The Red Market Dev Log #8: A New Build Looms

In today’s fortnightly update: steady progress, with only minor breaks for despair, and a new build of the game out by the end of the year

I’d give this fortnightly sprint a solid ‘pretty okay’ out of 10. I’ve finally finished rebuilding the game from the ground up, and have now set about playtesting and bug-fixing. It’s boring, but it’s okay. I kind of hate it. But it’s necessary, and I know it’s good for me. Eat your vegetables, and so on.

I’m also moderately excited to announce that I’ll almost certainly be able to release a new build of the game by the end of December. I’ll be taking a break from work for Christmas, of course, but should have enough time to quash any remaining bugs before 2018 is (finally, thank god) over. After that I’ll update the game on itch.io and everyone can play it and tell me about all the obvious bugs I missed.

There isn’t really any new content in this build apart from some cool new flavour text, but it should be a fair bit more stable (with slightly better UI) than before. After that it’ll start work on the game’s new content, and I’ll aim to release a new build every month or so until I’m finished in early July.

After that I’d like to continue working on the project. I’m fairly certain the final game is going to be just in Ink (I’m still plugging away at my Unity studying, but I’m not quite there yet, so dreams of a Unity version will remain just wonderful dreams for now). After development’s finished I might spend a few months working on a Unity port, and/or making even more content for the game. I have loads of ideas for expanding the game, and think they’d be fun to work on.

That, or I might decide to put further development of The Red Market on hold and work on another small project for a few months to build up my game making/Unity skills. I’ve got two ideas on this front: (i) Early Christian Church Deck-building Game, and (ii) Rare Book Seller Game (I’m deadly serious here). Not quite sure which I’d like to do more, yet – I’ll update you when I figure everything out.

Anyway, thanks for reading again! And remember, you can follow me on twitter through the magic of hyperlinks by clicking here. The prototype of The Red Market can be played online here, if you haven’t already!

Nick

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The Red Market Dev Log #7 (November 2018, Part 2): Illnesses, Anxiety, and Other Fine Things

In today’s definitely on-time fortnightly update: I’m almost done with rebuilding the game from the ground up; a bunch of new illnesses (in the game, fortunately); and a hefty dollop of anxiety (not in the game, unfortunately)

This fortnight has been a bit of a slow one, again. I’ve been plugging away pretty consistently, but there have been some roadblocks preventing me from moving on to the game’s new content just yet.

However – nearly there, nearly there. I just need to re-jig the game’s tutorial and it’ll all be done. Then just some testing and it’ll all be done. Then just some bugfixing and it’ll all be done. Then just some…

In other words, I’ve been a little ill at ease recently. Partly because making games is hard and I have very little experience. And partly because I’m in the middle of planning a giant move from the city I’ve been living in for the past five years (Nagoya) to the countryside (Nagiso, in Nagano) that’ll determine basically the next decade of my and my fiance’s life.

Everything’s kind of up in the air at the moment, and while it’s about 85% an excited nervous energy, it’s a nervous energy all the same. I’ve been very happy with my ability to not let all this Life Stuff affect my focus on game dev, but all that nervous energy is definitely whirling away in the background, having an effect.

Don’t worry die hard The Red Market fan – I’m committed to continuing with this project until the late June-early July end date (and likely beyond). And I am enjoying it. It’s just that right now I’m a little bit anxious about the whole thing.

Will I be able to do what I want to do with the project? Will I be able to learn the things I feel I need to learn? will anyone like it, Will I —

(And when I consider the possibility of starting up a Patreon at some point in the next year or so that nervous energy does some very menacing things to my poor, poor brain.)

—–

Anyway, ignoring all that – I should have the new re-jigged version of the game (with no new content, but in a much nicer state than before) available to play online around the end of the year. And from there it’ll be 100% adding that exciting new content.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the actually new stuff I’ve implemented into The Red Market this fortnight. Namely, Scars and Boons (these names might change before the final version of the game is released, because the current ones are very beige):

Right now we have the following stat-ravaging Scars:

  • St. Ernestine’s Tar, Lingering Mortality, Profound Enervation, Withered Veins, Fungal Infection, and Butter Lung

And the following useful-if-sometimes-very-icky Boons:

  • Shepherd’s Dropsy, Royal Touch, Preternatural Insight, and Loving Embrace

The former can be contracted from the game’s various nasty monsters, and various Very Bad Decisions on the player’s part. The latter can be gained by discovering secret interactions with those various nasty monsters. They’re all permanent, and will have significant effects on the player’s effectiveness throughout the game.

Scars can only be removed by very specific methods (which the player will have to discover on their own). These treatments may involve anything from hot water bottles, bed rest, and taking in the ozone, to consuming a still-warm bezoar torn from the stomach of some half-formed monstrosity. Modern medicine can only only get you so far, after all.

And here’s a glimpse of some lovely-if-sometimes-very-icky writing players will see when they gain these status effects:

“You can feel something new and fecund within: a fungal infection growing across your skin like rings of mould on old fruit.”

“You can feel the Loving Embrace of the Lystsceap surrounding you, even now. Your limbs are warm; the soft skin of your armpits slick with longing.”

“You can feel the presence of something new and burning within: St. Ernestine’s Tar has colonised the space beneath your skin.”

—–

Next time: more lovely boring work putting the game’s foundations together like a deliberately obstinate jigsaw puzzle.

Thanks for reading! And remember, you can follow me on twitter through the magic of hyperlinks by clicking here. Or here, here, or here, if you prefer.

Nick

 

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The Red Market Dev Log #6 (November 2018, Part 1): I am Very Sick

In today’s fortnightly update: I’m very sick, and I haven’t done as much work as I planned because I am very sick.

In case you weren’t aware: I am very sick. I missed three days of work, and considering I’m only doing game dev two days a week that’s quite significant. I’m currently very much on the mend, and doing my best to avoid getting annoyed at myself for missing so much time on the project.

Here’s what I managed to do this fortnight:

  • Continue rebuilding the game from the ground up.
  • be very sick

As much as making this game is a test of my writing and scheduling skills, self-discipline, and technical abilities, and so on, it’s also a test of my ability to cut myself some bloody slack. I tend to be unhealthily self-critical, to the point where any amount of consistent, good work becomes ‘the bare minimum of what should be expected’, and any temporary lapse (regardless of reason or duration) becomes an unforgivable sin only atoned for by hair shirts, self-flagellation, and a good dose of crunch.

This last year or so has seen me improve on this quite a lot. I’ve steadily improved at cutting myself slack for minor lapses and mistakes, and occasionally even allowing myself to feel proud about my successes. And while my initial instinct after recovering from my illness this week was ‘I have to immediately cram as hard as necessary to catch up’, I’ve managed to keep myself from doing so. I have time built into my schedule in December and March to catch up, with extra time scheduled at the end of the project in July just in case. If something happens and I can’t finish everything by the end of the project, I’ll start cutting out things that are ‘nice but unessential’ until the game’s in a fit state to release on time.

As much as I’d like this whole game dev lark to be a professional, even full-time thing in the future: (a) my mental health is more important than a deadline and a set of features I arbitrarily decided upon, (b) rushing myself is just going to help me burn out, and (c) there’s no deadline for getting into professional game dev. So long as I’m working on improving my skills and building interesting games, I’m at the very least going in the right direction.

Until next time – I’m going to go play some Night in the Woods (which is lovely, by the way) instead of cramming into the early hours of the morning. Thanks for reading!

Nick

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