The Production Blog of Sword 'N' Board
 
Picture
I haven't posted here in a while and I've felt a bit bad lately for not really posting here as much as I like. I used to post here every Friday (give or take a day or two) when this game was just starting and it's slowed down a bit, but that's mainly because quite frankly... I haven't had too many interesting things to say!

Progress has been great on the game, but I didn't figure blog after blog about bug fixes would be all that interesting to read to be honest, I know I wouldn't want to read that kinda crap. 

However, now that I've been sitting on some progress for the better part of a month or more, I have some awesome things to share!

More and more item mechanics are getting added to the game, I showed some in an earlier video that I added to the Kickstarter and things like that, but more are getting added!

Sidd's animations are going great! They've been quite challenging and time consuming to be honest, but they're looking a million times better than the old design/place holder animations that were in the game before. I think I mentioned that his range is getting greatly increased, which is also awesome! I think I spent 7 hours at one point animating JUST his back pack... yeah... just a back pack. But all in all, I really like how they're looking and I think the game will look so much better because of it. 

New control inputs have been added, to make navigating the menus and things like that much easier. Not only that, the game now has controller support! While everyone can still go about mapping their controllers using 3rd party applications like Motionjoy and things like that, the game will work with a wired Xbox 360 controller right away! 
Controller support is something a lot of people have been asking about and is something that the game was going to need for the Wii U version anyway, so I knew that it was something that I was going to have to do. There was just no way around it, but honestly... it intimidated me!

Button presses are one thing to program, but having to worry about varying degrees on the X and Y axis on a joystick? Oh boy...

After a little but of a struggle with it, I was able to get it to a point where it felt REALLY good. One the animations are finished in the game, and Sidd's range is increased because of it, I think it's going to feel a million times better than it did in the old Alpha version that was on the Kickstarter page. Honestly, that version wasn't to a point that I really wanted to show it to people yet, but I did it out of necessity. 

And, the biggest issue I had for the game is just about fixed, Enemy AI! 

Previously, Enemy AI was really crude and just kind of thrown in there so you had something to interact with to be honest. They wandered, sure; but would sometimes bump into things they shouldn't be bumping into, or would aimlessly walk into walls... and continue to walk into walls and things like that, that just really looked bad and didn't feel good. It was something that bothered me for a very long time, and something I worked on, on multiple occasions (and failed at, on multiple occasions) because it just never worked the way I wanted, or it just wasn't good enough. 

Today, I finally was able to program it how I had wanted it from the beginning, and I couldn't be happier! While I still have a few tweaks here and there, it's great to finally see the game for the most part in a finished state in terms of the functionality for everything needed to make the game run properly, and all while running at 50+ frames per second which is great! Not only do they wander randomly, and avoid obstacles that I tell them to, but they no longer run themselves into a corner and things like that. Overall it feels a lot better gameplay wise. Not only that, but they will chase you if you get too close, so be prepared!

To finally conquer both the controls and enemy AI milestones for the game feels absolutely amazing, as these are two very important things that can either make or break a game at times. 

And with this, we're even closer to getting the game done!

 
 
