Thursday, July 2, 2009

When will Path of Evil 2 be ready?

After taking some time away from the toolset, things are going steadily. I just finished up a series of 5-6 quests the other night. They are the "main plotline" in an area, though not part of the main plot of the campaign itself. Still, it's rather a lot of dialog, a fair amount of scripting, and a lot of skillchecks.

Some of the quests kept braching out. As I was implementing a quest, I kept thinking "Well, the pc might want to do this..." Once quest wound up with six possible solutions, and one single conversation turned out to be longer than anything in Path of Evil 1, clocking in at nearly 2500 words.

On player recently emailed me said they were anxious for a sequel and wondered when it would be ready? Unfortunately I can't estimate that. Path of Evil 2 is much larger than the first. As it currently stands there are more quests than all the questpaths of Path of Evil 1 combined, and it's only about halfway done. First I'm not a veteran author, so I don't really have a good estimate of how long it's going to take to implement some things because I don't have the experience some authors do. Second, things tend to grow (like my example above).

The third thing is polish. Getting something workable takes time, but polishing takes almost as much time as getting the basics up and running. There's putting together a quest, and there's putting in more dialog options, companion talks, the extra oxcart here or there in the area to make it look better, adding/changing music as appropriate for an area.

Finally there's bug testing. Bug testing takes time. I learned a lot from the first module about what works, and initial testing in some areas of POE2 has seen the payout of that, some quests even worked right the very first time! :-) Plus I learned a few tricks to speed testing like putting doppleganger npc's in one area to save the running around, and a special npc capable of advancing the quest to test further into a quest if something is broken earlier in it.

So my building has multiple passes. I lay out the basics: build the area, write up the basic quests/dialog/journals, do scripting. Then comes a polish pass, adding more conversation options to allow pc personality, adding companion conversation, putting in extra detail in the area, deciding music/area titles etc. Then comes bugtesting. here I add in the testing dopplegangers and try to run through various things. I get a huge list of stuff that's broken and then go back to fix it. Then test again... and again.... and again.... Then finally everything "works" and I release it.

Then the bugfixing starts again as others find bugs. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Let me know when you need testing and bug-finding.