Yep, it’s been a year since I’ve done an update. Ridiculous, I know. I’m checking in to say that I’m accountable to my progress, and “back on track” now. I’ll give a monthly update (covering July’s progress next), but first…
What happened this past year?
My “day job” last year at this time was at a furniture store; one which the owner decided to close down. Since we had a lot of product to sell and I was the guy moving all of it from the warehouse to the store (and often into people’s homes), I was working a lot of hours to help close that store.
This store closing event was paired with the decision to push our experiences and resources into opening a similar store of our own in a closer town. From September 3 to November 4, I was a full time store renovation specialist.
My wife and I opened our store in November 2016. Initially bumping up my work hours from 40 to over 60, most weeks at first. A lot has suffered in the process; family time, music projects, having fun, and of course, this game project. It’s been hard coping with and adapting to this change.
One major underlining goal for me, over the months, has been to get this business running smooth enough to where any “downtime” and hours I’m not working it or watching our kids can become “Nectira time”. I’ve even been hoping as far to say that I’ll have more time than before, once I get to “point B” in this long process.
I’m not there yet, but I’ve carved out a few pockets recently, thanks to my brother helping jump-start Nectira again, to see things moving forward again. I’ve also been working a bit less, thanks to adding “manager” to my “owner/operator” roles.
What have I done this year?
I’ve wanted to work on Nectira this whole time; resulting in lots of thinking about it and redesigning certain elements. The game was becoming bloated with “good ideas”. I want to finish this game in a few more months, not a few more years. It’s also not the kind of game that can become much bigger, with how many elements are already in it. I feel like I’ve whittled Nectira down to what’s purely good for it, and can now tackle it victoriously.
This feeling is also paired with me getting over the vanity of saying “I did this all by myself”. I’m not sure I could, as my brother (who is much more proficient with programming) has picked up and taken care of intimidating game systems and features, which I’ve been avoiding. My perspective has changed on how “easy” it’ll be to finish, relatively, with some of his help and continued support. (Thanks Bro!)
Content-wise, one major thing I’ve been focused on this past year is supporting the player in learning the game: a handful of little animated GIFs and pop-up tips on how to play. These run all throughout the first island, and really help the player get a hang of the the flow of the different level types, and how they work together.
Giving a game tester the game and not telling them how to play it had previously left them scratching their head. Hopefully that’s fixed now, after countless hours of implementing how these messages are triggered and integrate seamlessly into a pre-built series of levels.
Spires, not Monuments
The tools Nectira has in her arsenal don’t thrive in the “dungeon delving” type environs that I had previously been working on (last post, a year ago). I’ll save that type of game play for a future game project. Nectira has all these tools for growing and wiping-out massive mobs of Yarku to play with!
I’ve scrapped all of the world “Monuments”, as boss levels, and replaced them with Yarku Spires, otherworldly floating towers that the bosses live in and use as a corruption headquarters.
The spires will be multi-floor towers to ascend, while Nectira confronts the Yarku traps and terrain for a change, while also playing her own strategic approaches to overrunning the spires, to take them down. I’ll share artwork as more content is in-game.
Completing all of the levels on an island opens the path to defeat the Yarku Prince plaguing that area – as well as cooler stuff I’ll share later.
That’s most of what I can remember right now… it’s time to start writing about what’s new this past month!