Blog 771: Around the Arena

It’s a new decade, and Exon is officially six years old. That’s three times as old as my previous record holder, the WC3 total conversion Project Y4, which clocked in at two years. And it’s not even done yet! Not even close to done!

The Arena, however, is done. You can jump in, smash up some bots, and either win or lose. Which means it’s time to FEATURE CREEP YEAAAAAAAAAH! (It’s not feature creep if they were planned all along.)

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Blog 768: Vertical Slice

So, a few months ago, I paused work on Exon’s main campaign to focus on building the Arena. This approach came with some risks but I decided to swallow them because this felt like it would be the fastest route to something genuinely playable.

I was right, because that was about three months ago and for the last few weeks I’ve had it out at local game dev events and being played by real human beings. It is by no means a finished game, but it is a fully-functioning, self-contained scenario that stresses the breadth of the game’s core combat mechanics. A vertical slice. Objective complete!

It’s funny because my mechs’ primary attacks are vertical slices.

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Blog 764: Minimum Viable Game

I was at a game dev meet-up about a month ago now, where my pals sassed me silly for not having shipped a game yet. They’re right to do so — although I vigorously resist accusations of feature creep (it’s not creep if it’s all part of the original plan), it’s true that I’m making something rather large that isn’t going to be releasable until it’s “done” (this is the true curse of building narrative-driven things).

About a year ago, I set down my plan for the first release: a self-contained prologue to a bigger campaign, which would be short enough to manufacture in a sensible time-frame, but broad enough to stress out most of my features. “Sensible time-frame” is, of course, relative and it’s still got a long way to go.

So I asked myself: what’s the minimum viable game? What is the purest, simplest expression of top-down mech action that I can build and put in front of people?

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Blog 483: The Elder Blogs: Arena

While Dungeon Lords constantly called glorious Morrowind to mind (though it could never reach those heights), recent escapades with DOSBox led me to believe I was ready to start playing the Elder Scrolls series from the beginning.

I downloaded The Elder Scrolls: Chapter One: The Arena from Bethesda’s website ages ago, because I knew that this day would come. Since Dungeon Lords was a bit of a damp squib, but I was still all fired up for an RPG, I finally took the plunge.

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