Update 66

This week I have finished the small fake apps for the mobile phone in the game. I have discovered some bugs with the save file, where most of the thing on the mobile were not saved, and when you load the save you obtain old and new data mixed up (soft lock),

I have discovered some bugs with the save file, where most of the thing for the mobile were not saved, and when you load the save you obtain old and new data mixed up (soft lock). I am reimplementing that part correctly in XML because before it was done with some custom ugly formatting with many separators. The save file is bigger but this doesn’t have much importance. RapidXML is pretty fast so I can have a lot of data without having to worry about it.

I have some random disconnection from the internet which doesn’t help when I need to google some documentation or write an article on this blog for example. Nevertheless, the level 4 is progressing rapidly, each day new stuff is found and done. The save system took most of the weekend, so hopefully it’s finished tonight.

Sometimes I read some depressing stuff about indie games like that.

don’t go indie, 5 years of gamedev will kill you

Some people put everything on the line for one project, and at the end of the development : burnout and quit game development (or take a long break from it).

In my opinion, creating indie games are like writing novels or making paintings you are here for the long run. Success with the first game should not be considered the norm, but some people are lucky enough to have success for their first title : Undertale, Stardew Valley, Limbo, Fez, Dust: An elysian tale, and many others. And journalists create this myth, that anyone who works hard  can succeed, only hard work and quality matters.

Well, that’s weird why games should be more accessible than other media? They are some talented writer who works very hard on each of their books and they don’t necessarily became famous during their lifetime. It the same thing with starving artists, there are some other deciding external factors for success. There is no formula for success and all the unknown factors are called luck.

It makes me sad, when I see some people having a big hit (Minecraft, FEZ) and after that retiring from games development. It seems they don’t have enough love for their craft and take the easy path instead. I prefer to think of the courageous people who continue to make games no matter what.

Update 65

This week I have done a lot of programming with the game, I have implemented the SMS part correctly on the mobile phone in the game. Now you can use the phone to have a conversation with someone.

I have also integrated the video support with the library TheoraPlay. I need to integrate a video for one of the application in the phone :

The app is not finished yet, I need to work on the design, add buttons, etc…

The level 4 is almost finished but each time I think there are only small amount works something come and takes like a week. The only thing I can say for sure is : “It’s not done yet.”

It’s kind of preposterous to have a release with so many things changing on the fly. If you had asked me 3 days ago :

– “Do you need to have video support for that?”
– “No, why?”

3 days later 

– “Oh I see this is definitely the simplest solution ever 

Update 64

I am still writing dialogs for the level 4, the roadmaps changed a lot of things. And I have also discovered some big parts were not done or the position of the boxes was not correct.

After the dialogs are done they will be more art to do for the level I think, maybe animations. For the moment they are a lot of small things to finish before having a correct functional level with the proper endings.

For the moment the dialogs are linear, I try to handle most common  cases but after I will handle the other cases and maybe add some choices in the story without adding others endings.

There is no music at the moment, I will add the music after checking all of the levels.

Update 63

One big bug is fixed now, I have regenerated all the sprite sheets to add a small margin between objects. This small margin allows the objects to be displayed correctly when the game run in lower resolution. The second tree is finished I can now return to the level 4 of the game.

I have thought a lot about changing the system of dialogs in the game. Currently, the story is pretty much linear they are multiple paths but only at the end of the game. And when you choose a path the game continue to be linear until the end.

In this talk the system used is more interesting because you can make multiple choices that matter without having the  need to make new endings. Something linear where you do not have choices is good  for a book or a film. But for a game, this feel a little bit weak because players want something else with games. They want gameplay and replay value. Something linear the gameplay is affected and the replay value is absent. The game is done when all the endings are finished.

Most games story driven are linear because it’s already hard to create and tell a good story. But creating an interesting experience with a good story is much much harder. Because you can have a complex plot and a complex dialog system but it can be cheesy and emotionless. Most of the time harder things do not mean most impactful. It’s much more impressive and beautiful when the same thing can be achieved with less. This point of view has already been used by many games made by Fumito Ueda.