05 November 2012

Success! -- Week Ending 3 Nov

We did it! The team pulled together (not that there was a problem with discord or disunity or anything in the first place) in our final short weeks, and we nailed it! Last March of the Dodos is a fully functional, pretty, and (most importantly) fun experience! I'm proud to be a member of Naturally Selected Studios.

I won't bore you with minute details at this point; instead, I'll let a few videos do the talking. Besides that, keep up with us on Facebook at facebook.com/LastMarchOfTheDodos, on Twitter via @dodosgame, and on our official website at dodosgame.com. Cheers!

- Troy

29 October 2012

This is It! -- Week Ending 27 Oct

We're down to our final days before we submit Last March of the Dodos to IGF! It's amazing how much can be done in such a short amount of time when every member of the team puts his/her best foot forward. While there have been a few scares and worries along the way, we are incredibly pleased with how the game has come together, and we're stoked about what we're sending to the good folks at the Independent Games Festival!

The levels are ready, the traps are awesome, bouncing Dodos from boot to hammer to landmine is a blast, and the gameplay is accessible for everyone. We can't wait to let the public take a crack at it!

While it's only a glimpse of how the first/tutorial level takes shape, take a look at the videos below to see Last March of the Dodos in action at last!

- Troy

21 October 2012

The Home Stretch -- Week Ending 20 Oct

For serious. A week-and-a-half until IGF submissions are due. And you know what? We'll be ready for it! The team has really pulled together during these past few weeks, and we're down to our final batch of tasks. Over this last stretch, it will be all about putting the levels into the game, balancing all the mathematical scoring features and trap costs, and testing like crazy (not that we haven't been testing along the way).

In other words, I'm incredibly proud of our team. We present the game's progress to the faculty and other students one final time tomorrow before crunching out the last 10 days, and I am excited about the product we'll be putting on display. Wish us luck as we push through to the end (not the IGF is the end--we've still got 6 months to make this baby shine until we publish in the spring)!

- Troy

03 October 2012

A Few Additions -- Week Ending 29 Sep

This late in the game (no pun intended), I would typically do everything I could to avoid making significant changes or adding features to a project. As it turns out, we did everything we could under the existing design, and we still needed a little extra something to get it where we think it will really stand out.

With that said, we've tacked two more main features onto our IGF release backlog, so watch out for them! The first is a revamped meta game, wherein the Doins have more influence on playing more of the game and thereby having more fun destroying Dodos. They have a purpose in reaching the final levels where Dodos are in great abundance, and the layouts are constructed for optimal Dodo combo-ing and vaporizing.

That last bit leads into the second addition. Many of the traps are now being tweaked to allow for precision Dodo bouncing, thus giving the ability (and encouraging) to create more deliberate trap-to-trap chain combos. It should turn out to be a blast (again, no pun intended).

Check in over the next four weeks to see how the game wraps up for IGF!

- Troy

23 September 2012

Team Evolution -- Week Ending 22 Sep

We received an unexpected surprise this week, but one that has certainly benefited us--Charlie Mimnaugh has joined our team! With his design sense and Maya skills, we expect great contributions from him as we tackle our last five weeks before the IGF submission deadline. In fact, he's already taken a few of my newest level designs and made whitebox models to drop into Unity.

Which brings me to the next point. Up until now I have struggled with getting a good grasp on how our levels should feel, what would make them the most fun, and how to really let all the features shine. However, because of a fairly simple paradigm shift (no doubt brought on by using some level planning strategies taught in Joe Bourrie's virtual worlds class--thanks, Joe!), these goals have become clear. Now that we have these new levels, it's finally really evident how all the pieces come together. The gameplay has been there for weeks, but without a refined space to use those mechanics to great effect, it was difficult to enjoy the whole experience as intended. And it is good. :)

In short, combining the new levels with the steady flow of new art assets, we're starting to see the true face of our game appear. It is incredibly exciting, after the months of work, to see our intentions take truly playable shape. Awesome.

Five more weeks, and we can't wait to see what we can make happen in that time!

- Troy

15 September 2012

One Step Closer -- Week Ending 15 Sep

The deadline for IGF submissions seems to come almost exponentially faster with each passing week, so we're working our tails off to get everything into the game that will make it stand out.

One of the big features implemented this week is the ability to select which character you'll use before entering the chosen level (see the newest concept art for our Hunter class). The engineers are really hitting their tasks out of the park, and gameplay is almost entirely complete. They've even added a number of features to our engine that will make for incredibly smooth design implementation when building the individual levels.

We've created a few extra test levels, and we're using them to determine which chunks are the most fun with our particular gameplay style. From there, we're actually building each successive level with a specific trap in mind, trying to design them to teach the player step-by-step how to use them all.

And that's what we'll be doing next week. Keep an eye out here for test footage soon!

- Troy

09 September 2012

Art Feature -- Week Ending 8 Sep

Just wanted to pop in and mention that things are rolling along well in the art team! We got some solid concept work from everyone, including our new outsource members, and some of the assets have moved into full 3D production.

Remember how I mentioned that in order to add a bit of fun to the narrative we opted to create a few avatars for the player to select? Check out these ideas from the mind of Dave Gilder.

Sasha has revisited her Dodo designs and offered a smattering of whimsical takes on her original. Simple and to the point--a range for us to choose from when we select and model our final version.

And both Sasha and Becky have mocked up a stylized take on the environment and world itself. What do you think of the color palettes and geometry of the set pieces?

The game is really starting to come together! Stay tuned for more!

- Troy