So, as some of you very well know, I was thinking about adding a secondary inventory system to Sword 'N' Board for a little while. It was more of a simple idea that I had pop in one day that never really left. I kind of filed it under "yeah, that might be cool later on" and then went back to work getting the game ready for Casual Connect, as I knew I definitely didn't have the time (or energy for that matter) to put something like an item inventory/upgrade system into the game right before I was going to show the demo I had available. 
The Inventory system definitely became a lot more clear as Casual Connect and the Kickstarter went on, as I saw it as not only another level of added depth and customization to the game, but it also allowed for what I felt would be some pretty meaningful choices the player would have to make. 
It began with health, or rather with your "shield durability" since that's essentially what your health is in the game. When you were a kid, if your toy or your pretend weapon broke you had to fix it before you could get back to playing, and that's really no different in the game. Plus, it really makes no sense to have the kid die, fighting imaginary monsters right? Well, the monsters would drop duct tape, which if your shield was fine you couldn't really use. So, what do you do with it? Well, there was 2 things that I could really do without that inventory system. I could have the duct tape remain there, no matter how much you tried to pick it up, which felt bad. If there's an item there, waiting for you, you're going to want to try and take it, and when you're not able to do something you expect to be able to do, it doesn't "feel" right. The same could be said with you being able to pick up the duct tape, but not having it benefit you in some way. 
Well, what if you could put it somewhere and use it later? That could be really cool, but what if people just store up duct tape, and are able to constantly repair their shield? Well, that's going to require some balancing, either by making duct tape drop less often, or giving the duct tape another use! Requiring the player to choose what they would like to do at that point, either use the duct tape now to repair their shield, or to save it later on for an upgrade they are saving for! And so, the basic idea was born. 
I threw it in near the end fo the Kickstarter as a stretch goal, of which we destroyed but I had decided that I would probably throw it in regardless, given how close we had come. 
I've always liked giving the player choices to make, allowing them to experiment with their own play styles, their own item combinations and things like that, and that's what really created the item combination system that's currently in the game in the first place. I wanted the player to be able to choose how to play, and I wanted them to be able to pick exactly how they played Sidd. 
Within the secondary inventory system will be upgrades! You'll be able to upgrade Sidd's armor, which will essentially allow him to take more damage before finally losing shield durability. Not only that, you'll be able to upgrade certain items, including Sidd's sword, so you can pick which items to augment in case you find yourself favoring one item over another. Another stat you'll be able to upgrade is his "gathering" (thats a working term for now) which will make it so Sidd is able to find the items he needs to make such upgrades, much easier. 
In the long run, you'll be able to upgrade specific weapons, their damage, range etc. As well as upgrade Sidd himself, his armor durability, speed and things of that nature, in order to customize Sidd's stats in a way you feel fits the way you would like to play, while adding yet another level of choice to the game that will hopefully make things that much more interesting. 
 
 
Picture
When I first started Sword 'N' Board, I remember telling myself "6 months, and this will be finished, and you can start on the next project".
Well, that was almost a year ago...
Over time the game has changed in a lot of different ways. At first, it was something small that I wanted to do, that I would release as a free game for people, and it was only intended to be a learning process so I could finally make the game that I wanted to make all along. 
As time went on, I definitely learned a lot, but then I began to want to add things to the game to make it better, and as that happened the game became more and more complex. I realized soon after I dedicated myself to that first May 15th release date, that it wasn't going to happen. I could have easily released the game at that date, and it would have gone unnoticed and played by a few. It wasn't something I was completely proud of yet. 
So, I decided to put it off ,and continue working on it. After all, that release date was pretty much just an artificial deadline that I had given myself. There was literally no reason for it. I wasn't being hounded by a publisher to get it done, or any investors since I didn't have any at the time, and I decided I wanted to try and make the game as good as I could make it. I also wanted to change a lot of the things that I hated in older more retro adventure games - and some modern ones as well. 

The variety of items you could find in adventure games was amazing, and vast but I always saw the same thing in almost every adventure game I played. Eventually, you would find items that would make other items completely useless. You may pull them out again in later adventures and dungeons to take care of a puzzle with an old recycled mechanic, but it was no longer anything you had to think about. It just wasn't rewarding in any way. You knew that item A, could interact with puzzle switch B, and that you need to use that to proceed forward. So, you go into your inventory, equip your item solve the puzzle and continue on. The thrill of discovering something new was no longer there. Sure, you were happy to be moving forward in the game, but that was all. 
So, I sat down and created a way to make sure all of the items in the game were rewarding, and always useful. Not only that, but always changing. I wanted to come up with a synergistic way that the items could be used together, in multiple different ways. Not only would this make an item you found earlier on in the game, even more powerful when you found a brand new item it could then be used with, but the complexity of the puzzles that the item could then be used for would increase naturally. Using mechanics that you've learned along the way, and challenge you to find new ones!
However, I always wanted you to also be able to find different combinations to come up with better play styles. Maybe you have an item that is largely for defense, and another that can be used to attack enemies. But, should you use them together at the same time it does something completely different and unexpected! 
You could then choose to use them together, or individually, and you can do that with all of the items. This, is what will make the game different from other adventure games I think. 
Sword 'N' Board hard always been compared to The Legend of Zelda, and that's something I expected. It's obviously largely inspired by it, but I think all top down adventure games are going to find those comparisons. Sword 'N' Board could have taken place in space, on a distance planet with a lazer gun instead of a sword and shield and it would probably still draw comparisons to The Legend of Zelda. Just as a lot of first person shooter games were called "Doom Clones" shortly after doom came out, no matter how different the mechanics or themes were. 
I definitely think though, once people have a chance to play the game, and interact with the items, and the crafting system, it will feel  very different. 
However, shortly after the Kickstarter started, I started thinking of a secondary item system to add to the game. A way for you to collect items that you might not be able to use right away, or even use to attack for that matter, but that you could use to upgrade your current items! I talked to a few people about this, some of them suggesting a similar inventory system before knowing I had already planned one, and that only helped validate my feelings on the matter also. While the system won't be too overly complex, it will definitely add another layer of fun to the game, and another level of customization. 

