Summer Update – PAX

The last few months have mostly been about adding more content. There have been a few mechanical additions and polish, but for the most part this summer I’ve been adding levels and content to the game to try and get the game ready for PAX.

On Monday my friend Thomas and I drive to Seattle to attend PAX Dev, a game developer conference that is held right before PAX West every year. This will be my third consecutive year attending Dev and West, and I’m looking forward to it. This event has been one of my soft deadlines for a while now, as it will be a good opportunity to get other devs to playtest Vacío’s current state and hopefully give me some good feedback on where I can improve.

Vacío is going to be a pretty short game. It’s not really meant to be a commercial product, but more of a portfolio piece. The goal is to have just enough content to explore the mechanics of each of the powerups as well as the last section’s mechanic. For PAX, I set a soft deadline of wanting to have the levels that show off the three powerups put together so I could at least get playtests on those levels. I have a few more days left to spend polishing it, but I have succeeded there, and will be able to get feedback on those levels at the event.

In addition to the level design I’ve also been working on getting additional animations and polish into the game. One of the earliest was I got the animation for grabbing powerups into the game.

From the very beginning of the project I had a clear vision of what the game was supposed to represent. It is a game about depression, and part of that is represented by the main character having a hole in their torso. The powerups are used to temporarily fill that hole, and give the player short-term abilities that they are able to use to get around obstacles. This animation of grabbing the powerup and shoving it into the torso was an important step in expressing that intention, and I got it working in the game in early June.

Through July and August I also added some additional polish to the other powerups, unfortunately for the air-walk powerup I didn’t record any GIFs, so I have nothing to show.

The most flashy of the powerups is definitely the flight powerup, and I was very excited to get it added into the game. The code for flight has been working for a long time, but only in the past few weeks did I finally get the animations added and working, so the flight is a lot more cool looking.

After I get back from PAX and my vacation afterwards I will be moving on to working on the last section of the game, which moves away from powerups and instead sees you working with another individual to get out of the cave together. That’s going to involve AI code and some new design, which is one reason why it wasn’t included in my soft deadline of PAX Dev. Here is a brief teaser.

So, that about covers all the new stuff that’s been added in. With that there is only one major section of the game to plan and code, and I’ll be into full polish mode. After the game is put together I intend to move on to music and sound design, and I’ll post about that as well when I get around to it.

I’m not going to make any promises about writing more devlog posts on any kind of regular schedule, since I’ve already proven to myself time and time again that I can’t keep that promise. So, until next time.

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