Richard here, on a Saturday, working. It’s not right, but sometimes it has to be done. Frankly though, with all this weather we’re better off in the office (first floor) than at home. So, what a week! Where did it all go?
Development, that’s where it went. Oh, and the usual extra activities you always forget about (management stuff, catching up with people, design work etc.). We had this plan ages ago that we should spend at least a few months on cloning research. Ok, it would use up a few months, but think of all the extra work you could get the “clonies” to do (I think that’s the technical term for them.)
So, the game progresses (which is good as regressing is something we avoid). This week the main thing (I suppose) is that we all moved over to Unity Pro*. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you have minions whose lives revolve around shiny effects and how well our code is performing, it’s a real big deal. To this end we have two new things:
1. More shiny. Mostly in the form of subtle glow (or sometimes not so subtle) and the ability to start switching on full screen effects to make things more pretty.
2. Less judder. We’re aiming this game for next gen i.e. the new consoles, as well as PC, Linux, Mac, Cray X-MP and Difference engine (some of those may be lies). Because of this we’re not holding back on the nice hires textures and effects and this occasionally takes it’s toll. Will has it all in hand though and I regularly see one whole monitor just used for his performance profiling screen.
Levels are coming along. The main focus this week has been on getting the blocked out levels up to shape and getting something more playable in each. The boss level (see later) is running and you can even complete it. Which is a first for us. We also have another level that fully playable and just needs tweaks really. Two left for the demo and they are both coming along.
“Less is more” has been the motto of the week. You see, we look at other games and we generally go “ooohh, that’s nice, we could do that”, then we soon realize that it would take ages to get to that level. Being a little indie we don’t have the time or the resources to do that, so what do we do instead? We do less, but we do it well. Nicer textures, used with good variation along with some well-placed decals mean you get can something going much more quickly and get it to a good aesthetic level in was less time. To that end we’ve been sourcing nice decals and textures. Again our man Dan Stubbs has been on the case and (to say the least) we’ve now got a ton to choose from. Nice work Dan.
Phil Corbett (ace concept artist) continues to come up with crazy stuff. We’ve got a second pass on the concepts for all the bosses and we’re starting to get together some art so we can make nice futuristic advertising throughout the game. We want billboards in the game advertising future-wares to the bots (if you’ve seen the Futurama intro you’ll know what I mean).
The office continues to be great. We had some third year students from the University in this week for a chat. We told them all about the game industry and how great it was. We hope some move into the incubation space where we are so we can collaborate, for that’s what Total Monkery are all about. Find like minds and then get together to make cool things.
Also it seems like I’ll be giving a small talk at a game conference in London at the end of March, which should be fun. I’ll be talking about how indie game dev isn’t just about the “dev” part any more. How can you get extra income, working with academia, supporting the local scene, finding new markets and so on. I only dev about 50% of my week, the rest is management and the above list.
Right. That’s enough for now. I’ll leave you with feline-based bosses and some glow.
*Note from Anya: The move to Unity Pro may sound familiar from previous blog posts. Previously, we had Pro trials, with the expectation of upgrading at the end of it – due to circumstances of a funding nature, this had to be postponed until now. I swear, the second I get the official go-ahead there will be a really interesting post on the topic of funding… maybe around this time in 2020. 😉