leaping from different ledges produces different results. Anyhow, I posted a YouTube video to test it out. Take a look!

C/ Art

The best for last. Lots of new icons and town art will be in the new version. I would like to post the Team Attack changes and modifications into the demo as well, but it's not a super-priority at the time due to the amount of work it will require to change before the pitch begins. It will be in the final release version for sure! We'll see how it goes and do our best to fit it in on time.

Jennifer Gilliland is currently working on all the town designs and making them look polished for the upcoming build. She's been really hard at work on it all and I've been happy with how it's been looking! I'd rather not post incomplete screenshots but I will show it when we're both happy with how it comes out!



A few development logs back, I mentioned that we were developing a 3D game in Unity with the codename of "Figment". Unfortunately, plans for that game fell through, and the game had to be thrown on the back-burner for now. We may consider reviving it as a much smaller 2D project with some redesigns and a smaller team. But outside circumstances don't allow me to speak any more about it than that.


Codename SWARM:

Straight from the ashes of one of our pulled projects, we still have good base code to use for upcoming mobile game projects done in the studio. We're going to be using the base coding to produce a new game coming out for mobile phones.  Most of the programming team from said pulled project will be carrying over and some of the Selatria team are carrying over to do the art, music, and sound effects for the game. We will debut on Google Play sometime in April for 99 cents. 

I'll provide more info about it when it's ready. Expect the info in a future development log!


That's about it for now. Until next post!

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