Saturday, 20 February 2010

Dysnomia Development Diary - Getting ready for Dream Build Play

Dysnomia is going to be ready for Dream Build Play. Feels great to be able to say that because it did look touch and go as little as a month ago. There's been so much to do just to get the game to a feature-complete state. That said, the game is now playable from start to finish and all of the gameplay is locked down, as is the level design, enemy design and all the other bits that make up the actual playable portion of the game.


When people ask what exactly is taking so long, It's always hard to explain. It's pretty easy to get a game designed and working - and even fully completable. It's the unnoticed details in every game that takes up development time, especially in the late polishing phase. Things like nice menu screens, tutorials, on-screen prompts. All the transitions that make the user experience smooth, fading and animation of UI elements, making sure that interactive objects provide the right amount of user feedback. All things that I've been working diligently on over the last three months, whilst also finishing level layouts.


Sound as well - finding the right sounds for a game as complex as Dysnomia is hard. There's a lot of events that require sounds in the game and I have to scour several stock sound effects sites to find effects to fit the on-screen happenings. Then I have to edit them down, set mix levels and in-game audio cues for each one before I can tie them to actual objects on-screen. There's currently 49 individual sound effects in the game, and I anticipate adding at least another ten before we wrap up.


So, after nine months, an estimated 800 hours work (from me alone, not including Leon's time for the art) and more than 30,000 lines of code, Dysnomia is ready to be submitted to Dream Build Play next weekend. I'm not expecting the game to win a top four prize, but my hope is to finish somewhere in the top 20 semi-finalist positions.


There's not a great deal to do after DBP - some more sounds, an intro and outro and a final bit of polish. The game will be submitted to XNA Creator's Club peer review in March. With enough testing beforehand, the game should appear on the marketplace near the end of the month, or early April.

I then plan to do a lot of marketing for the game over Easter and for the rest of April, before taking a well-earned couple of months of relaxation before starting the next game in July.

Can't wait to get the game out there and for you to play it!