I've been meaning to write a blog for ages. The main reason I stopped, is because I stopped doing public playtests and I kind of didn't see the point of doing them without there being something to play.
One of the reasons I stopped doing public playtests is because we started doing playtests internally at the end of the month and that always seemed like all the testing I needed. The process was basically do a playtest, find out the changes that were made sucked, add something new, rinse and repeat.
Some of the kinds of things we added during that period were:
- Bed respawn system
- Gang HQ
- Drugs / selling drugs to NPCs
- Day / Night cycle
- Payphone Missions
- Pawn Shop
- Map / Mini Map
I'm not gonna explain why we added these changes, all I'm gonna say is that it turns out the game I wanted to make started to seem impossible. It became clear to me that it would be too hard to balance and would probably require far more resources than we have to get it finished within the next 20 years. I'll also say that whilst some of that stuff may sound cool in a list, most of it wasn't.
Around the end of last year, I'd kind of lost faith. Bill B took a few weeks paternity leave so I decided to hack a Battle Royale mode with zombies in to see what would happen. We tested it internally over a few weeks and those playtests were probably the most positive we'd done all year. People wanted to play it, even though they didn't have to and pretty much everyone seemed to have fun.
To be clear, I don't want to make another BR game. There's enough of them around, but it gave me the idea that maybe game modes are the way forward. They allow us to make self contained experiments that are smaller scope, and more focused. Also, more importantly, we aren't really throwing that much away.
Over the last few months, we've unhacked the BR mode and added a game mode system that allows us to do this. We're starting by creating round based, non persistent game modes that will support around 100 players, will last around 20 minutes and be fun.
The map sucks. It's too tiled, too random, too cramped. I've been working on a new map system for a while but it's almost been a side project. It's something I'll work on on a random saturday or a day when I'm burned out. I've been writing tools that will make it much more artist driven and designed.
Here's a few screenshots I've taken during various stages of development. There's also a brand new building system and editor I made but I don't have any screenshots at hand and can't be arsed to load it up.
As with everything else Wiseguys, it's slow progress but it'll get there eventually.
Even though we're doing the game mode thing, we aren't going to be abandoning persistent, sandbox game modes. I'm a huge fan and it's something that I want to support. The difference is that there will be a selection of smaller scope, persistent game modes rather than one huge unbalancable nightmare game. The round based game modes are the priority for now though.
By far the biggest downside of not doing regular blogs is that the Twitter followers dried up. Holmzy is a massive wanker and has way more than me now. It's not on. Follow me if you don't already, the numbers are appreciated.
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