A few days later than I’d intended, but I’ve finally finished the characters/monsters/NPCs.
As I’m heading into the weekend, I feel I need a breather. As much fun as I have with the graphics, trying to pump out so many characters can get a bit repetitive. And to be honest, I know I’m not quite through with them. There’s still some tweaks and fixes. Maybe even a new NPC or two that I forgot I’ll need.
Just for funsies, I threw most of them into the game — one by one — and had a fight with each of them. This revealed a few problems, here and there, mostly with shadows not quite being the same color, or a few stray pixels that should be transparent but aren’t. Things like that. (I also can’t load the “big” monsters into the game yet, but that’s just some debugging and some code-writing, not a real issue.)
For the most part though, they looked — and died — pretty good.
Without the big monsters yet included, the database bloated to 18MB uncompressed…but then compressed back down to 5.7MB, which is surprisingly a bit smaller than I’d expected. Of course just a few big monsters and the rest of the tiles (floor/walls/stuff) and we’re probably going to be close to that 8MB I was talking about before. That’ll probably be more like 32MB of graphics, were they uncompressed. Pretty cool.
I’ve promised a screenshot forever, so I’m leaking just this one, even though I probably shouldn’t. (I’m getting sick of the old ones too, though. So enjoy…)
A few orcs defending the battlements of a castle. (You can see part of the round towers I previously grumbled about.) Looks like our adventuring elf has crossed the moat successfully, but how the heck’s he going to scale those walls? I’ve included it in this format just so you can see the animating tiles and flags and torches and stuff I’ve gone on about. All of these tiles are mine, but wait till you see the majesty of Floodguy’s tiles. (I think I’ll save those for way closer to release.)
So about that. I can hear the anxious queries already.
Yes, I’ve finished monsters, and I’m in fact leaving Joerg (Floodguy) to finish up most of the tiles, which means I’m returning to debugging and the adventure in earnest. More good news is that I’ve now completely laid out the adventure and all the conflicts and puzzles — just gotta get it all built now. As soon as Joerg gets me the last of his tiles (first pass), I can lock the tileset down and then build like a madman while he revises and tweaks the graphics.
No, I don’t know quite how long that’ll take. I’m sure I’ll run into a few snags that demand slightly better tools, and I’ll have to stop and code them. Plus some scripting has to be finished to make all the puzzles and logic I’ve worked out possible. Plus there’s still some alpha bugs to get fixed.
So yes, the beta looms…but it isn’t tomorrow. Weeks, at least.
I am still pretty sure the beta will begin before the summer is out, but it looks like an early fall date for the release is more likely than my original estimate. I think the beta process will take a little time — to make the adventure really perfect. (Or as close as I’m liable to get.)
I’ve even got what I think is a cool idea for a world building contest for the interested beta testers — designing an original side-quest level — which will help me get the world builder tweaked for the release as well. The winners will have their small side-quest included in the final game. (And of course anyone who wishes to can also build their own adventures too, after that.)
Well, after this long hard week, I’m torn somewhere between excitement and exhaustion. Tired from all the work just finished, and a bit daunted by the work that’s still ahead. Yet excited because the fun is close at hand…and the pieces are all really starting to fall into place…