Christian: Getting into Gear

This week marks the second week that we have been performing weekly builds of Dawnroot. These builds serve as a way to do integration testing for our game. That is to say, we have all been working on our own pieces of the puzzle in a sort of isolation until now. We started the weekly builds to see how all of our pieces work together, and hopefully find the places that they haven’t. Well, it turns out it is much easier to see what needs doing when you have a “gun to my head we have to release right now this is what we have” game to look at. our first weekly build generated a large list of items to fix, and an even larger list of items to tune. Now, after creating our second weekly build, I’d like to talk about a few things I noticed. First, it is often the little things that make a game feel like a game. Sure a game without movement would be strange, but a game with almost but not quite great movement feels stranger still. Likewise with splash screens and menus. certainly these things should be added as needed for development, and then polished later, but they are more than deserving of time and attention.
Second, is how much faster game development can move when you have a clear marker to iterate on. Often, we would test our features in isolation. This is of course still a major part of our development process, and we will often make fresh scenes just to try out a new feature. However, by having a game “released” and unchangeable, we now have a razor to cut through to the most import aspects of our game. One question I find myself asking while playing a weekly build is “What is the part of this game that I would most like to change, or that I find most embarrassing.” Often these are areas that we prepared for and just need to be tuned, but some of the time we find something that we didn’t think about until we saw everything together in one place. This has been tremendously helpful for getting our priorities set. Hopefully, we will see a lot more tuning as we iterate on the builds.