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Wow

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This is one of those defining moments in the life of a game. I'm going to be rather candid....this is the first time I've ever been worried about the progress of the game, hell, worried about anything relating to a game...but then again this is my first commercial game, and my first "deadline" ever.

Nearing one month to the initial deadline to the 2006 Independent Games Festival (IGF) and I've hit a brick wall from the perspective of my production schedule. In order to enter the game into the IGF, you can't have sold it commercially before the IGF through a publisher. That means if I don't get it submitted on Sept 4, then I can't submit it at all because I've also got a publishing deal signed, and there is no way they'll wanna wait another year, or any way I'd wait another year to release it.

It's all or nothing right now for the IGF, which has really been my inspiration behind all this. Plus there's a $20,000 first prize in the IGF...which divided amongst all my team members (wait...it's just me) equals a very nice payday for me if my game wins.

I've set a schedule for myself over a 2 month period, and the first 35% went great, I'm at the 40 -> 50% mark now and it has slowed to a halt.

I've been wasting my time tinkering with the ragdoll physics and the little things that don't affect the game for shit. This is a classic mistake/problem that every programmer can relate to....feature creep. It consumed me for a while there, but no longer. I've still got a month...which is a decent amount of time, given the "gameplay" stuff I've still got to do, worst case I could back out some of the more advanced features for the initial submission deadline.

I'm re-planning my whole operation, and I'm going to get this done. I'm backing out several half completed features, and I'm going all out on completing the more important things (Hell I don't even have the traffic AI working in this build, I took it out a while ago and never got around to re-doing it) there are a lot more important things than ragdoll physics.

The game can still have bugs at the point of the first deadline, but it needs to be "feature complete, or beta status" according to them.

One other option I do have, and this is rather crafty ;-), but I could just make a simple "kill as many people as you can" in x amount of time, arcade game using the Gang War engine...and submit that, then submit my final, beta tested strategy/RTS version 3 months later in January, for the final round of the competition. By then the game will be much closer to completion, and hopefully finished by March, and time for the IGF.

I don't know about this, maybe I should e-mail the chairperson? Or maybe they would not even mind if some features were misssing? I don't know. Any suggestions are welcome, I could use some input.

The IGF is just icing on the cake in the big picture though, I really want to be a part of it. I guess the retail release date is still: "When it's done"...I don't like deadlines, if you can't tell ;-)

Alright...back to work. This could be a IGF showstopper, or one of the hurdles I overcame...I'd prefer the latter.

- Dan

[EDIT] Here's a screenshot of the first thing I've completed since this revelation..the Civilian/Police AI, they already panic and run away, and the cops come towards you and try to keeeel you.

If you've played half life you know that enemy soldiers have this radio chatter type sound they emit when they're close the player, I think that adds so much to ambience of the game...I've got the same thing with a CB radio and the police...it sounds cool :-D



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Eeek... Quite a bind you have right there.

Do you have a complete feature list?

What if you totally implemented all of the features (as long as they semi-worked), and then you could just fix things that are broken or that needs to be drastically tweeked?

I'm sure you will get accepted into the IGF... What is with this deadline that you have to meet? Is it where they recieve a bunch of entries and choose among them?

The free for all sounds like a great idea. Creating simple things that challenges players to get a high score is always interesting. Take for example, the makers of Rumble Box, created a tournament to see who could get the highest score... Sucked me right into it, and im in second place. ;P

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Posted a screeny...I'm checking it out on one of my other comps, and I guess I should post smaller images, at least scale by 80% so most people who use a 1024x768 desktop resolution won't have to scroll to see those last few characters of the description :-/

If that kinda thing bothers anyone I'll change it for next month's entrys :-)

dave: I've got a complete feature list, I'm going down it now banging out all the important remaining features first, then the less important, hopefully I'll have most of this done in 2 weeks. That's all the time I've really got, I need to allow a few days for shipping the CDs, and a week or two for testing/documentation/making the install program, and all kinds of other little things.

Still I don't think I'll be able to get all 16 managment windows into the game (I've got 4 in there now), I'll take a few less important ones out for the first round, that's when they make the initial trim down from all the entrys they get, and then they announce the finalists...I'd be happy if I was just a finalist and got to show my game at the GDC, that's my dream :-D

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This game is truly worth your struggle. [grin]

I simply can't wait to see it, even if you do end up missing the IGF.

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