The vertical slice, effectively a third of the game’s total content, is now at a point where it can be completed without console cheats (most of the time). Some testers have managed to finish everything there is to do (so far), without needing any direction or explanation. There is a game here, and it reportedly doesn’t suck. This is a joyous and momentous milestone!
There are still some placeholder assets and usability things to iterate on, and it will inevitably regress as we continue to make game-wide changes, but at this point the vertical slice is beta level, and we are ready to move on to the broader world of Eastshade! The great part about having polished one section is that we’ve worked out the design and built the framework which will carry us throughout the rest of development. As we were careful not to tangle ourselves in a tapestry of story dependencies, we will have a lot of freedom moving forward. Fresh starts are exciting! Especially when you feel you can attack with a honed strategy.
Unity 5.3’s new multi-scene features could not have come at a more perfect time. Everything now streams in as you walk around. There is only one quick loading screen when you start the game, and from there the world is completely seamless. The player can walk into new areas, caves, cities, and interiors without a hitch. Its also much easier to work in the world from an authorship side, because you can unload things you don’t need to see at the moment, and the editor stays light.
Content development is moving faster than ever at the moment. We have specialized and mature tools for authoring conversations and quests. We’ve settled on the game’s systems; they are implemented and working and we won’t add more. We’ve cut things that didn’t work, and revamped things that had potential. We’ve refitted content multiple times as we struggled to find the game’s center. The volatility is settling down now. All of the rest of the game’s content will manifest through the verbs we’ve established, enabling efficiency and better quest design. I’m excited to finally capitalize on the foundation we’ve been building for two years!