Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Bloody Glade 99.9% Complete

I just realized that it has been about 9 months since I posted about the progress of The Bloody Glade. At the time I estimated it to be 80% complete. For the most part that was accurate -- as with most projects during the later phase it became difficult to maintain pace and focus, so I took a break from it to focus on other projects and allow my enthusiasm for the project to be naturally rejuvenated.

I find that pushing myself too hard with a single project for too long eventually starts to rapidly diminish how much I like the game and to hinder progress. Taking a break and coming back to it later gives some perspective and a fresh eye.

I recently took to fixing those bugs and issues that I had been avoiding, and added a bit more polish, tweaked the gameplay and stats a bit, and removed a few game mechanics. One of the main mechanics I disabled was quick-time events for spell-casting. Previously you'd need to perform rapid tap or swipe motions in order to successfully cast a spell. In theory it sounds good, but in practice it felt like it interfered with the flow and pace of the game. So I decided to streamline and simplify it. I find the new, simpler version more fun.

A big problem I faced was performance on mobile devices. I found that creating enemy characters on the fly, as each stage progressed, was creating lag spikes and momentary freezes. It was nothing dramatic, but enough to provide an inferior gameplay experience to what I was experiencing on PC. I eventually found a simple solution -- simply pre-spawn all characters at the start of each level and enable / disable them as needed.

I've finished creating the promotional content and have thoroughly tested it on iPad and iPhone. There was an obscure crash that was happening during the final boss battle but, I think I've fixed it now. Another round of testing should verify this (hence me not making the 100% complete claim, and saying 99.9% instead).

That makes two games pretty much ready for release: McGrimm's Time Trap (yes, I still haven't released it) and The Bloody Glade. I'm still deciding which to focus on releasing first.