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Development Log 8 – Core Features

I’ve written about what I think is needed for early access to work and have been steadily trying to complete the necessary tasks in time for an August release. I believe I’m still on track for that time line, but some of my requirements (balance, fun) are very subjective and hard to estimate.

One main addition is the initial party creation screen, up to now I’ve been using randomly generated parties to test. In the real game you’ll be given a selection of heroes to start with.

The last little while has been spend on making the game work as a proper game from beginning to end. This might seem strange to outsiders, but much of game development isn’t done it the same way you play a game. When I add and test new features I rarely start from the main menu and follow the standard flow that a regular player does. I jump straight to a dungeon to test dungeon generation and combat.

This means that during development the standard gameplay flows aren’t getting well tested. This is why I’ve been focusing on testing (and fixing!) for the last few weeks, to ensure the standard player experience is smooth and functional. This involved mostly UI/UX work that’s kind of boring to summarize but actually incredibly important to the player’s enjoyment.

Here’s an update on the general status of the early access features compared to the earlier post:

  • Major systems implemented [95%] -> [98%]. Adding systems like initial party selection have moved this forward, but again most major systems exist and are on track to be ready for EA.
  • Reasonably balanced [60%] -> [70%]. Only a little progress has been made here, tweaking initial damage and monster stats. Lots more work here before this game is for the public!
  • Stable Build [75%] -> [90%]. I’ve been doing lots of testing and making sure broken flows and bugs have been fixed. This is difficult to test as a solo dev on a large game, but I think the game is much more stable since I first announced early access.
  • Playable end to end [50%?] -> [70%?]. General stability and other general fixes have increased this number, but end-to-end testing hasn’t really been a focus yet.
  • Solid procedural generation [75%?] -> [85%?]. Always hard to quantify, but fixes to monster and trap placement and other small dungeon generation tweaks probably increased the overall quality here.
  • Bug reporting features [0%] -> [90%]. As mentioned in a recent devlog a basic bug reporting screen has been added. This is the most important step here: an integrated and easy to access system to report bugs. This is 90% and not 100% because I can think of a few nice features to extent the reporting functionality (auto attach logs or savegames), but they’re not necessary for launch IMO.
  • Fun [75%?] – > [80%?]. Not much has really changed as my effort has been on systemic and UI features, but there have been a number of UI/UX improvements that make the game more enjoyable to play.