Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.
Again, a lot of time has passed since my last devlog. I will rename these “monthly newsletter” in biannuals, it will be more realistic.
After months of April and May a little less productive because of moving / travel / holidays, here I am again on the track to finish this game!
Designing the Game Experience
Thanks to the many prototypes and playtests that I made at the beginning of the year, I was able to validate the trapped dungeons exploration concept. After these few weeks of rapid prototyping, it was time to start thinking a little more seriously about the concept and the game experience.
At first, I created new levels and made other playtests. I made levels of different types, sizes, structures, rhythms, changed various aspects of the gameplay, to better understand what the players liked. I tested the idea of having “themes” in the levels, to see what it brought. I also took advantage of these playtests to test and correct many aspects of the game, including interactions, inventory, character controls, and other miscellaneous bugs.
Most of the playtests were very positive. The testers had fun and I saw better and better what made this game a unique and promising concept. I also heard several times “this is my last level” and have seen the tester continue “a bit more to see” and finally end up doing one or two more levels. These moments were particularly encouraging :)
I would like to thank Aurélie, Laurent, Jonathan, Eric, Kenneth, Christophe, Philippe, Grégoire, Michaël, Cédric, Benjamin, Romain and Maxime, for having tested the game, sometimes several times, and for their numerous returns which allowed me to improve the experience of the game. Thanks :)
First throw of all levels
After these months of work, we can say that the core of this new game is here and works very well. We can play several hours and have a good time.
After validating the game experience, I added content to the game, including more levels, and more traps and triggers. I’m making a first version of all levels of the game.
Most levels and themes are done, with their unique traps and triggers, adding variety as you progress through levels.
I now have 12 levels, which is close to the total that I would like to have for the final version. This is very encouraging, especially as the levels that have not yet been done are very advanced on paper, or already prototyped.
When all the levels are done, I will look for difficulty, pace, and so on. I will run more playtests to validate the different aspects of game design, and also to have feedback on the game in its entirety.
Arcade or Adventure
A question that continues to tickle me, that I already tested a little during playtests, but that I have to look further, it is if I make the game more “Arcade” or more “Adventure”.
A game more “Arcade” would be a little more like Mario, with different independent levels for which we try to have the best “score”. For this concept it is more the performance of the player and the “visible” traps that dominate the gameplay.
A more “Adventure” game would be a little more like Dark Souls, where one explores a huge dungeon, keeping his inventory and various bonuses collected on the way. Here ist’s more exploration and “hidden” traps that would be at the heart of the gameplay.
From the beginning my choice is more on the Adventure side, especially because it will be the dominant part for my other games, including the goblin one. It will test different solutions and take the one that best suits the players and myself.
A long time ago I was contacted by Alexandre Sciré (https://alexandrescire.bandcamp.com, https://soundcloud.com/alexandrescire), a composer who offered his services to create original music for my game. I had put this idea aside for a long time because I was too busy dealing with game design and level design.
A few months ago I though it was time to look for it. At first I wanted to focus on the title screen music. After a few exchanges on what I wanted, and a few days of waiting, the game now has an epic main theme that fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game!
One more time, I improved the website https://www.wildmagegames.com, this time focusing on the front page that I found really too “amateur”. All your returns are welcome :)
So I’m finishing the first version of all levels, and preparing the next playtests.
I still have not worked on the story. There is a lot of novels that I have written that could stick, but I need some time to do it seriously and have a real “Almost Epic Adventure”.
It will then iterate on all levels to improve the level design, probably several times, make one or more passes of visual improvement, and finally do all the little tricks to polish the game but that take so much time.
See you soon,