Whoops, I'm getting quiet again. I know how to fix that: a new update! Also, I want to try something new with this post. I've still been working on the game, just focused on more nitty-gritty details than full-blown new features or bug fixes, and creating more pieces of content for the game. Which is definitely important too! There's no sense in having all these fancy gameplay features if there's nothing to do with them, or having any kind of wider story to everything.
So on that note, I'm happy to share that I've completed several large steps towards making Episode One feel like a full-blown game, and not just a bunch of unconnected fragments. The first two quests (either of which you might have played in some early form at a game show before) are now 100% done, and had all their connecting cut-scenes and essential dialogue implemented. You can now play the game from its actual start through both quests, and get the briefing for the third, and primary, quest of the episode. From there the game really opens with exploration, which I'll get to in a moment.
The new thing I want to do with these updates is share some more concrete details on where exactly development is at. I figured some transparency would be good not only for giving insight into the development process, but helping me both stay motivated by having hard numbers of what I've accomplished, and feel more accountable. While I search for some better tracking software than a simple Trello board, I'll rely on my handy graph tools to at least put things into a nice infographic-style format.
To that end, let me start with a summary chart for the narrative content of Episode One. Behold!
This shows the basic structure of Episode One, in a mostly-spoiler-free format. There's your standard opening cinematic, which I'm still working on, but after that the opening sequence which leads into the first quest is finished, along with the quest itself, the linking cutscene that gets you to Doramor City, and the second quest from start to finish. Finally, you can get the briefing for the third quest that's the real meat of the adventure, and begin exploring the overworld maps, which are...definitely not finished, heh.
All told, from opening cinematic to hitting the wilderness maps for the main quest, you're looking at probably 2-3 hours to get through everything, assuming you're not taking additional time to explore the city, do side quests, or anything like that. So it's already pushing longer completion times than Episode Zero. I think once all is said and done, with all the side quests implemented, and all the maps fully fleshed out, Episode One will be around 8-10 hours in length. That's a lot of stuff to do!
As you can see, though, not everything is done. A lot of maps still need to be built out, a lot of dialogue still needs to be implemented, and the side quests still need to be finished off. Let's take a look at some more specific items that aren't done yet.
Doramor City is your big hub map, providing you with most of the quests you'll play in Episode One, plus the bulk of the social interactions you'll have. While the general layout and some details of the main exterior map have been done, the whole map in general isn't quite finished yet. I've had some trouble with some sections coming out in a way I was really satisfied with, and have started over with them, several times over in some cases. Yay exacting standards!
Aside from that, the other big thing to do is the palace. Only the basic layouts have been completed at this point, with my focus being more on the "greybox" style development I mentioned in a previous post, which has helped with at least getting the important dialogue and such implemented. Beyond that, I need to re-do some detailing work on the third floor of the Mercenaries Guild (something happened, I'm not even sure what, that basically scrambled everything up as if the map had been used as a dice shaker), and fill in the second floor, which is going to be like a mini training hall for learning more details about how a lot of the game mechanics work. Then that mostly just leaves filling in lots and lots and lots of NPCs. There's probably going to be upwards of a hundred NPCs to interact with across all these maps once I'm done. So much dialogue!
Next up is the overworld and dungeons section. I don't want to spoil anything with too many specific numbers or details, so I'll just say this: these maps are going to be huge. The first overworld map is currently set for 200 x 200 tiles big. To give you some comparisons, the game screen is 32 x 18 tiles big. The exterior map for the first tutorial quest is 32 x 50 tiles. Sufficed to say, that is going to be a lot of mapping work. But I think it'll be worth it for helping convey an epic scope of adventure, not to mention just how big of a world Terranis is (one of my longstanding complaints with a lot of JRPG worlds is they're always so TINY!). Not to mention there'll be lots for you as the player to explore, find, and do. There might not be much in the way of full-on side quests (or maybe there will be), but there'll be a lot of Five-Minute Quests and just little details to discover, and what I hope will be a lot of "Oh neat!" moments.
The dungeon maps, though. Hoo boy. Those are smaller (though more numerous), but the last sections are when the dramatic tension really starts ramping up, and let's just say I'm probably going to be spending weeks doing nothing but scripting out events for it.
Finally, let's take a look at the other components of the game.
In a nutshell, this is everything on my to-do list as far as other categories of work go. It's all divided fairly logically, and each of these is a card on my Trello board with additional details or comments/notes to myself (usually complaining about weirdness in the code or something behaving in a way that makes no sense). Some of these are nearly done (such as the damage/healing formulae refactors), some are lower priority (like standardizing SFX file names). And of course, as good as it feels to make the other sections shrink, I'd swear the bug list only grows as I do so. Well, c'est la coding. You fix one bug, three more show up.
Alright, I think that'll do it for now. I'm hoping to have a report/update like this once a month or so, along with whatever other news there is to announce. Also I can't believe it's June already, and I haven't posted any new lore at all this year! I need to fix that!
As always, thanks for reading!