Hello and welcome to a new year of the Blightmare dev blog! This is the first regular blog that I’ve ever been a part of, so it’s pretty exciting to mark a whole year of posts. The team was taking some time to rest and relax over the past couple of weeks, so today I’m going to discuss the state of the project: where we are and what we have left to do.
On the programming front, we’re nearing completion of all our features. The editor has all the major things that it will need and it’s running well enough now with the most recent refactor that I like to think of it as transitioning from active development into maintenance and quality of life mode. There will surely be things to add here and there to make common tasks or testing easier, but the significant focus over the last several months on the editor will soon shift. The new focus will be on packaging the game content in an efficient way for the purpose of distribution – downloading specific levels for inclusion in the steam package – and managing game saves, preferences, and menus. Optimization, tuning, and fixing bugs will also become much more significant from a time-budget point of view. There’s still a bunch of work to do, but what’s left is becoming something that can fit in my head all at one time which is really exciting.
On the level design front, we’re well into the layout of the final remaining level. When we get the last one finished, it will be a major milestone for the team. Design is by no means finished when the whole game is playable – many rounds of iteration lay before us – but we will be entering into the Alpha phase of our project plan which is certainly cause for celebration!
The art front will soon be seeing the bulk of our attention as we finalize levels and begin the decoration process. We’ve been intentionally pushing these tasks out to prioritize the more functional items, but as I’ve just covered, most of the rest of the project is nearing completion. The addition of the real art assets is an absolutely transformative process. I distinctly remember looking at a level slated to be shown publicly which had no decorations the night before. Andrew was up for most of the night getting it ready and I hardly recognized it in the morning. It was the first time I realized that we really were making a game that we could be proud of. Reactionary animations like swaying grasses, dust clouds, and particle effects can do a lot of heavy lifting towards turning a game level from static art to a living puzzle. I know it’s not coming off, but I’m very excited for this phase!
Finally, in the long neglected, but not forgotten audio front, the time is nearly here for a big push to integrate all our lovely sound effects. We have over 100 of them(!) and audio adds that missing piece to a game that’s sometimes hard to put your finger on until you try it with and without. It’s hard to describe how patient our audio guys have been so far, but we’re almost there.
That’s about it for me today! You can expect all the information about our progress to be posted right here, so be sure to follow us on twitter so you don’t miss anything and as always, put Blightmare on your wishlist! Cheers!