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

Some changes to Kudos 2 (for the better)

I’m really pleased with some of the last minute improvements and additions to Kudos 2. For one, there is an NPC drawn from a portrait of everyone who worked on the game, which is kinda funny and cool. Another thing I’m pleased with is a new system when someone asks you out for the evening. If you can’t afford it, you can say so, and they aren’t *that* snubbed. But better than that, you can just lie and pretend you can’t afford it. This reduces your honesty :D (BTW A friend of mine reckons honesty should be a pre-requisite to a science job, what do you think?)

I’m also putting a system in where once you have customised and selected your avatar, it’s saved out as a random pre-set, so you might see your old creations come back as defaults (inspired by spore, clearly :D).

The biggest difference in working methods between Kudos 1, and 2, has been getting family members and friends to try the game at an earlier stage. It’s amazing how many issues other people can identify in just five minutes that you will never think of. An example is “why don’t people thank me if I pay for their evening?”.

Good point :D

Kudos 2 Feature Complete

Kudos 2 is definitely feature complete. Unless feedback from potential website partners or play testers is focused on anything specific missing, I won’t be putting any new features into the game from here on. It already has a ton of stuff in, much more so than the original, and presented 100 times better. From here onwards (and this shouldn’t be more than a few weeks now), it’s a case of playing the game, and polishing it, and playing it again etc.

The most common issues that come up in my daily playthroughs now are just balance tweaks. There’s no bugs in terms of features not working or conflicting, and there hasn’t been a crash bug for weeks, if not months. This hopefully means it should be relatively plain sailing. I’m close enough to release to actually be talking to my portal-publishing partner about the game, and will be directly contacting some portals closer to the release date.

In the big picture sense, Kudos 2 is a BIG deal for me. I’ve never spent so much time and money on a game before, and heading into a global economic downturn means potentially tough times ahead. If I can make Kudos 2 as big a success as my last big game (Democracy 2), then I’ll be trundling along ok and not nervously eyeing the bank balance. I think it’s a far better game than Democracy 2, although thankfully I always tend to be most motivated about whatever I’m currently working on (a big contrast with most people in mainstream game development).

Anyway, feature complete, today, hopefully code complete and on sale by the first week of October. *crosses fingers*.

Kudos 2 design update

I’m now firmly at the ‘play the game until you detect an imbalance, then make a note and fix it’ stage. This can be a tad dull, because you are playing to test, not to have fun. The truly great news is that despite playing the game for hours at a time

1) It never has any performance problems of any sort ever, even in debug and

2) It never crashes.

I currently have a little list of niggles to fix for tonight and tomorrow like this:

todo : check that people get bored with an event even if you didn’t show up.
if you ignore a phone ring and go to the next day, its visually still flashing.
birthday screen friend description can be blank!
dog status text runs out of room.
I need new button graphics for graph screen
muscles should degrade slower
motorbike should give you some kudos or charisma or confidence
I maybe need some alert sound if dog fights off a burglar
might be funny to slightly stretch and squash avatars with weight.
paint ball gun needs a use button, for all year round.
dogs never eat any food.

I also have just one biggish design issue. Acting jobs last forevere, and as they have no promotions, you can get into condition for the job then ‘let yourself go’. I can’t decide right now whether to make the jobs a finite length (as in kudos 2). or have you sacked if your performance (job suitability in effect) falls below a certain level. Both ideas require horrid custom coding, but I thuink they are important to making the acting career more playable.

Today I also got some more NPC artwork, and switched payment providers abck to BMT. It’s all in a good cause (getting the best deal, and the best customer service for people buying the games).