Last week, I managed to get quite a bit of plot planning done. Most of the work centered around figuring out how to let the player uncover certain answers and backstory that could satisfy their curiosity. I want that process to feel player-driven and organic, rather than railroading players down a linear path.
I also thought of some end-game scenarios. Certainly death is one end-game. Permanent incapacitation/imprisonment will likely be another. However, apart from those possibilities, I also want there to be a player-signaled end.
I went at plot pretty hard today, and got quite a bit more done than usual. Ten minutes before my official work day started, as I sat there savoring the final minutes of news-reading, I said to myself, "screw it, stop stalling. Get writing." I shut down all browser windows, denied any temptation to check email or read websites, and just focused on my story text file.
I worked on more plot revisions today. I've started filling in the gap that's been plaguing me, though it took most of the day to arrive at something I'm reasonably happy with.
I started the day with a bit more mythology research, and I was happy to discover some interesting parallels between NEO Scavenger's mythology and the common elements in various real-world cultures' mythologies. This gave me a few more ideas on how to proceed, and I now have a slightly better picture of some major players and motives.
I'm still stuck on this plot turn that's eben plaguing me. I spent some more time brainstorming various scenarios, but still feel like they're a bit empty or contrived. They feel like they would be unsatisfying or too forced, so I've left them as brief notes for reference.
Looking over yesterday's plot work, I'm still pretty happy with it. I'm also still a bit stumped with how to proceed, however. I tried out a few "major setback" options to see how they felt, but I'm not sure I've found one I like yet. Everything I mapped out yesterday seemed to flow pretty logically and satisfyingly until this step.
Just to give everyone a heads-up, I'll be out of town attending a funeral for the rest of the week, so things will be pretty quiet here for the next few days. I plan to be back on the weekend, though, and should be back to normal hours on Monday the 23rd.
Fortunately, it appears build 0.979 fixed a lot of the major issues we've been seeing, so the game should be pretty stable while I'm away, and during work on the next batch of stuff.
I got back last night, and decided to use today as a bug-fixing day since the latest build still has some bigger issues. For most of the day, I've been addressing bugs reported on the tech support forums, and I think I've got most of the bigger ones solved. E.g. nesting containers, missing pockets, hacking glitches, etc.
There was also another null-pointer bug I found in the discharge code, which likely caused random glitching during longer sessions.
Looks like there are still a few issues that need sorting out in 0.978. The game should be playable at this point, but the hacking stuff still has a few glitches. The camp benefit stacking bug may be back, too, so let me know if you see evidence of that.
I apologize for the bumps in the road, as my rush to patch 0.977 sounds like it still left a few things misbehaving.
Today was mostly filled with playtesting and bug fixing. And as it turns out, that latter part was a much-needed step. There were some pretty glaring bugs in the code.
Some very big fixes were due to a bug reported on Desura. Namely, the game crashed after a long session (4+ hours) was saved and later loaded. Understandably frustrated, the player contacted me about the issue, and we got to talking about the symptoms. A few remembered clues and screenshots later, and I was staring at a nest of interrelated bugs.
I finished adding the first batch of random data file items to the game this morning. There are a handful that are worth something, and a sea of files that are worthless. In many cases, though, the file describes something about the world that was, whether silly or serious.
Some of you might've noticed a brief site maintenance window this morning. I apologize for that. I had to update some software versions on the website in order to keep security current. It went pretty smoothly, and I haven't found any issues with the upgrade. But if you notice anything awry, let me know!
Today was mostly spent fleshing out the skeletal hacking system I've setup. I finished adding the cheapo cellphone items, as well as the lamp-specific smartphone and tablet items (I've decided to go forward with unique art for the "modes," to aid in quick visual recognition). I also added device-specific cracking software to the game, so the laptop has special tools for each device type.
Once all the pieces were in place, it was time to hook everything up. First on the list was the hacking encounter:
I continued my work on hardware and software items today. Last week, I had the laptops up and running, and could switch them on/off, and open/close them via right-click menus. I could also "use" a powered, unlocked laptop to hack another powered, locked laptop via an encounter. And I could access batteries at any time, but software only when the laptop was switched on.
I totally forgot that this is Labo(u)r Day weekend in Canada, so I have today off. Nothing to report today except some fooling around with HaxeFlixel, Nape, beer, chores, and probably a burger for dinner later.
Hope everyone had a good weekend, and see you tomorrow!