September Dev Recap

In September we began integrating all of the various game systems together.

Refugee ships

Refugee ships

 

We’ll be at Indie Game Con in Eugene, Oregon November 11-13 and we hope to see you there!

 

We have used 1.5 boxes of chalk so far

We have used 1.5 boxes of chalk so far

 

Brian D. worked on a number of effects for the actions you can take, created variations on refugee ships, made updates to weapon models, icons, and effects, and prepared the fleet geometry for an updated shader.

 

A ship of the Irenic faction

A ship of the Irenic faction

 

Dominic implemented UI based on the our new designs. Much of the new UI was made functional, including the minimap, starmap, formations, and trajectory lines.  He ran into some delays with the formation movement, but that has been resolved.

 

Brian J. was full time on finalizing the look and flow of every single element of the user interface (UI) screens throughout the game.  We’ve been using Google Docs Presentations to annotate UI mockups that step through all possible interactions that would require a change to the UI.  The annotations use a consistent, ugly color palette so they’re not confused with actual UI.  Here’s an example:

 

Annotated UI

Annotated UI

 

Speaking of UI, we read a lot of game postmortems at Jumpdrive.  If you’re not familiar with them, video game postmortems are articles where game developers share what went right and what went wrong in their games.  When reading the FTL postmortem, one particular part really struck a chord with us; the FTL devs speculate about whether they should have eliminated their bespoke text-based ‘choose your own adventure’ mini-stories and gone entirely procedural for events.

 

For a long time we have been feeling like the text-based modal window we had was slowing the game down.  We’d also been noticing how quickly the events got stale.  We saw that when many people play a game with FTL-esque text choices, after one or two games they barely skim the text.  There are other problems — say a player chooses to protect a certain ship in a text box and then doesn’t — it creates a vacuum.  Do we throw another text box with a consequence and either stop the action entirely, or risk that the player doesn’t see it?  We had already tried quite a few variations on the branching text box, but the problems didn’t go away — particularly the one where players weren’t responding or noticing those consequential text boxes.

 

So we experimented with getting rid of text-based events entirely, and let the actions that a player and the AI perform dictate the game flow.  The difference was dramatic.  XO flows so much better without a text box that we’ve dropped the text-based modal from the game entirely.

 

A handful you have yet to fill out your Kickstarter survey.  We want to make sure your name is in the credits, and the names you chose for ships/characters/planets too!  Remember we are being very strict about not using anything under copyright. 🙂

 

We so deeply appreciate the words of support and enthusiasm we continue to receive.  The systems we have are integrating as expected and our list of things to do continues to dwindle.  We are on the cusp of alpha!