Since my introduction of ZaciSa’s Last Stand for the Nintendo Wii U eShop on Nintendo Enthusiast a few months back, I have been pretty busy working on the game and getting it ready for launch. While I have no doubt missed my late 2013 launch goal, I have used this extra time to clean up the game, as well as add some new and exciting things. Currently, I am aiming for a mid-to-late February release.
Mr. Miyamoto once said it best, \”A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.\” While this delay is slightly unwelcome, I have spent the time improving just about every detail of the game. I\’m hopeful that these changes will bring about a better game for all to enjoy.
The vast majority of my time these days involves me playtesting over and over again. I do this not only to fix up any bugs that could possible occur, but to also check the balance of each map to make sure the game is neither too hard or easy, but just challenging enough. With all sorts of bot types and map arrangements, this can take a while. After all, they are designed to help bring about a different strategy to stay alive to the game.
I am also using this time to add in additional maps. I have so far created an additional two maps to bring the grand total of maps to six. The first new map is called \”Nebula Ka\’tlTa\” — as the name might imply, it is a map featuring a nebula to impede most of the map visually to give an extra sense of uncertainty while adding new enemy paths and bot positions. The second new map is called \”Cir\’ce Station.\” I\’m still working on this one, so no new screenshots yet, but this new map features several bot stations that rotate around the main base in a circle. It is already among my favorite so far among all the maps currently.
I have received a good deal of responses to my release trailer last time and have used these helpful response to help fine-tune the game. You can already see some improvements in the gameplay video at the bottom. For example, I added different colors for each bot type, as well as added new additional enemy designs. Not to mention that the bot ranges now spin in a circle to help make the game feel alive. Some other new additions include particles for when a enemy or base explode and a new enemy type called the mini-boss. This new mini-boss comes up infrequently and is harder to kill as well. It deals two times the normal damage, but if destroyed, it will reward five times the money and points.
Another thing I have spent a good bit of time is making the game run smoother. This mostly involves me rewriting code or finding clever and ingenious ways to help speed up all the different functions within the game that are running constantly behind the screens. For example, while the game is designed to run at 30 fps, which is about 33 miloseconds, a lot of the main code to handle and control the game is ran every 10 miloseconds or so. This includes the bot movement, bot firing, and all enemy movements, so speeding up and freeing up every single miloseconds counts.
I actually wrote the code in a special way to work the same, no matter how fast or slow the main code ran, so a sudden slowdown wouldn\’t impact the game in a gameplay sense. The issue, however, is it would impact the game visually and you would start to notice things skip or appear to stall. A subset of this is me working on fixing up and improving different visual elements that help to make the game seem alive. These are the main causes of slowdowns, espcially if there are a bunch of drones on screen and enemies as well. I am happy to say that all my hard work has paid off. The game runs so smoothly compared to just a month ago.
I do not have any new additional videos yet, but some of the included screenshots are new. I plan to have new gameplay videos by my next developer log in the next few weeks.