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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Forest Pirates

Hey, everybody! In the last week I've gotten a couple of messages/emails asking if I'm still alive. It certainly has been a little while since I posted anything. Personally, I don't like to make blog posts until I have a LOT to write about, so that each post is meaningful. But, starting from tomorrow and for the next 10 days, I'll be out of country on an exciting trip and so I probably won't be able to put up any updates. Before I go, I want to talk about what I've been working on.

Riley and Ricky, the heroic townboy and his loyal monkey, make their way through a maze-like forest...

Of course my main work has been on Dubloon. I hit a snag designing it, and that lead to a near 2 weeks where I did almost no work on it. I'm usually a very dedicated worker when it comes to my games, so a break that long is unheard of. The issue stemmed from the design of a particular town and the puzzle it was based on; I kept on trying to create a puzzle whose solution was too boring.

A slightly updated battle HUD now displays MP

Originally I wanted to include an item-trading kind of quest where you needed to talk to the right people to trade items until you ended up with the one you needed. My second attempt was even more absurd and involved finding a wig/makeup item and equipping it to cross-dress and then seduce the right person. It wasn't until my third design of the town/puzzle that I hit something that really worked for both me and the game.

When you set sail, rather than a plain old text menu, you select your destination via this large colorful map. As you progress through the game, your map will fill up with islands and the world will seem to get bigger and bigger!

Now the current issue I'm facing is more on the plot/story side of the game, as I'm trying to justify a particularly weak plot point in which an important character is killed before he's even introduced. I'm hoping to find the right solution to that as once I've sorted out all that plot nonsense I'll probably put out another major update. At this point the game has an added 20-30 minutes of playtime from before, though this varies greatly based on how much extra exploration you do.

The farther I get into the game, the more exciting things become as I introduce new ideas and game mechanics. The game as it is now is definitely my largest and most ambitious project to date, and it's not even close to finished yet! When I do finish it, it'll be a momentous achievement, for me and possibly even for the Game Maker community as a whole...