The Small Things Add Up

Another week. Another post about how I’m working at a clip to get this game done.

This week I managed to crank out a lot of the changes I wanted to get done but didn’t feel like doing. Because I worked mostly at the junior high school this week, where my computer screen faces everyone, I’ve been focusing on what looks like boring work from afar. You know. Don’t want to arouse suspicion.

Originally, I had characters acquiring skills that went as high as level 125. But, as I play this short game, I realize that most players who play will only get to around level 30 or 40. It’s a result of low encounter rates and a focus on non-grinding, even in spite of the high EXP rates. My goal was that about every 3 battles or so, a character would level up. Given the short length of the game, this feels about right.

I found this level stuff out about a month ago, and while I know that I like high numbers and skills that most people will never see, I decided to bring down my numbers. Now, characters gain their final skills between level 50 and level 70. While it’s much lower, it still leaves some mystery for those wanting to really grind and level up, and for those attempting to tackle the unbalanced bonus content. Most people who play will probably never see these skills either, but it gives people who are level 30 or 40 more skills to exploy (each character still has the same number of skills, but instead of getting them at 55, 65, 75, 85, 90, it’s at 35, 38, 42, 45, 48, for example). Hopefully the high number and high acquisition rate isn’t too overwhelming. I fear it might be.

Anywho, as I sit at my desk waiting for the next class, I’m either writing more item/weapon/ability descriptions, changing ability levels, or making minor tweaks to something here or there. This is the kind of rote work that just needs to be done. Yes, I’ll probably mess up the balance a bit with the ability changes, but I’ll go and deal with that this weekend. In fact, the goal this weekend is a few playtests from start to finish, balancing random encounters and bosses. Having the ability levels changed is paramount for a successful test. Balancing before the abilities have been changed would likely make most of the balancing worthless and in need of a re-do.

After the game is relatively balanced, I’ll throw in a bunch of the “English Gate” challenges, which are like mini-translation-quizzes for players. Something to satisfy my English teacher as he watches a bunch of students run around weird places and fight random encounters. Putting in the English Gates right now wouldn’t be a problem, but they would slow down the balancing.

The game is now essentially complete in it’s basic form. Yes, it’s not balanced. Yes, there are still a bunch of side areas that aren’t yet implemented and quests that are incomplete. But, the game is playable from start-to-finish. From “New Game” to the credits.

That’s a nice feeling.

On Schedule

Phew. Even in spite of my shorter deadlines, and that 5 day break, I’m all caught up and on schedule. With the game I mean. Not the blog. Sorry about that. ><;

I’m working on the final section of the main game this week. Then there’s a wedding on the 20th. Then, if all goes according to plan, the game will be 90% done by the 25th, with most / all of the characters in the game. Also by this time, all the battles and “English Gates” will be in the main game and, to some degree (on the side of the game being easy), balanced.

With my own preliminary balancing done, I’ll send the game to friends and get their feedback / basic bug testing. During this time, I’ll be adding more to the post-game content, worrying less about the balance here. This content is likely to be the most buggy and unbalanced, perhaps, but it will be in the game, and that’s what matters. Not intentionally buggy of course, but with fewer eyes on it, it’ll be a little harder to get data.

It’s getting towards the home stretch. I’m looking forward to what the game is shaping up to be.

Game Rebalancing in Updating Games

I mean, if you're not already sold by having the prospect of TWO Cecils in your party, I don't know what else I can do.

I mean, if you’re not already sold by having the prospect of TWO Cecils in your party, I don’t know what else I can do.


Or, What Final Fantasy Record Keeper Does Right

Continue reading