The Witching Hour


Dev Log 8: Hello, Unity Collab and New Ideas

February 1st, 2019

Hello hello, we’re here with a Friday update!  It’s NEW, it’s EXCTING, it’s AN UPDATE!

Get excited if you’re not already.  Because things are chugging right along!  We spent a lot of time in the design realm this week, with some ideas getting churned for CreateTech creatures and mechanics along with some level design for Witching Hour.  The raycasting engine is moving along, but as I write these, we’ve started toying with the idea of changing up Witching Hour’s primary genre and style, sooo…that engine might wait to see the sun another day.  

We also started using Unity Collab today, and so far, it looks like it’ll meet our needs just fine.  Patrick is a Git wizard, I am not, so using Collab as our version control will do the job for now.  I know, being a Git pleb is ridiculous.  Blame school for not actually letting me use useful software.

The Vicious Cycle of New Ideas

One of the things I wanted to talk about in this log is how new ideas are amazing.  You could be thinking of a core mechanic of your game and suddenly spring something entirely new onto it that makes it 10 times better than you ever initially envisioned.  Or maybe you come back to it a week later, and suddenly you hate the current state of things now that you’re removed from it, and you see a new way to approach it that you couldn’t have seen from that close.  New ideas and changes in direction are great, but they also present an interesting dilemma in terms of what gets scrapped to make that new idea happen.

Witching Hour started as a platformer, a genre that I’ve almost always hated (with a few very select exceptions).  Now we’re discussing making it more of an adventure game, or an adventure puzzle, or an adventure platformer with a new camera style. That seems so scary to talk about because it’s not what the initial intent was, but we’re at a point where we could stay the course or move onto a new one without much lost in terms of actual code / time spent coding, and where it’s worth the time investment to at least see if we do genuinely want to explore these other ideas.  

If you’re working on an indie game and a new idea crops up, give it a little time to marinate.  Let it stew in the juices for a few days, then come back to it.  Do you still love it?  Does it make any sense to add / remove?  Can you afford that time to make the change?  I know the sunken cost fallacy is a very real thing in game development, but truthfully, if you’re an indie dev, what’s the loss?  I might have spent two weeks on a raycast engine that won’t get used for this game, but now I have that engine for another project, and I have those skills for other code situations.  I don’t think you really lose that time, it’s just spent on other skills that will come into play in another way.

All that to say, we’re stirring the pot, and we’ll know in a week what the resulting stew is!

This Week:

  • Worked on the raycasting engine (WH)
  • Created creature ideas (CT)
  • Started level design (WH)

Next Week:

  • Sketch out other possibilities (WH)
  • Plan on building those out or not (WH)
  • Plan out the levels from current designs (CT)
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