But at what cost?
Last week we finished the prototype, and a truckload of support docs (updated design doc, sound lists, character and story stuff etc.) and submitted everything to the OMDC, who provided us with a significant funding grant for the pre-production phase. It was an exhausting experience, but feels good to be finished.
The prototype is still rough around the edges, but ended up providing a much meatier gameplay experience then expected. It has 19 levels: 14 of which are small tutorial levels to introduce the basic mechanics of the game and the plants available to the player, 5 of which are slightly larger levels that introduce more complex puzzles and challenges. The whole thing takes Andrew or myself around 45 minutes to speed run through and takes a new player who doesn't know the fastest solution to each level closer to two hours. When we started this I guessed we'd have maybe, maybe 20 minutes of gameplay.
Downside to this is that every time a significant change was made to the code we'd lose 45 minutes + playing through and looking for bugs. To make it even more fun, we had one bug that would only occur if we played through two specific levels in sequence!
Now that we're done I'm taking some time off, doing a bit of contract artwork and slowly planning and budgeting for the production version of the game. I'm also going to try to get more updates and videos up here soon. There's a real backlog of neat stuff to show.
It's also time to polish up the Cephalopod games. The plan is to first finish off Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence since it's closest to completion and smaller in scope, then fix some issues with the sound engine in Night of the Cephalopods so that it will be able to gracefully handle the huge amount of audio the final version needs. If all goes well I'll be putting out Cottage Defence in the next month or two, with Night of the Cephalopods following after a similar period. We'll see how it goes, if luck holds both will be released before production starts on Guerrilla Gardening and I have to switch my focus back .