Updates and Design Discussion

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed that once again we haven’t been updating as much as we were a few months ago. It seems to be a bit of cycle with us. We’ll update regularly for a period of time and then neglect it for a while. I have been thinking about that lately and I really wanted to discover why we keep doing this. After some thought I have made a few observations that I thought I would share to give any of our followers some insight into what’s going on behind the scenes.

First and foremost I think we started talking about and publicizing our game too early. The last half of last year I spent a great deal of time programming the underlying system for the game and it felt like progress was happening, which it was. We started the Try { Stuff } podcast in an effort to promote the game and engage the community. We were pretty consistent for a little while but ultimately the development in the game couldn’t keep pace for how often we were doing updates (which was every two weeks). Furthermore, we found we were dedicating too much time to updates which took away time from working on the actual game. We decided to shift our frequency to once a month.

For February’s update, we had planned on releasing one of the game’s songs and have the composer on the podcast. The song was composed and we liked it a lot but we wanted a few things changed to it. Unfortunatley, our composers keyboard malfunctioned and she lost access to the samples that we wanted to record with. She is still currently trying to get it repaired. We still plan on doing that podcast but the delay bumped that update out of February and March.

I had intended on doing a different update that revolved around the new screenshots since I had moved on to creating the user interface for the game. Then a strange thing happened. As I was creating the HUD and the menus for the game I ran into a myriad of questions about how the game works. I ultimately realized that what I thought was a solid design document actually had numerous holes. And so I went back to the drawing board with a newfound understanding of how much detail ACUTALLY needs to go into a design document, and it turns out it’s a lot. Chalk that up to inexperience. My work history is more on the side of web applications and smaller specialized applications. Web applications are very modular and you can build and design them that way. Other applications I have done have all been designed to solve a specific problem and so the scope was small. This is the first large-scale project that I have taken on and I’m seeing now that you really need a solid design for the entire project before you can really begin work or you’ll end up with a mess and spending a ton of time later reworking things.

Luckily, the code I have created so far is a very generic system-level stuff, like input handling, that isn’t impacted by my lack of design to this point. I have spent the better part of the last month ironing out all of the details with the gracious help of my brother and cousin who have both spent hours of their time discussing the pros and cons of the numerous decisions I’ve had to make about the gameplay.

At this point, I would say I’m roughly 80% done the comprehensive design and I will be much more confident with continuing with the coding with that in place. Another benefit of doing such a thoughough design is that I’m even more excited about the game now. We had to detail every gameplay element and option and as a result we have come up with some really cool game mechanics as solutions to problems that we came across in the design process. I can’t wait to talk about it more.

Anyway, for those who have been following this project, thanks for your patience. We’re still moving forward and things are looking better than ever.


7 Responses

  1. So when do you reckon there will be an Alpha? A year or two?

    • It’s so hard to come up with an exact timeline because there are so many variables in play. I really hope we aren’t two years away though and I’m optimistic it won’t be that long. As I mention in this post, I feel like we started talking too much too soon, but I think we are getting close to being able to actually show some new screens and talk about the game more. We are going to do an ‘update’ podcast within the next two weeks, so keep an eye out for that. We’re going to discuss the current state of the game and our current plan. We haven’t talked about doing an actual alpha release, but I’m going to add it to our discussion points for the show, so thanks for the idea.

  2. Glad to see things are still moving along! Been awhile since I checked in…find myself looking for something to fulfill the Gemfire need and always come back here to see how things are going. I’m still open for alpha/beta testing if you need! Good luck!

    • Thanks for keeping an eye out DTP, we appreciate it! We are recording a vlog/podcast today so we should have a bigger update next week sometime, so check back again soon. We are going to be chatting about what we want to do about alpha and beta testing, so check it out!

  3. I never heard of this until I randomly checked to see if there was a Gemfire subreddit. Koei used to be so great. Uncharted Waters, Gemfire, Aerobiz. Now they just do Dynasty Warrior x 29.

    I’d love a new style of Gemfire game. Good luck with everything.

    • Thanks for the comment Unleaded. I agree entirely, the KOEI of old made some of my favorite games. I can’t tell you how many hours of Aerobiz Supersonic I played! KOEI just doesn’t seem interested in those types of games anymore. I hope what I’m working on can give fans of those games an entertaining experience that they haven’t had in a decade or more.

  4. KOEI of old made many of my favorite games as a kid, and I remember everyone else looking at me like I had two heads when I didn’t want to play Sonic or Yoshi’s Island. Very much looking forward to buying this whenever it comes out.

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