Ashworld, oh Ashworld.. my nemesis!
So where are we with this “little ol’ game”?.. glad you asked! Last week I planned out to use the whole week to recode and simplify the mission-structure that the game code uses. This is really one of the few examples where I would have probably been better off not diving into the code but first planning and thinking things through.
The code for the story-missions was all over the place with many different functions that handled a bunch of exceptions, it made it hard to debug, hard to modify, and hard to expand. Which made it something to avoid, which I have been doing for weeks (even months). Sadly for me, the game needs these story missions very much! as an important part of the game progress.
Thus, after diving into it for a week, I managed to make it all much more manageable, less exceptions and more clear rules on what missions do and take care of within the game world. It’s now mostly handled by two functions where one simply starts the mission (checking the world for required objects, setting rules, and testing if the player possibly already completed it), and the other stops the mission (including setting up objects and area’s in the world where any follow up missions might be started).
I even had some time left to tweak the car-code some more and add some funky new stuff like jumping out and making the car crash into enemies/objects. Better sliding/drifting and finally managed to get it all working with a better collision detection. It’s far from realistic, but I’m going for fun on this one, not for title “best driving game of 2017”!
Besides all that fun stuff, a lot more tweaking and bug-fixing has been going on, and I also added some new elements like radiation buildings where you need a protective suit to survive, which is then a new item to find in the massive tiny open-world!
One new, technically very small but game-play wise big, feature is that there are now a lot more NPC’s strolling around the world, and they can give you points on where to find items required for your missions.. usually at a cost! If they can’t help you they either return to their usual “chit chat” line of text or spawn some random lines I added to the game.
This should help the player to always be able to find stuff by simply talking to the nearest character and pay the man or woman with some “scraps”.
So, I am VERY happy to say that my bug-list and my to-do lists are actually shrinking instead of growing! That’s a pretty good sign at this point. One of the big things still left, that I hope to wrap up this week, is making the game-shops actually contain stuff to buy, right now it’s just mostly a place where you can trade Sandworm-meat for a nice juicy worm-burger (which refills your health and energy). But it would be better if you can also buy ammo and maybe some normal drinks and food.
During all the big changes and features I’m constantly tweaking the rest of the game, but right now I’m very pleased with how the game plays. The enjoyment I’ve been looking for is finally there, and it’s now fairly common for me to just dive into the game playing for a bit when I just woke up.
Now let’s talk a bit about “the release”. Don’t get over excited, I have no exact date planned yet, but I personally would love to get something out there in May or early June at the latest. However, after looking at Space Grunts and the more recent Meganoid release, I decided that the best way to do release this game is PC first. If possible in some sort of early-access / first-access way so I can keep improving the game and also get awesome feedback and new idea’s.
Depending on how that goes, I would then release the game on iOS first, and Android a few weeks later, just to test the waters on doing iOS before Android and if that makes any difference on possible Apple featuring.
Slowly, but certainly, the game is crawling towards a release. So stay tuned!