Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Crunching for Dream Build Play: 7 days to go

I wasn't going to enter Dream Build Play this year. When the registration period began in March, I was maybe 15% done on my current work-in-progress, Dreamland. And most of that progress had been made on the Windows Phone version of the game. Team Mango artist Leon didn't have to do a great deal to persuade me that we should get the game ready to enter regardless.

I've entered DBP for the last two years. Gravsheep in 2009 and Dysnomia last year. Dysnomia finished in the final 20. While I'm not expecting Dreamland to be a finalist, it would be a shame to sit it out this time around. So here I am, with seven days to go. As the game stands, it's fully up and running on the 360 with the majority of the game mechanics in place. Content-wise, I'm looking to have the first 20% of the game in there, including the first dungeon and first boss and a number of completable quests. I'm aiming to be code-complete by Sunday night so that I can spend Monday recording a video and have Tuesday evening ironing out any last issues.

Dreamland has been in development since October last year, and while there's not been an official release announcement about the game, I can tell you a few things about it. It's an RPG. A pretty light RPG with real-time combat. It's cartoony, but the visuals betray the adult nature of the game. There's plenty of dry humour in the dialogue, a fair amount of blood (though nothing that sticks) and some adult themes. I'm aiming to get the game out in September on Windows Phone and Xbox Live Indie Games, and complete a Windows version by the holidays.

As of tonight, and after a month of real crunching on the codebase, my to-do list for the Dream Build Play release stands as follows:

  • Spell Direction indicator
    • Spellcasting in Dreamland is directional. On the phone, a flick gesture is used to cast spells in the direction of the flick, and is pretty accurate. On the 360, the right stick is used to cast spells. Because It's kind of hard to precisely gauge the direction with a flick of the thumbstick, I'm adding an on-screen direction indicator, with a slight delay so that you can line up the spell before casting it.
  • Quest updates/levelling text
    • I need some nice text for when the player gains a level or moves a quest along. Just to provide a bit of extra feedback.
  • Intro/mini-tutorial
    • There's nothing there at the moment. You're dumped right into the game after the title screen. Plan is to have an introduction by one of the games characters, along with a short tutorial explaining melee and magical combat.
  • Portal
    • In the full game, the character will have a Diablo-style portal item allowing them to easily move between their current location and the town square. For the DBP demo, I'll just be placing a fixed portal at the end of the first dungeon.
  • More Quests
    • Currently there's two completable quests, I'm hoping to get that up to five. That includes all the NPC conversations that go with the quests.
  • Sounds and Music
    • Currently none. Nada. Nil. Argh. Why do I do this to myself. I have my eye on some stock music already, but sound effects are another story entirely. Maybe I'll just use BFXR for some extremely placeholder sounds.
And that's it. Seven items on the list. Seven days to go. Realistically (and given no other distractions), I have around 30 hours free time between now and Sunday.

I shall update again on Friday evening.

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