Status Report

Happy New Year! It’s been a month since my last blog, so now feels like a good time for an update on the state of Gunmetal Arcadia.

My goal, as I’ve stated several times over the last few months, was to author all the legacy event/reward pairs in December. But beyond that, I was really hoping to have the entire game (minus some superficial content) done by the end of the year, and it pretty much is. It’s not shippable yet; there are still no intro and ending cutscenes, and I’ve only finished a small handful of new pieces of music, but the core gameplay is, for all intents and purposes, done. I’ll probably continue to tune and balance all the way to launch and beyond, but I don’t anticipate adding any more content.

As it’s turned out, legacy events and rewards have only been a part of my workload this month. I’ve also spent a while playing through the game, capturing footage for a trailer, recording data on each playthrough, and getting a subjective sense of the feel of balance. I’ve also fixed an embarrassing number of longstanding bugs and polish issues that I’d been sitting on for way too long.

There’s just over five weeks until the game launches, so this month is going to be…interesting. My highest priority tasks (assuming they aren’t already done by the time this blog goes up) will be to get all the requisite storefront assets together: cover art, screenshots, and a trailer. (Update: These are all done now and some of the storefronts have gone up already.)

Next up is that “superficial” stuff I mentioned earlier: cutscenes and music. I don’t yet know whether there will be multiple endings; it sort of depends on how long it takes me to get back into the rhythm of drawing art for cutscenes and whether there’s enough interesting conditions to warrant more than one. I’ve also been wanting some sort of end-of-game status report between the cutscene and the credits roll, where legacy events from the preceding mission would be detailed. (Currently, the only way to view the results of the previous mission is to start another, which can be frustrating if you’re not intending to immediately replay the game.)

Assuming I can knock cutscenes and any other ending-related materials out quickly, I’ll hopefully have a couple weeks to focus exclusively on music. I have dozens of compositions in progress in various states of usability. Two tracks were 100% finished in time for Zero but omitted from that game because there simply wasn’t anywhere to put them. Others are only a few seconds long but have a hook that I’m excited to develop. My plan is to frame the Gunmetal Arcadia soundtrack as a “Disc Two” to the Zero soundtrack. All (or very nearly all) of the music from Zero is also present in Gunmetal Arcadia, and it feels redundant to include these tunes on both soundtracks. Instead, I’ll probably eliminate all overlap and release it as a companion to the Zero soundtrack, the two of them together forming the complete Gunmetal Arcadia soundtrack.

I feel like there are a few sort of obligatory blog posts on the horizon. I’ve been wondering when the right time for a postmortem on this whole Gunmetal Arcadia cycle would be. Immediately after launch feels too soon, although it would certainly be worth privately recording my thoughts for later reference. I might sit on that one for a few months. But I’ve also been itching to start talking about my next game, that one I’ve been cryptically calling “NextGame” or “Oaks” or “Banon” or whatever. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt as strongly, personally connected to a concept as I do to that one, maybe not since I began developing You Have to Win the Game at the end of 2011. But I haven’t yet decided when or how I want to announce that game, and writing about lofty, high-level goals before anything substantial exists might not be the right idea. Or maybe it is. Who knows? I guess that’ll be part of the postmortem whenever I have enough information to answer that question.