At some point during the last week I realized that it has been a very long time since I’ve taken a break of any significant length where I wasn’t just working on something else. So I decided to do so now. On the backburner I’m still trying to figure out the final direction for the game. I’ve found myself devoid of ideas on it, which is basically the main reason for the break. Part of me wants to work on some of the many necessary programming tasks in the mean time. But in my experience it’s sort of difficult for me to switch between the two modes of thought back and forth? At any rate if I don’t come up with anything by the end of the break I’ll switch over to the many, many necessary programming tasks until something hits me.
So far I’ve largely just been floating by on adding some basic, but critical improvements to the existing game. While doing so I eventually hit a relatively small feature that required a lot of additional work to implement properly. This work had a bunch of benefits in terms of implementing systems I’ve wanted to have for awhile. But it also represented several weeks worth of work. So I started to second guess the investment. Noticed that I didn’t really have any long-term plan of where to go from here, just a bunch of problems that needed solving. So I decided to go back to focusing my full attention on planning once again. Feels terribly decadent as it always does, but considering the one success the project has enjoyed so was a direct result of thinking things through I’m feeling a little better about it than usual.
Right now we basically have a pretty solid skeleton of a game that has pretty much no meat on it whatsoever. I have a laundry list of things that I want in there, but no real direction on how to do that just yet. One of the things I’m struggling with is that the game has evolved in a direction that feels a little bit deviated from the kind of game I set out to make. A race doesn’t exactly feel that much like an adventure. But if you look at it from another direction, a race is a whole lot like a dungeon. It’s just a very bland, straightforward dungeon right now. It needs spice. That’s sort of my thought process right now. But it’s very difficult to distinguish between doing what’s right for the game as it is, and doing something for a game that doesn’t really exist.
Somehow the entire week got spent on one feature. I can kind of see why, it basically involves pulling together 6 separate systems into one thing that wasn’t originally planned for. And it ended up forcing me to rebuild the way we transmit player UI input over the network (the original version was hastily slapped together to get it done, but had a lot of problems. The new UI system required rebuilding it anyway, so I did it right this time). But mostly I think I’m just psyching myself out from all the pressure of this being the last time frame for me to change things around. I think I’m feeling better now.
Some UI work got done, some bugs got fixed, some planning got done, but this week was sort of a wash for some reason. Don’t even know.
As I enter the long haul of finalization I find myself questioning time allocation. Should I actually be refining the game to be better, or is my time better served by focusing on building new elements? Should I really be implementing more up to date UI when I should be focusing on the game right now since it needs to be as good as possible when we hit the deadline? I’m going to say yes to these questions . The type of refinements I’m doing right now are fundamental improvements, not tiny polish details. Improving the UI now is useful for how I can build the game itself (ie, passives become way more viable for complicated gimmick battles when they’re exposed!) and they also make wider feedback possible during this finalization phase. It just feels weird trying to find the line between polish and fundamental right now when there’s a finite amount of time left to make this thing as good as possible.