Saturday, November 7, 2015

Current Update and Thoughts

I didn't write a post all October, and I didn't write about Unite 2015, the annual conference Unity holds every year.  A lot of my time had been occupied trying to get Battle High 2 A+, the slightly updated Xbox One port of Battle High 2, approved.  I can happily say that the game has been approved and will be released on as a downloadable Xbox One title mid December!
That being said, I thought I'd write a few things down, some things I'd probably elaborate upon in future posts.

Unite 2015 & GDC 2016

The logo for Unite 2015 in Boston
Unite 2015 was held in Boston this year.  It was a great experience.  Sure, I didn't learn a lot, but I enjoyed it because, unlike GDC lately, there was a strong air of positivity.  The game industry is far from perfect; for example, one big issue right now is that games are having a hard to being discovered.  What Unity did is introduce their Made With Unity site.  Sure, it might not solve the problem entirely, but I liked that, instead of complaining or just pointing out the problem, they are attempting to fix it.  This attitude permeated lot during Unite and is reflected in Unity's attitude towards its engine and the industry, and I really appreciate that.
This being said, I'm unsure if I will attend GDC 2016 next year.  I haven't missed a GDC since I started going about 5 or 6 years ago; however, the last two GDCs, 2014 more so, have just been huge letdowns.  Not only did a majority of my talks or round tables just feel uninspiring, they sometimes felt downright depressing.  One big issue now is that for me, it's just expensive -- flying out to San Francisco, getting a hotel room for four nights, the conference ticket.  On the other hand, it is the 30th GDC.  Either way, I need to think about it; unfortunately, I don't have tons of time to do so.

Battle High 2 A+ on Xbox One

The splash screen for Battle High 2 A+ on Xbox One
As I mentioned earlier, Battle High 2 A+, the fighting game I've been working on for quite some time now, was approved and will be released on Xbox One in December.  I'm not expecting the game to do amazingly well, and I didn't go into this release with that mindset.  I'm don't plan on abandoning it; I want to try and add the remaining characters and other content, but for now, I'm happy just that I was able to get the game published through the ID@Xbox program and with the help of Unity's tools. 
I'm doing a few new things with this release.  I'm working with an indie marketing company and with someone to polish the website and trailer.  Usually I do everything myself, but I want to get in the habit to seek help more often.  Not only does this lighten my load, but it helps me get a task done by someone who would probably do a better job, and in some cases, allow someone to do something they may not get a chance to do a lot.  This is expensive at times, but if you equate the whole time is money aspect to it, the time saved having someone else do it, it's not that bad.
I do want to write a postmortem about Battle High 2 A+, but I don't even like calling it a postmortem as, again, there are updates I want to make, adding new modes and characters to the game in the game.

A New Game

As much as I enjoyed working on Battle High 2 A+ -- most of the time anyway -- I want to start a new game.  I'm between ideas, and it's hard for me to really decide where to go next.
I like fighting games, but I think I need a break from that genre.  Maybe not the gameplay of it, but the genre as a whole.  I especially want to wait until I either learn how to network program or Unity improves its network capabilities.
The one game idea is like Namco X Capcom, but the battles themselves are more fighting game oriented.  Namco X Capcom, though it had a mini-game battle system, was very simple, and I would want something more complex.  My big fear is that players might no like the mix or strategy RPG and action-based battles.  The other is just a 3D fighting game like Tekken.
Both games would be difficult to do in a short period of time.  One thing that is good about modern game development is that updating is very easy -- or at least a lot easier than in the day of cartridges and no internet connection.  My hope is that if I do the RPG game or fighting game, I can release with just a light amount of content and grow it from there with updates.  I'm surprised more game developers, especially indie game developers, don't do this, release a smaller game as a proof of concept and go from there.  I don't mean a prototype either, I mean a polished product, but maybe only a 2 to 4 hour experience, not an epic 30+ one.


I'm so much more similar to Andy Rooney than I'd like to admit.
I have a lot of opinions!  Alright, sure, who the doesn't?  However, I think some would be good to write about to explain myself for why I like or dislike something and gather my thoughts in a mature, well-written manner.  There are lot of topics I could do:
  • Why I dislike VR (but don't necessarily think it'll fail)
  • Is the hobby dead?
  • Why working on your favorite genre isn't always the best idea
  • The dangers of elitism in game development
  • The dangers of polished prototypes
  • Imbalances in the Tetrad of Game Development
That's just a few.  I also want to try and just write more tutorial and game development oriented things on my Gamasutra blog, but writing blog stuff often feels like a waste of time.  Part of that is I suffer from this awful desire to share my ideas but fear of backlash from sharing said ideas.  I'm slowly getting better at this, but it still something I need to get over.  This also ties into why I usually don't have a lot of screenshots or videos of my games early in development.  I'm usually hesitant as I don't want to lose momentum from early, negative feedback.
Anyway, that's all I have to say for now.  Hopefully I'll have some more to write in a future update, probably a lot more as Battle High 2 A+'s release date approached.

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