Monday, April 23, 2012

Been Quiet

You probably noticed this has gone a bit quiet, but that's because publishing Hal Junior took a tremendous amount of effort. Once you launch your babies into the world you tend to focus on other projects for a while. In my case, first it was another edit of Hal 5, and now it's the Hal Spacejock PC game.

My favourite PC games are classics like Transport Tycoon or Minecraft, where you start with a blank slate and create whatever you want. Graphics are not important. For me, it's all about the open-ended challenge.

Blockbuster games are released like movies or books, where they have to be perfect from day one. Computer software is different, in that you can build a loyal following by releasing modest early versions and then improve and extend them over time. This is what I did with yWriter (now up to version 5, with tens of thousands of users), FCharts, and all my other Spacejock Software releases.

When I say release early versions, I don't mean they should have bugs. My software is solid & reliable, because that's far more important to me than flashy graphics.

So what's the goal with the Spacejock PC game? The first alpha will dump you on a planet with very little info about why or where. (Hands up if you skip prologues in Phat Phantasy novels.)  Initially, players will explore the surface to discover the various buildings and structures, and eventually they'll figure out how to make a little cash. Along the way they'll pick up a little background, and maybe the threads of a plot.

As long as the initial release handles that part adequately, I'll be happy. I have huge plans for the rest of the game, but I hate spoilers so you won't find out about them from me.

I've only been writing this thing for three weeks now, but a lot of the basics are in place. If you follow the link to the Spacejock PC Game (above) you'll discover a developer diary which I'll update regularly.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Roger Lawrence said...

It sounds good.
If you want any beta testers as you get further down the line, let me know. I have a spare comp that's doing nothing.

Simon Haynes said...

Thanks Roger, much appreciated. I'm a bit worried Microsoft has aimed too high with the system requirements for XNA4 'hidef' profile (DX10, Shader 3.0 only), but if that turns out to be the case I'll just rewrite the game to use the more basic 'reach' profile (DX9 cards, Shader 2.0)