Developing a PC game is a tough bit of work! Multiple resolutions, device resets, and unpredictable hardware make the process grueling at times. Thankfully, I believe I now have a greater part of that behind me. The biggest piece of trouble I encountered was crashing on Device Resets and Recreations, but after discovering that XNA fails to deliver on its promise of restoring Graphics Device state after a Reset, I was able to build in some fail safes and end most of my woes (though the process of building in the fail-safes were woefully inconvenient in and of themselves.)
Anyway, on to bigger news.
I have been working recently on porting Didgery to the fledgling IndieCity game portal. So far I have integrated with their Achievement API and I might integrate with their Leaderboards in the future. As soon as I finish writing the Forbidden Parchments I’ll most likely upload it to their servers. I was at first going to go ahead and release Didgery as is and add in the parchments later, but that didn’t set well with me. Didgery has, for me, become an increasingly story-based game. The thought of releasing it to the public without first having a fully completed story seems wrong, so I have been hard at work as of late completing the remaining twenty parchments (there will be forty in total.)
There is one more major feature I want to implement, that of a pure casual game mode, though I may wait and add it as a patch later on. The largest complaint I received from reviewers of the Xbox build is that the Story Mode (which is currently the only mode) tends to start off nice and casual, but then ramp up to insanity inducing madness about ten levels in. This caused much irritation for some reviewers, and I can see why, especially if you come in thinking that Didgery is a purely casual game. This is honestly my favorite part of Didgery, however, as I love watching people play for the first time, and then gradually realize that something isn’t ‘quite right’ with the world when they begin playing poorly. I can see the reviewer’s point though; Didgery doesn’t really seem like what it is on the surface, and thus it doesn’t have a genre where it can lay its head in peace. In most modern casual puzzle games there isn’t necessarily an active enemy working against you. In Didgery, there is, though the opposition is an unseen one working behind the scenes. But Didgery really doesn’t fit the action genre either…I mean, it is a card game. Didgery is probably actually more like old school ‘hardcore’ puzzlers like Tetris. In Tetris you did have an enemy – yourself! If you didn’t lay the blocks right you were pretty much screwing yourself over. I think adding in a casual mode will at least quell some of the uneasiness of players and reviewers, and give pure casual lovers a mode to play.
Currently, the only (largely) noticeable difference between the Xbox and PC versions (besides the added parchments) is that of the handy Save and Resume feature. A friend of mine actually suggested this feature because he tends to start stressing in the later stages of Didgery due to the progressively intensifying difficulty, and he said he would like to take a break for a while without losing his very hard earned progress. In the Xbox and early Beta PC Builds all session progress would be lost if the game was exited, and you would have to start from Level 1 when you started playing again. The newer PC builds have the ability to remember the session’s state, and will ask if you would like to save your current game when you exit. I think this is a fairly noticeable improvement, though it is more functional than game related.
That’s pretty much what I have for today. Share any thoughts in the comments :)