The one year game develpoment duel



Highs and Lows

This post is a status update, which is how I track progress specific to my game. Check out my timeline to see what I've recently accomplished.

    Key Events
  • 64 bit version working.
  • Attack range now attached to flag instead of units.
  • Swift rewrite is 90% complete.

Last update marked the beginning of my conversion to Swift, and this update marks the end — almost. I continued to be plagued by conversion issues (64 bit this time) and time off (Bachelor party), but also enjoyed faster refactoring and cleaner code. I’ve now gotten the game back to playable with 10% of the code left to convert. Small details like synchronized walking animations, missing damage over time and other bugs remain, but I finally feel like I’m in the clear. This is a huge thing because for a second there I was a bit depressed and questioned my choice to convert to Swift.

It’s worth documenting that this rewrite was painful. I did not want to come into work. I was easily distracted. I was bored. I feel like I can usually tough through refactors with ease, but starting from scratch took its toll. So, if you’re in a similar situation, make sure you’re ready to see it through.

Equally important to note, I feel like starting my project from scratch was worth it. Now that I’m finished, I’m enjoying two huge benefits:

  • Beginner mistakes have been erased. Refactored code is much cleaner, and more flexible now that I know the rough scope of my game.
  • I can write Swift code much quicker than I can write Objective-C code. Also, aside from the odd beta issue, I enjoy writing in Swift more.

In the end, lots of pain up front for future gains.

State of the Game

Now that I’m back to a point where I can work at a normal speed, I expect to take a few days implement the last details to get the game back to where it was. Then, finally, we can start to look forward to what’s next. Things I have to start considering:

  • Unit upgrades, cost, damage and health along with other balance issues.
  • Short, mid and long range strategies. For example, catapult vs trebuchet.
  • Switching between levels
  • Rough overview of what I’ll need from an artist.
  • Controllable heroes.

Looking through that list, it’s nice to realize that a lot of the tasks are game design related. Sure, there will be plenty of code, but it’s exciting to start thinking about designing a game — not just developing one.

What’s Next?

I’m not sure. I’m going to put some feelers out for artists since I’ll be in San Francisco for 3 days. I’d like to start gathering data and talking to people about art in general, so that I’m not caught by surprise when the time comes to work with an artist. I also hope to research a few other games and see how they handle hit points vs damage. I suspect that I can come up with a rough formula to design against, but I need to learn a bit more first.

Hopefully, I’ll have something fresh and exciting next update as I have left you all empty handed for the past 6 weeks.

Speak Freely

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