Happy New Year! We hope everyone stayed happy and healthy over the winter holidays! Let’s go over 2023 and our plans for 2024!
Before getting into 2023 in review, let’s go over December quickly! As per usual, our focus was on cutscenes, interiors, and animations. We also worked on some bug fixes and updating Gamemaker! As we are now tackling larger cities, we’ll save an overview of the city and it’s interiors after they are completed. In the meantime, here’s a look at one bug we’ve fixed:
Did you know that if you happen to be in an interior with camera movement that if you entered into the main menu and returned it broke? No? Neither did we. It was a bit of a surprise when we stumbled upon this. Most interiors are made such that a camera isn’t needed, but in this case one was! A quick check in the menu for something led to… well… this. But it’s fixed now, so all’s well that ends well.
We also spent time this month upgrading our development machines (they were 10 years old) and the Gamemaker version from Feb 2023 to Nov 2023. A few important things came out from this:
- This bug from October 2022 is now fixed. This was one of the major blockers for the demo update since we use that feature of the engine quite extensively. We didn’t want to release an update that could randomly crash.
- Between the development machine upgrade and the Gamemaker engine upgrade, Gataela’s compile times have dropped from 10 to about 1:30 minutes. What a huge improvement!
- We are also now able to build YYC (native) for machines because of the bug fix. This means better runtime performance on machines.
Gamemaker has a number of build-related changes coming in the future so likely things will continue to improve as we upgrade over time. This largely means that development time is spent developing instead of waiting for things to compile.
And that’s it for December!
2023 In Review
Now let’s talk about 2023! And man, 2023 was a thing. Lots of exciting things happened, but there was a lot of interruptions and difficulties. Let’s go over some of the highlights and see what we accomplished!
Maps Maps Maps
The first big thing was completing the overworld! That was back in Feburary! Wow! We’ve gone through since then and added interiors for nearly all of the cities – we are left with half of Ziacia and Olvia (those two big cities in the south of the map). Once those are done nearly all maps, and sub-maps for the game will be complete! Kinda. We will still have to add NPCs and such but, well, that can’t be done until the maps exist.
MSQ Cutscenes & Skits
Another major focus for the year was adding Main Story Quest cutscenes and skits. These are the main meat of the game. We spent a lot of time working on these and finished adding all of the skits, and most of the cutscenes! We also did some general cutscene infrastructure improvements.
Turn-based Battle Improvements
Lots and lots of time was spent on working to improve the turn-based battle system. In particular:
- We doubled the number of enemies, created their animations, and their alternate palettes & added them to the game
- We rebalanced and increased the number of skills to account for the change in enemies. We also identified balance gaps in our player skills (ex. Foresight and Triage)
- We began creating VFX and SFX for the new skills (& adding them to the game)
The Other Stuff
Other improvements and work include but aren’t limited to:
- Improving ambience effects
- Improved map/room/level loading times from 7 seconds to 0.3 seconds
- Added a splash screen & new animals and wild life
- Dungeon & puzzle design
- Various bug fixes
Now lets get into what we’re cooking for 2024!
Generally speaking we’ll be doing more of the same with adding content and putting everything together. Our year will focus on cutscenes, maps, battle systems (turn-based and debate) and general bug fixes and performance.
In the short term (3-6 months), this means:
- Finish adding all of the MSQ
- Finish adding all of the city interiors
- Finish adding all of the Kickstarter backer houses
- Finish implementing dungeon puzzles/mechanics (including UI changes)
- Create & add more turn-based battle skill VFX & SFX
And looking beyond that (subject to change):
- Adding NPCs, animals, treasure, etc. to the maps
- Rebalancing Debate battles & related facts/evidence/side quests etc.
- Map visual upgrades (ex. the water shader)
- Performance and bug fixes as needed
- Demo update? Beta update? Who knows.
So with all the being said, thanks for reading and have a good start to 2024!