Except, extremely not right on time. Although game development is always subject to delay (especially by indies), I think this large a time gap between when I said I was “just around the corner” for a demo, and today, still warrants some explanation.
A great deal of it is simply perfectionism – the constant feeling that the game isn’t ready for minor reasons that would certainly not disqualify it from play testing. This is aided by the fact that while I think of my goals in a linear way, I am often not able to accomplish them in that way. After working on a certain aspect of the game for so long, I begin to shut down and have to work on something else to maintain my sanity. Generally I’ll make a check-list with my main objectives at the top, but with lots of smaller issues that I’d like to get done at some point on the bottom. When I need a break, I tackle the smaller goals in whatever order I feel like. So while a main development goal may not appear so far away, this is a bit deceptive.
I also can’t ignore that my transition to China and my new job has slowed me down. Even though in the long run I think it will help my discipline and motivation to see the game through, it has in the short term taken a lot of my time and energy to get used to!
Back to matters at hand, I will now be taking applications for beta testers. For the first time, (some) people will be able to play Why Am I Dead At Sea, and I’ll be able to receive vital feedback whilst developing. If you would like to help me and receive early access to the game, please fill out the following (short!) application and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org : Beta tester application
Of course, I know that as a tester you are providing me a valuable service, for free! Although hopefully early access to the game is some recompense in itself, beta testers will also have the following incentives:
– Free copy of the game when it is released, along with whatever key codes are relevant, based on how it is distributed (this is an obvious one)
– Recognition: All testers who contribute will be shown in the credits (also pretty obvious). Those who contribute substantially more will get extra recognition.
– I would also like to have monthly best-bug-find competitions, the payoff for which could possibly involve leveraging my art assets/scripting to give the tester a little memento in the form of a screenshot/GIF made with the game engine (the contents of which being up to the tester).
At the moment, the version that testers can play will take them through the game’s introduction and first chapter (of which there will be five). It isn’t a huge amount of content to explore as of yet and mainly serves to introduce the player to the story and the patterns/concepts of the game, but is almost entirely content complete! And of course, later chapters will follow.
At this point, development will overwhelmingly mean writing dialogue and cinematics, as well as responding to bugs and player feedback. As a result, updates will probably be sparse in new shiny art or features. So, I’ll be taking the time to go into greater detail at some features I’ve brought up before, how they are implemented, et cetera.