Tag Archives: HOBL2

Development Log 10 – Road to Release

I’ve decided not to release this month, August 30th was approaching quickly and the game just isn’t quite where I want it to be. It’s close, so very close, but not quite there yet. I was finding game breaking bugs just about every day so I’m not confident the game is ready for public consumption just yet.

To be honest when I first announced HOBL2 was going to release in early access in March this year I had really just pulled that date our of nowhere. It seemed aggressive but achievable, but to be honest I mostly just guessed at a date. But you only get one first release and I’d like it to go smoothly, so September 30th is now the new official early access release date!

As the date approaches I’ve given some thought to how long and far the game has come. I’ve been working on HOBL2 since October 2014 – at least that’s when I started submitting changes to source control. That’s almost 5 years now, and I was curious just how that work was spread our over the years so I took a look at my source control change logs:

5 Years of Development

That’s the number of commits to SVN per month for the last 5 years. I’m pretty impressed with my own tenacity on this project. It averages 0.89 changes per day, every day, for 5 whole year.

That fits pretty well with my philosophy of working a bit every day on my game. Whether it’s adding a whole new feature or just playing for 15 minutes, I try and touch the game every day. Part-time game dev is definitely a marathon not a sprint. I don’t always follow my rule, but I try and I think the graph above shows that as well.

There are some interesting patterns too – you can see the first month spike of excitement. The drop off in November and December of 2014 is due to my push of final large update to HOBL1. You can see my excitement continue for a couple of months and then start to slow in the summer.

The increase after September of 2015 is due to me taking three months off to take care of my first daughter, and the sharp drop after December 2015 is me starting a new full time job. After that you can see this cyclic rise and fall of effort and motivation over the years.

Finally you can see the show increase from Oct 2018 onward once I decided to enter early access. The drop in March and April 2019 represents a change of jobs and a second daughter. The July spike should be obvious as I switched from slow part-time development mode into ship-it mode for my early access release. August is only half over so I expect it to surpass July’s changes. September will hopefully slow down as the bugs and fixes calm down as I prepare and test release build.

Exciting times ahead!

Development Log 9 – So it’s August already…

Where’s Heroes of a Broken Land 2?

It’s almost ready for early access. I’ve been doing end to end testing, trying to beat a very small game. I’ve been fixing critical bugs and improving the critical UI issues as I go. Unfortunately each time I find a critical issue, such as a bug in save games, I need to start over. So it takes time unfortunately.

The good news is I’m mostly happy with the dungeon pacing and I think the gameplay is fairly balanced at the lower levels so it should be a good base to build on.

Will it be ready in August? Maybe…

I’d rather have a solid first release than make some arbitrary date, so it won’t be released until I think the game is ready for early access. Currently I’m mostly looking for game breaking bugs that will completely prevent progress. If I don’t find any in about a week of testing then I’ll consider the game ready for public consumption.

It will take a week or so before a build of the game would be approved for release by Steam. This means if I’m not happy with the current status of game in the next week or two then it won’t be out for August

Will it be ready for September? Very very likely.

Right now it’s heads down, fix and polish.

Development Log 7 – Progress Update

I though I’d make this log a proper devlog and list a few things I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks. Nothing truly unique or exciting to report, these are mostly tasks to improve overall stability and usability of the game.

Save game functionality is now working properly. This is a pretty fundamental feature, but I’d neglected it for a long time and it had started to accumulate bugs. Maintaining software has a constant tax – each change or addition you make can easily affect another part and save/load basically touches every system in the game.

Balanced dungeon loot. I was feeling dungeon exploration a bit unsatisfying and after some analysis found the item drop rate was too low. Opening a big shiny chest and finding a pile of gold is fine, but if that’s all you get it can feel disappointing. Balancing is a never-ending task, but this makes dungeon delving more rewarding overall.

Candles make even the darkest dungeon more romantic…

Candles are back. Another example of “code rot”, at some point I adjusted how object were placed in dungeons – to prevent them from overlapping – and candles stopped appearing. Finally got around to investigating and fixed the bug. Little objects like this make the dungeons feel less empty and repetitive.

Numerous UI fixes. From making sure you can’t cast a spell while looking at your inventory to just making menus easier to navigate a turn-based RPG is probably 50% game and 50% UI, so this area will be under constant development. For early access there’s minimum usability bar for the game to be enjoyable, I don’t want a player’s first experience to be painfully trying to navigate buggy menus.

Bug reporting. This feature is one of my criteria for launching in early access. No matter how much time I spend trying to find all the issues HOBL2 is a very large game. Especially when combined with procedural generation it be nearly impossible to find all the issues before release as a solo developer. This feature allows the player to send me a report with various game related information so I can re-generate their world and fix procgen issues. I’d like to add a nice way to send save games and engine logs easily too – both are critical for tracking down the cause of bugs.

Looking at my earlier log about early access you can see there’s still quite a lot to do! I’ll be continuing to polish and fix issues as the arise (I have a loooong list of improvements large and small). Next, I’ll be focusing on world and combat balance as well as seeing how many character skills I think I can get working before August.