The first 6 weeks of full dev are gone and I only have 8 weeks left to publish the game on Steam. Plus I will spend the last two weeks only working on the Launch, so basically it leaves me only with 6 weeks of full development.
When I think about that it gives me a mix of emotions. I feel excited and so many different things.
So Steam does not support weekend sales. So if you planning on doing that, change your mind and find a week day. I decided then the game is coming Thursday Dec 15th.
First findings on the Beta Testing:
I want to thank all the Beta Testers, you guys are helping me a lot finding the issues in the game. I am really grateful for all your invaluable help.
I few things have being detected by the very few first beta players. First thing is that the game need some more documentation and help. I added a mini helper explaining how to assign workers to buildings and many other stuff. I also explained a few concepts of the game.
Size of the project:
I am not proud of it but is growing. Trying to code as lean as possible but at the same time need to get the things done in a day. Today for example I have 15 points to finish. I will say most of them were light that’s why I put so many. In an usual day I find myself doing anywhere between 6-8 points. My pass teacher of project management told me that 6 points a day is a good number. He actually told me too that you could split them in 3 for the morning and 3 for the afternoon. He also mentioned that we need rest, exercise and get some distraction too. This last weekend for the first time I rested for 2 days in a row. I was impressed how quick my mind was working this Monday. Anyways, I will say whenever you can rest more than a day a week, is totally worth it. I am the person that was working 7 days a week but is unproductive.
The project is huge and keeps growing. Actually I will advice keep an eye on your Unity project and don’t let it grow infinitely. Yesterday I added 300MB worth of assets. Unity got so stuck that would not even build the .EXE file. I restarted the computer and tried many different things. The only thing that work was to undo the new things added.
The project is has now 28300 LOC, weights 5.24GB, and has 51,500 files. I could clean up a bit, but that takes time and effort something indie developers don’t have at all.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you need to have some self discipline. You need to have a schedule and go by it. Do not be too hard. Do not be so soft. Be realistic and set your points of the day with the best judgment.
I was naming the folders of every new build ‘10.01’ for Oct 1st for example. However that brought a bug that took me an 1 hour to find. The problem was that I was splitting an absolute path base in dots. So I was making an array based in the dots. Once a new dot was in the path it broke. So in the future either do not talk to absolute path or be very specific for the way you name your files.
Visual Basic Scripts:
I read in a older article things you could do to make your life easier as a indie game developer. One was of automating everything you could around you and that is what I did. I have a few VBs scripts that I run to help me. I soon as I start my PC I run one that open all the softwares I need to work. Have another one that copy the .zip files to my Back Up hard disk. The most important one prepares every new build. That one copies all the files needed so the game runs smoothly every time is open. So I don’t have to copy files manually, the script will never forget one.
Ever since I change the naming convention of my builds I was not able to play the older builds. I needed to run the build from the day before and I could not do it and pissed me off. Then I created a point today to get it done with, because as a developer you want to be able to go back and see how your builds work like in previous versions.
The game is showing a new logotype. I ended up changing it after so much thoughts. In the end I like the new one better. With the new logo there are a few elements in representation of the main aspects of the game.
The diamond shapes on the ‘g’ and ‘a’, and the ones underneath the ‘M’ and the ‘i’ represent sugar crystals. In the last two ‘ll’ also you can see some addition of this in the top. Representing two chimneys that are linked to the Sugar production also. In the middle of the words ‘Sugar’ and ‘Mill’ there is a piece of a dented wheel, representing various things. The first represents how important the dented wheel was at that time, also representing the bridge that the Sugar industry created between the New World(Americas) and the Old World(Europe). The dot with the cross in the ‘i’ is representing the power and presence of the Catholic church on the conquer and colonization of the new world.
The new logo brings a new and renewed image to the game and also is more representative of the game. Is indeed more clean and easy to identify. As consequence I also have updated my Press Release Kit with the new Logo.
I want to clarify that I am have been working on the game for nearly two years but it has not been in full time development for two years. I just finished my College degree this past August, a three year program at my community College, and three weeks later resumed working on the game full time again. I started the project somewhere in November 2014 but I have being working full time on the project only for 46 weeks now.
As a piece of advice never start with a big project like this one. If you are starting a new project and it’s your first, make sure that its small, doable and that at the end you can publish it somewhere. I can’t stress that enough. Because a game half done in your computer never exists beyond you, and the people that you showed to. If you are able to publish it, you will feel better about it and also feel accomplished.
Finally found an awesome 3d artist, and from now on he will be taking care of the game’s art. His name is Ronny Perez and he works in 3dsMax, Maya and other 3d tools. At the time he is only working with Maya. He is incredible efficient when it comes to polygons and vertices. All this models below are well under 5000 polygons.
There is some new art to the game. Here is a peak:
In this building ,with clay, water and combustion element, such as wood or coal you will be able to output: bricks, roof tiles, floor tiles. This is a really important building as you will need a lot of bricks to create many structures.
Here with wood and iron you will be able to produce: tools, wheelbarrows, crates, buckets and barrels. Extremely important building. When you play the game you will learn why.
Here the Sugarmillers gather and cut wood from the forest.
Sounds and Music:
Yesterday and today I have being implementing the Sounds and Music on the game. The sounds have been a bit of a challenge but now they are fine. I certainly can fine tune a few things and will certainly do so. It’s hard to combine all the sounds seamlessly.
The music was added today and is pretty awesome. I have to say that the work of Joshua Snethlage from Mixed Media has been incredible.
I was really hesitant to add new heavy stuff on the game for many reasons. Number one because it’s a lot of work and deviates me from the main purpose that is polish and finish the game. Number two that new things sometimes get out of control in code and turn out to take a lot of more than expected. Anyways, despite above reasons I decided to add a new building to the game that actually changes the dynamics of the game completely.
The new building is so far a secret one and will only be shown a few weeks prior release. The art is not done but its working like a charm. I wish I could show it but it’s one of the surprises of this game.
Once again thanks to all of you for showing support and enthusiasm with SugarMill. The game is going to be as solid as possible to release, and I will make sure it’s fun enough too.
Eight weeks is less than two month. So it’s unbelievable to me but the game will be out then.
I will keep working on the game, making it awesome for the Launch date: Dec 15th
Thanks all for your time!