New Screenshots, Difficulty Talk, and Development Fears

Hey all.

Sorry for the delay with the 3rd part of the post-mortem blowout, I’ve been really busy with a new theater class, management for a school show, my graphics class, and y’know…the actual game. It’s a long write-up, but it’s coming. Anyway, I’ve got a few new screenshots of what I’ve been working on (that are actually good enough to show off). I was ‘participated’ in the Global Game Jam this past weekend at the LaunchHouse with the Cleveland Game Devs, but I wasn’t actually a working on a jam game, just The Bravest Four. Mainly because I had a going-away party to go to on Saturday night, and other stuff to do on Sunday. So, here’s some screenshots. HUD still a work in progress.

I got a decent amount of work done. I had a brain fart for a day and half when I tried to fix a game-breaking bug that pretty much halted any further development. I solved it…by getting rid of one line of code. One. Line. It was so obvious which one it was, too! So I wasted precious time doing that. Man, I’m such an idiot…

I was also thinking about a bunch of stuff, some positive, some negative. I was thinking about battles and the game’s overall difficulty. On the normal difficulty, I want players to be able to have a solid challenge without relying on the need to grind, instead focusing on exploiting enemy weaknesses and their own strengths. There is still an optional grind available for players that like that, but it won’t be necessary…on the default difficulty. And definitely not for the easiest. Here are all the difficulties (already coded in):

  • Easy – for more inexperienced players and for those who just want to experience the story.
  • Normal – the default difficulty. Provides a significant challenge without relying on grinding.
  • Hard – Ups the challenge. Enemies hit harder and have more health.
  • Very Hard – Ups the challenge even more. Enemies have all of their stats increased, but to balance it out a bit, shops charge less for their goods. A grind is pretty much needed here.
  • Extreme – The highest challenge where beating the game is possible, but extremely (har har) hard. Enemies have their stats increased even more, and shops charge their standard price. You also lose a bit of money upon death. A good chunk of grinding is a must. 
  • Suicide – You will not survive. Period. This is more of a joke mode for the player to goof around in than anything else. Enemies, even the weakest ones, do an insane amount of damage. I actually tried fighting a test enemy with maxed out stats for the characters on this mode. Hilarity ensued. In the final game, I’ll probably make it slightly easier. 

All difficulties are available from the start of the game, and can be changed at any time from the menu. Think the game is too easy and want an extra challenge? Bump up the difficulty! Getting your ass handed to you by a boss no matter how much you try to win? Bump it down a notch, if only just for a bit. 

Of course, there are some issues with this system, namely that someone playing on Very Hard could easily bump it down to Easy for a boss to get by pretty easily. Still, if the player wants to do that, he/she can. It’s their game, they can do whatever they want.

As far as the anti-grinding/weakness exploitation thing, I’ll go into more detail about that later.

An example of stunning your enemies outside of battle and being able to get around them. 

I’ve also come across the weekly de-motivation once again. Basically, I see another game, notice how awesome it looks compared to mine, and get upset that the game in general won’t be good. I’ve tried to stop doing this for years now, both in game design and other forms of creative arts, and it just hasn’t let up. 

I’m not aiming to be exactly like something else. I know I shouldn’t, and won’t be as good as anyone else. There’s always someone better than you, as they say. I get that. Other devs have more time, money, skill, etc. I’m just a sixteen year old doing this with whatever free time I have with little resources, no professional experience and no money whatsoever. So why do I let stuff like this always get me down?

To be honest, I couldn’t tell ya if I tried. Every single day, despite working on the game whenever I can (including writing ideas and level designs in class), looking way into game design and how to make it the best it can be, and coming up with a solid marketing plan (more on that later), there’s always a nogging feeling in my head that this game will fail.  It’s gonna get horrible reviews, it won’t sell a single copy, some other/better game similar to mine is gonna come along, and it’ll become either forgotten or the laughing stock of the internet. 

Will this actually happen? I don’t know. I’m scared to find out. Really, only time will tell. I can’t stop with these thoughts, no matter how much I try, so I guess the only thing to do is to work on the game and see what’ll happen.

Meh, whatever. Thanks for listening to my spiel. I keep forgetting to post these, put here are other places you can follow the game via social media. 

Again, the third and final part of the post-mortem blowout is coming soon. Until next time, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you guys later. 😉

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