When I started working on Planitia full-bore again after the holidays were over I mentioned that I’m going to release a new beta by the end of January. I want this beta to have actual gameplay in it, and for that I need three things.
* I need to get the villages spawning new villages. They’ve been expanding for months, but once they hit the pop cap they are supposed to spawn another village nearby.
* I need to put combat back in. I ripped it out for debugging purposes – and I know it’s at least partially broken. That needs to be reactivated and debugged.
* I need to get more god powers implemented. Right now the only two that do exactly what they are supposed to are Flatten and Lightning Bolt.
I got the first two requirements done over the weekend and an amazing thing happened…
It’s a game now.
It’s got a definite beginning, requirements for success, and those requirements can be fulfilled – the game can even tell when you (or someone else) has won. The first time I crushed the AI player and had the game actually feed back to me that I’d won…well, that was a great moment for me personally.
So finally, fourteen months after I started this project (and eight months after it was supposed to have been finished), Planitia is a playable game! It’s not a very good game, but I wasn’t expecting it to be – this game is a perfect candidate for the iterative game design process.
And this means I still have two weeks to polish it up and add features before I post it. I’ve even started adding – GASP! – sound!
Yes… bring to me the tiny pixelated mortals. Let them worship me and despair! mwahahahahaha!
Now you know why it’s so important to get first playable done as early as possible. After this, every change you do, every feature you add, will also result in a game, and a better one, too =)
was it really that big of a leap from sandbox to game? i mean, even if you can “win” or “lose” now – do you find yourself playing through an entire session? how long do you find your sessions to be, and what length of time do you think is (or would you like to be) reasonable for a sit-down with planitia?
the most important question i’d like to look at answering is: how much importantance do you think i should be putting on getting actionRPG to go from sandbox to game?
oh, and.. lol @ lolcat reference 😀
Well, right now the enemy AI is so weak that I can’t possibly lose; I doubt it would take more than 15 minutes to defeat even three other computer players. But that’s actually fine – the target game time length I am shooting for is about 20-25 minutes for two players and 30-40 minutes for four.
I think it’s actually very important to get at least some real gameplay in as soon as possible. When I write my postmortem for Planitia “Doing pretty graphics too soon” is definitely going to be one of the things I list under “What Went Wrong”.