It would have been nice to have hit this about a week ago, which was the 2 year anniversary of starting work on this game. But considering that my unofficial deadline was “the end of the year”, it’s pretty nice to hit it over a month early.
Basically I now have all 10 of the “raw” stages built for my 10 stage game. “Raw” stages are what I call the sort of pre-demo stages I build that include all types of platforms, enemies, etc. that will be included in the final versions of these stages, as well as a lot of the gameplay ideas I had for the stages, etc. Essentially, these are fully playable stages that contain all of the elements they will have in the future. That isn’t to say that they are done though, or even close to done. They’re still sloppy and unpolished in a lot of respects, and the actual level design in most of them needs a lot of work, so there is a lot to be done there. Still, the basic form and elements are all there now.
For the most part. I still want to build some objects that will appear in various stages based on what your current collectible “alignment” is, etc. But that’s small stuff. The bulk of the main content is there. It needs a lot of polish, but it is there.
So why did it take me two years to get to this point? In part because I started this game with zero experience in game development so the first year or so was spent just getting a lot of basic elements like movement and camera and such in place. It’s really only been the last year or so that I got to attack the content hard.
Also, because my game has a LOT of stuff in it. So far…
About 70 different enemy / hazard objects. Many with attacks that involve additional objects.
About 35 different platform objects.
9 button objects (these give you a variety of special moves, etc.)
5 collectible objects (x6 of each collectible.)
About 10 collectible spawner objects.
About 20 “etc” objects.
5 player objects.
Much of the above also have variations, so… that adds a bunch more.
In truth, I think I packed too much in. The game’s main “story” mode, if you manage to play through without dying, only involves about 45 minutes of gameplay. All of the above packed into 45 minutes of gameplay! I have a lot of additional challenge stages and such planned to make sure the game has at least 3-4 hours of content, but that will all be reusing the same objects. A lot of the complaints at my playtesting sessions have involved too much coming at you too fast, so one difficult thing I will have to do in the near future is decide what objects to cut. Tough, but necessary.
There is still a ton more to do for this game. I need to polish up what I have hardcore. Add in the “alignment” stuff. I haven’t even really started on the story / choice sections yet. Lots of art to get in (it’s mostly placeholder stuff right now), sound design (have been keeping up with the soundtrack but sfx are all placeholders), gameplay modes, the above-mentioned challenge stages. Make it work nice on a variety of resolutions with a variety of controls. Optimize it to get rid of some framerate issues in certain areas. A lot of known bugs to fix and plenty of unknown bugs that are sure to arrive. Still way more to do so please don’t ask me when it will be finished because my answer is still “I don’t know.” Probably at least another 1-2 years.
But it feels nice to hit this huge milestone. Might be time to take a small break and go outside and breathe some fresh air again. Maybe I can sit down and actually play some video games for once!