More teasing

Or something. I hate doing these updates, because it feels like I’m just repeating stuff that I’ve already said, without providing the news that I know you want. Like… when is P&T2 coming out.

Sorry, still can’t tell you. Still incredibly busy. We’re mostly done with our move by now (still a few things to fix, but when isn’t there?), but just as I thought that I would have more time for working on the game, work pressure ramped up to 200. So I’ve pretty much been doing 10-12 hour work stints for the past month, and after that, there really isn’t a lot of energy left to do even more work on games. I know of indies who manage that… I really don’t know how they do it.

Anyway, I don’t mean to complain (and don’t worry about me, I know my limits by now) but it’s the sort of thing which keeps me careful of making promises, as I’ve said a number of times.

I still work on the game every day, though and we’re (slowly) closing in on a version that can be tested. The first version of the port interface is pretty much in place now. It is lacking a few features (the items shop, some governor options, and random encounters), but those will be added later. The two main things I am looking over now, which I want to wrap up before I let people at the alpha are the combat and the status views. Additional ships makes the ship combat engine that much more complex, which means there are lots of small bugs that need fixing. The status views simply need cleaning up; the problem with games with lots of information: trying to ensure that all of it is available when and where you need it. Part of that is also to cut away UI elements that are not yet useful; e.g., no need to have inventory management, if you can’t yet buy items.

Once the coding is done, I’ll go through the data files one last time to fix things so that not every Governor has an English name, and every second port is not called “Martinique” (don’t ask), and we’ll be good to go.

Now I just need to figure out a good way to do the alpha-test. Getting productive feedback from this kind of testing is harder than one would think – mostly because testing is work, no matter how “fun” it may seem to be to get to play a game early. This is one reason why some developers like to do the “pay to be beta tester” approach which has now become almost standard on Steam with early access; people who pay for the “privilege” also tend to be more committed. The other reason, of course, is that it establishes a revenue stream as early as possible which is always useful (especially if you’re trying to make a living from it). I don’t plan to make the alpha-test paid, but I still need to figure out how I’m going to work this.

Anyway – back to peering at logs with weird numbers and wondering why that button is showing up here and not there…