Dev-Diary: 74

Hello all! I hope everyone is staying safe~!

Wow March was tense! Lot’s of stress. But I got stuff done! I spent a bundle of time working on commissions; plenty of modelling, texturing, and Unity work! It’s pretty much never-ending, so I’m gonna have to manage my time better so I don’t get distracted from my project.

I did manage to finish up the general Xeno art however! From here I’m going to do a big art import into the game, and start working on the new story updates I have planned! Hopefully I’ll be able to pull this off in-between commissions over the next couple of weeks.

As with the beginning of every month, the One-Page-One-Shots have cycled around! The new OPOS has been posted to my Ko-Fi pages, and ‘One Night With Senpai’ is now publicly available over at itch.io! It’s a fun and fast social deception game about dating your friends! Super cute!

Something new! With everyone indoors I’ve been working on (another) little extra project. A while back I saw a choose-your-own-adventure style story playing out over Facebook, and I decided to try my hand at it! I figure since a lot of people, including myself, now must spend copious amounts of time indoors, why not give everyone something to look forward to every couple of days! Plus I really enjoy writing, and this is a fun improv-exercise~ If you’d like to check-out the story for yourself, just follow this link over to my Facebook page! [Link] There are currently four ‘chapters’ out so-far! At the end, I will publish the archive here on my website.

That’s all from me! Just going to go back to work now! I hope everyone is staying indoors, practicing good hygiene, and being kind to one-another! Until next time, all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 73

Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay!

March has been a real cluster of different work for me! I’ve managed to continue my art production for Management IN SPACE!! with a batch of Xeno art, which is nearly complete now! One or two more and I’ll have the majority of standard ship assets completed, which are among the common sights in the game! Here is one of the assets that I’m quite happy with, one of the Xeno creatures!

Alien Screenshot

Additionally I’ve been continuing my work with commissions! It’s nice to be able to make a little bit of extra money for my work, and I’m getting in some fantastic practice with 3D modelling, texturing and materially, and scene building as a whole! Here’s a screenshot of something I’ve been working on for a client!

Commission Screenshot

As always, thank you very much and, especially with the situation in the world right now, till next time all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 72

Hey everyone!

The past couple of weeks I have been powering through commissions; focusing on a lot of 3D modelling, texture editing, and world-building in Unity. While I was still able to get some M.I.S. work done, commissions took up most of my working hours, so as a slight change of pace I’m going to show off my modelling work! When I first started out 3D modelling I showed off some of my pieces; they were simple, but I was quite proud of my work. While I am far from a professional level, I have come quite a long way and am very happy with my progress! Below you will see shots from two commissions that are currently in-progress.

I have been able to continue working on M.I.S. of course, continuing with the art assets. I’ve also been planning a change to the main story, making it both more obvious and more appealing, in response to some of the tester feedback.

As part of my year-long challenge, I will continue to upload One-Page-One-Shots every month! The first O.P.O.S. has just left my Ko-Fi page and has been publicly uploaded over at itch.io, so go check it out with the following link:

https://silverstitch.itch.io/zombocraft

The new O.P.O.S. has been uploaded and is available to subscribers/donors via my Ko-Fi page. The game is called ‘One Night With Senpai’; a social deception game/dating simulator game to play with your friends!

That’s it from me for now, I’m going to jump back into work so, till next time, all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 71

Hey all!

So the past two weeks have been just a standard jumble of work and productivity. As far as M.I.S. is concerned, I’ve mostly just been working on art; I now have over 100 different ship assets for the all the different entities you encounter in your sector, and I’ve started importing and connecting them to their respective ships. Hopefully sometime this month I will have most of the base entities (so non-mission entities) connected to artwork, and maybe also some more of the station modules as well!

I’ve also been working on my other work and commissions, particularly 3D modelling. Down the line I may show-off some of the assets I’ve been working on, and possibly even upload some asset packs somewhere!

I’m gonna jump back into my work now, so I’ll share with you one of the ships that gave me a lot of trouble and had to go through several revisions and many hours; the Pirate leader and the first boss in the game, the Galactic Dragoon!

Space Ship

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

Dev-Diary: 70

Happy 2020 everyone! ^,,^

I’ve started the new year with a different twist, trying to re-organise myself and my endeavors. I’ve been doing some work on some commissions, both in audio and 3D modelling (which I have had a lot of practice with lately~)! I’ve also been working on a new direction for SilStiPro; as anyone who has been following me may know, I usually work on large-scale projects. Even when I intend to work on smaller projects, I still end up putting in the extra effort to make them a worthwhile experience, and they get quite big! I definitely don’t regret this, I love making big things that people love! But unfortunately it also means my income is quite low, as it takes so long to release anything or I just release smaller projects for free.

In an attempt to fix this issue, I have dedicated myself to a little side-project. For the next 12 months (Feb2020 – Feb2021) I will be releasing ‘One-Page-One-Shots’ that I have designed! An OPOS is a pen-and-paper role-play game, usually with dice-rolling and conversation, but all the rules are written up on a single piece of paper! They are designed to be fast (few minutes to a couple of hours) and simple to pick-up, and to be played with a handful of people, occasionally with a host guiding the game. I’ve already been working on a few in my spare time, writing and testing them, and they have been well received!

