Crashlands Progress

Talk about Crashlands with your fellow players here! NOT for advice and help.
Figured this would be a good place to keep a running commentary on where we are.

[UPDATE: this thread is no longer the most up-to-date source of info. Instead, refer to our living pre-beta todo list on the blog: http://www.butterscotch-shenanigans.com ... eline.html]

It turned out that Sam is totally out of commission, so we will for sure be delayed with all aspects of the game (beta and launch).

Seth and I are still working on BscotchID integration. It turned out to be trickier than we expected, but is now done. We're still working on the hard part, which is integrating the Creator and Browser with BscotchID and the game. This, too, is coming together, but is conceptually complicated and requires a lot of server-side and in-game programming.

That's it for now, I'll add updates to this thread as they come, and will close it to discussion so that people can find the updates directly.
Last edited by bscotchAdam on 12 Jan 2016 15:35, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Added link to pre-beta todo list

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Wednesday morning update.

1. Sam's doing great. The radiation treatment has left him pretty tired, but not feeling to bad. The fatigue combined with his prison-like living situation has made it nearly impossible for him to work, though yesterday he made one of the missing Savannah bosses!

2. I'm still getting the cloudsaving stuff all integrated and done. Ran into some weird bugs yesterday that ate up most of my time, but I'm hoping to have functional cloudsaving by the end of the day.

3. Seth has been fixing a lot of bugs that were induced by the switch from the original save-system to the web-friendly one, and rebuilding the UI for save switching and cloudsave management. Seems to all be functional now!

4. Seth and I will be recording the podcast in a couple hours (remember, you can influence the discussion at podcast.bscotch.net!). Also, Seth will be on a local St Louis TV show (Fox 2) at 9AM to talk about the upcoming PixelPop Festival. (Seth and I will be there and will give a talk, in case you want to expend the effort to attend.)

5. Beta Testing pre-invites have NOT been sent out. With the delays we've just been working our asses off on the game, trying to get caught up to where we had wanted to be. We'd like to be more confident about the start date for the beta before sending pre-invites, since those will include screening questions for testers' available time.

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Thursday evening update.

1. Sam has been polishing up the Savannah side quests. Things are lookin' GOOOOD.

2. Seth and I got cloudsaving basically functional, but then realized that our system doesn't cover some usage scenarios. A big issue is the map: As the player wanders around the world, the discovered land gets drawn to the map. This happens in chunks. When the player changes something on a chunk, it has to be redrawn. This process is SLOW, but normally is okay because we only have to draw the few chunks that the player has most recently discovered. However, if the player downloads a cloudsave file then ALL of the map chunks would have to be redrawn because we weren't recording where changes were occuring. For a well-explored map this would take many minutes (or longer). So we need to fix that. The other big issue is that the save system hads some uncertainty regarding whether to trust the server's save or the local one. We figured out how to fix all of this, but still have to do it!

3. Seth has continued to eliminate bugs and improve the UI. The biggest usability complaint we were expecting was that the map wasn't draggable and that menus didn't have mouse scrolling. So he added mouse scrolling and is close to having map dragging figured out.

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Friday evening update.

1. Sam got his stem cell transplant today! It's obviously great news, and we have no idea how that will impact the near future of development.

2. Seth got one of the new bosses partially animated. It's now got an idle animation, and he'll be finishing up the actual fighting moves over the weekend.

3. I did the cloudsaving overhaul mentioned in last night's update, and finally closed the loop. So now saves can be uploaded to and downloaded from the web, along with official and player-made Creations, via BscotchID! We still have some work to do with the in-game save manager menu so that it properly talks to this cloudsaving system, and we'll probably tackle that a bit this weekend.

4. Still haven't made final beta plans. We need to see how the transplant affects Sam, since this next week holds the potential for a lot of side effects that may put him out of commission. We'll keep you updated!

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Tuesday morning update.

