September Update - The Good, the Bad, and the Buggy
Phew, I’m so glad the August update’s done, now to get back to- Wait, what do you mean it’s the 1st of October?! Uh…well then, I guess we’d better get on with the September update!
Yes, while my understanding of calendars might be a bit iffy, I once again come bearing screenshots and insights into the seemingly ‘never-ending story’ that is 8-Bit Adventures 2’s development. Thankfully, that movie *does* in fact have an ending…which may technically be grounds for a false advertising lawsuit, but in our case makes me very optimistic! So hop on your nearest Luckdragon, and let’s get into it!
The Good, the Bad, and the Buggy
September’s been an interesting mix of swift progress and frustrating roadblocks.
On the bright side, Jerram has finished the ending and is just wrapping up the last few odds and ends; after which, that’ll be the graphical assets completely and totally 100% finished! Obviously I can’t show you anything from it, but the ending looks utterly fantastic and is by far our most ambitious cinematic sequence in the game. This took a *lot* of figuring out – particularly trying to convey the emotions of the scene - but I really think we leave players on a high note. Jerram really went above and beyond here! But while I can’t show you the ending, I can show you one of my favourite shots from the opening!
Beyond that, I’m currently testing and tweaking the game at the 3 and a half hour mark. Even though hour-wise this definitely isn’t anywhere near as far as I’d hoped to be by the end of September, there’s a big reason for this - which *is* a type of progress of its own.
Basically, this has been the month of bugs haha. To give you some idea of what a difference they make, one large city area with no bugs took only a day and a half to finish, whereas one particular dungeon took a week and a half – partly due to cutscene issues in a big story sequence, but predominantly because of bugs. So while I’ve been trying to play through the game, I’ve also been spending a lot of time trying to figure out, document, and (in cases where I’m able) fix some very tricky problems with the game. Sufyan (the programmer) is currently working on a lot of fixes for me, so things should be a lot smoother once they’re implemented.
A lot of the problems have been things which only really reveal themselves if you’re playing the game in a linear, long-term form; like players will once it’s finished. For example, Thief has a passive ability which gives her a massive speed boost on the first turn of battle. But, at some seemingly random point in my playthrough, that ability just suddenly stopped working, which consequently throws off the turn order that the player’s supposed to have for every battle with her in it. And that then compounds with a bunch of other bugs, making balancing battles pretty tricky! Of course, that’s why it’s so important to test games as a whole, rather than just in vertical slices – you run into all the conflicts between different, evolving systems that way.
While it’s disappointing (and often hair-pullingly frustrating =P) to encounter these problems at a point when I desperately want to make rapid progress…they had to be found. Much better that I run into this stuff now than you guys at launch! So even though it can be a little disheartening, bug fixes are an important kind of progress too.
But the actual content I've completed has been pretty significant as well; both in terms of big story events, and the long-term progression of various gameplay systems. This makes it a little tough to show things off, but I’m making sure to stay well away from any big spoilers!
*Please Note - there are a couple of bugs on display within these battle GIFs with the enemy HP bars, and Omega Burst gauge. Apologies for this, but I still wanted to show them off!*
Some of the battle GIFs demonstrate the ways in which enemies can work together in battle. For example, the Molten Man and Lava Lady – when both foes are alive in battle – can combine their powers for a Red Hot Combination attack. Whereas the Rampaging Ram, with its randomised attacks (which will either attack the party or its own allies) can accidentally enrage The Hibernator, forcing the player to think on their feet (that bear is an enemy you want to keep docile for as long as possible!).
It’s a small touch, but I’ve also changed the way that shopkeeper dialogue works. We’ve all been there; we just want to buy a few dozen potions, but every time you have to skip through the shopkeeper’s opening and closing dialogue. The text gives the game some personality, sure, but it’s frustrating on repeat visits when you’re just looking to buy.
So what I did is open up the counter of every store. The first time you speak over the counter, you’ll get the full dialogue. But every time after that, now that you’re acquainted, you’ll just see a quick and easy menu that gets you right into buying and selling. And if you want to read the full dialogue again, just talk to the shopkeeper from behind the counter and they’ll be happy to have a good chinwag!
As I've said before, 8-Bit Adventures 2 is a mixture of old and new; both in its attempt to blend retro and modern game design, as well as in its environments which include the majority of locations from the first game (albeit re-designed!). As you can see below, the Volcano is one of these areas. It was a bit of a tricky dungeon in the original, but this time you've got a few more tools and tricks at your disposal - and a much better balanced game haha. Of course, even though you'll meet new enemies (as you can see above), there might be a familiar face or two to greet you...and maybe blow you up. Who can say? ;)
That's All Folks!
To make sure you don’t miss any news in future, I recommend following @CriticalGamesAU on Twitter, as that’s the best way I’ve found to keep up-to-date!
You can also check out the 8-Bit Adventures 2 Website for more info and screenshots, or check Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CriticalGamesDev
And don't forget to visit the Critical Games Creator Page: https://store.steampowered.com/curator/33038547 Follow that page or wishlist the game to be notified when 8-Bit Adventures 2 is finally released!
Everything I said in last month's wrap-up still holds true, so there's not much I can add at this point (I recommend reading it if you haven't!). It was just really important to me that I take the time to check-in with you guys, and let you know how we're going - both the good and bad. And to be clear, most of it *is* good! If you guys could see the full, spoilerific picture that I can see...well, I'm extremely hopeful that everyone will be really happy with what we've created here =) Because even though the speed at which I'm making progress can feel incredibly demoralising, I'm really proud of what we've achieved and I honestly can't wait for all of you to see everything 8-Bit Adventures 2 has in store!
On that note, for anyone concerned about this update format, I'm absolutely conscious of spoilers, and am doing my best to keep that stuff to a minimum =P I hope you all have an awesome October, and I'll see you soon with a (hopefully) equally awesome update! ~Josh