Mid 2023 Status Update

by | 2023-06-22

Wow, it’s already time for the mid-year status update! This year has been a quieter one, although that is what I expected and planned for.

I threw together a prototype of SE7ENGOKU for Magical Girl Game Jam 7, released as Project D759. It’s mostly a mechanics demo, with one level and most of the core mechanics working, but only an excuse plot without any of the planned story or progression. To be honest the response to it was pretty negative and I kind of lost motivation to work on it post-jam. In particular, the new graphical style, which I was using this game as a bit of a test balloon for, was not well received.

I also released Gap Year as… Gap Year. This is a short series of illustrated novellas set in the Outliers and Outsiders universe, filling in the gap between At The Break Of Dawn and The Crystal Tower as they try to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances. I’ve wanted to do this story for a while but couldn’t decide whether to do it as a written piece, a comic, or a game; eventually I settled on written with some illustration. So far I’ve released the first novella of three planned. It’s called Social Distance and it follows immediately on from At The Break Of Dawn, dealing with the aftermath.

Shattered 2 got a major update, which ended up being my focus for the first few months of the year. It doesn’t add everything that I wanted to have in the game from the beginning but just didn’t make it in, but it does add a big chunk of it. It adds a new worldspace (albeit a small one), sidequests, collectibles, achievements, and a host of tweaks, fixes, and small additions. The focus was on fleshing out the world, giving some life to the setting and giving you something to do outside the main quest.

I mentioned doing some ports, updates, and source code/art pack releases this year. I updated Das Underseaboat and GPU Buying Simulator slightly, and though I didn’t do the full quality of life update to RiftBreak I’d been pondering for years now, I split out the RPG Maker segment and released it with minor updates as The Impossible Mission. I think some of my more ambitious plans in this area, like an Xbox UWP version of Glowstick Delivery Run, aren’t going to happen, but I have a few other small updates and releases that might make it out the door.

CommonCore 5.x Edgewater hasn’t seen a lot of development, with only a single preview release. I feel it’s a mature enough project that it’s not the end of the world. I’ve been continuing with the same approach as 4.x, where I prioritize features I think I’m going to need for games I’m planning to make soon and sometimes develop things for a specific game and fold them back in. Other than that, just like 4.x the focus is on bugfixes and small quality of life features.

I have started work on Shattered 3… sort of. I’m working on something called TBBTS (pronounced “tibbits”) or Turn Based Battle Test Scenario. It’s an awkward backronym, but the long and short of it is that it’s going to be a turn based battle system, and that’s what’s going to be in Shattered 3. I don’t know if Shattered 3 proper will begin development this year, and it certainly won’t be released this year. I’m still wrestling with some of the design questions, and though I think I have something workable it’s closer in scope to Shattered 2 than I’d like.

I’m hoping to finish the second part of Gap Year by the end of 2023. Originally, I was planning to complete Gap Year this year, but I think that’s overly optimistic. I have some other writing projects as well, although I’m not sure any of them will reach the point of having enough to post. Although I kind of lost enthusiasm with SE7ENGOKU and considered scrapping it altogether, I’m probably going to get back to it at least a little bit, with maybe another mechanics demo this year with some of the kinks worked out.

Will The Crystal Tower (Project Takagi) get its customary yearly update? Yes, although it probably won’t be a major update. Every year I start with ambitious plans and scale down, maybe this year I’ll start with a minimal plan and see how far I can go.

The archive site is realistically not going to be replaced this year; I’d like to, but I just don’t think I’m going to have the time and I still don’t really have a plan I like. I want to improve the blog, but there are a lot of open questions around the what the why the when and the how so I don’t want to promise anything in particular. I haven’t gotten to making the changes I wanted to make to the Discord yet, but those are coming this year so keep an eye on that.

So far, 2023 has been less productive than previous years, but that’s mostly according to plan. The first few months weren’t too bad, but I’ve slowed down since then, and recently I’ve been in a creative rut. I’m still poking at things, though, and though I’m not planning any major releases in the second half of 2023 I think we’ll see at least some re-releases and some demos of things to come.

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