Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dreams of Salvation [Deadlines]

When this project was initially started, there were 3 main goals:

  • To test the gameplay options provided by the control scheme I had envisioned.
  • Exploring the impact VR has on the RPG experience.
  • Measuring the kind of game I could produce with 6 months time.

The first post about the game was on September 13th, thought the date I regard as the "starting point" for the whole process is October 4th 2015. In another 2 months, a whole year will have passed since work first started on the VR RPG. It's fairly obvious that the "6 months time" target fell off a while ago, but that kind of puts the other two goals in a bit of jeopardy. While the overall idea for the game hasn't changed much at all since the beginning at this point, the main problem of course is the following question: Can I deliver?

These past 4 months since the target release period lapsed haven't been spent (entirely) twiddling my thumbs, but they definitely haven't been as productive as I'd like. I think the lack of any proper target dates has impacted things significantly. I'm lacking a sense of time for the project right now and this state of development limbo isn't pleasant. Thus, I've opted to set us some harder deadlines to try and focus development again and to establish a better road map for anyone following along. Unlike the previous road map, this one will have a sort of "penalty" in place. I can easily spend the rest of my life polishing this project to perfection, but that's not a good way to go about improving myself as a developer. Extra Credits used the saying "fail faster" as the basis for an entire video, espousing how it is an invaluable guideline for creatives. I agree with their lesson, but I'm not quite ready to just can this project and the work I've done on it without putting up a bit more of a fight. So, I've come to a compromise.

There are 5 new milestones for the game at this point each:

  1. Movement system complete:
    1. August 31st (No Animations) 
    2. September 30st (Including Animations)
  2. Combat system complete
  3. AI behaviors complete
  4. Game world complete
  5. Balancing complete

These are the progressive targets for development I'll be aiming for. They will be done in this order. Starting with #1, I'll give it a target date and specific feature set. For the most part, the exact dates here are much more flexible.

There are 2 big conditionals set for all of this to make note of though:

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If the movement system for the game isn't done by September 31, 2016
and
The Combat system's basic attacks aren't done by October 31, 2016

The game will be re-scoped to a wave based arena fighting game
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If I haven't finished the Combat System's base mechanics by the end of 2016
or
I haven't finished the game entirely by October 4th 2017 (April 4th 2017 if an Arena game):

The game will be cancelled and I will take a break from development for a while
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I find that these two conditions are somewhat reasonable given the circumstances. If I continue to struggle to properly accomplish the basic mechanics of the game, I've clearly scoped beyond my reach and if either of the two cancellation conditions occurs, I'm going to have to shelve development entirely for a while till I've gained more experience. While I'm a big dreamer, I'm not one to ignore a wake up call when I know it's necessary.

As a final note, the VR RPG is finally getting a new tentative title: Dreams of Salvation. A bit on the nose and simple, with a slightly bothersome potential religious connotation, but it's the name I've been using internally since April (Yeah, it's been THAT long since the last log video). Just a reminder, but the target of a simple floating island with a tower on top you have to get to remains the basic premise. Only going to change that if we have to switch to an arena combat game!

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