Boldly G…etting on with Development

I realised, as I slog onwards with Redshirt‘s development, that it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve blogged – let alone video-blogged – about how it’s all going. The latter isn’t happening this time (soon!), but here’s an attempt at the former.

Well, I can certainly report that I have – very unglamorously – been just crunching code. I’m not sure how other developers make their development blogs quite so interesting. It seems as though, when things are going well, it is so easy to get lost in work and completely forget about blogging altogether, since I’ve been so focused on just making progress.

Conversely, when things are not going quite so smoothly, I feel as though the things I could potentially blog about would just be frustrated-yet-dull-to-read rants of various sorts about some piece of middleware. (Aside: Believe me, once this project is over, I have thoughts on middleware that I want to share. But, now is not that time.)

How I’m Feeling About the Development Process Right Now

So, what has been going on with Redshirt, then? And, how am I feeling about it? This sums it up quite well:

Yes, this is, incidentally, a current screenshot of (part of) the game as it is currently, complete with a bit of the nice new UI from our lovely artists (Clockwork Cuckoo). And yes, those attributes are me, right now!  So, overall, I’m mostly feeling the opposite of what I said in my last update, oops! Oh, game development, you emotional rollercoaster, you. I’m still happy to be making progress of course, yet anxious. So anxious! (My awkwardness, of course, is a constant…)

Most of this is down to the fact that I’m knee-deep (pixels-deep?) in implementing the new UI at the moment – and have been facing some issues with both middleware (of course!), and good old Photoshop too, of course. The pace of work right now is very different from the rest of the project; there really is no better word than ‘fiddly’ to describe it. I’m looking forward to once it’s all done, and I can return to gameplay – and have the game looking all nice and polished, at least!

Progress Since Last Time

Since my last update (in late March, oops), I’d hit another milestone (earlier this month), which involved a lot of work on gameplay (especially career progression), implementing a character creation system, and, thanks to the expert help of Luke Dicken, vastly improved the AI system – more detail on that soon. In addition to this, I fleshed out some final content, and we started thinking more about character art.

What Next?

As mentioned, my current priority is to implement the new user interface, and then, get the game content finalised. There’s also much work to be done on gameplay across the board.

Lessons Learned

  • Something-something-something, middleware…. grumble.
  • When one is the solo developer on a project, it is so easy to get caught up in ‘development’ details, and forget one’s ‘design hat’. I alluded to this in my previous post, but I cannot reiterate this enough. Keep your design doc/scribblings to hand and refer to them regularly; this is something that I wish I’d done more of!
  • When one is making a game satirising social media, one sadly becomes quite bad at regularly updating social media due to being so busy with development. Oops. Nonetheless, I will do my best to keep the Redshirt Game Facebook Page updated, so please do show your support and ‘like’ the game, if you’d be so kind! 

I’ll be recording a new video blog (answering your questions from last time!) quite soon too – I’ve been delaying this because I’m very keen to have a nicely-working UI in place, so I can finally show off more of the game in action. In the meantime, any questions/comments, do keep them coming, and I will do my best to address them in the upcoming video.