It's a strange thing with Sword 'N' Board. It was largely to be a learning experience, to teach me something that I wanted to know to try and make the real game that I had in mind, and also give me something more for my resume to help me stand up.
Never did I think I would end up getting the job I wanted before the game was even in it's Beta phases.
As you can imagine now a lot of my time is spent doing real game development stuff for my daily job and then trying to fit what I can for the game within that time on the side of the more important things that help pay the bills.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is, I'm 100% certain that Sword 'N' Board will be finished for people to play, the bad news being that I don't really know when that will be.
I set the original release date for one reason, and that was to limit myself to 6 months for the project. I didn't want to spend any longer on the game than a 6 month production cycle because 1.) I was going to be releasing it for free, and spending a year on a free game seemed a bit much, and 2.) I didn't want to have to wait a year to have something great on my portfolio so I could start applying for better jobs.
However, now that I have the job that I've always wanted, the reasons for completing the game are different now...
Now, I want to finish the game because It's not really in me to put this much time and effort into something and not see it completed, and also because... I really just want to play it!
I started this and saw a lot of things in modern adventure games, and dungeon crawlers that I really thought I could improve on, that I STILL think I can improve on and I want to make good on those ideas and see what I can do with them.
Lately I've been increasingly concerned with that looming release date as it slowly draws nearer, and I realized something.
Can I make the deadline? Sure I could. Would the game be any good? Sure, for about the first 30 minutes... and then anything after that would have been a thrown together mess that was tossed together in a hurried panic to fulfill a release date that I set upon myself long ago with different circumstances in place.
To spend the time, and care that I have put into Sword 'N' Board, in doing everything I could to make it something more than just a "Zelda Clone" only to throw it together in the 9th hour and watch it become a pale shadow of what it could have been, I think would be heart breaking.
So, right now I am not sure when it is going to be released. Is it going to take me the next year to finish? Absolutely not. But I do know that it's not going to be finished in just a few weeks time.
I'm going to take whatever time I need with the game, to make it as good as it can possibly be. So when I look back on it, I can be proud of what I did here.
Well, here's another one 2 days later than I wanted... I have to say it's getting harder and harder to write these on time, and for that I'm sorry!
When I first started Sword 'N' Board it was for a very specific reason, well... a couple reasons really. The first was to help me learn an engine that I could then use to really bring the game I really wanted to do to life, and do so without the use of a programmer, and also to have something great to show in my portfolio and my resume to get a better job doing game development.
Never did I imagine that during the games development that I would land that job that I wanted, which has been absolutely amazing thus far, which ends up taking up a lot of my time currently (no, I will not complain about being employed full time, drawing... that would just be silly).
However, given the deadlines and expectations with game development, that's given me drastically less time to work on the game that I've been really working on since November! Before, I was working my normal 9 to 5 job with Big Fish Games and then would usually immediately come home and begin work on Sword 'N' Board until either my Fiance got home, or it was time for me to get something on the stove! I remember looking forward to the weekends in order to really focus on the game, so it's been a hard road when it comes to working on the game and finding time to still have a normal life and not neglect friendships and my relationship.
I had hoped to have the Beta done by now, and get people playing the game, but unfortunately with a game that's just about to release (Gravi) and a new game in the works, it's made it that much more difficult. Will I get Sword 'N' Board finished? 100% absolutely! It's not in me to let a project that I've spent this much time on die.
However, I do see May getting closer and closer, and there's still a ton more to be done!
Well we're just a couple weeks out from the Beta (if all goes well) and things are going really well!
I've been busy working on Gravi, for Hashbang games as I redesigned the UI for the game and also worked on the achievement icons and a few other things, so that was pretty awesome! But now I can focus more on our next project that we're working on, and Sword 'N' Board!
Right now it's just a matter of polishing the game and getting it to a level that I feel good about people playing my unfinished game. I don't even like to have my own Fiance play it at this point, because there's still a lot of refinement to be done in terms of character movement and things like that.
Of the bugs that I have found, I haven't found anything that are truly "game breaking" while I have found one or two that really made me shake my head, they shouldn't be anything that makes the game unplayable, which is what I'm really out to find at the moment.
There are still a couple assets that need to be done, and a couple assets that I've decided to change, such as the items you use for currency, and the items that add and display your health. While I didn't want to use the hearts that everyone is more than likely used to, I also didn't feel that what I had come up with and had been using was really working. I always had reservations about it, but I'm much happier with the solutions that I came up with for it.
I also have a couple comic pages that I plan on doing to help tell the story. It's a pretty inexpensive solution that a lot of smaller indie games have done, some more effective than others and I think it will help tell the story behind the game a bit better.
Right now, it's a lot of working on the assets needed for the first Dungeon that you the player will encounter during the Beta, as most if not all of the assets for the Overworld are finished (though I may add some polish and subtle animations to some things).
All in all, we're on the right track, and now I have to get back to work!