Challenge Stage Teaser Trailer, Canadian Permanent Residence, and More!

Let’s get to the important bit right away. In Retrospect is nearly complete! So I put together a little teaser trailer showing off some of the 40+ challenge stages that will be in the final game. In addition to the story mode, In Retrospect has a challenge mode with a full leaderboard system which includes rankings for each challenge stage plus an overall ranking for your combined score. So yes, there will be a definitive, quantitative way to prove who is the best In Retrospect player EVAR.

With that said, onto the next piece of news. I am now a Canadian permanent resident! Great news, right? For me, yes! However, I have been very busy lately: getting my SIN number, getting into the healthcare system, getting certified as a teacher, getting my car imported (this has so many steps!), etc. and there are still a ton of things to do. So yes, this unfortunately means that, despite being oh so close to finishing In Retrospect, I have had other priorities over the past few months and I will continue to have other priorities for the next few months. But do not fear, I haven’t stopped working on In Retrospect! I don’t think this will push things back too far, as I said the game is very close to finished and I am still actively working on it. But I also realized that I really want to think about how I am going to launch the game as well, and take the time to do it right instead of just dumping it out there. I was really aiming for a release at the end of May and that’s just not going to happen now. And instead of continually throwing out new dates that I end up missing, I will just leave it at this: In Retrospect is coming soon.

“What do you call soon?”

“I call all times soon.”

No but for real. Soon. You’ll be the first to know.

With that said, if you’re wondering what is left for me to do, at least on the development side of things, there really isn’t much. At the moment the game is more or less complete. I’ve been spending the last few weeks just playing through everything over and over, making lists of things that feel off, then fixing them. Often this is literally just tiny stuff like “this jump feels off, maybe move the enemy one tile over?” and such. Just polishing it all up really nice. I also have a few small little asset changes that I want to make, replace a few sound effects here and there, things like that. I have some bugs to look into as well, but honestly, the game is (surprisingly?) in a very stable state, I have found very few new bugs in my repeated recent playthroughs. Most of the bugs still on my bug list at this point are things I ran into once years ago that I’ve never run into again. I still want to try to address them of course, but overall, the game feels very stable to me. But I may have blindspots, so I’m going to keep going over everything and have a few other people try it all out for me as well.

But otherwise, that’s about it. Get that stuff done, execute a launch plan, and then you can all finally play this game I have been working on for way too long!

Looking Back at 2021… In Retrospect!

Get it? Because that’s the name of my game!

It’s been awhile since my last update. I live in Toronto now! Sort of! I mean, I definitely live here, but technically I’m still a visitor until my permanent residency comes through. Immigration is rarely a quick process in normal times, but Covid backlogs mean this could be awhile.

So what is the state of In Retrospect? It’s actually in a pretty good spot right now. Due in part to not being able to legally hold a job in Canada yet, I’ve been getting a ton of game dev work done! The story mode is completed, and I’m basically just knocking out the leaderboard-driven challenge stages right now. I promised over 40 of them (which, to be frank and specific, means there will be exactly 41 total) and I only have 8 left to create. A single challenge stage takes me about 3-5 days to create, so that’s probably about a month of work to get them finished, give or take. After that there really isn’t a ton left to do outside of some minor additions, polishing everything up, testing, testing, testing and fixing whatever (hopefully minor) bugs that I find.

But this is game dev, and moreso this is life, so who knows what may or may not get in the way. With that said, barring any wild unforeseen circumstances, I hope to release In Retrospect in early to mid 2022. Yeah yeah, I know I have been overly optimistic about release dates in the past, but I really am running out of things to do on this game at this point.

I’ve been too busy to get any new press kit level screenshots, but my wife and her art friends have been doing these art square things where you put a picture of yourself in between 8 pieces of your art, and it looked neat, so I decided to do it for In Retrospect. I think of myself as an excellent musician and a pretty solid programmer and designer, but not quite an impressive visual artist… yet. Nevertheless, here is a rare picture of myself + some pixel art, all from recently designed challenge stages.

And that’s it, for now. If all goes well my next update will be talking about a release date. Maybe!

Don’t forget to add In Retrospect to your Steam wishlist!

My wife and I are moving to Toronto this summer!

Hey all, some huge news here. My wife and I are moving to Toronto this summer!

It’s difficult to predict what this will mean for In Retrospect, but an international move is, as I am sure you can imagine, a lot of work, so it’s probably safe to say that it will push back the release date a bit. If you have been following In Retrospect for long enough, another pushed back release date won’t be any kind of surprise though, lol.

With that said, I have been making serious progress on the game! I’ve been using a lot of feedback from the demo especially to enact some big changes (like adding checkpoints!), as well as polishing up a lot of smaller things. At this point pretty much all of the planned assets are finished, and the story mode is more or less finished as well.

So what is left? Good question, maybe writing this blog post will help me straighten that out in my head. Some things that still need to be completed:

  • Some minor polishing up of some graphical assets
  • Some minor polishing up of the story mode stages
  • Making the story mode stages playable in the challenge mode (probably broken up into smaller packages in some form)
  • Adding around 15-20 more mini stages for the challenge mode (this shouldn’t be TOO bad, each one usually only takes me 2-3 sessions of work to complete)
  • Adding in some of the various planned game settings
  • Fixing up the few known bugs at the moment
  • Testing, testing, testing… which of course leads to discovering more bugs, so fixing those up as well!

