Dev-Diary: 67

Even more non-stop coding! I’m gonna keep this one brief.

I’ve started local testing, and hope to move to closed testing within a few days. If you are someone that got approved for closed testing over the previous fortnight, I promise it’s coming! I had to update the bugs discovered in the local test earlier this week, and I also had to implement the final major change to the game; the Ship List update!

The update to the Ship List is a long-time coming, and one that has not only been on my mind for a little while, but also one that has been suggested by multiple people. The old Ship List simply generated a list based on what entities entered you sector based on the order they appeared. That’s it. But NOW!! Entities are organised into folders determined by their type. These folders are sorted by a hard-coded priority, and automatically sort entities into the folders. These folders can be opened and closed, so you can hide-away massive folders of boring space debris or projectiles. The folders will also organise the entities within by priority, ensuring that requests and traders are always readily available at the top for your access. It took a lot of work to recode something that was written so early in the game, and I’m sure there are still some issues with it, but it’s there and it seems to work and I’m so happy!

Anyways, that’s it for now. I’m going to set-up the test version and start powering through art now! Till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

MIS: Screenshot

Dev-Diary: 66

So I have been coding non-stop basically for the past two weeks, which is in continuation from the non-stop coding from the previous post haha! I did also manage to get sick, but all better now!

The main two things I have been continuing working on is content (story, events, station modules, unlockables) and balancing, optimisation, and general upgrades. After drastically improving the event system last time, I’ve been able to have a lot more control over how events play out. From this, what was once just a series of random events has become… a slightly more structured series of random events! But with a semi-consistent story, of course it requires a lot of work and unlocking to get through it all. I’ve also been producing as many station modules as possible (a station module is an attachable part to upgrade your station). These are the back-bone of the game, allowing players to try different paths and focus on alternate strategies, maybe even ones I didn’t even intend. Of course, a lot of these modules will be locked from the start of the game, and the only way to unlock them will be to play the game and complete missions! Some require luck, some skill, and others just need some perseverance.

The balancing and optimisation has made significant improvements. I’ve drastically improved ship handling in the engine for a more realistic approach, and also added a whole new game mechanic; missile warfare! Entities spawning other entities (eg: larger ships releasing small fighters) was always included, though now drastically improved and automated, but ships are now able to dispatch missiles and utilise other slower-moving attacks. Station weapons have been re-worked to include point-defence to stop incoming attacks, and to retaliate with your own, now being able to release missiles (and other entities) hunt down enemies. It took a bit of work at the core level of the game’s engine, but it’s all working now and adds a whole new dimension to the game which is amazing. This, in combination with being able to assemble drones and summon allies, provides many different options to the player.

I also reworked all the generic ships so that they have a standardised and more balanced strength, though with different factions having different pros and cons. This, in combination with the reworking to the event system, has thus-far proved to not only make the game more enjoyable without sacrificing challenge, but also allowed for more consistent gameplay. We’re getting closer to the point where, if you die, it was more likely due to a failure in strategy or management, and less because the game decided that “you should lose now”. Although, real-quick, would like to point out that this is, at it’s core, an arcade game. You play for points and time, and for the glory of surviving and accomplishing as much as possible on your run. While there is an ‘end-game’, the game itself is built to make that end-game as hard as possible to achieve, but even if you do achieve it, you can keep playing forever to get that sweet high-score. Due to the nature of how station modules interact and support each-other, I don’t doubt it is entirely possible to break this game, and honestly, I’m looking forward to watching people do it and discover crazy strategies and synergies. Something that I have always enjoyed from games that employ a similar style (eg: Binding of Isaac) is when you get that sweet run and you have a winning combination of upgrades that allow you to pull off insane strategies. That’s the feel I’m trying to go for here; fighting for that success by making the most of what you have discovered throughout your journey, trying new things, sometimes failing and sometimes becoming amazingly powerful!

With that all being said, I’m going to be tying up a lot of the ‘to-do list’ over the next week and start-up closed local testing, predominantly with other devs I know and a handful of friends. The game is currently in this weird grey area between alpha and beta; the engine and basically all the features are there and the game is very playable from start to finish, minus a handful of bugs, but there is also good amount of extra non-crucial content not present that I believe is still valuable to the game experience, plus it is missing a massive amount of art and some audio. While I can’t be certain when this game will release, especially with the demand of the holidays coming up, I do hope it can be finished sometime in the start of the new year. I guess we’ll see!

