One Year and a Thousand Hours Later

It has now been a year since the beginning of our first project – Gates of Horn and Ivory. We have made a lot of mistakes but also learned from them. I will now briefly open the situation of the game and then talk about the problems we have had during the development.

We have been tracking hours since the beginning of the project

It shows that we now have spent a total of 1 028 hours doing various things:
406 hours spent on visual art
324 hours spent on technical stuff, such as programming tasks
103 hours spent on level design
83 hours spent on meetings
73 hours spent on project management, such as issue management, project scheduling, company management etc.

Here is a chart showing our total hours per month:

Here you can see our total hours per category:

 

Major game components that have now been completed

All unlockable player skills

All puzzle mechanics

Player movement & physics

(Level & puzzle design is about 90% done, just the last 90% to do [pun intended])

 

Still needs improvement but is well on its way

Menu system

Game saving & loading

All over In-game visuals & audio landscapes

More story elements must be added

Gameplay testing to improve the experience as a whole

Some voice acting is still to be done

Different game endings need polishing

 

Not yet started or in very early phase

Steamworks integration (achievements, speedrun leaderboards, cloud savegames)

Speedrun mode

Steam Marketplace page material

 

Some major problems that we have now overcome

Player physics in various cases
Sliding & jumping on moving platforms
Sliding on deep downhill slopes
Player getting stuck in some corners
Player transitioning from swimming to not swimming

Controller vibration & hot plugging –> Use Rewired.

Designing a large game world that can be progressed based on unlocked player skills so that the player cannot get stuck anywhere

Waterfall visual effect (particle systems & sprites)

Problems with Unity Animator when creating animated story screens…

 

The good decisions we have made

Using Unity as the game engine
Really eases the development process

Not solving every single problem on our own but buying assets instead
2D Shadows & lighting (SFSS)
Controller vibration & hot plugging + action mapping (Rewired)
Some visual effects / shaders (Camera Filter Pack)
Voice acting, SFX, ambient sounds…

Using other useful 3rd party software
Bought JIRA for project management
Used Instagantt for project time scheduling
Used Discord for communication

Upgrading drawing tablet from Trust Slimline widescreen tablet to Huion New 1060PLUS

 

Mistakes we have made (mostly regarding marketing)

Not being active enough in the social media
Steam marketplace page still not ready!

Marketing material have not been polished enough
Marketing material doesn’t show the most interesting features of the game
We have been too quiet on the things that we hope players to find out by themselves when playing the game
The game will speak for itself but it must first gain the interest of the players

The game is of a niche genre and is thus hard to sell
The theories behind the game world & story are hard to explain or visualize

Tried to make an MVP but didn’t really know from where to start
Ended up creating a large game world at first without even knowing what it will consist of or how much work will it require

Working on the project as two part-timers causes stalls & delays in the schedule
Still cannot announce a release date!

Current mood?

Even though we are not in our original schedule, we are happy to realize how much we have learned during the project.
We still cannot announce you a release date but it is most likely within a year on the current pace.
We will not release the game until it is polished and we are happy with it.
Our next milestone is to get enough material in order to create the Steam Marketplace page for the game and publish it.
Then we will most likely begin closed beta testing which probably results in gameplay tweaking & polishing.

We will keep you updated!
Thanks for following us during our journey!

One Comment

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