Demo Now Visually Shareable
Portas Aurora Battleline CCG Game Space Ships Cards
My last post, check it out, talked about the process leading to the creation of Battleline's Demo. Now 12 days into the Demo's development it has finally arrived at a point where, I believe, it is visually shareable.
The included Screenshot is of a game during the player's side of turn 6. The graphics are ALL placeholders with the white blocks being the target of future art assets. While I could talk about all of the things going on in the displayed image, I believe fellow developers would like to hear about some learning points that came up along the route to this point.
The planning period for the Demo took a full day. We, the team behind the project, have learned that it is often the case that 1 minute of planning saves 10 fold as much time in headaches and lost focus later. One point that came up a lot during the planning was the idea that images even placeholders would gate development. This did become a fact at a few points along the path to the Demo's current state. How and where the stat data for units would be stored effected more than a handful of decisions on how information would need to be handled. We were lucky that there was a cache of 300 cards to draw from for the testing. The graphic problem was a bit worst that "normal" due to the idea that the images used would have dynamic base images that would allow the demo to assemble the unit's image from data within the current game. The first version of the Token, the term we use for the unit on the battlefield, took about 6 hours. That is a lot for something that looks close to the level of MS paint. The key time saver came when we start tying more elements within the game together. A unit's stats could be changed and the image changed, not to another one from a library, but the core image. It also allowed us to play with size and spacing at an accelerated pace.
A second large point that may have cost us a day or even 2 was the decision to try and modify the prototype code of the Demo into the final version. There was a fair amount of back and forth, and in the end some hoped it would allow us to see more results sooner. Sometimes this can be a good idea, especially for teams that have worked on projects of similar types before. However, we have never developed a CCG and some of the crazy pitfalls that come along dealing with how cards that generate or use other cards throw some of the prototype's basic structure into a fire that consumer it.
Currently 95% of the prototype's code has been replaced with updated and tighter fitting solutions.
If the last 12 days had to be done over, I would do a few things different. First I would spend maybe another day planning the timeline between art assets that would act as time gates and have them knocked out ahead of when they would limit development, Second the decision after the prototype was deemed complete to continue used that code base for the production version, I feel was a mistake. Still hindsight being 20/20 I think 12 days is fairly fast for the current state of the Demo, but I will see what the community thinks.