So last week I wrote about the grind, and during it – I was having thoughts of why I went down the “story/mission” path and how instead I could be happily coding additional features of sandbox game play. These thoughts are fairly useless because the path is set and sandbox game play is something to look forward to in the future. Even more useless considering that I have to power through these moments versus thinking what I might have done wrong or better – in hindsight.
Well last Monday the grind started clearing up when the mission finally tarted taking form. The many elements and goals of this particular mission started coming together. To give you an example – for the player – there are two new build able stations, two new destroyer class ships and new command ship upgrades. These come at a cost of intense battles, retreats, and advances. That’s even not mentioning a few other surprises.
As usual it got me pretty excited and happy. I think this is one of the best missions yet. It has this (particularly) neat moment that I hope is very memorable – and the post moment big battle and (hopefully) victory even more so. I was so excited by the battle that I asked my sound designer for a new music track – so that the player feels that bit more excitement via a new musical piece. The battle was so intense that even though I lost the Mark 13 – a ship that I’ve been carefully keeping alive in my fleet – I didn’t reload the game as usual to try to protect it via another try, she died in a worthy battle.
So what’s left to do before another iteration – I have to seriously work on some potential alternate paths that might form. For example – the player receives A from B – but what if B has been destroyed? That sort of thing. There are surprisingly a few of them.
Even better news is that I have the game’s ending fairly well defined in my mind.
Bit of news – Steam achievements are in.
The ones added are about 1/2 to 3/4 of “story” based achievements. So fairly basic ones that you’d expect to unlock just by playing the game. Because the game has some challenging missions I hope that these can be a sense of pride for the player and add a bit extra satisfaction to conquering a goal. There are also a few achievements obtained when straying from the path of the main story and doing somewhat unusual things. I hope to add to these story based achievements in the near future and as the story portion of the game gets completed.
So the truth is that I didn’t give achievements much thought up until recently. My own personal experience with achievements is mostly take it or leave it situation, but as a developer I have to try to maximize their potential value.
So brainstorming on achievements and their value:
- Cool art work for player’s to enjoy
- Clever name/description of achievement
- Cool art/clever description to entice a potential player
- Passing a particularly hard stage
- Displaying on Steam profile page
- Marketing aspect of friend seeing a unlocked achivement
- Completing 100% of the game
- Statistics and game info – N% of players unlocked achievement ABC
So clearly achievements can have a lot of value. I hope to take advantage of them and to use them to boost player enjoyment of the game.
The other happenings are the new story content. It is going well – but I’m feeling the grind. In working on new story content I tend to replay a mission over and over. In this particular stage changing earlier enemy attacks, or happenings in the mission can have big consequences on later missions. So I often need to replay the mission from the beginning, this is wearing me down a bit. It is strange because I think that for the player this will be one of the more exciting missions, tons of combat, building defenses, swarms of enemies and the ups and downs of battle. I hope that it turns out that way.
The grind however – doesn’t impact me when tweaking/adding new features and bug fixing. A very good sign, I often think of the future of Void Destroyer – whatever shape it takes – and constantly adding new features towards a sandbox type game. Oh to dream