Friday
Oct312014

Gaining Steam

It's been a long time coming but Catapult for Hire has finally been greenlit! Over the course of making this game I've had so many twists and turns that I don't quite know what to think of it anymore. I literally started working on my next game the day before Catapult for Hire was greenlit.

This definitely changes things and now I'm going to be finishing the game. However, it will probably be changing in a few major ways. The game is now going to be procedurally generated so it will be different every time you play through it. This is to make it more friendly to crowd-discovery through early demos and “Let’s Play” style videos. There will be less dialogue and perhaps the removal of cut scenes completely. The story will now be more implicit than explicit.

All of this is to overcome a few of the major obstacles that stand in the way of the game’s current development trajectory. Think of this as Catapult for Hire 2.0.

Also, the catapults will be changing to allow customization. Perhaps the biggest change is that the catapults will now be mobile rather than stationary. This changes the entire paradigm of the game and I think it will be for the best in the end.

I’m excited about the possibilities and look forward to getting the new vision of the game together to show you soon!

 

Thursday
Oct162014

On the Nature of Catapults (De Natura Catapultae)

It's high time I post an update wouldn't you agree? First off, I apologize profusely for not having posted earlier. I’m super thankful for all of you that have stopped by and showed your support in one way or another and you deserve better.

So, here’s the scoop. I still love this game and I still believe in it but it’s been harder and harder to work on it for many reasons.

Firstly, I need to refactor the game to use C#. Compile times using Unity’s javascript have gotten out of control. I didn’t realize that was going to be an issue when I made the choice to use Javascript. Let this be an admonition to any new would-be game developers, if you’re making a large game in Unity, go with C#. I have started the conversion process but there is still a long way to go.

Secondly, since the Kickstarter I have been in a sort of tailspin. I thought I would be able to produce the game whether the Kickstarter was successful or not but its failure was a harder hit than I expected.

Thirdly, my second daughter was born back in April and it has been extremely hard to balance the whole life / work situation to be able to work on anything outside of the standard 8-5 workday. She is the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen but it’s been a lot of work. Now that baby girl is 6 months old it’s getting a little easier.

Fourthly, the game itself is in a state of limbo on Steam Greenlight. It hovers in the top 20-80 range but still has yet to be greenlit. Greenlight itself may be going away and so I really have no idea about how I will actually sell the game. I’m all for making games just for the fun of them, but I need to get myself in a situation that I can make games full-time and let’s face it, Steam is your best shot at selling your game.

Stepping away from the game has been vital for my own sanity, for my social life and for getting myself back into some semblance of balance. It has been helpful and healing for me but also hard because I’ve not been creating. I live to create. Now, after all this time I’m finally ready to get back into it.

So, what do I do now? Do I continue to squeeze in time on this game even though it’s far from finished? Do I work on something new and smaller to get my name out there? Do I work on a new game that is suited for Steam Early Access? I have a document with hundreds of game ideas, so which one would I even start with?

Don’t get me wrong, even if I work on something else I don’t think I could ever just give up on Catapult for Hire. It’s a story I’m dying to tell and I want to make it happen.

After all of the time I’ve spent debating and deliberating, what it comes down to for me is enjoying what I’m working on.

I will be back with something great to show you all. I think I know what that is but only time will tell.

Until then...

 

Tuesday
Nov192013

Will work for adventure


The video above is a new format to show some of the new things going on with the game. Of course it’s not a summary of everything I’ve been working on (there need to be SOME secrets!) but I think they will be a good way to show my progress.

My Dad recently asked how I actually make stuff in 3D and so I'm starting to capture my desktop as I work and I added a snippet to the video. It's a bit hard to see exactly what I'm doing but I'll learn to perform better to make it more clear in the future. I realize now that I need to do the broad strokes and worry about clean geometry and small details later.

So, the end of the year is here and 2013 has been a wild ride! The past few months have been especially crazy. Now that the dust has settled I can finally announce that I have been able to buy back the rights to Catapult for Hire from my publisher!

That means a lot of things but most of all it means that I can commit to the highest quality game possible and I will be able to interact with the community in a more direct way. Not much will change as far as my life situation. I will continue working part-time and squeezing in as much time as I can on the game in-between, but I'm finally in a good place and am making real progress.

Recently I added a feature that I'm very excited about. When I started designing the game I tried approaching gameplay through the lens of a completely stationary catapult. Initially it was an attempt at finding creative solutions to a constraint and it would keep environment sizes down but I see now that constraint isn't necessary. Not long ago I splurged and bought Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in which you occasionally commandeer a pirate ship and I found that firing the cannons was immediately comfortable because it played exactly like Catapult for Hire. The main difference was that I was steering a ship all the while and I realized this needed to be in the game.

There are a couple of vehicle types already in the game but now the player will control their movement using standard WASD controls. In some levels you essentially become a catapult-tank as you move through the environment while other levels have you flying an airship through the skies or sailing a ship to locate the best fishing spots. It's a completely natural addition to the game and just feels right.