The Production Blog of Sword 'N' Board
 
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Thursday evening my Fiance was having a large amount of random symptoms, including constantly being thirsty, feeling weak and having blurry vision and so first thing Friday morning we decided to take her to the hospital.

After taking her vitals and taking some blood, we found out that she has Diabetes. To say the Doctor was shocked was more than an understatement since my Fiance really doesn't fit the bill for Type 1 or Type 2 currently. As of now, we're waiting for the blood work to come back so we can find out what type of Diabetes she has. For the meantime, I get to learn how to give Insulin Injections and everything else, and so far she's handling it really well.

As you can imagine with everything going on I completely blanked on updating this blog since my brain is kind of scattered at the moment. Though honestly working does seem to help keep me from stressing out too much. It's a lot to do when you first start out, but after a while it should get easier once her blood sugar is leveled out.

As always, as before I'm still working on Animations for the character. Who, still doesn't have a name, I think I'll give it another week for any more suggestions to come out before I finally decide on something some Facebook friends have suggested!

The only animation I have left now is his upwards walk animation and his left walk animation. Currently, I have it mirrored so when he walks right, everything is normal and when you walk left it mirrors his right side walk animation. The problem with this is, his sword and shield switch hands, since it's mirrored! So I'll be correcting that soon I hope.

Before that however, it's a matter of getting the kinks worked out with his movement. Figuring out a good speed for his movement, and a good speed for his walk animations so everything looks properly. I suppose I was a bit naive when I started doing his animations and figured I could just plug it in, and it would all work right, but movement and animation speed is definitely key, to anyone wondering.

If your characters walk animation for instance is too slow, and doesn't seem to match his movement speed it will almost seem like he's "ice skating" as he will slide a bit with each move of his foot. And if his walk animation is too fast, it will almost seem as though his movement is a bit labored even though in reality it doesn't change speed at all.

So for instance, you can have the exact same speed for your character for all four directions (down,right,left,up), but if your animations for his movements are at different speeds, they can all look entirely different, so that's what I'm working the kinks out of right now.

A large portion of the problems with a lot of Indie Games I've played, are the controls, and truly amazing Indie games seem to have amazing controls, so that's really a main focus for me currently before I really get into the main mechanics and AI programming. Once there's a couple different Enemies in place and their AI is working, it should almost be time for the Beta!

 
 
Alright, so I'm a day late, sorry! I decided I owed it to myself to take a break and make sure I don't get burnt out on the game, but now it's back to work!

For the most part, I would say the assets for the Overworld are about 98% done, though there are 3 or 4 different things that I still want to add to the assets to really make the world come alive.
With that being said, it's really starting to feel like a world of it's own. It's a strange thing designing a world, and really trying to get the theme across as you have it pictured in your head. It's easy to have an idea, but sometimes getting that idea across to other people in the same way is much more difficult than you would think.
Overall, I'm really happy where the game is right now. I have a lot of the assets imported and optimized for the engine, and it runs about as smoothly as I could ask for. You can now run around the world and run into trees, and bump into rocks and things like that, and it's all really exciting! It's always amazing to see something that you've had in your head really come to life that other people can also see and experience.
At this rate the Beta may even be ready well before April, which I'm definitely hoping for. Though I am still debating on how much of the world you'll be able to explore within the Beta.

Be that as it may, I do want people to feel that they can give feedback on the game, and tell me things that they might like to see in the game, once they're able to see what's there. Designers are usually working so closely to a project that they eventually reach a point where they can no longer look at a project objectively. It's really hard after a while to look at things from the player's perspective and think of how things look in the shoes of someone that isn't so intimately attached to the project. So if anyone has any things that they thing would be a lot of fun, I want them to feel like they can share that!

The music so far is going along great. My friend Joshua is working on the music, and he's shared a couple different themes with me, and they're insanely catchy. I found myself humming the main theme for the game even when it wasn't running in the background, so I'm hoping people like it just as much as I do!

As always, anyone that shares any status on the Sword 'N' Board Facebook page, will gain Beta access, so just be sure to let me know you did so, so you don't get missed!

And now, it's off to Enemy programming. You Beta testers are going to need something to fight right?
 
 
It's a strange thing being the only person working on a game, it's a weird balancing act when it comes to choosing what to prioritize within the game and it's development.