Enemies, also play an important part of Sword 'N' Board, and I really wish the Kickstarter and Casual Connect demo had been further along to really showcase that. Unfortunately because of work, and time constraints it was hard to get together in time. 
However, I always wanted the enemies in Sword 'N' Board to be interesting also. Sure, they may mindlessly wander at times, but I wanted them all have their own mechanics, so you can't just run around and swing your sword like a crazy person and expect to beat them.
There will be some you can only attack from a specific angle, some that chase you when you get within a specific range, and some enemies you can only defeat with a specific weapon or item combination. It's going to be a game that really encourages trying new things. 

The secrets of the game will definitely be a part of the game that I hope will help it shine. Too few games any more seem to really lack that kind of depth, and allow and encourage the player to look for secret things in a far off corner and then reward the player accordingly for their hard work. 
There will be hidden treasure rooms, and hidden items, as well as rare items that will only be able to be used for item crafting and upgrading. I think it will be nice to really see people on the internet playing the game, and interacting with each other and talking about where to find certain special items and secrets. 

What was once a straight forward dungeon crawler, has turned into so much more than that. And while I still have so much 

 

Controls

09/13/2013

0 Comments

 
I feel like controls are something that kind of go neglected in a lot of games, especially indie games, and honestly I'm still working on mine, and have been for quite some time. Before I had any real feedback on the game, I thought the four directional thing was fine, it was "retro" inspired and I thought a lot of people wouldn't have a problem with that. Well, I was wrong. 
See, I think when we sit down to play a game, the moment that the game doesn't play how we think it should, it feels bad. Whether that be because we're being made to use a certain control scheme we've never used before, or because the controls are limited in a way we feel they shouldn't be, it doesn't matter. The moment we can't do what we feel we should be able to, it doesn't feel good. 
The movement for Sidd was a bit buggy in the earlier days of Sword 'N' Board. It was constrained to the 4 directional movement like I mentioned before, but if you tried to hold down say the A and W keys to make him move diagonally at any point (which a lot of people did try to do) his animations would act oddly, and just look bad. So, I made it so at any time should someone hit those two buttons, Sidd would stop in place. It was fine by me, because you aren't able to move diagonally any how. Well, people didn't like that either. 
I can't really say I blame them, a lot of modern top down games allow for diagonal movement! Why the hell can't they move diagonally? Well, I honestly had no good argument against it. When I first designed the 4 directional controls, I thought "That's how retro games were, I think it'll be fun" and left it at that. 
Now that the 8 directional controls are in place, the game feels so much better! I will have to add a few more animations for Sidd when he's moving in a diagonal direction, but that's fine. But there was still feedback I could go off of...

Sidd had a very short attack distance, one that I didn't really mind myself, but that came overly apparent watching people play Sword 'N' Board at Casual Connect. See, I didn't mind it because I knew how Sidd handled. I knew just where to stand to not get hit, and how close I could get before I would take damage so of course I was able to run around pretty well without too much trouble because I was the one that had designed it!
However, everyone else that played it ran into issues, and realized quickly that not only was Sidd's collision box just too unforgiving, but he needed a better attack range. So, the night of the first day, I went back to the hotel and essentially added a "band-aid" to Sidd to increase his attack range in the form of a small little "swoosh" that would shoot out when Sidd swung his sword. It was something I never liked, but it fixed a problem at the time. 
I've already taken care of Sidd's collision box, and am increasing his range with his current redone animations to hopefully take out some of the frustration that came from controlling Sidd. While I believe that a player getting frustrated because a game is difficult is fine, that difficulty shouldn't come from simply not being able to control Sidd in the way you intended. 

