Now that we’ve been working pretty much full time on Salvage for just over two months, my long-held and absolutely foolish belief that it’s better to delay sharing progress until the game is at a reasonably presentable alpha state is starting to seem like a serious psychological concern. So, while I retain the right to ramble at length about the past few months’ work in future, I thought I’d write a quick update on what we’ve been working on.

salvage_screenshot_005

As I’ve just mentioned, we’re two months in to development of the alpha, with much of the core systems on their feet. I’ll try to keep this brief, but itemised.

Procedural Level Generation

Salvage currently employs a very different approach to procedural levels than the one I’d posted about previously. It revolves around manual design of ‘dungeon themes’ with their own pool of rooms, which are arranged procedurally to suit the requirements of the scenario generated. I’ll definitely be writing exhaustively about this in the future.

Basic Combat, Equipment and Character Sheets

The game currently uses a simple character sheet system, with equippable weapons which can be found as loot. There’s also a system to recycle items for a resource that can be used to upgrade the characters’ stats.

Salvage Screenshot

Campaign

This has been the thorn in our side. We originally envisioned Salvage to play out like a roguelike – a single ‘run’ through a procedural dungeon. Unfortunately this lead to a genuine identity crisis, as it blurred the line between RPG and turn-based-strategy. Simplifying character progression so it could fit within 5-10 ‘floors’ of a dungeon didn’t feel right, so we’ve been experimenting with different approaches to a campaign, and I’m happy to say that after only a few poor attempts I’ve got something that I’m relatively happy with. Again, I’ll post more about this process in the future as it’ll give me a good opportunity to prattle on about Necromunda.

Art

Hong has been working tirelessly on creating our first game-ready character, and even found time to knock up some sample tileset assets which you can see in this post’s screenshots. Unfortunately the character depicted isn’t ours, but ours is currently in the animating stage and should be implemented in about a week. Once that’s done, we’ll create a bipedal enemy variant and work on tilesets and environment pieces.

What’s next

Right now our ambitions are to spend the next two months developing the game further; once we’ve reached that point we’ll take a step back, show it to as many people as we can and decide where to go from there. We’ve learned a lot this past month especially about the difference between full-fledged ‘indie’ development and moonlighting after your day job, and hope to share some of those lessons. One of the greatest challenges has been, essentially, designing the game free-form, as we’ve been working on it and uncover those aspects we didn’t realise were most important to us.

At any rate, we’ll be making a video of the current gameplay in the next few weeks and I’ve got plans to write about the design and technical process behind a lot of the individual systems we’ve developed.

Until next time.