Only 2-3 months left to SparkLine’s full release! So close yet so far away. That is a term applicable to realms far beyond game development, but it is a major issue inside it. Make sure everything is juicy and bug-free and everything comes together well.
First things first, I have some bad news… I was sick for most of last week (it’s Covid), which meant not much work could be done. Festive period and all so I guess it was better to actually rest… Although I have mostly recovered by this week, I still feel a little woozy and easily fatigued. With this in mind, it is likely the beta test would have to be delayed by about a week. So… before May 7th.
A part of me really wanted to say we could still get everything done in time… But I digress. It’s true that we don’t have much time left, and there are certainly merits to just getting it out and us fixing things at the same time. However, I still feel I need some rest, and rushing it has never been worth it, so yeah.
Anyway, let’s go through some of the stuff we have prepared for you, and what’s left to do!
Not one, but two very important pieces that make our game. If we don’t have these, then perhaps we’d be able to release the game already, haha. But wouldn’t it make for a bland experience if it’s just the gameplay?
As you can see above, some of the game’s songs will be gatekept behind the story. Just play the game, and you will unlock them. The progression system still isn’t 100% complete as there are nodes that should give something else other than the songs.
Also, here’s the first cutscene in the game. We are still missing the SFXs (crowd sounds, smack, thud, etc). We did have a scroll SFX before but it was disabled for now as I couldn’t find a good SFX.
I am little nervous as to how the story is perceived by you, haha…
With all said and done we are probably 80-85% complete with 1.0’s features. The other 10-15% will arguably be the hardest part. You will have to polish the game so that it is “juicy” enough for the players.
By this, I mean it’s satisfying to play! You really feel the hits on each note, making you really happy on the APs, etc.
In the previous beta test a lot have remarked the difficulty in tracking hold notes. We will make changes to how it works soon. Should it have been done earlier…? I agree with that, but the idea’s not coming until recently, haha.
Another thing we have to do for gameplay will be… the Clear/Fail/FC/AP animations. The jingles and components required for the animations are already provided, so now it’s down to us to get it done. This shouldn’t take long and if they are not “juicy” enough, we can make adjustments during the beta test.
Unfortunately, a lot of features have to be cut to make the deadline. Most game developments are probably like this. There was a lot of time so you think up of different features. Then said features end up taking up more time than expected and eventually you’d downscale to make it in time.
Take for example the life bar that doesn’t do anything in the previous beta test. It won’t be there at least during launch. The system is there already but we will have to spend some time researching to get the best experience for you.
Character levels, skills and customizable note skins are other things that we have to cut as well for now.
This is the new gameplay screen for Beta 2, btw. A lot less striking borders so that you can be even more focused on the notes. And… no more life bars. There are still some minor adjustments so this UI is 99% not final, but closer to what I want.
Amongst the major ones, the IAP system and server-side data off the top of my head. The latter might have to be done after the launch, which is less than ideal. Initially, I envision putting a very limited amount of songs in the base APK (like 7-8 songs) which the player can test out while they download everything else. We will have to do a lot of work for that… I estimate it will require about a month. It’s simply not feasible with the time remaining.
And speaking of IAPs, we will have song packs and they should cost less than your standard $1/song. Beyond that… well… I guess we’ll see.
The remaining changes we need to make for the beta test at a first glance are not things that take too long. Technically, it remains possible that it’d be distributed this month, but I don’t like to promise too much though. It really feels bad that I have to move the schedule backwards, but it is what it is. Hopefully there is no domino effect triggered by this.
I will keep this blog not too long as these are some critical times during our development. We will need to put full focus on the dev side of things so that we can make it in time. Unfortunately, this meant that we’d have to forego this month’s composer interview. However, we should be able to do it again next month.