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July 14, 2014

Category: News

Author: Charles

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The last month has largely been more of the same as last month. I’m working on online multiplayer games (getting close!). Meanwhile the artist is nearing completion of her work redesigning the GUI. In fact, the first bundle of “finished” (in quotes because rework is likely, if not expected) artwork arrived yesterday. So now I need to start adding it into Concealed Intent and see how it looks. I’m starting to feel a little harried. The online work just needs a last push to finish. However, I also need to ensure the artist is not blocked waiting on me. Of course, I also need to just get this game finished! Still, not as bad as being back working at a bank, but I do need to keep going.

Recently I have been reading a few game development postmortems and wondering what I would say in a Concealed Intent postmortem. While I still have the whole marketing phase of the process to come (not looking forward to those tasks!). Here are what I think (at the moment) are my top 5 mistakes:

  • Working alone - Having another point of view on the game is priceless, and well as having someone else around for motivation. Just hiring an artist and talking only via email has had a large impact on progress and the quality of the gameplay. Plus, at least two tasks can get done at a time! There are huge benefits to finding a small team to work alongside. Next time I will spend some time trying to find a like-minded team.
  • Too complex - I like complex strategy games and these ideas bled into my game design. There is a place for such games, but I don’t think Concealed Intent is it. Nor is a good idea to try something complex as a first game when still learning game development. Concealed Intent still has some complexities, but it is far simpler than it was a year ago. Although I suspect I should have just started with a far simpler concept.
  • 3D camera - Related to complexity. I didn’t realise the difficulties created for myself by having a fully 3D camera with 6 degrees of freedom (3 pan axes, 2 rotation axes and zoom in/out). I now understand why developers lock their cameras down and there are so many 2D games. The art and GUI and gameplay are all much simpler. My next game will definitely be 2D!
  • Not worrying about art and appearance - First impression count. Concealed Intent started filled with developer created, placeholder art. It looked ugly and non-devs had trouble separating their views on the game from the art. If you showing other people (and as a lone developer this is vital), then there should be some effort to make it look good - and this may require finding an artist.
  • Different languages for client and server - This is really just an annoyance and probably won’t make the final list. The client is written in C# with Unity3D. The server is in Scala. Scala is great, but switching back and forth between the two languages causes me to make many little mistakes.