Demo Level Work Proceeds

Looking at the screenshot above, I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed with how far we’ve come building the new demo level for our first project, codenamed Project One. We’ve gone from a small test bed to an actually playable level.

What have we accomplished thus far?

  • Level Design – We’ve got an entire level designed out and working that our hero can run through. It’s got moving platforms, static platforms, pits, swinging chains, and enemies moving along paths. It’s pretty damn fun to play!
  • Basic Gameplay – The basics of the gameplay have been coded so you can run and jump through the entire level. Also, we’ve got the control scheme figured out and are feeling even more confident about the gestural controls we decided to implement for this platformer. We’ve changed certain elements about how the character reacts from a standard platformer but, when working within our control scheme, each change feels logical.
  • Artwork – You wouldn’t believe the amount of artwork we’ve been putting together for this game. It’s part of our “secret sauce” actually. In fact, every element in the game doesn’t just have one piece of art, it has four! It’s literally stunning and we’ve been working to keep load times as short as possible on our base device (the iPhone 4).

The best part was that last week, we reached a point where I said to my girlfriend that the game was actually beginning to feel like a game. It wasn’t just art in a test harness any more, it was actually fun to play!

As good as we’re feeling about where the game is, we still have a long way to go before we release the demo as a video or as an actual demo for our investors. But, by a “long way to go” I just mean we have a long list of tweaks, not necessarily that it’ll take us a long time to work on. In fact, we’re feeling pretty confident about releasing our demo by the end of September!

Some of the things we still need to do?

  • Gameplay Tweaking – Fun is the number one goal of the game. And if it’s not fun, then we’re not done. So tweaking the level to ensure it’s challenging but fun is something we’re going to continue doing.
  • Feature finalization – We have about 70% of what we want done but that other 30% looms large. How do the bad guys react? What happens when you do X? These are the things we still need to program.
  • Menus & Loading Screens – While these things aren’t necessary for gameplay they do help with the feeling of the game world and add a level of professional finalization that’s necessary in any project.

I’m thrilled with where we are and look forward to where we’ll be by the end of the month and then the end of the next. We’re convinced that this game will become an instant classic once it’s released and that people will be blown away by the concept and features.

On another note, as I find the time, I’ll begin releasing some code that might be helpful to the community, especially in answer to some questions that I’ve found hard to find answers to. I feel like this is part of giving back to the community given that we’re building our game on open source projects.