Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big little things

Lots of them. And then some more.

It's funny to see how many small things need to be done to make gameplay smooth and polished. Months ago, most units and spells were playable, so we thought the game nearly done. But if I look back at the amount of things we added since then, then I see how wrong we were. We were only halfway. We added some really big things, like lots of graphics and a campaign with a real story and varied missions and such. But also lots of really small things that are in fact very important, although most players will not even notice them, except in that fact that the game plays much better.

Here is a little example of that. Swords & Soldiers can be quite hectic, with lots of units in combat at once. Because the game is 2D, these units often overlap on the screen. That is okay, but their healthbars tend to overlap as well. So yesterday I programmed a system that adds forces to the healthbars, so that they move away from each other when they overlap. It is almost a real physics system, and that only to make the healthbars more visible! It works very well and the only thing players will notice, is that the healthbars are always nicely visible.

We added dozens of such small, hardly noticeable, incredibly important features. Which is why the game has been delayed from a release in 2008, to a release in early 2009. This decision will only make the game that much better, though! I hope. Soon you can see more of what I am talking about: a first real in-game trailer will be released within one or two weeks.

-Joost out


Erik said...

I suppose I could forgive you for that, especially since it is looking good - but not for still not having continued the Unit Spotlight series! Grr... ;-)

Jan Hoos said...

Gotta agree with Erik. Im happy with the push-back because we know we will get a better game for it.

You guys must take all the time you need because once you release this great game you will need to blow everyone away!