Oh wells! That’s it from me for now! Till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

MIS: Screenshot

Dev-Diary: 64

Hey everyone!

So I’ve been pretty dang busy. The past month was meant to be focused on more art-assets, but at the start of the month I had a handful of different people have a go at the current build. The feedback was very positive, and aside from the numerous bugs that popped up, there were a lot of suggestions made. Many of these were simple things, usually along the lines of, “Why can’t I do this?” to which my response was always, “You’re right! You should be able to do that!” As such, I’ve been implementing a lot of little upgrades to the game and just going down the list of bugs that needed to be fixed that either didn’t previously know about, or knew about and didn’t want to deal with at the time to keep working on the larger picture.

In addition to this, I’ve been working hard to get all the content into the game; all the stories, events, NPCs, and modules, as well as trying to balance them all out. I’ve been working on art as well, and while I have happily completed plenty, I still have a long way to go. I’ve also implemented a ‘Station Select’ option, which allows you to start the game with different preset module layouts, encouraging players to try different strategies to survive as long as possible. I’ve left a screenshot down below as a little treat, showing off the current Sector screen. Comparing it to an earlier screenshot, you can notice a handful of little updates, a lot of them suggested by players, as well as some of the visuals coming together.

On a much more personal note, something I’ve been trying to work hard on lately is my mental health. Working on a game can be a lot of stress, and while I have a handful of people helping me out with some of the assets and providing feedback and moral support, a lot of the work falls onto my own shoulders to just keep working and trying hard. Mental health, specifically anxiety and depression, is something I have had to deal with throughout my life and the stress of independent game development, in conjunction with other events occurring in my life, it can all get a bit too much sometimes. As such, while I know I need to have this game done by the end of the year, as the primary project still requires my attention, I am not going to be putting a deadline on Management IN SPACE. I’m going to work hard, push myself, and do my absolute best, but I’m also going to ensure that my well-being is safe and secure. I want to become the best person I can possibly be, and will strive for that every day.

Anyways, thanks for listening to my rambles. I hope you are all doing amazingly. Till next time, all the best~
^,,^

MIS:Screenshot

Dev-Diary: 63

Bug-fixes! Optimisation! Story upgrades! Art assets! More bug-fixes! So much happening and I’m stuck with a flu… Gotta work hard though!

Dev-Diary: 60

Hey all!

Continuing from my previous post, I have unfortunately been having to manage numerous personal issues lately which has been time-consuming. However, fortunately things have been improving and I have been able to find time to produce a handful of art-assets! Screenshots below!

This month the aim is to the ‘Management In Space’ to an alpha-release stage. This means finishing up some of the core engine and UI work, updating the story events, and enough balancing to make the game consistently playable. I’ll also continue to try to get art assets done, but they do take time and I’d rather have a functioning project than a pretty one at this point in time. I have also been working with my ever-talented musician who has been producing some wonderful pieces! Fingers crossed I’ll have something to show this time next month. 🙂

Below are a handful of the ship assets for the game. I’ve completed enough of the Civilian ships so along with all the Debris and Minerals, I’m well over half-way through the ship assets! I’ve already roughed-up the designs for the remaining ships, as well as numerous station modules. We’ll see what we can pull off this month; hopefully I’m able to find enough time to achieve my goals.

Till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 58

Hey hey!

Sorry about being gone for so long! I was away for family obligations (and a little R&R) for over a month in Europe! It was great to get away for a while and reset my mind; I spent a great deal of time just writing and doing small sketches for various projects, both current and distant.

I am back however! It’s been slow but I have been getting back into the development schedule churning out art assets. I’ve also been in talks with the musician for ‘Management IN SPACE’ and we’ve got some drafts in the works!

Unfortunately I don’t have much to talk about, though I will show-off some lovely little assets I’ve whipped up for M.I.S. (one Ship image, one Debris image) but I will also discuss time-frames. M.I.S. is not a major project for me, it’s a fun little side-project that spawned from a game jam. While it is heavily unbalanced and still in Alpha, the game runs and plays quite fine with a series of random events. At the moment, I am giving myself till the end of August to finish M.I.S. with two results; either as a full game for maybe $1 or as an Alpha/Beta proof-of-concept game for free. This is because I do not wish to commit too much time to this game. I really must return to the primary project, it is very important it gets completed and I have distracted myself with this fun little space game for much longer than I expected.