1. The main boss/antagonist in Crashlands got a name change. We realized that 'Q', short for 'Quetzlkotl', just wasn't what we wanted. Plus it's already the name of a well-known sci fi villain. So his name is now: Hewgodooko (pronounced Hue-go-due-ko).

2. Seth finished the Blockstock bossfight. Blockstock is a rock-like beast that punches the crap out of you using giant floating fists. Some of you may have seen Sam creating the art assets for this boss a few weeks ago when he streamed it on Twitch.

3. Seth and I FINALLY got cloudsave syncing fully functional. There will be some game logic to improve and inevitable bugs, but this is still a big milestone!

4. Sam is feeling good (still trapped in the hospital) and continuing to pump out sidequests for the Savannah.

So we're doing great! Seth leaves on Friday for a short vacation with his wife, so we're pushing as hard as we can to have the game ready to start the internal playthrough during this upcoming weekend. The internal playthrough will take two days, followed by a few days of fixing/tweaking all of the things we take issue with. After that, the beta!

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Friday morning update. Oh, man, has this been a productive week!

1. Seth is now on vacation until next Wednesday, after which we'll be giving a talk at the PixelPop Festival in St Louis (say hello if you see us there!). That means that no game programming will get done from now until after the festival, but that's totally fine as you'll see in the next points.

2. Seth completed all of the Savanna bossfights and cleared all but ONE of the major things that need to be done before the beta. That one thing is making the map draggable, which is hard enough that it'll probably take a day for him to figure out.

3. Sam completed the entirety of the storyline for the Savanna, including sidequests and bossfight quests. Today he'll be adding in some final random characters to fill out the world a bit more.

4. We're start our internal, pre-beta testing this weekend, just as we hoped! What is that, the first time we hit a self-imposed deadline? ;) All three of us will be playing the ever-living crap out of the Savanna, jotting down jillions of notes. Once we get through it all, Sam will fix all the story-related issues and Seth will fix all the game-related issues (when he gets back).

5. The Crashlands Creations Browser is nearly complete, I just have to work out a few kinks. I hope to get it finished enough today to call it 'done' for now, and if so I'll put together a short developer preview video of it.

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Tuesday morning (post-Labor Day) update.

1. Seth is still on vacation, back tomorrow.

2. Sam is still in the hospital but doing great. If the trend continues, he could be out very soon!

3. I'm going to St Louis early Thursday morning. So we'll delay the podcast this week until then -- that way we might all 3 be able to do it again. We'll be giving a talk, and will otherwise be around, at PixelPop Festival this weekend. Preparing the talk will eat a lot of our development time.

4. I have been (and will continue) updating our websites, mostly relating to security and backup systems for BscotchID. This includes prepping the same features for the web side of Crashlands. Our sites now have fancier SSL certification, and soon we'll have more offsite backups to keep your data SAFE.

5. Sam and I both completed our internal playthroughs of the Crashlands Savanna. The game is in amazing shape, and the list of needed improvements we came up with was wonderfully short. Sam is tackling all of the story issues and creating a small number of additional art assets. When Seth gets back he'll attack all the game-programming stuff. Aside from story improvements, minor bugfixes, and the addition of some simple features, there are only three major technical problems that we have to solve before we can start the beta: (1) Map-building is super slow, consequently requiring many minutes to build a large map from scratch, (2) The map is still not click-draggable, (3) Nighttime causes a strange, immersion-breaking camera behavior that has proven super hard to find.

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WOOOO. So busy! We've been working non-stop.

So here's the latest:

1. Seth is JUST CRUSHING IT. You can read his last detailed update here. His to-do list is now so small that he can count the remaining items on one hand! A few of those things are pretty big, though, so we aren't out of the woods yet.

