It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, though – the period since we talked last was definitely filled with productive work. Whenever a new team comes together, there’s always a period of time during which everyone gets to know each other and various foundations are laid, such as schedules, artistic direction, and so forth. This period of time is fundamentally important, as without it no coherent, unified work can be produced for the project – but, sadly, it also is a time during which not a lot is produced for the outside public to have a look at.
I’m happy to report, however, that we’re more or less through that point in time, and the phenomenally talented team we’ve assembled are now really starting to get into the groove and producing some great work. So, hopefully, from here on out, we should have updates at least more than once every month and a half or so. Since I’ve seen and heard from people who are really itching to see how the project’s going and to see proof that it’s alive and well, I figured I’d take this opportunity to give fans a very preliminary first look at the game and what we’ve been up to behind the curtain.
Find it all after the break!
First, a brief reminder that the deadline for applying for a position in My Little Investigations is December 31 at 11:59 PM PST. We’ll be making final decisions on positions after that time, so if you’re at all interested in applying (and we heartily do encourage you to do so), please make sure you’ve emailed your application firstname.lastname@example.org by that time.
That aside, you might be wondering what we’re doing while we’re waiting for applications to come in! Well, I can assure you that one of the things we’re not doing is sitting on our thumbs. We’re hard at work getting everything ready for when the recruits come on board, and I’m finally ready to announce one of those items: My Little Investigations is being ported to Java! (Java using the 2D game library Slick, to be exact.) It had previously been written in C# using XNA, but after talking to a very helpful lady named dawnmew (who has since joined the team), I became convinced that this was definitely a good direction for the game and that it was something that should occur sooner rather than later, so it’s something that we’ve been working on during the month of December.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re on a Windows machine, it means that the status quo has been maintained – you were able to play the game before, and you’ll still be able to play it now as well. If you’re on a Mac or Linux machine, then you’re in luck, as this means that you’ll be able to play My Little Investigations after all! I had previously said that this wouldn’t be possible since the game was coded in XNA, but this port will change that, and thanks in large part to the help I’ve received from dawnmew to that end, it’s coming along very nicely. We’re just about back up at this point to the level of functionality that we had when the game was coded in XNA.
Exciting stuff, a day late for Christmas, but still in time for the holiday season. Thanks to everypony for their support thus far!
Bada bing, bada boom, there’s a video in the room!
…Or so Zecora might say, if she were here, and in a spunky mood.
Here you go:
This is the last engine demo video, so just having this up marks quite a milestone! We’ll have more information later regarding the next step for My Little Investigations, but for now, enjoy!
So, a bit of an update for the folks following this project. In a previous post, I mentioned that there were three gameplay elements still to be implemented that were unique to My Little Investigations. The second of those three has been in progress, but we now see why I wanted to managed expectations: after wrangling both with the logistics and with the core motivation for this gameplay feature, and after having discussed the matter with ZeusAssassin, I’ve decided that the best course of action is just to can it. The reason for this is just that it was difficult to see how it could be structured in an organized yet efficient manner, and that I fundamentally felt that it wasn’t going to materially improve the gameplay experience for the player.
I’m a bit disappointed, since at its initial inception this feature seemed like an improvement, but the more I implemented it, the more I got the sense for why Ace Attorney never bothered with it. Don’t worry, though – I can assure you that the project definitely is better off and more streamlined without it, and that the remaining element still to be implemented is most certainly rock-solid in my mind and will definitely make the final cut. So we’ll still have both that and the partner system to give this game its own personal flair.
More details after the break for those interested.
As the Joker might say, “And here… we… go.”
The next engine demo is up, this time demonstrating – drumroll please – partners! This is something that people have been asking about for quite some time, so I’m happy to finally be able to talk about it. Hopefully people like it. It would suck if people didn’t.
Anyway, without further ado, I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking:
I haven’t been posting here for a while. This was for a variety of reasons, and I first want to assure people that one of those reasons is most assuredly not that I’m getting bored or tired of this project. I was away for a weekend, then I had company over for a week, and I obviously wouldn’t have been a very good host to work on a project while they were here, and then I had some long days at work – I’m a software engineer, so naturally a long day of programming at work will sometimes make me not want to do more programming when I come home. And then I had more company over last weekend too.
That said, all of that has now passed, and the project is now well underway again. Which brings me to another reason why I haven’t made any posts yet like usual: the territory we’re now getting into for this game. The gameplay aspects of this game that are borrowed from Ace Attorney Investigations (or other sources) are now all implemented. Boom. Done. But that doesn’t mean that the gameplay itself is completely implemented, on account of the fact that we also have some brand new gameplay elements specifically designed for this game (three, to be exact) that ZeusAssassin and I have been cooking up that have still yet to be implemented.
Why is this a reason why no posts have been made? Well, the reason there is basically just expectation control – since the designs of these gameplay features are still potentially in flux, I don’t want to post screenshots or something similar and then find out that I’ll need to change them. Promising something that you don’t deliver is way worse than not promising something. So I’ve been holding these closer to the chest than previous gameplay features I’ve been implementing.
That said, however, one of those three gameplay features is well underway now, and hopefully should be ready in a few days’ time. Watch this space!
IT’S FINALLY HERE!
This video took way longer than I had expected it would take, but it’s finally ready to be shown. This time, we’re looking at locations, and all the things associated with them. A full explanation may be found in the video, so I’ll just post it:
For those curious, a full explanation of the items found in this video appears after the break.
Huh boy. Location implementation is taking much longer than I was expecting it to – every time I implement something I realize I need to implement something else too before I’ll be satisfied enough to record another demo video. Already I’ve got locations themselves implemented along with transitions between them, initiation of conversations with characters in locations, cutscenes, and environment examination, but I’ve still got more to do. On the plus side, this is going to be a pretty huge update when it finally goes live. Hopefully you folks can wait a little while longer.
While we wait, though, since the last blog entry was pretty well-received, I thought I’d write another one, this time dealing with game structure and cutscenes. …But first, more screenshots! Just for fun.
Much more after the break!
There are quite a few things in the underlying infrastructure of video games that are caught in a bit of an unfortunate predicament: the only time someone actually even notices them is when they were designed poorly. The field of content storage and loading in video games is definitely one of those areas. So, while you wait for me to finish implementing locations in the game (it’s coming along, I promise), I thought I’d talk a little bit about it for your interest’s sake.
Discussion after the break, for those who are interested.
One of the worst parts about designing a game engine is that a whoooole lot of the work you do goes into the underlying infrastructure, which tends to be rather boilerplate work that facilitates content when it’s done, but does not actually produce much of anything you can actually show others when it’s still in progress as proof that you’re actually getting work done. Such is the case right about now – I’ve been working on enabling location navigation within the game engine now, which is basically taking us up one more level: locations contain characters, with whom you can get into encounters, as was demonstrated in the last video.
Unfortunately, I’ve still got a ways to go as far as work goes on this part of the game engine, but since I’m a tease, here are some early screenshots to tide you over and reassure you that I am in fact working on this game: