One of the biggest questions I get regarding Unearthed is “when will it be complete?”. I don’t like to give hard answers regarding the development cycle because, quite frankly, it confuses the hell out of me. Some things take longer than I could have ever expected (map editing, for example), while others seem like they won’t take very much time at all (text editing with CCScript). Therefore, the completion date is very much fluid at this point.
However, I’ll take this opportunity to review what has been done on the game so far then give you all a VERY roughly estimated release date.
Barring any more nasty surprises like I had with the Boding Sea Spires, all of the map tileset editing is done. This is not map editing, but rather the creation of new elements, palettes and possibilities for the different map tilesets. This was the most arduous part of the game development and also the most buggy – getting it out of the way first was vital as it had a high probability of completely and utterly destroying the ROM.
Map editing is roughly 40% complete at this moment, with a lot of the more complicated areas already complete. Included in map editing is the creation of doors and the bug testing of the map tilesets. Since I’m testing the areas and linking them up as I go along, it means when I complete map editing the entire game world will be constructed and ready to go.
At that point I’ll probably take a break before inserting sprites into the game, a relatively straight-forward process, then supplying those sprites with proper actions and dialogue. After that I’ll implement various technical features that I already have sorted out with various PK Hackers, insert new artwork or music that I’ve developed, and distribute enemies about the world map. A closed beta will commence once everything is implemented, after which things will be running smoothly enough for a public release.
If I had to take a guess when everything would be completed, I would optimistically say December 2011. We’ll see though!
I’m taking a brief hiatus from game development for the next couple weeks to sort out a few other projects and to take care of my holiday shopping. During this time I’ll put together a much requested game plot outline, and re-post some information that was on the old blog.
To kick it off, here is a shot of Glensborough – the very first map I put together for Unearthed. It is a friendly place where the player starts the game, full of rolling pastures and vibrant foliage.
Can I be a beta tester? 😛
This game is looking really fantastic, and I’d like to throw my hat in the ring as a potential beta tester as well.
It is still a little early to be thinking about the beta, but I will likely pick testers in this order:
1) Hackers who helped out on the game. This makes the most sense since they can bug test features that they developed.
2) Friends and family, as I need people who are totally alienated from the technical aspects of the game and just want to test the play experience.
3) Blog followers, to fill out the ranks and call me out on features that I promised to implement and might have forgotten to add.
The map looks great! I applaud your work changing the maps around completely and your creativity with what you’ve shown off so far. Really looking forward to the completed hack.