Anyways, as I’ll be back to our regular Dev-Diary posting next month! Till next time, all the best~!

Dev-Diary: 57

Hey y’all!

So these past couple of weeks have been a bit all-over the place with work and obligations, but I have been able to keep working on the regular event pools, especially balancing. The regular events still have a bit to go to be balanced, but it’s getting there. I do hope I can start working on story events and unique encounters soon, but I would like to build those from a stable balanced ground first.

Some nice progress was definitely made in the art-assets! After a number of redo’s in various styles, I found a visual aesthetic for the ship and module visuals that I am happy with; fine single-colour pixel-art. Definitely not my fortĂ© but I am quite happy with how they are turning out so-far. Unfortunately, they take a while to make, but I’d like to think the results are worth it. Check out the screen-shot combo down below to see for yourself!

Because of the time it takes to balance and produce the art (and the fact I once-again have the flu…), I doubt I will be getting the game released this month. Double-unfortunately is that I am away for a month coming up soon to visit family. I’ll be doing concept work while I am gone, but I won’t be able to do updates or directly work on assets. At this point in time, all I can say is this “mini” project and my primary project will be done when they are done. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but as I have said in the past I would rather release a good project rather than a fast one. I guess we’ll just see won’t we.

Ah-wells, enjoy the screenshots and till next time, all the best!
^,,^

MIS:Screenshot

Dev-Diary: 55

Hey everyone!

I am pleased to say that my Management In Space is coming along wonderfully~! Definitely behind schedule, but I guess I’m either not too great at time estimation, or over-ambitious once again and putting in too much content. Or both.

M.I.S. is now base-level playable, which is great! You start off in your little section of space managing your station, and various traders will stop off to say hi and do some buying and selling. Very peaceful! Of course I’ve also tested the game in massive combat scenarios featuring swarms of various ships circling the station fighting you and each-other! (Check out the screenshot below!)

My main focus now is two-fold; set-up events for combat and story to happen naturally, and set-up the game’s wrapper to handle and manage the game, including saving progress and managing options. The game will also need to start designing/importing art and audio assets, which will happen naturally as well.

Being more realistic, I imagine the game probably won’t release till late March/early-April. I’m going to try my best and work hard! Till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 53

Hey everyone! Late again!

Been busy lately with numerous things, but I have made some steady progress on my current mini-game. The game structure is progressing well, after-which I’ll be working on the art, audio, and story/events. Hopefully it won’t take longer than February has to offer~

I’ve got a lot more of the station management side set-up which is nice! And AI interaction is coming along well; ships fly in-and-out of the sector and interact with the station! Still has a bit to go but it is getting there!

Not much to talk about, but have a dual screenshot! One is an updated shot from the previous post, and the other is an image of one of the other screens.

Fingers crossed it goes well!
Till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

MIS:Screenshot

Dev-Diary: 50

Oh what 50 Dev-Diaries on this site go me! I have been doing this for over 2 years! (not to mention the monthly Dev-Diaries I have been doing on Newgrounds and DeviantArt).

So! What has happened lately? The primary project has been making progress; I’ve been assembling the main world which is taking time but going well! All the large models are done (minus finalising textures), and most of the collision set-up has been done as well. I’m also about half-way through setting up the overworld base-scripts. Getting there! However a combination of delays and other-things have forced my hand to delay the originally intended release date of this work. This came at a combination of maintaining my mental health, as I have been pushing myself way too hard, and not wanting to cut corners. When I originally undertook this project I wasn’t too sure what I was getting into, but it has really taken over me (in a good way!) and I want to do it justice. It deserves to be done right, so that everyone can share in the experience and enjoy it; the way it was originally meant to be enjoyed!

Side-note for those of you paying attention; the game-jam went well! I whipped up a little stress-filled resource-management game. I’m happy with how much I was able to achieve in such a short time! I want to touch back on it one week and upgrade it into a releasable version one day and just throw it out there, but we shall see how that goes!

Anyways, it is the end of the year almost! Hopefully I will be able to do my usual mid-month update as well, but considering how busy it is this time of year, who knows! But, to celebrate the 50th  Dev-Diary on this website, I’ll leave you with not one, but TWO screenshots from the current build of the game. The world is still very empty, but at least you can see things coming together now. Till next time, all the best~! ^,,^

THE:Screenshot

THE:Screenshot