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Development Diary #4: The plan before the storm...

Discussion in 'Development Diaries - Written' started by Texashawk, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
    Staff Member Developer Forum Admin

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    Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having (or has had) a happy holiday season thus far. Wanted to take just a bit of time out of the week to explain what we're working on and why it seems like there hasn't been much progress in the last month or so.

    So as you may know, Imperia started life as a hobby project for me, and a neat way for me to relearn programming. I originally never intended to sell Imperia so I really didn't have a set plan of things I wanted to do with it - I would just sort of add to it as I went, with a big plan in my head that I would occasionally write down. Eventually, I decided to share what I had been working on in order to get more feedback and maybe people would also enjoy what I was working on.

    As more and more people became interested in the game, I started collecting game design notes in a document, but still didn't really structure it that much - I just kind of went with what was working and looked at what might not be. Once Pavlos got involved, and I saw what he could bring to the project, I started to think seriously about possibly developing this as a product that I could sell. In April, we started fresh with the Unity version. Keep in mind that a lot of time was spent learning Unity and C# - I was using Visual Basic and XNA. Completely different workflow.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, even though I have a lot of management experience, I don't have any real software development experience. So I had to learn in order to manage what was quickly becoming a complex project and game. And that meant getting back to basics. Sitting down with Oliver and Pavlos and getting this game - the entire game - on paper. And that meant a game design document. A true one.

    Well, I'm happy to report that the time spent on clarifying and shaping the game play has been worth it. We are working on a comprehensive document that will easily top a hundred pages (and probably end up over 200; we have over 60 pages written already) Yes, it means that we don't add new features as fast, but having a solid plan for the game is invaluable, and I am very confident that by taking the time to do it right and get the game design and concepts locked for an alpha release will save a LOT of time in rewrites and in feature creep.

    In addition, this allows us to have a real structure to create tasks, goals, and milestones. With the game concepts finally on paper and part of a complete whole design, it is much easier to create version milestones, which in turn makes it easier to track repos when adding new features. This will make it easier to track bugs and review code before adding a significant set of features. Again, live and learn. I'm not a 'professional' programmer, but by the time I finish this game, by God I will have taught myself to become one! :-D

    So we've added a lot of organization in the last month or so that will really pay off after the holidays. I would love to share the GDD with our alpha testers once it's locked for versioning. Planning and organization done now will save us lots of wrong turns down the road - and everyone will have a better Imperia for it!

    -Steve
     
    #1
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  2. PanzerDuck

    PanzerDuck Alpha Tester
    Testing The Galaxy, One Star At A Time

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    i look forward to reading the gdd, they are a lot of work but can be crucial for any programming task
     
    #2
  3. Algirdas Ulba

    Algirdas Ulba Viceroy-in-Training

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    I would support this project it it would be as Early access on steam or KS...
     
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  4. dirkgently

    dirkgently Lord of Statistics
    Staff Member Developer Forum Admin Testing The Galaxy, One Star At A Time

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    We don't have any plans for either of those at the moment, but thanks!
     
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  5. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    No plans for that at least during alpha development - at the very least we want a fully playable alpha before making any overtures in that direction. No vaporware here. That's actually a huge pet peeve of mine - these indie projects that ask for money before they've really produced anything playable. But thanks so much for the support!

    -Steve
     
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