Author Topic: Beta 0.800 (9 levels, 9 cutscenes, many many art upgrades and new sound effects)  (Read 1817 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Has it really been two weeks since the last beta release of Tidalis?  That's absolutely forever in Arcen terms.  Part of it was that Keith and I were busy getting AI War settled down so that we could spend the rest of the month focusing on Tidalis.  But, part of it was also that there was just a ton of stuff going on with Tidalis behind the scenes, too.

In no particular order, a bunch of changes in this version:

* The last two themes are now complete, in terms of art and music, and work on the art polishing is seriously underway (check out the animations on the title screen -- still in progress -- as well as the completed ones on the volcano and tidal wreckage themes, among others, as well as all the changes to the map screen).

* Tons of new sound effects, mainly for special blocks and items.

* A bunch of new levels and cutscenes, as well as a revamp of all the existing cutscenes with new polish and code that allows us to make a much more interactive, fluid effect to them.

* The basic implementations of high scoreboards, achievements, "plushies," extrinsic item awards, and "puzzle titles" (the last two being specific to the adventure mode, the former two being global).

* A bunch of progress on the networking, including connectivity between at least Intel Macs and PCs (if anyone can verify that a PowerPC Mac can connect to an Intel Mac or a PC, that would be much appreciated -- we don't have a PPC Mac on hand, all of ours are Intel Macs).  Granted, you can't actually play the game yet with the networking, but a surprising amount of work went into just getting it to this stage.

* A ton of tweaks and bugfixes.


As I noted above, we're pretty much settled on the AI War stuff for the month, bugfixes and other small tweaks aside, so we've now got the full programming firepower on Tidalis to finish this up in time for an official release hopefully on or around July 6th (that's a super tentative date, we haven't spoken to our partners about it yet -- but July 6th would be the earliest date we're likely to do it, and a week or two after that would be about the latest we'd be likely to do it).

We'll be submitting Tidalis to the PAX 10 contest this year, and we feel like it has an excellent chance; especially with all the polish in 0.800, and which we'll be putting into the game throughout this week, it's really coming to the next level presentation-wise.  We'll be submitting to the contest on Friday (due date is not until next Tuesday, but we want to submit early just in case of any issues with the submission).

So this week will be even more focused on polish than usual, but I also hope to get the networking a lot closer to done this week, if not completely done (it just depends on how much other polish work requires my attention more urgently before PAX 10, since networking isn't something we expect to be evaluated for that contest).

In terms of themes, special blocks, items, and game modes, we're pretty much finished with that.  We might add a last few more of some of those if time permits, but Tidalis already has an absolute ton of functionality and our focus now is on making all of it shine, along with adding or polishing the rest of the non-direct-gameplay functionality such as (for example) networking, Steamworks support, gamepad support, hopefully Twitter integration (hey, it's quick and fun -- and a good way for folks to spread the word), and various other good stuff along those lines.

We still have a goodly number more levels to create, and many more cutscenes to write and script as well, but all that's coming along well.  In terms of art, we're almost purely on to the polish phase (images for the final cutscene of the game notwithstanding), and with music/sound we're pretty much done (any other sound effects we think of, and the music for the final cutscene of the game, notwithstanding).  When it comes to music/sound, mostly Pablo is getting ahead on the next two projects, i.e. Children of Neinzul and the AI War 4.0 remastered soundtrack, but he'll be back on Tidalis stuff as needed.  But expect to see continual evolutions on the art from Phil, it's really amazing what he's done on a lot of the themes and on the world map already, but he's just barely gotten started in many senses; so many more themes to update, and I'm working on programming some new tools to help him add even more life and vibrancy to the backgrounds.

All in all?  This project is really coming together, which is really rewarding.  It's nice to have this last month for a lot of polish along with the last feature implementations, as that really lets us put a level of professionalism on this game that AI War didn't hit until version 2.0 or 3.0.  Of course, prior to 2.0, it was just me on AI War (and Pablo on music), but on this game we have a team of 5, so that's much better!  I think everyone on the team is really amazed at how well this is all coming together from all angles, and we all have the feeling that we've got something really special here.  That's a really neat feeling, I have to say.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline RCIX

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,808
  • Avatar credit goes to Spookypatrol on League forum
Just as long as infinite loop mode makes it :P ;)

Naw, if you don't get it in then that's fine! This is an absolute boatload of changes, and I'll get bug-hunting playing right soon!
Avid League player and apparently back from the dead!

If we weren't going for your money, you wouldn't have gotten as much value for it!

Oh, wait... *causation loop detonates*

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
A lot of the mode inclusions really depend on the difficulty of adding them, in terms of how much complexity they add and how many opportunities for bugs, etc -- weighed against how different they are from other modes, etc.  I think Trampoline mode is somewhat similar to infinite loop mode, if I recall, but I may be off on that.

At any rate, we might add some more stuff, as I noted above, it just depends on how much time there is.  With all the stuff in 0.800 and with so much AI War stuff out of the way (that's in a really good place right now), I'm feeling way less crunched for time than I was two weeks ago (man, I was just about flipping out then).  But, I'm still not committing to any more nice-to-haves until all the must-haves are done, heh.

My hope is that most of the programming-related must-haves will be done in the next two weeks, and that would then give us the remaining time for polish, any last small features we want to add, and so on; plus time for me to work on trailers, promotion, and all that other time-consuming stuff that needs to be done.

I guess we'll see what happens, that two week period might prove to be optimistic; it seems that projects always expand to fill the time that you allot for them, heh. :)

Thanks (as always) for your support, and playing and testing for us!  Glad you're enjoying the game. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

rubikscube

  • Guest
It's hard to imagine what else you can add to the game.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
80% of the core features are there, yeah.  Or even 90%, potentially, depending on how you count it.  But, you'd be surprised how much can go into that last 10-20%, it's sort of a universal thing with all software, not just games.  So it goes!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline jkefka

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 53
Weeha!  Alas no Music Block Mode yet, but I still have hope...

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Yeah, that was something we wanted to do also, but since it's sort of a for-fun-only one, it's dependent on us getting the rest of the stuff done.  But it would be cool if we have time to sneak it in, heh.

And even though we're not planning on doing ongoing Tidalis updates anywhere resembling those of AI War, I imagine we'll put out a few free DLC items throughout the year just to spice things up especially if the game turns out to be really popular (and of course any bugfixes would happen promptly, as always).  So there's always hope even if it doesn't make it into the 1.0 version. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,231
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!