Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Development plan - Winter 2012

I thought I should share my rather fuzzy development plan for Dweller for the coming few months. The plan is fuzzy because I find myself more and more unsure of what to do to improve Dweller further. I'm sure there's a ton of things I could do, but I've worked on Dweller for so long and that makes it hard to look at the game with fresh eyes (like a player who discovers Dweller for the first time). I've never meant for Dweller to be anything but a hobby project where I can experiment with different coding practices, technologies, platforms and have fun coding. At the same time it is pretty obvious that the average Android users expects a hell of a lot more of a game today than only one or two years ago. Anything less than a triple A title and you're required to be either very innovative to get player attention or be content with a much smaller group of brilliant gamers who can see beyond pretty pictures and enjoy a game because of other merits. You guys who are reading this are among the latter group, and I love you for it, but that doesn't mean I can't have at least a little bit of both, does it?

This is why at least part of my plans for the winter are about polishing the game in such a way to make it more attractive to "the masses". So, without further ado, here's the plan:

  • Add an intro screen. I'd like to have some pretty pictures to give a good first impression.
  • Improve the death/win screen. Currently it's something of an anti-climax to beat the game.
  • Add music and sound (at least for Android and desktop version, most likely not for J2ME). I'm in touch with a composer who is working on music for Dweller. 
  • Improve rendering performance by switching to OpenGL using libgdx or similar. Tablet performance is total crap at the moment and low-end Android devices are also starting to struggle. Switching to hardware accelerated rendering will increase performance significantly.
  • Add player perks. I'd like to see something similar to talent trees (as seen in WoW, Torchlight, Diablo etc). It's going to be hard to balance, but I'd really like to allow the player to within each class come up with different kinds of character builds supported by talents/perks.
  • Add more dungeon variation with rare rooms, encounters and items.
I'm really interested in hearing your thoughts on the focus of Dweller in the months to come. In the words of House Stark, "Winter is coming", and I'd like to have a solid plan backed by the community to get it all done.

5 comments:

  1. Hehe, well posted, man.
    First off, you don't need a triple A title imo,
    because you have both innovation and good player
    community. But you may consider to rename to 'A
    Dweller' or 'AAA Dweller BatteryMan' =] jk
    As for the bullets, here is my opinion, although I have already related to most of them
    in the community forums and the bug-tracker:
    ● Intro screen is a good idea. But don't get
    too worked up around it. Players only see it
    once in a while after all
    ● Death screen is, on the other hand, critical.
    it should not be a climax, but rather a ca-
    tharsis. Just check NetHack or any other ro-
    ugelike..
    ● Music is good. I would be happy to point you
    in the right direction, even though I am not
    a composer, so: newgrounds.com + freesound.**
    but sounds are not that important. In NetHack
    (excuse me for repeating, I just love that
    game), thanks to great message feedback (aka
    'you hear a door open. You hear some noises
    in the distance. Splat!' I can usually 'hear'
    the sounds. After all, our imagination is the
    best graphics/sound accelerator.
    ● No comment
    ● No comment, but, look into NetHack.
    ● That should not be fine. You have been doing
    that for some time now, I guess you can ac-
    tually let someone else do it (me? maybe)
    ● ● Keep'em coming, man. I love your work,
    and I'm sure there are a dozen dozen
    people like me. One wish (dream) - add
    ascii mode ('NetHack much?' you would
    ask me =] )

    Thanks for the great game and hundreds of well
    spent hours of pleasant gameplay!

    -swooboo

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  2. Thank you for the feedback. Your comment about improved message logs got me thinking. I'd preferably get rid of the message log completely as I'd like the player to understand what's going on just by looking at the creatures and the map itself. But, I guess I could add more things like on-screen textual sound cues.

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  3. I'm impressed with UpComing new features.I'm simply crazy for Dweller game,playing for all day!So,i want to tell something else.For Begining - It will be very great if game get a sound. Second - Quests!Game need more quest non-player-characters,at least 1 quest-npc's in dungeons,sewers and etc.Ok may not be in all levels,but little more quest with gold,exp or rare items rewards. - And one thing more - maybe,but just maybe you consider for some new character hero in later version.We have Knight,Mag,Ranger.But why not some universal class like Adventurer which can use all items,magic but in low atributes or something like that.Or Mag to be separated in Black Mag and Rad Mag,or some new hero like Paladin (hammers :) )
    I understand that game is for Mobile and cant be complex like on Pc,but if game become to complex will lost originality.So do what you think is best,this is just a couple of ideas.Thank you very much for such a great game!I'm realy pleased!

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  4. Thank you for the feedback Nemanja! Adding a fourth character class is an often asked for addition to the game. I'm not against adding more classes, but I need to make the existing classes more interesting to play before adding even more classes. The current three classes are pretty varied, but leveling is not that interesting. I'm planning to add character perks (similar to WoW, Diablo, Torchlight talent trees) and with the addition of perks creating your own character build becomes a lot more interesting.

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