Finally out of Alpha

Screenshot 2017-09-02 21.11.30.png

I have been working on the chain broke steadily for just about 8 months and I have finally made it ou of alpha!!!

What does that mean?

well, it means that I have a finished game. A buggy, narratively broke, kinda boring game, certainly, but a finished game none the less. I could release this game tomorrow, if I wanted to, I don’t though.

I am going to be spending the next 5 months, getting the game into BETA and polishing it to near perfection.

Clawing my way towards beta

Screenshot 2017-07-31 21.11.11

I had no idea how long I would be working on the chain broke when I started working on it. Initially, it was supposed to be a small 3 month project, that was going to bring me out of the funk I was in at the time.

These 8 months into the project, and I realise how naive I was to think that the project was going to be anything but a Herculean undertaking.

This is why every milestone has to be celebrated, no matter how minute.

Today, for instance, I finally finished decorating the final scene I created in January.

OK, that needs some explanation.

I created 26 levels in January on my way to a very early alpha of the game. These levels were simply meant to be guidelines that I would follow when designing the rest of the game.

I had no idea that I would be working for 7 months on those 26 levels (which became 30 over time). So now, that I have finally finished the 26th level I can look at the last couple (as in literally 2) levels completely without any old guidelines to follow.

This is both kinda fun and kinda scary.

does it fit

I have been working on the game for a while and I have finally reached the final chapter of the development, which means I have to figure out what the inside of a massive AI looks like.

This is turning out to be more challenging than I thought it would be, as I have match something glossy with the rest of the game.

I am still working on it, trying to make the game make visual sense, but it is not as easy as one might think it would be.

Shading my troubles away

I have been working on the chain broke for a while now and with each new level I stand in front of the same basic issue: how do I make this look somewhat unique, so that it stands out from the rest of the game.

This particular problem reared it’s ugly head once more, as I started making the inside of the machine known as Tau.

At one point in the game, I need my main character 3CS to walk inside of a massive computer and I need to create a look for that. This is my attempt at doing that

Update on development

one of the major problems with development, is the amount fo work that is required to make anything work.

Truly any and all things take a herculean amount of effort and no matter how many games you have made previously, you always end up under estimating the kind of work that is required of you.

That is why I have not been updating the blog in a couple of months, not because I have not been working (believe me, I have been working), but because the amount of work that I had ahead of me was kind of staggering.

I am happy to announce that I am almost ready with the beta of the game and while it is still somewhat boring, the game is looking up.

I have given myself 5 months to get from somewhat boring beta to amazing and fun release.

for now though, I just have to work and work and work until I have a finished game.

need a pick me up?

 

So, I have reached the middle part of development, the part where I have s much development in front of me as I have left behind.

This is the part where the project is more or less in tatters and social engagement or just life have caused me to have less time fixing the mess that I have made.

At times like these you really only have you conviction and your commitment to the project to keep you going and that can lead to a feeling of general malaise.

I have something that eases the unease at times like these; a small tool which temporarily makes me feel a bit better. it is my emo playlist.

These are songs that help me feel better and let me know that it’s going to be ok, even if the whole project seems a bit hopeless.

These are some of the tracks:

Holo

I have been working on creating a mechanic that will hold the attention of my guards for a couple of seconds while Re80 sneaks by and have been having a hell of a time with it.

As it turns out, there are very few things that a robot sill stop for and even fewer of those make sense within the context of my game.

I considered an EMP mine, which would shut them down temporarily, but that seemed needlessly aggressive and I wanted to keep the game non violent.

I considered a screen at which you could hack the robots, but that came with the implication that Re80 had been able to do this the whole time, so why didn’t she start with that.

I considered a tesla coil, which would keep the robots insnared by its tendrils of electricity, but somehow, enslaving a race of robots seems like an off thing for a former slave/prisoner to do.

So in the end I decided that creating a hologram of herself to distract the robots probably was the most sensible thing to do in this situation. However, I still enjoyed the time I spent trying to figure out the problem of what stops a robot dead in its tracks.

War, what is it good for?

One of the interesting challenges that I have to face with this project is the question of combat.

Now I have taken a pretty clear stance on the matter; there will be no combat in the chain broke, but as the game is set in a world directly following a major global conflict, I find myself having to but weapons in my game regardless.

This proves an interesting challenge for me as a designer, how to put a gun in tha game and then tell the player that he/she cannot use it.

I don’t know the answer quite yet, but I will figure it out… I at least hope so.

Taking a respite

Creating videogames is amazing and if I could I would be doing it all day everyday, that said, it can also be exhausting work.

When you find yourself on month 4 of an 8 month development, it becomes easy to crave a creative reprieve. at this point, you have been staring at the same art style and the same models for what feels like an eternity. You have been staring at these things to the point that you have lost any idea of whether the thing you are creating has any value at all.

This is where you need this creative respite. You need to let your freak flag fly and just try something new. Something that may or may not work out, but that is fun in the moment and feels good while you are doing it.

This is why I decided to work on my Blender game today and create a bust in the style of tellstale’s the walking dead. It is not for anything, other than the fun of making it.

The challenge of simplicity

When I started The chain broke, I did so, knowing that I wanted to make something simple and easy to work with. Little did I know that simplicity is one of the most difficult thing to attain.

This is the problem with projects that are done well, they make everything seem effortless. I looked at projects like “Lara croft: go” or “Grow home” and thought, how hard can it be to get that style…

very hard as it turns out.

This mini rant on the complexities of simplicity comes on the back of a week where I have been doing nothing but trying to build a cantina for the game and failing miserably.

All of this griping should however not reflect on my want to finish the game. I am in this until the bitter end, sometimes it is just nice to vent.