2. iOS9 broke our old games. But Gamemaker is in a Humble Bundle for absurdly cheap, which caused their servers to go down for DAYS now. That means we can't update to the newest Gamemaker version, which we need to fix the iOS9 problems. So, YAYYY, we get to keep working on Crashlands! But, BOOOOO, soon we'll have to take a few days to patch our old games. The patch will be nice though, improving a bunch of BscotchID stuff, adding some features (multi-language support for BscotchID messaging), and adding gifting plus a bunch of Perks that were not yet available on iOS. So then you iOS users will have some time to prepare for Crashlands by unlocking Mystery Perks!

3. Sam is also CRUSHING IT. We told you a short time ago that the Savannah was done, and we did our playthrough of it. Sam finished going through all of the story-related notes and fixed/improved the crap out of it. So he got the Savannah done AGAIN! Now he's already made one of the 3 bosses for the Bawg, and will be done with those by the end of the week.

4. Because we want to get the game out as soon as possible, we're going to delay the launch of the Crashlands Creator until the first patch. It'll need a lot of testing and to have security tightened up (but it does work!), which I'll be tackling after the beta. This means that the time pressure is now off for my realms of responsibility, so I'm playing "Enhancement Shaman" to the team. This means my job is to take jobs away from Sam and Seth so they can focus on the things that only they can do. The thing I've done of general interest is, after Sam re-completed the Savannah story, to do a detailed re-read and edit of the whole thing. I finished that JUST NOW, and OH MAN is the Savannah in a good place. In fact: it is now 100% done. Undoubtedly we'll find some bugs. BUT IT IS DONE!

So what's next? Sam will finish crafting the Bawg bosses, and Seth will get them all rigged up. That takes about a day per boss. Sam has already drafted the core Bawg story, and I'll be editing the crap out of it while Sam makes bosses. Then Sam and I will build out all the Bawg side quests, do our internal playthrough, and make all the fixes/improvements we can come up with.

Then, rinse and repeat one more time with the Tundra!

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WHEW. Been a little longer than I intended since the last update. OOPS.

This weekend we're doing a Game Jam to clear our minds from Crashlands, but things have been going just spectacularly. We'll of course be right back to work when the weekend is over, and have been working nonstop since the last update, SO DON'T FRET.

1. Sam finished the art for EVERY. SINGLE. BOSS. That means there are only a few hours of random art assets left to make, so we can just call the art DONE.

2. Seth finished programming all of the Bawg Bosses. Three more left for the Tundra (a few days of work)!

3. I rewrote most of the mainline Bawg story, and then spent some time making the Quest Editor part of the Crashlands Creator wayyyyyy more efficient. Now Sam is filling out some epic Bawg sidequests, including the Bossfight storylines.

4. I did a lot of general Bawg playtesting and fed all my notes to Seth, and he's fixed nearly everything. I didn't find anything super difficult to fix, so THAT'S GOOD.

5. Seth and I got the Crashlands Creations Beta system up and fully functional. This will allow us (and you!) to add co-authors and testers to Creations. If you are an Author or Tester on a Creation, when you make a new save you'll have the option to choose whether it will be in he Beta or Release channel. These are published separately, so that you can perfect the next version of your Creation before pushing it to all your rabid fans! We'll be using this exact system for our own beta test and future updates.

So what's left? Seth will have the remaining bossfights done next week. Sam and I will have the Bawg story done sometime next week and will move on to the Tundra story. Seth will then wrap up the short list of big problems and the medium list of tiny problems, and then we'll be ready for beta.

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We just finished making a game over the weekend, and are right back to work on Crashlands. That means almost no dev time has passed since the last update. BUT EVEN STILL, here's what we got done:

1. Seth finished the first Tundra boss, and is getting started on the second. One more after that, and he'll be back to work making the game itself better.

2. Sam finished the stories for 2/3 Bawg bosses, and is getting started on the last. After that, he'll be fleshing out the rest of the Bawg sidequests.

3. I finished re-engineering the mainline Bawg story, and am working on finishing the playthrough. After that I'll move on to the Tundra mainline story.

We're in the home stretch!

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