Project Splice Weekly Alpha 4

Another week, another alpha build plus video!

Feedback in the forum has slowed down a bit, but it hasn’t completely stopped so I’m still pleased. I’ll continue to do weekly builds, both to keep it available for people to try as well as keeping me somewhat accountable for making progress.

This coming week will hopefully be focused on art and balancing. The game still can’t realistically be played all the way though. Now that the majority of the planned enemy types are in, I can flesh out the distributions, levels and start tuning difficulty. I also need to drop the Project Splice moniker pretty soon. Exciting!

Here’s this week’s video:

As usual, if you’re an AppHub member and you want to try out the latest build or check out the forum thread, you can find it here.

Did you follow me on Twitter? It’s @benkane . You should do that right now.

I’ll wait.

Project Splice Weekly Alpha 3

Wait, wasn’t the last alpha build on Monday? Yes, yes it was.

I feel Friday is a better time to release these builds though. It gives people a chance to play the latest build on the weekend, which is the time when I feel most playtesters are active (I could be wrong). That means the feedback I get is based on the most recent build, not the week-old build that I’ve already been modifying.

The downside is that I’ll miss being included on George “Why Isn’t He Community Manager” Clingerman’s weekly XNA Notes (or at least it’ll be a week behind). This is a risk I’m willing to take.

On the experiment front, I continue to get more and more feedback in the playtest thread. This is good news, because it means I haven’t overstayed my welcome yet. The feedback is also really, really helpful. A lot of it is also very positive, which is encouraging to say the least.

The other experiment, narrated dev diary videos, has had a bit more mixed results. While I never get a lot of hits/views, my last video and post were well below average. However! I did receive some direct feedback from a few people that they would like to see more. I plan on sticking with this for a little while longer regardless, but it’s nice to hear that others are interested. So! Video!

As usual, if you’re an AppHub member and you want to try out the latest build, you can find it here.

Follow me on Twitter! @benkane

Do it.

Project Splice Weekly Alpha 2

I’m happy to report that my little experiment with XBLIG playtesting has been going well. Well enough that I’ve put together another build for this week that incorporates almost all of the feedback I received, plus some additional new features.

A handful of community members posted some very detailed comments and suggestions about the initial build, all of which were very helpful. My hope is that this enthusiasm can last for a few more builds and that it will endear rather than annoy.

In an unprecedented second experiment, I also made and narrated a video showing off some of the changes that have been made. I really enjoyed the game dev diary series that Stegersaurus Games put out, and while I’m not ready to do daily videos, I figured I would give it a shot. Like it? Hate it? Feel totally indifferent? Let me know, here, on Youtube or by email.

If you’re an AppHub member and you want to try out the latest build, you can find it here.

An Experiment with XBLIG Playtesting

Just yesterday I posted an early gameplay video for my current project. I’m pretty happy with where the game is at, but I’ll be the first to admit that there is still a very long way to go.

Today, I put the game up for XBLIG playtest.

What gives? There’s clearly not a whole lot of content for people to try out. Numerous key pieces, such as story and progression, are completely absent. However I feel that enough of the core gameplay is present and stable that I can begin getting feedback on it. I’ve often heard of playtesting “early and often”, but that was something I ignored for my previous title, Zombie Accountant. For that, playtest was more of an informal check to see if there were any glaring bugs. It was still worthwhile – someone found a showstopper bug, and I added a much-needed last-second instructional diagram.

But I feel playtesting can be much more useful than that. Hence, I’ve submitted my game as early as I’m comfortable doing. Any sooner and I’d be wasting the time of other community members. The plan is to keep a build in playtest from here until release, meaning I’ll need a new build at least once a week. I think weekly is a good target to incorporate significant improvements with each new build.

Will it pay off? Will I use up the goodwill of other playtesters and have nobody willing to play my game by the time I want to release it? Stay tuned!

Oh, and if you’re an App Hub member, feel free to check it out here, under the laughably temporary name of “Project Splice”.

Early gameplay video for upcoming title

Oooh, generic post title! I’m not yet ready to announce the title of my next game, but I figure I can start showing off some of the progress I’ve made. Here’s a quick video:

Bear in mind that most of the assets are placeholders. I’m working on honing the gameplay and progression mechanics first and foremost. More to come!

XBLIG, Begin Again!

New XNA project targeting XBLIG! Yay! Let’s take a look, shall we?

The project is still in its early stages, but the engine and editor are up and pretty solid. Many things are still placeholders, including graphics, sounds and dialog (what else is left?). However! I think the concept is interesting enough to get some feedback on now.

You play as “Dave”, a character who finds himself stuck in a strange place filled with echoes from a long time ago. You quickly realize that you are not alone – though your company is strange at best and dangerous at worst. Curiously, your world is quite literally dictated by your newfound companion…

I have a good chunk of the story worked out, though I’ll keep that under wraps for now. The game is planned to be more of an exploratory 2D platformer. There will be obstacles and enemies of sorts, but it won’t be heavy on the action or puzzles. Consequently, I think this will be a hard sell on the XBLIG marketplace.

Words are boring, here’s a picture of my editor:

That’s the game running inside it, with Update and Draw being pumped from the winform in lieu of the regular Game class calls. It’s not pretty, but it works.