December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas or something or other...

'Twas the Night Before Christmas In Freeport

Not bad for 10 minutes of work...

December 11, 2005

Updates, or Lack Thereof, and Why

So, it's been awhile since I've updated. I'd say, "I'm sorry," but according to my boss, I'm not allowed. (grin) Besides, you know you don't update enough when Robert Scoble unsubscribes.

I've been working a lot of six- and seven-day work weeks since my last update. We've been doing extended playtests of "SiN: Episodes" on a fairly consistent basis over the last while, and they're a bit of a time sink.

An extended playtest is when you bring in several players and have them play through the entire game from beginning to end. Since we've promised 4-6 hours of gameplay for players, we block out six hours per test.

In our first test, all of our players were done in about four hours. It exposed some issues with our dynamic difficulty system that were addressed.

As the dynamic difficulty system was repaired and adjusted, the tests gradually got longer. In our last test, we had one player who had played through half of the game before in previous playtests, one person who was a headshot master in "Counter-Strike: Source" and one person who has played first-person-shooters before but was in her words "bad" at them.

The experienced player and the headshot master finished in five hours. The "bad" player encountered a crash bug due to a bad shader fallback on a material at the six hour mark, but was on track to finish in seven hours.

Unfortunately, between now and ship, my time is going to be even more limited. I'm going to try to do some updates between now and ship, but I'm not going to promise anything, especially since I have testing duties above and beyond the playtests.