With the redone animations, I'm also adding multiple control inputs to the game. While the game will always fall on the default controls of WASD and O and P to attack, I'll be offering players various control schemes they can use on the fly. No options menu will be needed to shift your controls, all you will need to do is simply move your hands. You will be able to move Sidd using both the W,A,S,D keys, as well as the arrow keys. You can also attack currently using O and P keys as well as the mouse! So if you decide you want to move to the arrow keys to control Sidd, you can simply move your hand to the mouse, and use that instead!
If it's one thing I've learned, its to never limit a players control. To never make them have to click a button to proceed. If you want to have them click a button to continue, that's fine, but also give them the ability to hit a button on the keyboard as well, or hit enter and have it do the same thing. Your controls should be intuitive and not something you or the player have to actively think about. 

When all is said and done, There will be probably at least 3 different ways to control Sidd and 3 different ways to make him attack, so everyone has a way to control him that they should like. 

It's funny how animations also play a large part in how a character controls, and how often this goes overlooked. For example, Sidd moves the exact same speed in all directions, no matter what. However, if you take one of the animations of his and speed up one of the directions, whenever he moves in that direction it will almost seem he's moving faster because his animation moves faster! The same goes for slowing down an animation. A funny thing happens when slowing down an animation, especially an animation that is used when a character is moving, and it's something I noticed not only while developing Sword 'N' Board, but while playing Ducktales remastered. 
If the character's "foot steps" don't quite match their movement speed when they're walking, either because of the movement speed the character is traveling, or the speed the animation is playing it creates what I've come to think of as an "ice skating effect" where the player seems to slide across the ground, since their feet are staying in contact with the ground but the character is still moving forward. 

This can also make the controls feel a bit off in a way, which is another strange thing to keep in mind. 

When all is said and done, I'm hoping that Sidd will feel as good to control for everyone as I think he will. I think bad controls can sometimes make or break a game, and be that thing that makes people put down the game before they even get a chance to really play it. 




 
 
I have a deep rooted antipathy towards my animations, that's never been much of a secret to be honest. And I'm beginning to understand why that is. 
Computers have made a lot of tasks when it comes to making games more "efficient", including animations especially in 3D! But when you get into animations in 2D some of the things that make animating more efficient is also what ends up sucking the life out of them. 
Maybe it's the fascination with animation that I've always had, but growing up with old Disney movies, I've always loved the artistry that goes into those moving characters on screen. Seeing those varying lines and strokes is what helped make those animations feel "alive".

When you start taking things like "tweening" and relying on them heavily to help with that animation work load and to make the process more "efficient" it ends up also removing the artistry of those lines on the screen. The movements then become more robotic, and more obviously computer generated. 
I would look at them and while I may have been satisfied with what I saw at the time, there was always something missing that I could never quite put my finger on. The animations did everything they needed to do; they got the point of the movement across, but they were still so life less. 

I never received much feedback on the look of the animations, but feedback on Sidd's attack reach gave me an excuse to come back and revisit my drawing board and something that's been bothering me for quite some time. 
So, I sat down again for a 3rd time to revisit Sidd's animations, this time with the intention of adjusting his reach and expanding it while adding extra responsiveness to his control.

A strange thing happened this time however, I started sketching his animations frame by frame. I would borrow things from a previous frame to keep the size of certain things the same, but for the most part, each frame was drawn by hand. No tweening, no bone tools, nothing. 

And an amazing thing happened....

The animations finally achieved a look that I had been trying to capture since I started working on Sword 'N' Board, despite the fact that I never realized that's what I was looking for!
My animations finally had life, they had line weight, and they moved even better than I could have imagined. The perspective of objects changed as they needed to as he went through his movements, and they finally showed not the computer behind them, but the person creating them. 

There's a certain artistry there in animations that I must have subconsciously picked up as a child, that I then also subconsciously saw was missing in my own animation frames, and that's what was bothering me all along. 

It's an odd milestone to have in game production, and a great learning experience for me I think. While computers are great for making our lives easier, and helping us create these games we all love so much; sometimes if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself. 
 
 
Picture
To say that Kickstarter wasn't a huge undertaking would be an absolute lie. I remember when I first told someone I had just launched my Kickstarter they looked at me like I was absolutely insane and then promptly replied "oh man, I'm sorry!". At the time I really had no idea what they meant by that, but now I do!

I worked almost every day on the campaign, either interacting with people on my Kickstarter page (which I can't really call work, it was a lot of fun) reaching out to press people about the campaign or doing interviews to also promote the campaign. 

I will say this, there's a lot to be said for the power of the masses and word of mouth. When it came to the campaign, I was given the gift of a group of people from the Adventure Game Revival Movement that really took up the banner and took to various forums, told their friends and really help generate the word about the game! To say it was anything less than amazing would be to not do it justice. 

