Sunday, April 5, 2015
Getting ready to publish
Eye of the Swarm is in it's last sprint before we send the build out for publishing. The publishing plans have changed. We originally wanted to go for Xbox, but after talking to the ID@Xbox people at GDC, they felt we didn't have enough content to justify an Xbox release (they wanted at least one more boss with more challenges). After this, we decided to now publish on Desura, which is the indie and small company version of Steam. The sprint will end April 14 in which we will send the build off to Desura. We feel that they will accept the build and publish it later in the week (they are known for fast turn-around). A future post will give the exact details of the publish date when they come.
As such, nothing new will be put in the game. All the programmers are fixing bugs and polishing the mechanics of the game to get it ready. I've been clearing 5 - 10 bugs a week and will go into more detail about the more notable bugs in future blog posts. Because we are going on PC, part of the polishing was a better integration of the keyboard for those who don't have controllers. The way I set up the inputs for the keyboard was a 1:1 mapping of the keyboard to a controller button. This was purely for debugging purposes as we thought that we would be going on Xbox One.
Part of this switch, I've implemented an option to use either keyboard or controller based on user preference. No matter what input is used, the game will recognize both. The option switch will only change the UI that shows what buttons to press to do certain actions. Not only did this require a UI switch in the menu, but a more integrated switch with tutorial panels and win/lose splash screens. This required writing a script that would take in two sprites for each input method.
Showing the keys to use, we needed key art. All the artists were busy with more important art and since I needed placeholder art to use as I implement the switching code I've decided to make my own set. I have some experience with Photoshop and can manipulate images to convey what I want; however, I do not posses the skills to do what our very talented artists do. After creating the keyboard set, they looked rather nice, but I wanted to see what the artist assigned to create these actual keys were at. If the artist was already working on them, then a lot of time was wasted creating non-usable assets and if they didn't start, then we had a good set (according to me at least) and save the artist some time so he could work on more important work. Turns out he and the lead artist liked the set enough that they decided to use it in the menu so they wouldn't have to create the assets. It is nice to have some of my own art assets in the game, even though they don't look as nice as the other artists artwork.
Doing this also allowed me to fix some UI bugs with the tutorial panels. The panels would swipe from one panel to the next, but the animation of swipe was based on frame rate and not a fixed time. This caused different behaviors based on the PC that was being used. The fix was simple to implement, but took too long to get to since there is always a big list of bugs to get through.
The game is going pretty well, and we are excited to publish the game to public. The artists also got some new loading screens into the game depending on if the user is loading a boss or the main menu.