49. Slow Speed: Deep Owls

For the past several weeks, besides working a bunch of Saturdays at the day job, and chopping up a bunch of firewood (I rely on wood heat in the winter), I’ve been busy with some logistical behind-the-scenes stuff on the game. Unfortunately, that means not a ton of progress has happened on the game proper.

The project is reaching the stage where the list of planned tasks is ballooning faster than I can keep up with it. Although I have quite a few new ideas and mechanical changes that I’m excited to implement, I need to address the problems that I already know about before I add any new ones to the list.

Therefore, the next step will be to focus on finishing a test build. It’s been over a year(!) since I last sent the game out to testers. I’ve done a tiny bit of spot testing here and there, but the game just hadn’t changed enough to make a full test worthwhile. There are still large sections of the game that I know how to improve but I just haven’t gotten around to yet.

Music

I also started working on some music sketches, and I’m relatively happy with the initial direction there. I’ve attempted music for the game a few times already but never found anything that really clicked. There are also some pretty harsh constraints on the things I am even allowed to do with the music. I don’t want to spoil things too much, but Taiji can be very subtle with the clues to puzzles so it’s quite easy to accidentally create red herrings while just trying to make things look or sound interesting.

Now I have a few pieces in various stages of completion, but it will be a while before I want to share anything publicly yet.

17. Woah, Dave, working on Sounds

I actually cracked open Unity and worked on the game project yesterday. My thinking was that I had some people who were interested in the game remark about wanting to test it, and I don’t really have a properly playable build of the game at the moment.

So, I opened it up and proceeded to work a bit more on the interface transition, although I am still not entirely sure what the final approach should be. I also found a few bugs and quirks along the way.

One bug was due to the way in which I was determining what tile the player was standing on. This was due to a decision, which seemed innocuous at the time, to test a rectangle instead of a single point. This normally causes no problems, but there are certain degenerate cases when the player walks across a field of tiles that the tile which is currently highlighted will sort of ping-pong back and forth between the tile below and also above the player. I am again, not entirely sure why this is the case, but switching the test to a point test seems to have resolved the issue, and feels much better from an interaction standpoint.

The other thing that I tried out, was adding some more feedback to the puzzles in the game in the form of audio. Thus far, playing the game has been entirely silent, and I started to wonder if some of the complaints about the feel of interacting with the panels in the game had to do with the fact that there was no audio feedback to what the player was doing. I unfortunately do not have a properly functioning version of the cursor interface to see if the audio feedback would be sufficient there. I sort of broke it when  I implemented the direct interface. I was hoping to keep them side-by-side, but that was somewhat more challenging than it initially appeared it was going to be. I may still decide to re-implement a cursor just to see if it is better, but I’m not sure. Main priority is just to get the gameplay up and running again.