And so 2013 is here and it’s a good idea to update you on my agenda for this new year. My primary target for 2013 will be the release of a final “Phase 2” version of Projekt “W”. And with a public beta available that’s pretty close to the final product I’m pretty confident that this will finally happen this year.
People seem to be mostly positive about the current public beta release (or at least I haven’t heard any negative comments) and all comments up until now have been pretty nice, something I’ve been missing before the release of a public beta. Releasing something people can play around with gets you much more feedback than just uploading screenshots and videos to look at. But that’s just one of the advantages of the release early, release often philosophy, together with the fact that you can easily integrate player’s feedback right during your development instead of having to patch your game later on. The onyl disadvantage of this philisophy is that releasing builds on a regular basis takes time. You’ll have to make sure that the current build is working fine (and not worse than the one before), so during coding it’s necessary to check if changes did break something, then you need to package your release, upload it and spread the word. But in my opionion it’s totally worth the additional time, and I want to stay on release early, release often for all my future projects.
But back to my plans for “Phase 2” in 2013. There isn’t that much left to do yet (compared to what I did over the last few years), but some of these open points need to be closed before I can call it a final release :
* Sound design
The game is severely lacking in this area. I noticed this will playing a small indie strategy game where the sounds perfectly fit the scenario and added to the overall atmosphere. That’s pretty much missing from “Phase 2” currently, and this is one of the bigger issues I’ll take care of. * Politics feature I mentioned this in several posts and the button is already there in the current beta build, but the feature is still in design stage. My plan is to add more personality to the game so the player feels more like the leader of a nation rather than “just” building stuff and moving divisions. * Ingame tutorial and documentation “Phase 1” had an ingame tutorial that lead the player through the most important aspects of the gameplay. This is currently missing from “Phase 2”, but something like this is a necessity for such a complex game. The html manual include is already a step in the right direction but not sufficient in my eyes. * Add more content Although already stuffed with a lot of content (currrently the development directory inlcudes almost 800 MBytes of drafts, artworks, models, textures, designs, etc.) there are still areas where content is lacking. Battlefields for example still lack variety in 3D models and I also want to add some more buildings, technologies and global projects. * Remove backwards compatibility for shaderless GPUs When the original game launched there were lots of GPUs that didn’t support shaders, so there is still code in the renderer for these cards. But nowadays even the cheapest GPU is capable of shaders (inlcuded integrated GPUs), so I want to remove this legacy stuff and then also use shaders to opimize rendering in certain areas. * Multi-platform support (*) Something I’ve been wanting to do all the time. Since Delphi doesn’t offer this the main obstacle here is to get it compiling with Lazarus/FPC. But since this includes a lot fo changes to the code (e.g. thousands of lines of code that use Delphi’s XML-implementation) I don’t know if it will ever happen, though this is a point that I’d really like to implement.
This is my (more-or-less) immediate agende for “Phase 2” in 2013. And yes, I also plan to add some more stuff depending on time and motivation (e.g. a complete network mode, PBEM, modding, etc.) but also want to take on other proects after “Phase 2” somewhere in the near future.
On a sidenote I added “Phase 2” to the indie games db. This is a first step in broadening the audience for the game. For the first release I only really promoted it inside my developer communities, and with this step I hope to get more people to play my game. So give it a spin.
And you also may have noticed that the look of the page has changed a bit. That’s because I finally got around upgrading my server to the latest PHP/MySQL versions so I could upgade to the newest wordpress version. So I also switched to a different theme that offers more functionality (dropdown menus, widgets, etc.) so that you now have easier access to the areas on my page. Please note that I’m still working on the migration, so some pages may look add, but that’ll be fixed.
Oh, and a good and healthy 2013 to all of you btw ;)