Getting the Word Out
I've never sent so many emails...
It's been an interesting last couple of weeks for me and War Ender. In case you've not heard yet, I released the public demo for people to play, which you can download here. As soon as that was uploaded, I spent a lot of time trying to get the word out. As it stands, I am more or less a "nobody", and I don't use that to put myself down. That's just a simple fact. Companies like IGN and Gamespot have no idea who I am, and that's fine. For me, it's sort of where the fun of the last couple of weeks has come from. There's an interesting challenge presented to anyone who wants to get their name or product out there, and that's the challenge of being noticed.
So what have I been doing then? Well, simply, I've been making lots of tweets and sending several emails that basically say "notice me" in various ways. To pull a few off my Twitter that I kinda liked, there's...
That last one didn't get the attention I hoped it would. I thought it was kinda fun...*sniff*.
I bet I can guess what you're thinking right now. Is it "that's fine and good but what about the game?" Well, there are some updates there of course. It wouldn't be a development blog without that, obviously. Most of my development time has gone towards the next level in War Ender, the one that will come after the Wall of Lasers boss seen in the demo. After I had a good idea of what was going to be in that level, I took a mouse to a level editor and began placing tiles and getting the basic geometry together. What I've really enjoyed about this level so far is the fact that, unlike the other levels before it, this one really uses as much as space as possible and feels kinda big and foreboding as a result. One of the common criticisms I heard at Gamer Grace is that players could basically "Kirby" their way through the levels. And by that they mean they can shoot-float past large chunks of levels, negating much of the challenge that would have otherwise come. It's an absolutely fair point, although being the first levels in the game, I kinda did that by design.
But fret not! For Level 2_1 is much more vertical! In fact, it was so much more vertical that I had to wonder if maybe I was going a bit too overboard with it. It's still rather early in the game, after all, so maybe I should tone it down a bit? But playtesting it as many times as I have so far, I can't say I want to. I appreciate how much more different this level feels in comparison to all the others before, and to shove that aside and wait for later I feel would do War Ender a disservice. The way I see it, if it's a good idea, then it should go into the game. Of course, more vertical levels isn't the only thing I'm playing around with. Level 2_1 also introduces the new enemy I talked about in the last blog, the enemy I have dubbed "The Obsessor". You may or may not be surprised to hear this, but I love them already.
I've been quickly realizing that my favorite moments in development are the ones where I make new enemies and get to see how they change the gameplay. At this point, however, there aren't many other enemies in the level. The story goes that Red finds himself here after destroying the Wall of Lasers and must make his way back to Cycorp. In doing so, well...events happen. I'd tell you, but that would of course be a spoiler. I wanted to convey a sense of loneliness down here, which would contrast the louder, more chaotic moments earlier in the game. But obviously, you can't make an action game without something to fight. Obsessors, and later on different turrets and maybe the odd human character here and there, serve these quieter levels well.
It'll be interesting to see how these new enemies change up the gameplay in later levels along with other new stuff that will inevitably be coming along later on. What are the plans for the next two weeks then? It'll certainly be an interesting one, I can promise you that. I won't say much now, but I can tell you there are things happening that are not necessarily War Ender happenings but do relate to me and my work. As for War Ender itself, there will of course be more work on this level and hopefully others, as well as more bug fixes and polish. I can't promise that the next blog will have super exciting updates and news for War Ender, but I hope you'll be interested regardless. Besides, it's quite possible that these upcoming events I'm vaguely speaking of will have some sort of indirect effect on War Ender. Only time will tell...
Until next time!