I never really thought about the support the campaign would receive when I first launched it, I thought I would be lucky to be honest if the game actually got funded by the end of it, and yet I managed to end the campaign at a 114%! 

Kickstarter was definitely a "Baptism by fire" when it came to interacting with the public and promoting myself. Before Kickstarter my experience promoting Sword 'N' Board was pretty limited, as I had never really had a reason to promote it at that point. I had no Greenlight page to promote, the game wasn't along enough for me to want to show it to people yet, so the Kickstarter was really my first attempt at any of that! A lot of people including Antonio Garcia really came to my aid and kind of offered their own feedback and suggestions when it came to things I should do with the Kickstarter, or who I should reach out to about the campaign. Without their help, I don't think it would have made it. 

Sure, I did a ton of work myself, but if it wasn't for the help of a lot of people, it probably wouldn't have been the same!



 
 
Picture
No, I didn't already cancel the game, I'm talking about the Kickstarter! 

It's been an amazing experience thus far, and also a ton of hard work and dedication to promote the Kickstarter page, whether it be answer questions or posting updates, and just trying to be there to interact with people. One thing is for sure, should I do another Kickstarter in the future I will not be launching it the morning I leave for an event!
The morning I left for San Francisco to do Casual Connect, is when I started the Kickstarter. I was literally sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to board when I clicked the "Launch" button on the campaign. I was pretty amazed to see so many brand new backers as soon as I landed!
However, it definitely proved hard to interact with people over Kickstarter and also be there at Casual Connect 100%. To anyone thinking about launching their own Kickstarter, it's a lot like having a second full time job. Granted, I loved every minute of it. Interacting with people that were finally getting to see my game for the first time was absolutely amazing! It was definitely a great feeling, but I really underestimated how hard it was to promote something like this. But, now we're at less than 48 hours left in the campaign and we're at 104% so we're currently moving towards our first stretch goal! It's been absolutely amazing, and the kindness of strangers from all over, is absolutely incredibly humbling. 

As of right now, I'm still working on the game and redoing the animations for Sidd, and also redesigning him a bit. I've gotten a lot of feedback on his current design, that he seems too much like a half human half robot, so I'm redesigning him a bit to make his intended design come across a bit better. Not only that, but his attacks and things are going through an entire overhaul. While his animations worked they were never something I thought were "super cool" just "okay". Not only will the new animations look better, but they will also add to Sidd's range of attack, and hopefully make the overall experience a bit less frustrating! I'm also going to be changing his overall size a bit, and making him not only a bit more cartoony looking, but also a bit more child like! I'm sure I'll update the Facebook page with animation updates once they are finished, so be sure to check back often!


 
 
Picture
After issues that I had with a previously released game on Greenlight, I was really hesitant about doing it again. I figured it may be best to wait until the game was done and then just fine a publisher that could help out. However, after talking to some people, I decided "why the hell not?". The Great thing right now, is that Sword 'N' Board still has a while to be developed, which means that It still has a lot of time to find an audience and really form a community around it, which is great. I think it's a much better plan to really start spreading the word about the game early, rather than waiting until the game is almost finished, and putting it up on Greenlight like I've seen a lot of developers do. 

So far the support on Greenlight has been really great. Sure, you get some people that give you a no vote, or a simple "no" comment, but that's going to happen. There isn't a game in the world that has been able to appeal to everyone, there will always be people who just don't find your game all that interesting, or who really don't like the genre of the game you're making and because of that, simply move on, and that's fine. Either way, it will give me something more to promote, and a place to post updates to when the time comes. 

The Kickstarter is doing really well right now. It's at 75% currently with 11 days to go! With a random 3k dollar pledge and another 500 dollar pledge the following day, it's grown by leaps and bounds since then, and I think it has a really good chance of getting funded!

Programming for the game still continues obviously. While there is currently 8 directional movement in the game, it still has some tweaks and things that need to be made to the animations and how they play to better refine the controls and make them feel better. Either way, they feel much better than before, which I'm grateful for! Most of the feedback that I got on the game, was about the 4 directional movement, and so after some thought it made sense to change it.

I'm also currently getting all the item mechanics programmed in the game. Once all the Item Mechanics are programmed its pretty much all down hill from there! Then it's all about puzzle designs around those mechanics, so I still have a ways to go, but definitely manageable still!

