The final weeks

Another week of ups and downs on Ashworld, luckily ending in a great big up.

I have a very strange rule that says: you should be able to freeze the game at any point, and 9 out of 10 times it should give you a good looking screenshot of the game. Sadly, at the start of this week, I wasn’t feeling that with Ashworld.

Doing some video recordings, I had way too many area’s and moments that just didn’t grab me visually.

So this week I’ve been having a lot of fun by adding various effects and graphical improvements. The main one is a large cracked-sand texture for the world. This removes the problem of an empty and boring colored world area on most of my previous screenshots. I still have a bunch of random stuff and textures being generated all over the world, but those aren’t always around on screen and in those cases the screen was just very “empty”.

Gameplay wise I added special effects like bullet-shells flying around when you shoot, the bullets also gotten some improved graphics (over the originally designed black-dots). The sand-worm is also made twice as big and the movement and code behind it is now properly improved. It was one of the first things I added to the game and never gave a second look!

Finally I increased the size of blood particles and improved all explosions and debris effects (stuff now bounces all over).  It’s hectic, chaotic, and possibly a bit over the top.. just how I like my games!

I also started working on the game’s Codex, this comes with all the info on inventory items, weapons, vehicles, places, people, etc. It’s a fun extra you can unlock by playing the game a bunch of times and meeting the quota for each codex entry. When unlocked it gives you a silly description of it and I’ll link an achievement to unlocking the full codex just for kicks.

A lot of time was also put into getting the mobile controls up to par, and also getting the gamepad support customizable. I ran into some stupid unoptimized code that made the game run extremely slow on my phone.. which was a bit of a panic moment, but fixing some lines of code – not parsing+rendering a bunch of non-visible objects – fixed all that.

Many people poked me to see if Ash was based on Ash vs Evil dead.. and no he isn’t, but I do like that reference. So for coolness I now added a chainsaw to the weapon selection, it burns through your fuel (which is also needed for cars and flame throwers) but it cuts through enemies like they are made out of pixels.

I just finished implementing the first version of the save-game system. Really expected it to be a big pain in the behind, but it took me only like 30 minutes.. I’m sure I’ll run into some bugs with it later on, but for now it does seem to work. The code behind it is very silly but functionally: I save all entities and states of the game to a JSON file.. in the end that’s still only a bit over 320kb so why not!

Finally I’ve been cutting a nice trailer, it’s not yet finished (you can find a beta link to it on my twitter in recent posts). I’m waiting for Gavin to create some awesome music for it.

So, what’s left.. achievements and leaderboards are biggies still left to be added. This itself isn’t such a problem, but it does require me to also get store-pages up and running first before I can do all those things. So that means a Steam page, Google Play page, App store page.. and that requires marketing banners, screenshots, etc. A lot of mostly boring work.

There are some missions left to add to the game, and possibly some sort of “well done, completed” thing. Then a bunch of testing, and .. getting it released I guess.

My plan is still to release in Q1 2017, so that gives me a few weeks to get all that stuff wrapped up.. fun times!

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