So it’s been a week since the 1.4 patch was released, on IndieCity and ShinyLoot, now seems like a good time to give some thought to the patch content, the trials and tribulations and how I feel overall about things.
I’m finally very happy with how things are and people have told me they like actually like the feel of the game. As I’ve mentioned in the wave of development posts previously, I’ve spent a lot of time polishing up certain areas of the game to make things smoother and work nicer for the player. The menus took a lot of my focus, making sure the player wasn’t having to spend lots of time trying to decipher the menus. It’s about making it easy for the player to navigate and find what they want, as well as presenting the information in an easy to digest fashion.
The re-balance of equipment was essential, after going through all the equipment I found items which were very similar but differed greatly in price. How did this make sense? Perhaps if it required a greater certification to use, so you were rewarded with investment by a reduced cost, but these two items had it the wrong way around for that. So the re-balance helped greatly, there are engines and so forth out there which will make a ship very unbalanced in gameplay, but the downside to that is player skill. For example, there’s an engine which will give the Asgard Reach a ridiculously maneuverability and acceleration, but it’s almost unplayable; so there is a trade-off.
Overall I am very happy with things and I can tell I’m happy because I’ve started to feel the desire to move on to other projects, I just have to force that desire to start designing down for the time being while I finish off the ports and so forth.
Yet again I was unable to fit multiplayer into the time frame. This was extremely irritating as it’s really important to me personally to get this time. Although the basics are in there it’s completely untested and I just know it’s bugged. I plan on spending most of next week, possibly the week after, bug-testing the multiplayer component and getting that in for a new patch (1.4.1). It will go in for the next patch because that’s the only reason for the patch at this moment in time, save for a few minor bugs like the exploration mission not completing.
Marketing is something that completely eludes me. I’ve never gotten the hang of twitter, facebook or blogging. I’ve dropped a message to Rock Paper Shotgun begging for a review, as well as seeing who else out there who knows of me might want a free game for a review. Personally, I find it very hard to put myself out there for the risk of being marginalised or insulted. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but for a game I’ve put my heart and soul into it’s difficult not to. Furthermore, I’m a fairly modest guy and whenever I talk about my game it comes across, I can’t stand there and say “it’s the best game ever, it redefines space games, it is the epitome of what a ‘game’ should be!” It’s a good game, don’t get me wrong, it’s far better than most and it’s not the same as others. Starting this blog was a big thing for me, actually getting out there and telling people about Space Salvager, putting myself in the firing line. Some of the posts I do are blatant marketing posts, some are not – like this one. Hopefully one day I’ll find a nice balance between PR and honesty.
With a combination of crunch before deployment and the weekend away roleplaying I made myself ill. I broke down in tears that weekend because I was so tired from work and I’ve ended up mildly ill this week, stopping me from beginning work on the multiplayer patch. Fortunately I should be back up and running next week, have a few freelance bits and pieces to do to keep things ticking over, but other than that: multiplayer patch, then porting.