Anyhow, I will be getting back on this development diary, like I used to back when this first started. With promoting the game, and promoting the Kickstarter it's been really hard to constantly update this with anything interesting, but it will definitely con

 
 
Picture
As you can see with the updates, it's been a long month or so since I've updated last! I found myself with little time to do much of anything, except work on the game. 
Last month found myself with my first investor and business partner, which was completely unexpected and out of the blue but definitely an amazing thing to have happen and at such a crucial time!
I found myself really without an option, and almost having to completely scrap going to San Francisco for Casual Connect to show off the game and help promote the Kickstarter, but luckily Luke Burtis of HouseOgames.com came completely out of left field and helped to fund the trip (and my wedding plans) which was an amazing thing to have happen with a project that I've put so much of my self into.

Kickstarter has been an experience, and an experience that I quite honestly underestimated. I never really thought about just how much work went into a Kickstarter. I knew there was going to be press and marketing things to do, but I never really thought about just how much I wasn't in a head space to do it. Coming out of developing a game, doing the artwork every day, to writing emails is a completely different head space to be in. 

Luckily, at Casual Connect I met some great people, including a man I would room with named Jay Ziebarth! Jay has a sense of humor and quick wit that I totally clicked with immediately, and then later saw at Casual Connect, also had a great eye for design! Jay does point and click adventure games, one of which I immediately loved was The Ballads of Reemus. Jay has done a huge number of games, but this one he showed at Casual Connect, to great affect! He also won an award for best storytelling! Not to mention the fact that the animations are absolutely awesome!

I told Jay of course about the Kickstarter, and how much trouble I was already having with it, and he told me about a group of people from the Adventure Game Revival Movement that really got on board with his project, so I of course reached out to them as well!

Their support through all of this has been amazing, from feedback on the campaign, to improving the quality of the tier rewards, to even finding me other independent game related sites to help spread the word about the campaign, and their support has been absolutely amazing!

It's been an odd month, from going to completely developing this game alone in a vacuume to pushing my game out in front of people (be it possibly a little prematurely, as there are still things I'm tweaking and adding in to the game) and having them play the game, it's absolutely insane. However, what I really never thought about when developing the game, was the overwhelming amount of support I would recieve from people. They actually seem to like the game, and for the most part see the theme for which I intended it. There are definitely still story things that need to be added to further flesh out the story and the theme behind things, but that will definitely come over time. 

While I may be absolutely exhausted from working on the game, and working on press things, the support from people I've never met has been absolutely worth it. 

 
 
Picture
It's been a long time coming for me, about 7 months to be exact. When I started work on Sword 'N' Board, I could always see what I wanted it to be, but it never quite felt like it was there yet, it was never really "fun" to me. 
I would sit down and test it, and I would run around the little world that I had created and fight the little creatures I had thrown in to test the game and simply go through the motions. 
All I could see at the time was all the things I wanted to add, the things I wanted to adjust or other issues. I would see issues with collision that needed to be fixed, little graphical adjustments that needed to be added or general game play mechanics that I needed to reprogram and because of this I wasn't really able to look at it as a "player" despite desperately wanting to. 

When designing a game, its important to try and look at it from the players perspective. Just because you, the designer, know how this is suppose to work, doesn't mean the person that comes along your game is going to know what's going on so you really need to be good about looking at things from a completely different perspective. 

Unfortunately for me, for the longest time I was too wrapped up in things that needed to be changed or worked on to really enjoy anything that I had put together. The thing that kept me moving forward was because I was seeing progress and I was seeing what things COULD be. Because what it currently was still had so much wrong with it, at least to me it did. 

Tonight, I got the shops working, or at least the functionality working. Sure, I still need to design other bubbles for other items, and program their logic, but its just a matter of repeating what I've already managed to do for different items, so the worst is behind me now. 
But, it was that one thing that really gave me a reward, and an objective for the game outside of the basic dungeon crawling aspect, and that 1 thing changed everything for me. 
I have been so hard working on polishing the game, that the bugs are few and far between now. There are still things that need to be added currently, but for the most part I'm happy with things and able to look past them. So now, with those things put mostly to bed, and the shops working I was finally able to sit down with the game and really enjoyed what it was that I was doing and finally really got excited!

It's a strange milestone to reach, and not one I ever really thought about before. It seems this journey is starting to write itself... and I can't wait to see where it goes.