I want to say that is it, but can it really be it? I have to be forgetting something, right?! But no, I think this is it. I may actually finish this game in the foreseeable future!

But as for the immediate future, it’s time to pack…

In Retrospect, the musical action platformer I’m developing, has a new demo for PC / Mac. Try it out!

Hey all! I made another demo for my game, In Retrospect.

Get it on Steam (PC)Get it on Itch (PC / Mac) – Don’t forget to wishlist it!

• Craft your own story and gameplay based on which collectibles you focus on! Health, wealth, love, education, creativity, or spirituality? What direction will your life take?
• Music and gameplay synchronicity! Every stage has its own song that often syncs with the gameplay!
• Do more than just run! Swim, walk, fall, and ride on and in things!
• Custom button system grants special moves and power-ups, and every stage introduces a new button to explore!
• Over 100 different platforms, enemies and hazards! There is always something new to see!
• Leaderboards! Compete in over 30 challenge stages for the top spots!
• And much, much more!

Try it out and give me whatever feedback you want! Good, bad, neutral, you name it!

Also, add In Retrospect on social media / etc.:
Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Soundcloud

Help me playtest my new demo for In Retrospect! It’s almost finished and I need some real feedback!

Hey all!

Believe it or not, In Retrospect, my nearly 7 years in the making musical action platformer / runner game, is nearing completion! It might even release this year! (More likely is next year, but I’m trying to be optimistic.) I need to get some serious feedback before I can finalize some things and pull the trigger on a release.

So try out my new demo! It has 4 “story” stages and 4 “challenge” stages (and the challenge stages have leaderboards, so you can compete against other NWers for the top spots!) The demo story mode will probably take most people 15-30 minutes to complete. The challenge stages add another 5-10 minutes or so, if you only play them once.

There are two places you can access the demo, Steam and Itch. (If you have do not have a Steam account, anyone can access the Itch demo without an account.)

Demo on Steam (click the “Download Demo” button on the right-side menu a bit down the page, launch through Steam)
Demo on Itch (click the “Download” button near the bottom of the page, unzip the file, and click the .exe to launch)

And if you REALLY love me, you will fill out this short feedback form after playing through the 4 story mode stages (or giving up, if you can’t finish them.) And also get a screenshot (or at least copying down the information) of the screen you see when finishing the story mode (you can also access it at any time in the main menu under “STATISTICS” if you forget to screenshot it when finishing the story mode.)

Feedback Form

But even if you don’t do the form, you can add your feedback here. The main things I am looking for feedback on:

1. Any bugs you may find
2. Any unclear or confusing parts
3. Whether the default difficulty in the story mode feels right, and whether the difficulty feels like it progresses stage to stage

But really, any feedback is appreciated!

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me out here, and let me know if you have any questions about anything!

Got very far into the player cape development, probably going to scrap it

It’s a tough decision to scrap something after you put so much work into it, but this cape thing ended up being a much bigger project than I originally intended, and I really need to finish this game one of these days.

The problem with making an animated cape is that it really needs to be a lot more reactive than a basic player animation.  Honestly, the best way to do this would probably be changing the cape animations based on physics, but I don’t have anything that complicated set up, so I am currently changing the cape animations based on changes to the player animations.

BUT… It’s not that simple.  For instance, there are currently several different actions where the player has the same jump animation… a regular jump, shooting off the high jump button, falling off of something, bouncing off of something, being caught in a wind stream (up or down), etc.  Sometimes the player is moving up, sometimes down, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, sometimes up a short time then down, sometimes up a long time then down, sometimes coming into a fall from a jump, sometimes from a float, sometimes from hitting an enemy, etc.  A single cape animation simply does not work for all of these different contexts.  Often it won’t even be hanging in the right direction.

That’s just one example, albeit the most complicated one.

So I’ve had to make a lot of cape animations, and a lot of small transition cape animations to get from context X to context Y, etc.  Already the cape is by far the largest animation sheet with the most animations right now.  Which also means that a lot of the animations are currently a bit wonky looking, since I made many of them in a short amount of time and haven’t had the time or energy to go back and clean them all up yet.

The TLDR is that it’s been a ton of work and it is tough to really get the cape flowing the right way for all cases.  I think I have it more or less playing acceptable animations correctly for 90% of cases, but it’s those edge cases that are tough to figure out, and require some deep dives into the code and really understanding exactly what is happening with the player at any given moment.  And even once I got decent cape animations set up for all possible contexts, it would still take a lot of work to go over the many animations and make them look good.  I know I could do it to my own level of satisfaction eventually, but is it really worth the time and energy?

Maybe not.

Anyway, below is a quick video to show you where I left off.  You can see some places where it isn’t really using a good animation for the context (running up hills in the start, in the wind streams, etc.) and you can also see how sloppy some of the animations are even when the cape is in more or less the right place for the context.

I’m not sure if I’m going to totally scrap the cape idea yet, because I love it in theory, but I’m at least going to put it aside for now.  Much more important things to be working on at the moment, and I don’t want to get caught up in stuff that isn’t helping get this game finished.