Each OPOS will be released on the 1st of every month (which means there is one available RIGHT NOW!), however they will be released behind a donation/subscription paywall, which I am running through Ko-Fi. This is intended to be perk for people that have spare money who wish to contribute to and support me; if you like my work you get a little bonus while you wait for me to release my bigger projects! But don’t worry, because after a month I will release the OPOS to the world for free via Itchio, so that everyone can enjoy them! There may also be additional benefits to donors/subscribers, such as credits in future games, but we shall see~

Aside from that, I’ve had the latest version of ‘Management IN SPACE!!’ out for testing for a little while now, and I am very happy with all the feedback! I’m going to continue to dedicate myself to working on MIS, focusing on getting the artwork done, filling in more early and mid content, and patching out bugs and what-not! At the moment I guesstimate a mid-2020 release. 🙂

If you would like to donate to my Ko-Fi, follow the link below, or press the Donate button on the side panel! Only donate if you have spare money, always ensure you have enough money to support yourself first!! <3

That’s it for me now! Going back to regular twice-a-month posts, so until next time, all the best~! ^,,^

Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/silsti

Dev-Diary: 69

Hello!

So since the last update, I’ve been focused on a couple of things. The first, and biggest, is a tutorial! It took some time and effort, but I managed to get a fully-fledged tutorial all set-up! While skippable, the game directs new players into the tutorial first and walks them through the basics on navigation and game mechanics. M.I.S. has a LOT of freedom in what you can do, and there is quite a bit of information to take in constantly, so having a tutorial to help ease new players in was something requested by a lot of testers. Fingers crossed it not only helps new players, but also works consistently!

I’ve also been working on new information panels and other small aesthetic updates. The Station screen now also shows you information about your shield and repair recharge times, as well as which modules your repair functions are operating on. Another, less useful, visual update is intentional visual artifacts! As your station gets ripped apart by Xenos, your screens will slowly fill up with pixel-line cracks. The obstruction is minimal, unless you’re about to completely collapse, but it’s enough to be very slightly annoying, and to show you that you better hurry up and fix things!

I’ve also made a solid handful of balancing tweaks and other bug fixes. The base difficulty has been reduced slightly, and random events are tighter and more accurate to your difficulty level; no more having entire armies spawn on you within the first 15 minutes of gameplay! I’ve still got a number of issues I need to address that have been brought up by testers, but I’m working through them. 🙂

As almost every year, December is a very hectic time for both myself and my family, so I’ve been jumping between project work and personal work a lot more over the past few weeks. As always, I may or may not have an update at the start of the new year, but I will be back at some point in January!

As for my testers, I should have the next stable build up sometime over the next few days! I just want to check a few more bugs out.

And as for everyone, thank you for listening to me ramble for another year! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and as always, all the best~!
^,,^

Dev-Diary: 68

Hey everyone!

So these past two weeks have been interesting. I started closed testing recently, which immediately opened up a world of new bugs, but more importantly a lot of balancing issues. I’ve been a lot less focused on coding, and more focused on guiding the testing, as well as starting back up on art assets. I’ve continued work on doing the ship and module visuals (of which there are many of) as well as the overlay visuals. Below here, you can see what I mean by ‘overlay’; small icons and other visuals to assist in the presentation of information. I’m trying to diversify and simplify the information you receive on your screens, while also maintaining the core aesthetic.

Testing has revealed a few things to me, one of which is balancing; some events are randomly scaled too high and some boss-entities are too tough for when you fight them. This is fantastic feedback and is something that will be balanced out to hopefully have a smoother experience without sacrificing too much challenge. Another dominant request has been to include a tutorial; the nature of the game unfortunately means there is a lot the player is in control of and a simple ‘game-manual’ does not seem to be enough for some people, understandably so. Unfortunately, from the perspective of the developer, I have a rather detailed knowledge of how everything should go, but processes and mechanics will almost certainly not come as naturally to most players. I try to account for this as much as possible, but without actual player’s opinions I can’t know for sure where I am lacking. I had originally considered the idea of a tutorial a few months ago though had shelved it because I wasn’t sure how to implement it. However, a recent update I did which allowed the player to select different starting stations, and the update I did to the event system, may now allow a simple way to approach this. Oh yeah! Also I did an update where you can now unlock and play as different stations, each with pros, cons, and differing strategies!

Currently, my two main up-coming goals are to get a tutorial established and to set-up all the new overlay icons, as well as a handful of smaller patches and updates. There are numerous bugs which need to be tackled!

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

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: 65

Wow I am exhausted.

In an attempt to not only get Management In Space done, but also to cram in as much amazing content as possible, I’ve been basically non-stop coding. Constant bug-fixes, more stories and options, optimisations, etc. The big one I tackled today was fixing the primary event management system. See, M.I.S. focuses a lot on the random events that occur and how you deal with them. Do you prioritise resource collection, do you focus on attack and defence, or do you find ways to manipulate the odds in your favour? One way I tackled this in an attempt to give more power to the player was to implement a focusing system, allowing the player to tell the station to prioritise certain modules over others. This works well, but something was still amiss.

Up until today, game events occurred according to base-time plus a random time, partly scaling with difficulty and partly incorporating a variable prioritisation function. In the short-term it worked because it simulated a semi-chaotic space galaxy was kinda cool! Though as the game expanded, there rose a massive discrepancy between runs; sometimes you could play for ages and barely encounter any enemies, then another you would immediately get swarmed by pirates and be destroyed. This is not ideal for a game that focuses on strategy and survival. While I still need to work on the difficulty scaling a bit, I’ve completely re-written how events are tracked and timed. There is now a semi-set structure to the play of events, with a background set of less-impacting random events that still give the game a delightfully chaotic and living feel to it, but not so heavily that it will destroy a run. While the new system will need to be judged over time, it seems to create some level of consistency across runs, allowing players to better approach each return to the game.

I was almost going to take a photo of all my notes about event timing and structure because it looks kinda cool, in a… messy kinda way… but I realised that I would be giving away all the event timing secrets so instead I’ll leave you with another gif to represent my current mood down below~

I still have a way to go, but I’m getting there. And the game is getting better and better every day! I promise it’ll be worth the extra time I’ve put in. Anyways till next time, all the best~
^,,^

(Oh also the website got updated and should be fixed now woo!)