Beta Report #1
How has the beta been going so far?
Greetings and salutations everyone! Welcome to the first beta report for War Ender. This is what I plan to write about during the bulk of War Ender's beta phase right up until release. I'm going to consult my dev log during this blog and share any tales that may have formed during the course of this part of development. Without further ado, let's get started!
Let's start with some numbers, shall we? If you read my last dev blog, I mentioned how bugs have a funny way of creeping into a game. Well, it looks like they didn't stick around for very long. When combining level tweaks, minor changes to UI and gameplay, and bugs, there are a total of one hundred items fixed since the previous dev blog. That's...quite a few. It amazes me just how many little things need taking care of when you start to get closer to the end of a game's development. Though I can't give any sort of numbers on how many bugs are left since, well, I don't know, you can at least read this knowing that one hundred less problems will be found on launch day. And we're only just getting started!
Some of the big changes include dramatically changing some behavior with the Shielded Flamethrower Enemies, updating some mechanics for bosses, sound effects for menus, and changing the dodge controls on keyboard. The Shielded Flamethrower Enemies now fire straight up as opposed to an angle. This change came because I felt collision with the flames of the flamethrower could be a little wonky in places, and thought it'd be much easier to shoot the flames straight up. The mechanical changes to bosses mostly include updates to the camera and little more, though of course they've all had some tweaks done to them. Adding sound effects for menus came about just because I like more feedback when pressing buttons on a menu, and the dodge controls were changed due to a request from a beta tester! This new control scheme will be seen in the demo soon.
As far as the kind of bug fixes being done go, a lot of them were related to visuals. Strange lines in walls, UI being out of place, and so on made up most of the small bugs seen in the game. I also had to go through and make sure the process of saving and loading data was working as intended. There was a brief period where the game would show all kinds of incorrect data, but after a while it got fixed and the game now saves and loads game data properly. Now you won't have to worry about your destroyed checkpoints being totaled up incorrectly!
There were also tons of level adjustments made throughout the game. These include adding additional platforms in some areas, removing enemies, and making light adjustments to checkpoint locations. All of this was done to ensure the game maintains a proper sense of balance throughout. It's not easy, but I want to avoid there being any ridiculous difficulty spikes. Though the game is meant to be harder than the average game, you don't want to frustrate the player. This requires pulling off a very, very precise balancing act. As of now, I believe War Ender is going the right direction in terms of fair difficulty. But of course, there's bound to be more changes made as the beta goes on.
To round this all off, how much time has been spent playtesting the game? I certainly can't speak for the others, but for me personally I've already put about fifteen hours total into just playing the game seeking out bugs. And no doubt I'll be putting several more in as time goes on. I'm finding that if I move as quickly as possible, I can get through the game in about an hour and a half. That may not sound like a long play time, but you do have to remember that I've been playing this game since its inception and know it inside and out. I reckon it will take the average player a little longer on their first playthrough.
With all that said, I think now is a good time to wrap up the first beta report for War Ender. One hundred individual items taken care of in just two weeks sounds like a lot when you say it out loud. It makes me wonder how many more lie inside the game? Guess I'll just have to jump back in and see what can be found! These next couple of weeks will continue with me taking out more bugs and making more gameplay tweaks. Oh, and as for the new art that's coming, provided that the artist is ready we might be able to start showing that off a bit come next dev blog. But, I won't promise anything one way or another, just in case.
Until next time!