It’s been a slow couple of weeks in Concealed Intent development. At the moment I’m working on cleaning up some longstanding kludges in the code. I generally plan on doing this sort of maintenance and refactoring at the start of a new dev cycle. Indeed, I have just started work towards Alpha3.
There was a rush to get the second alpha finished before a short holiday at the end of February. The target date was hit with all planned functionality complete. However, I’m not happy with the result. All the features are there, but it doesn’t work well as a whole and is less pretty than before. This is due partly to old problems being exposed by new features and partly because the new features do not work well together. There are many new GUI components and game balance still off. To some degree, I was expecting this.
After feedback from the first alpha, I wanted to try out various ideas and see what worked. That was the plan for Alpha2. However, it is still disappointing when test playthroughs are actually more annoying then previously. I have to pass through this disheartening phase and continue working. To this end I have constructed a task list for Alpha3. Most of the task descriptions start with words like “improve” or “better”. There are very few new features – the aim is that Alpha3 will be enjoyably playable.
For the next release, I may not set a specific date and list of tasks. Instead there will just be a list of tasks. I’ll keep going until the result works well as a whole. Working to a date means may not have time to get it all working nicely, or being a bit uncomfortable taking on large tasks in case they’re not done in time.