Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Working through the levels

Almost all of today has been spent going through each mission in the game and constructing AI fleets (in three levels of difficulty) for you to fight against. Obviously each fleet will need tweaking and re-visiting many times before release, but this week I’m at least hoping to get every fleet in and working so the game is playable throughout all it’s missions.

There are a finite number of ship hulls for each race, and it’s pretty clear that I can’t get away with just the 12 or so ship designs for each opponent. In other words, the AI ships will have different variants of each design, so you won’t be able to just see a silhouette of the enemy ship on the mission screen and go ‘ah yes, it’s the one with lots of pulse lasers’. Which is cool.

Screenshot for today:

Playing through the game, and occasionally using the speed controls, I’m happy that there is enough going on, and enough you need to keep an eye on, to ensure that the battles are worth watching for more than just visual appeal. It really does help to observe exactly why your fighter squadron got destroyed without inflicting a single point of damage. There is a stats screen post-battle, but it’s more helpful to watch it happen to see who did it :D.

My current plans are for a few more weeks of play testing, and bug fixing and tweaking, and then to start thinking about my beta plans. I’ll probably get a few fellow game devs and friends to try it out to catch anything really obvious, then I’ll consider how to handle pre-orders and beta testing. My gut instinct is to go with a closed beta that’s only open to people who pre-order, because I think you get some decent feedback then. Feedback from people who have put money down on a game is always more accurate than feedback from random surfers who probably wouldn’t buy it anyway :D

I haven’t really thought about prices and publishers yet, although several are interested. People who own big web portals, feel free to get in touch :D

8 thoughts on Working through the levels

  1. Hey Cliff. I’ve been subscribed to your blog feed for a couple of weeks now and I just wanted to let you know I’ve enjoyed it immensely. As an amateur game developer it’s very interesting to hear about your progress, what’s kinds of things you’re working on and what challenges you’re facing. It’s all been very informative and entertaining.

    I also wanted to say that GSB looks awesome so far! It’s games like that that make me say, “Hey. There are some really cool concepts in there. I should make a game like that.” (Then I remember about all the challenges you’ve posted about and then I say, “Well, I COULD make a game like that, but it would take a lot more time than I probably have right now, especially where someone else is already making it.”) I think it’d be fun to be a beta tester, but I’d probably make a really lousy one right now. I don’t have enough time to make my own games, much less test someone else’s. :) Maybe when you get closer to that have an some pre-order info up I’ll think about it more and see how I’m doing on time by then.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Its looking awesome. Also is very promising… your last blog posts are really generating some anxiety :)

    A bit of early feedback based on the pictures: Increase a bit the alpha value of the hud backgrounds. A little degree of transparency on the gui would be an exquisite touch =)

  3. One more in the pre-order beta test. ;-)

    BTW, what about single-player, user-designed battles? I suppose that will be possible?

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