Most of the posts I make are about what I’ve already done, so I thought it would be nice to look ahead give a little glimpse of what I’m planning for the near future of this project. There are some upcoming milestones in development that I’m looking forward to reaching (hopefully… someday…) and I thought it would be great to define them. People throw around terms like alpha, beta, early access, and prototype in gaming quite a lot and depending on the studio these can have different meanings, so I thought it might help to give my definition of these upcoming phases of development.
- Pre-Prototype: This is the phase of development the game is currently in and has been in for like forever, but hey this is a learning experience and there is no deadline, so this is just going to take as long as it takes. This is just the interim time until I have accomplished my first real milestone, The Playable Prototype.
- Playable Prototype: At this phase I have something that has all the game rules and basic mechanics in. Unit commanders will not exist yet, and none of the RPG elements will be implemented yet. Most animations and assets will be placeholder and a lot of the code will be a dirty first pass but someone will be able to sit down and play a skirmish from beginning to end with either a winning or losing condition. At this point there will probably be only one static map.
- Pre-Alpha: Now at this phase I want to make a first pass through some of the more important secondary game-play elements. This includes the more important basic buildings, the unit commanders and RPG game-play elements.
- Alpha: This is the icing on the cake phase. Models are cleaned up. Placeholders are taken out. As many of the more desired lofty dream goals from my design doc are implemented until feel the game is in a good place. Some of these lofty goals include procedural map generation, different map types( city/western/ alien world), implementation of more hero characters and zombie commanders( approx 12 of each), adding more zombie unit types, weapon types and building types.
- Beta: This is the great bug stomp and leveling phase. I don’t look forward to this phase. I know full well this will be a nightmare. If there’s one thing I’m good at its writing really weird bugs and if there’s one thing that’s difficult to do it’s trying to make an asymmetric multiplayer game fair. Massive testing will ensue.
- Release: done…. right??
This is how I roughly see this thing going. Ideally I’d like to start adding people around the pre-alpha phase. I feel like before that there is no good way to convey my real plan for the game. I can’t ask people to dedicate large amounts of time to something I have not already dedicated an even larger amount of time to. Also people are way better at imagining what something is trying to do if they can see the basic outline already in place.
That’s about it for this week. I’m planning a much more content rich progress update for next week so check back for that one. In the interest of keeping things consistent I think I’m going to try to make Tuesdays around noon my official posting time for these things. Check back then!