Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two demos down.

Well, I've demoed the entire game for one friend, and the first few chapters for another, and am simultaneously encouraged and discouraged. The former because people seem happy with the plot, the writing, the characters, and the structure, they like the interface, and they want to know what happens next. The latter because the game itself is still bug-ridden. Major systems like conversation and movement break all the time. Obviously, since it hasn't been tested at all yet, but it was still discouraging to see happening.

There are a few issues raised by the testing that I need to consider, but overall, no earth-shattering, plot-structure-shaking problems. So I think the long, strange design phase of this project has finally drawn to a close. The rest is just implementation.

More when I'm back home and working again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

123,000

Ready for the big demo. Not as ready as I'd hoped to be, but the game is at least completable without using debugging commands, which is a good first step.

I feel justified in calling it a novel, since the script which plays the game through as quickly as possible-- i.e. ignoring looking for clues, descriptions, conversations etc... just plays the fastest possible way from beginning to end-- takes 7.5 minutes to run on my dual core 2.0 ghz Macbook. A future script to actually test everything thoroughly is going to be at the very least twice as long. And a human will of course play through exponentially slower.

Will post again after I see how it plays for people new to the story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

117,743

Continuing to prep for the big demo next week. Lots of tweaking the exposition to make sure information is getting revealed, and in the right order. Also continuing to detail the endgame worlds. More later.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Get Things Done

I've found some great new software called iGTD that's allowed me to better keep track of everything I still need to do on both Lacuna and Storybook. This allows me to sort tasks by priority, difficulty, due date, etc., and gives me a better sense of accomplishment as I can see things getting checked off one by one. It also helps with the problem of remembering what I'm supposed to be working on at any given moment (seriously!) as the codebase is so large now I can easily get lost in it, reeling drunkenly from one problem to another and not getting anything accomplished.

My latest deadline is September 18th, which is when I leave on a week-long vacation. During the trip though, I'm going to demo the game for two different groups of friends, so I'm trying to get it in a nice presentable "rough cut" form. iGTD has really been helpful separating what would be "nice" to have done from what "needs" to be done.

Things are slowly starting to come together, though. Last night I wanted to test something on Progue, so I yelled at him from across the game map. True to programming, he looked up at me, stopped what he was doing, picked his way to where I was, and started a conversation (in a slightly annoyed tone), and the game reported all this correctly. Of course, the specific thing I wanted to test didn't work; but it's nice to see all the systems and mechanisms start to be able to manage on their own, after all this time.

I also posted a new "teaser" webpage for the game on my website. The quote at the beginning is actually not from the game itself, but one of the pieces of short fiction that will accompany it.