The Grand Plan - Next Steps
In my last post I talked about what Ascension III would be. I also promised to talk about how I was going to get there.
I did a bunch of thinking and had a lot I could have posted about schedules and tasks, work-life-project balance, tradeoff triangles, burn-down charts and scrum boards. I do use some of that stuff, but it's not what I'm going to talk about today.
But the reality is that this is very much a passion project for me and if I make it too much like work, it ceases being fun. I was playing some Quake III and Zandronum with a friend when I realized that I was really overcomplicating things.
Let's start by building a satisfying shooter.
Most of the pieces are there, but need some reworking. Player movement needs to be totally redone; it's lame for a story-focused RPG and unbearable for anything action-oriented. The scaffolding is in place for guns, but all the stuff that takes them from functional to fun like recoil, lighting effects, spread and penetration isn't there yet. NPCs are working, but the AI and damage model needs to be adapted for boss fights.
Going back to the direction I talked about in the previous post; gunfights with dragons. If that's the core of the game, it needs to work well and it needs to be fun to play. The RPG stuff that we have works well enough at least for now, it's not as critical. We* need to focus on what matters.
The plan for the demo hasn't really changed. Get the dragon fight working first, then see how much time is left. I'd like to get some dungeon crawling in, as that's also a significant part of the gameplay, and ideally a whole island with NPCs and quests to give it some meat, but we'll see. I'd also still like to get the background music system in, but again, we'll see what we have time for. I'm going to do what I can for the Fall 2019 demo, and then maybe there will be another one at the end of the year.
The whole thing is pretty laid back and casual. Let me be absolutely clear: I'm not quitting my day job for this. In fact, my day job is programming, and I'm trying to approach this as an escape from day-to-day drudgery rather than more of the same.
Of course, I'm still working on the writing and design for the rest of the game in the background. Once we have the core concept and a vertical slice put together and proven, we can move on to expanding and building out the rest.
*I use "we" a lot, but it's definitely a "royal we". I'm the only one working on this game.
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