Dev-Diary: 106

Heya folks!

Been incredibly busy and occupied over the past two months! The majority of the first month was dedicated to roll and getting that finished-up, and the bulk of the second month was administrative work and plenty of other obligations. The excellent news is roll is essentially completed! Although we had to cut-back on a lot of content, we’ve still reached a minimum viable build that we are very happy with. 🙂 The main remaining tasks with the project are simply the final copy of the in-game story passages, and getting it all set-up on the Google Play store, though we’ll be pushing it to first.

After roll is published, I will be taking a break from posting Dev-Diaries for a couple of months while I take a breather, set-up some work obligations, and prep the next project. I will still post to socials about roll‘s release and everything however, but nothing on this website for just a little while until we are properly underway with the next project. 😉

I won’t be doing a long post about roll‘s development this time, you can check out the last post for a talk about roll‘s production, but I will still include a few honourable mentions of things completed in March as we approached the game’s completion~

  • New Controls: We added in additional control schemes to the game! The first is an accessibility control called ‘Hold Assist’ where the joystick is automatically held in the last touched direction. This means players don’t need to constantly touch and hold the device screen to keep moving around! Additionally we added ‘Gyro’ controls which use the tilt axis of the device to move around because, well because that’s what classic ball-maze games use to be like on phones and I thought it would be fun hahaha~ In addition, the game now auto-detects the control-scheme at the start of the tutorial; we found that players would try to play the game differently, and we wanted the game to pick-up on that as quickly as possible.
  • World Updates: So many final updates and tweaks were made. We added the last of the discoverable secrets, the ‘Speaker’, which features some pretty cool effects and stories to unlock. We overhauled the tutorial with new areas and animated hints. In response to feedback, we updated the ‘Wall Switches’ to stop activating when players were within their bounds (instead of ending the run, it now pauses the Wall Switch timer) to make those unexpected game-overs even less likely. We added a special ‘Tree’ entity that has basic animation. We added a ‘World Edge’ to Zen mode to stop players from going beyond the build-limit of the world (though this may be replaced in the future if we have capacity).
    Oh, and we also ran through all the world areas and tiles and completely overhauled them! This included ensuring every world object was optimised and accurate, moving objects around to create more seamless paths during world generation, and just making things prettier and faster. This also included added some more events and animals to some areas. Oh and we also added the final weather event, ‘Wind’ which affects player movement while exploring.
  • Music: We finally got all the remaining audio and music tracks finalised! Now every region has unique audio, and there are multiple music chords to cycle through. This also involved patching a lot of bugs in the music generation system, which has now resulted in an amazing and fluid audio system that seamlessly transitions between musical landscapes as the player explores!
  • Optimisation: So much optimisaiton. Dozens of textures were re-scaled, dozens of shader assets were updated and merged, piles of code were optimised, numerous particle systems were fixed-up, and many of the major loading routines were updated to correctly run multiple clean passes to safely load the world and handle entity functions at better times. Additionally, many of the larger textures, especially those using complex shaders while featuring massive empty alpha space, have been heavily spliced to massively cut-down on the amount of rendered screen-space they dominate. Overall, the gameplay is cleaner and smoother, even if just by the final smallest amount!

Like I said, I won’t go into the full list of updates since it’s bonkers long and many of them are incredibly small, such as fine-tuning UI and updating data management. This was an insane amount of work to finish up, again most of this actually taking place in March as I had other obligations throughout April to handle, so I am relieved so much is complete, with the remaining work-load being very manageable. A huge shout-out to both Duncan Latto and Grace Eun Jin Anderson for all their help and work with audio and art assets respectively on this project. Hopefully the fruits of our labour will be playable in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes open for that!

That’s it from me for today, I’ll be back to my regular diaries when the next project is starting up! Till then, I hope you are all doing wonderfully, and all the best~!