While I have a lot of fun programming different aspects of the game, while I'm working on programing no artwork gets done, and the reverse is also true.  So I decided to put my focus into one thing at a time, and so I'm currently doing nothing but artwork!

Right now, its really a matter of just going down the list of assets I'm going to need, and getting them created for the game! Once all of the assets are done, and the enemies are put together and animated, it's just a matter of getting it all programmed!

It definitely feels better doing it this way, rather than bouncing back and forth between the two, and the artwork for the game is actually coming along rather quickly! Much like programming, I'm already far ahead of my own schedule that I've set myself to for my production time line.

So far, with everything that I've learned along the way in Construct 2, I'm definitely happy with the engine I'm using. I do see that should I want to really produce a game that I'm going to want to sell to people, that I may need to change to something like Game Maker Studio, which has PC and Mac specific export options, but that's definitely something I will worry about when I come to it.

As far as the Beta for the game goes, I'm really hoping it will be ready by April. While the Beta won't be the full game, I'm hoping to include enough of the game to really show people what the game is about, and really see the Mechanics of the game. Right now, I feel like people think it will play exactly like the Legend of Zelda since it's really a parody of that, but I definitely intend there being mechanics that are much different from what people really know of the Legend of Zelda as making a parody of a game, that plays verbatim like the game it's trying to parody seemed kind of pointless. I definitely wanted to do something new. So I'm hoping people will really be able to see that come April.

Not only that, but April is really going to be the time where I really start marketing the game to other Indie game sites, in hopes of getting the word spread a bit more. Until I have a demo available that the sites can play, it's really pointless to try and tell them about it. Since the game is going to be totally free, it's really just about getting as many people to play the game as possible.

Currently, the support I've been getting from friends, family and even people I don't know has been absolutely amazing, and extremely humbling. Even the small amount of likes on Sword 'N' Board's Facebook page is really already exceeding what I expected from it. Right now, I have about 12 people on the Beta list to help test the game, and I'm hoping the Beta release a month before the full game release will really help knock out a lot of the bugs that may be in the game that I didn't happen to notice along the way. I'm only one person, so I'm sure I will miss things.

May 17th 2013 is the release! Until then, I better get back to work. May isn't very far away.


 
 
So last week I ran into one of the biggest hurdles I've had to deal with so far while developing Sword 'N' Board. One that was a bit heartbreaking at the time - I'm over it now - and also a hurdle that has now caused a great amount of excitement.

When I set out to do this game, it was really about getting something put together to really have on my portfolio and to show people so I can get out of the job I'm in - albeit a good job, but still and get to doing some real design work.
However, I'm also making this game because it's really a game that I would love to be able to play! And because of that, I want other people to enjoy it along with me. I want to take them on a fun little adventure, and just escape for a little while. Given the fact that the game will be largely a parody of the Legend of Zelda, and other adventure/RPG games I really didn't have to heart to make people pay for a game like that, and so I decided to just let people be able to access the game for free, and they could play online from their browser. Sounds great right?!

I was using a engine called GameSalad, it's largely a "drag and drop" engine, though there's a little bit of special "coding" you would still have to do here and there. Since I'm no programmer, and I'm trying to put this game together, it sounded like a perfect solution!
After about 2 weeks of learning the engine, the User Interface and the "programming" - whenever I say I'm programming the game I always use finger quotes, I can't help it - I had a working interface for the game, character movement was solid and I had some basic enemy AI working, things were really going well!

However, that all changed when I decided  to publish it. I was trying to publish it to HTML 5, that way I can add it to a web page, and then anyone with the address to the game could access it and play it for free! However, one limitation with GameSalad is that it will only publish in HTML 5 to their special "arcade" and that it will only publish in a size of 480x320. Entirely too small for my game. 2 Weeks of work was lost.

So, I went looking for a new game engine and came across 2, that I really like. Game Maker Studio, and Construct 2. When I first started using Construct 2, I found it was easy to learn, so much so that I managed to program in about 5 hours what took me that 2 weeks in GameSalad. What I thought was going to push me back a few weeks for production, may actually end up saving me some time! Which is absolutely exciting. I guess some things happen for a reason.

Also, a friend of mine who I went to school with at IADT, who happens to me a talented audio guy, and musician has signed on to do the main them for the game, as well as a Dungeon theme!

He asked me to give him a deadline, so I gave him the next 2 weeks to get them done. So once I have something from him, I'll probably upload it so everyone can check it out!

For now, I just have to keep on keepin' on.