Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Submitted to BFIG, Heard Back From Yellow Ostrich!

Spending half an hour to an hour on a blog post every week, when I only spend 10-25 hrs a week on game development, doesn't seem like a great ratio. So I'm not going to feel guilty for not blogging the past several weeks, because I have maintained a solid amount of effort on the game.

I've continued with adding more context sensitive tool tip pop ups for button or key presses. I've just created a Tutor object that just scans the player and whale for game state info to see if things have changed. It's completely modular and I'm very proud of how separable it is! I feel like I'm improving as a games programmer.

The big news I've been sitting on is that Yellow Ostrich got back to me about using WHALE as a trailer song and they said I could do it and didn't ask for any kind of licensing fee. So that's !!!!. I've submitted to Boston Festival of Indie Games with a 3 minute voiceover gameplay video. I won't hear back from July. I would love to win some kind of accolade at the event, my game is entered in the multiplayer/connected gameplay category, but if I'm being judged on the build submitted on May 15th, that's very unlikely. But there's a gamers' choice award, and I'm hoping I'll have a good shot at that because (a) I'm going to make a bunch of friends vote for me and (b) my game does really well at cycling through lots and lots of players on a convention floor, so I'll have a leg up. From what I've read, going to conventions as a game dev isn't about generating a huge of list of possible customers, it's about getting feedback and seeing how people react to your game, showing your game to publishers and press, and making industry connections. Anyway, all the events I've taken my game to so far haven't resulted in any press exposure, maybe some industry connections, and definitely lots of player feedback. But yeah, I don't have like a million Twitter followers or subscriptions to my Flock of Dogs newsletter, which I've only sent out twice anyway.

For the submission build, I needed people to learn how to play the game without me, so that involved making a very needed update to the tutorial, which has basically matched the outline I set out in a previous post. For a while, I wasn't happy working on a tutorial, because it was just annoying, fiddly things like when to turn on and off different abilities, or when and where to pop up text. But then I realized how much I enjoy the first 15 minutes of a good, new game and that counts as such a big part of how I feel about a game and if I like it. Also, I've been crushing a good number of bugs and adding in little smoothing things, like changing the helm controls to the triggers, shrinking overlapping hitboxes, making items much easier to pick up, making the game much less punishing, and so on.

My next focus will be returning to level design/generation and enemy design/placement, as well as environment interactivity and the interactable island structures. I've also received some sample music from a friend that may work out very well for actual game music and effects, but we'll see. Anyway, there's a medium sized expo tomorrow night at Laugh Boston where I'm showing Flock of Dogs, so I want to sharpen up some more things and see what kind of reaction I get there. Anyway, here's a little video of me testing the new item pick up, the pop up tips, the single nest docking, and dropping items on an island: