I’ve been making a ton of progress on Outwitters lately. Although when I step back and look I still see a mountain of work left to do. But I *do* feel like I’m whittling away slowly at it. All of the core gameplay has been implemented for local play. Online play works in a non user-friendly manner and is still missing a few bells and whistles to make it stand apart from the typical affair. I always recognize this stage of development as when the game starts transforming from a toy/prototype/hobby into a commercial-ready product. Most of the ‘fun parts’ of game development are behind me (Although I’ve saved a few for the rainy days ahead), and now it’s about focusing on all the less glamorous parts of making it a usable, marketable game. Things like player preferences, profiles, UI, first-run initializations, etc are rising up on my to do lists these days. Oh, and lots of testing/debugging. Very much your typical software development role. At a glance, very similar to any given dev job in the business world. Only thing is my object models have cannons, health points, and spells instead of accounts, transactions, and employee data :).
One thing that has constantly surprised me is the amount of data we’re dealing with this game compared to Tilt to Live. It’s immense. A quick file count shows there’s about 3500 files in our ‘data’ folder, which contains images, sounds, maps, and animations. The tools I wrote work on game data in kind of a ‘macro’ view, where editing one, it goes ahead and updates all affected files throughout the project to maintain links and references. Without our tools/scripts it literally would’ve been impossible to iterate on anything. Sometimes it’s aggravating having to go in and ‘fix’ a tool or update it to reflect a new data format change where it’s sometimes easier to just edit that *one* file. But by constantly having the mentality of trying to keep human hands out of the asset pipeline beyond the actual drawing and designing, I’m always reminded it’s worth it when I launch 2 scripts, and come back 2 minutes later and all assets are packaged, sized, meta-data generated, and placed in the xcode project directory ready to be deployed.
I also suppose this is my last iDevBlogADay post, or at least until the new incarnation takes place. With or without iDevBlogADay I’ll be keeping to this bi-weekly schedule as best as I can. Hopefully, after Outwitters is released I can write up a bit more useful content beyond just a dev diary :).