Beta Report #4 (Release Date Announcement!)
Here we are again with another one of my beta reports. But this one is different...this one has some big news in it. And if you see the title, you know exactly what's coming. But first, let's get the usual stuff out of the way. After all, it also says 'Beta Report' in the title, and I do enjoy sharing progress reports with you fine folk. Let's see what the last two weeks have given us!
Since the last dev blog, 66 items were completed. Most of these items were small additions to help "juice" the game. If you're unfamiliar with that term, "juicing" refers to making a game feel more alive. What exactly this entails can vary from game to game, but in general it can refer to making the UI more interesting to interact (for example, maybe the current option increases in size when selected) or adding some small things to gameplay (like a screen shake). It's an important and somewhat under-discussed topic in video game development.
In the example above, one addition I made to bring the game to life was to add a shatter effect on mechanical enemies. In the past, they would just disappear after being shot and some sparks would appear. For larger enemies, explosions would also appear at the place where they were shot. For the larger enemies with explosions, one could argue that this is okay. Btu for the robot enemies I needed something more. So I thought blowing the robots to pieces would be fun.
And fun it was! I still get a kick out of watching them shatter as Red shoots them down. The added sparks as the pieces fall is a nice touch as well, if I do say so myself. I've applied a similar effect to all mechanical enemies. This means turrets and helicopters all get the shatter treatment! This works well with War Ender's somewhat silly tone, as the whole game is about having fun with via ridiculous scenarios. Remember, this is the same game where you can float in the air by shooting down.
You might have heard people say to "ham it up" before. Maybe you've done theater and a director told you that you need to ham up your part a bit. Why do I mention this? Well, in keeping with the idea that the enemy shatter effect was in place to both "juice" the game and reinforce its personality, I made another addition. I always felt that boss fights should be big deals in games, and one of my favorite ways that games do this is by using UI and camera tricks to make them seem like a big deal.
Of course, this idea felt perfect for War Ender, a game that knows it's a kind of goofy and yet takes itself at least a little seriously. Having the borderline cheesy black bars appear on the top and bottom and give a VS message is the perfect way to "ham up" the boss fights in the game and make them seem like much bigger deals. Because, well, they're bosses. They need to be bigger deals in any way they can. The result of this train of thought is in the GIF above. And frankly, I don't think I'm done with it. I think it'd be nice to have it do something more. Maybe a lightning effect or some scowling faces on there would be good. Or both.
And those are just a couple things I've been doing. I've also been adding some sounds where needed, improving the look of the title screen, and of course doing the usual bug fixes and gameplay tweaks. Looking through my dev log, I'm surprised at how many new things I've added. Sure, they're all small things, but the little things are important too. On top of those, I've finally finished writing the entire lore book for the game, which will be a fun read for those who like diving deep into a game world.
Right. I suppose I've kept you waiting long enough. You want to know a release date, don't you? Well, provided nothing crazy happens (don't jinx it), I'm pleased to report that War Ender now has a planned release date of July 26th, 2018. Yes, that's this year in case you forgot what year it is. And yes, that's this month. So you better plan ahead and set aside some time to play the game that weekend. Tell your boss you're sick that day or something
Of course I keep talking about the game's upcoming new art, and that will of course be present come release day. In fact, I'm hoping you can start seeing that very soon. Of course I'll update the website to reflect that when the time comes, so stay tuned. One day you might just swing by and suddenly things look spruced up. In addition, look out for the Steam page that should be coming soon. And on top of all that, I plan to update the game's demo at least once before the game comes out. Maybe even twice depending on how I handle it. Of course, I'm excited and I hope you are too.