December 30, 2012

Telepath Tactics December 2012 update

Wow. Was that really just one month? It feels like it was a small eternity! So, I ran a Kickstarter over the past month that garnered 840 backers pledging over $18,000, but we ultimately fell a little shy of the $25,500 goal.

I’m not too worried about it, though. The campaign was nothing but positive in terms of giving the game publicity, gaining hundreds of new fans, and teaching me about the aspects of Telepath Tactics that people really care about. (Local multiplayer, apparently, is not on the top of the list–not even for the games journalists who were aggressively trumpeting the importance of local multiplayer from the rooftops only a few weeks prior.)

One of the greatest gifts of this campaign is that I am still able to post Kickstarter updates and thereby email all 840 backers. This is huge; it means that I can start a second campaign and notify everyone who backed the first one to show up and pledge again! In short, a second attempt at funding will have a very big head start. Keep an eye out for a second attempt sometime in March.

Running a Kickstarter, I’ve learned, is basically one giant marathon of community interaction, content creation and marketing. I’m still amazed at how much I was able to handle on my own, though my sleep definitely took a hit in the process. Hence, me taking a short break to recuperate before trying again. (There’s no point in me getting burnt out, right?)

Point Lighting

On top of all that Kickstarter stuff, I was also still working on the game over the past few weeks (in part to show backers that I’m quick and responsive to criticism, and in part to help maintain my sanity). Here’s the list of things I accomplished over the past month:

  • I released an alpha demo with a short tutorial fight, followed by two full-scale battles.  WINDOWS  |  MAC / LINUX
  • An acquaintance, Jared Wheeler, was kind enough to write an algorithm for generating point lights on the battlefields. I integrated his work into the game, and you can see the results for yourself in the screenshot above. Point lights, like everything else, are now defined in a battle’s XML file, so they’re super easy to add to your own battles.
  • I added predictive damage displays to targeting reticles so you can see in advance exactly how much damage an attack will do to each target.
  • You can now cycle back and forth through your available characters using the mouse wheel.
  • There is now an option to turn on panning-by-moving-the-mouse-cursor-to-the-edge-of-the-screen. (There’s probably a proper term for this that I don’t know, but I’m referring to it as edge-of-screen panning.)
  • You can now interact with the Rotate button with either a left-click or a right-click; left-clicking will rotate the character clockwise, and right-clicking, counter-clockwise.
  • Character movement speed has been increased by 30% across the board for faster play.
  • You can now customize character movement speed in the options menu: set it to Normal, Double, or Instant.
  • I added in a much-needed improvement to the AI (though there remains a lot of work left to be done on the AI front).
  • I rewrote the way that dialog is formatted in Telepath Tactics to accommodate future support for branching dialog (and by extension, branching campaigns). Adding full support for branching dialog is next on my agenda!
  • Also: I fixed a ton of bugs and updated the manual.

There you have it, folks. On top of all this, a friend is helping me redesign so it looks nicer and more professional. Expect to see the redesign coming soon!