Hello everyone, and happy new year!
I say this for each blog post, but it’s been a reaaaally long time! Almost one year without writing here. A bad year for blog communication then, but on the bright side, it has been a good year for the developement.
Back To Zefyr
After working on & updating various little games for a while in 2020 & 2021 (mainly in order to get experience in marketing and releasing games), I spent 2022 working back full time on my main project “Zefyr, A Thief’s Melody”. And YES, that’s the new name! Actually, I’ve changed multiple times trying to find something that would fit all the requirements:
- good description of the main game feel
- easy to remember
- easy to find on google/steam/whatever
- no confusion with other game
- no problem with legally registered trademarks
Believe it or not, it’s not that easy…
First of all, I’m gonna talk about the visible part… Here’s some cool new stuff for the game:
- I’ve been focusing on making the game main quest fully playable for people other than me. This includes creating quests & feedback to understand what happens, maps, dialogs, better level design and lot of signals & feedback to guide the player through the whole game.
- I’ve upgraded some of the old-school textures thanks to material maker, and reworked some meshes & graphics
- All islands are now visible from anywhere in the world
- I’ve worked on a new title screen (you’ve seen it above)
Here are a few screens for you:
And I’m currently testing it with a few super early testers. I can now say that somebody else finished the game. It’s been really interesting to see how new players react to everything in the game. It made me tweak and improve a lot of things.
Sadly, all upgrades are not as visible as the previous ones.
In 2022, I’ve also upgraded the production pipeline of the game:
- Newer versions of tools (Blender 3.X, Unity 2019 LTS, Material maker 1.0, Inkscape 1.0, Krita 5.X, Cinemachine…). That’s the problem of working on a project for a long time. You must have stable and not-too-outdated tools. It is not very visible to players but it is super important for me as a dev to always have healthy prod systems, easy to tweak and modify, with a solid base.
- Change the AI from A* pathfinding back to native Unity pathfinding
- Clean & strongly structure all the asset database to be able to easily update / fix problems
- Big production clean: less code, more efficient, remove unused tags, easier to read and to navigate files
- LOOOTS of bug fixes (between 1K & 2K)
I’ve started to learn stuff about communication:
- I’ve created a “pro” presskit for online specialized press. You can check it out here.
- I’ve started to post on reddit. I’m still very new to this; many posts were barely even seen, but one or two got their way to decent stats.
- I also invested quite some time in my (French) youtube channel. I’ve been wanting to share my way of creating games for a long time, and this year I published ~10 videos mainly about graphics & dev logs. It’s in French, but the last ones have subtitles that can be translated by youtube. I’m particularly proud of that one and that one.
- Sadly, you may have noticed it, but I was very bad at posting on my blog and patreon.
Coming in 2023
So what’s up for this new year ?
- Last level: I must still work on the last level of the game which is still prototype.
- Audio & Music: I have to make a big work on these
- Side quests, polish & test: make the game shiiiiine and tweak all the little stuff that will make it lovely to play.
- Lot of communication: social media, press, influencers, you name it, this year I must promote the game
- Ideally, I would like to craft a few protos for my future games and see what’s worth it.
And that’s it for 2022! I wish you the best for this new year coming, and on my side, I’ll do my best to meet my goals with hopefully a release in Q1 2024 🤞.