Author Topic: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013  (Read 8094 times)

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Offline Doan Sephim

Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« on: June 22, 2013, 08:50:17 AM »
Many years ago I made the "Knight's Quest Demo", a very short demo that was intended to introduce the main characters and basic plot of "Knight's Quest" (now called "Betrayed Alliance"). That was about 7 years ago.

As the game evolved into something more ambitious than what I originally intended, I teamed up with Alex Schafer (trodoss) who gave me a hand with a number of PICs and a handful of VIEWS with the intention to release a "new demo". That was 5 years ago.

Life changed greatly for me in the last 7 years. I now have a full time job, a wife, and now a newborn son. But my desire to release something that would justify the countless hours of work I've done has still been with me. On and off over the years I have dusted off the game, tinkered here and there, made new rooms, some new characters, or just fixed a bug I couldn't figure out before.

Recently I looked over the game and decided that the "demo" I wanted to release long ago had become the first 1/3 of the game, which from a conceptual level is 95% finished and much of the "grunt" work has been done over the last 7 years.

Therefore for the first time in 7 years I will say there is a release date: Christmas Eve 2013.

The schedule breaks down thus:
July
Primary Objectives:
Draw ALL remaining PICs (and make sure they all connect properly)
Complete all conceptual story points

August
Primary Objectives:
Puzzles in finished order
Populate game with characters and animations

September
Primary Objectives:
Right-click look
Dialogue
puzzle points

October
Primary Objectives:
Ending Sequence
Music
Odds and Ends

November
Primary Objectives:
Get Playtesters
Fix bugs

December:
Crunch Time to Finalize Game


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Offline gumby

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 09:53:03 AM »
Good luck Doan.  Good idea to 'timebox' everything, makes the process easier to tackle.  You want us to help hold you accountable to that deadline :)?
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
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Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 11:08:45 PM »
Good luck Doan.  Good idea to 'timebox' everything, makes the process easier to tackle.  You want us to help hold you accountable to that deadline :)?
That's exactly why I put it out there. A lot of SCI games had been announced in the past and a lot of hopes have been dashed. I wanted to make sure This was different, so please do hold me accountable

Great news so far. I've been on a PIC-drawing-buzz and finished a good 8 NEW rooms. There are only 2 NECESSARY rooms left to draw, but I have in mind 4 non-necessary ones also. This is well ahead of schedule of course as the primary objectives for July was to finish the PICS and July isn't even here yet!

This will let me get a head start on animations, which probably will take longer than the one month I gave myself to do anyways.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 11:13:44 PM by Doan Sephim »
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Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 12:06:26 PM »
End of July Progress Update:

The main objectives for this month were to finish all remaining PICs and have all story points conceptually nailed down.

I am happy to say that both objectives were completed well ahead of schedule allowing me time to dip into the objectives for August.

As for August's objectives (animations and finished puzzles), most rooms have all the animations finished, but there are still a good chunk of them which have nothing. Sprites for 1 important character and 3 more side characters are still necessary as well as other smaller animations. As far as puzzles, I had time to work on many of these and have executed to completion a large portion of them. A couple guys from the forum are also pitching in their efforts for a couple "puzzles" or mini-games, which is a great help!

This leaves the work load for August quite managable. If possible I will get to get a little ahead and get to work on some objectives for September, which will be quite a lot. Having still to write most the dialogue as well as the 'look' prompts promises to be quite time-intensive! But the good news is, we are very much on track for the projected release date.

Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 03:35:25 PM »
End of August Update:

This month's main objectives was to populate the game with animations and characters as well as finish all puzzle elements.

This month held more difficulties than last in terms of time. School starting up again (both as a teacher and student taking classes) really made it difficult to get a lot finished. That being said, August's goals were almost completely met anyway! Last month's being ahead of schedule gave me some much needed buffer time. As a result all but 2 puzzles are complete and in-game (this is not counting the two screens that Cloudee and Gumby are working on for me). Also, animations and characters are scattered throughout the game.

Honestly, the failure to meet the deadline perfectly for August upsets me. Not becuase I think the game won't be able to get finished on time (that's not really an option for me), but rather because I had such low motivation to work on it. I knew I would have an hour or so of downtime at school each day to work on the game, but the workload I had and the amount of enthusiasm I try to convey in my classes left me drained in that hour and I wanted nothing else than to just recharge.

But, putting aside the failures, I will press on looking towards the goal. This month's objectives being mainly text driven (dialogue and "look" responses) will let me get a little creative and shouldn't be too demanding.

I am looking very forward to sharing the game with you in a few more months.

Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 10:48:23 AM »
End of September!
Time for another update!

This time I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have found the enthusiasm to work hard on the game in the past month. Despite teaching, working on my masters, having a 4 month old, training for a Thanksgiving 5k, etc, I have found that when I have a moment, I get to work. Last month I felt more tired and less motivated.

The bad news is that there was a TON more to this month's objectives than I thought. The plan was to get all the look at prompts and all the dailogue done. WOW was I underestimating that! I have gotten the right-click look up for all the rooms, but haven't even touched character to character dialogue yet.

Now, in addition to my already busy schedule add on the fact that I had 2 kidney stone surgeries and a lot of drug-induced rest-time and maybe I could be excused for not reaching the goal. Even failing to meet this deadline I am still confident in the release date and happy for the energy I have had working on the game.

If you take a look at Nov and Dec priorities, you will notice there is a lot of "buffer" time there. I didn't want to utilize it, but it looks like I will have to. Luckily I planned knowing that things always take longer than expected  ;D
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 12:29:14 PM by Doan Sephim »
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Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 12:36:47 PM »
October Update:

It's almost the end of October. According to my time-table, I should right now be finished with the Beta of Betrayed Alliance Book 1. I am sorry to report that that is not quite done and it is not quite ready for playtesting.  :( But what is that glimmering in this cave of darkness? It is a glimmer of light! Yes!

There is now a !

Here's the scoop. At this point, I have only a bit more to do to make the beta playable. Basically I need to finish writing the dialogue and fix a few odds and ends. A few puzzles need to be finished up, mainly dealing with items received during dialogue.

I also have added in 3 new rooms that were not in the original picture I showed before (2 of which you can see in the promo) and want to add 1 more.

Music and Puzzle Points have not been updated yet, and the ending sequence is still in its nascent form. But don't let that discourage you. It hasn't discouraged me because I get to see how much work I am getting done. And with each new animation put in place or line of dialogue this game is looking less like a project and more like an actual game every second.

I am getting very excited to release this game to you all  :D Not that it is the best game ever, or even half-as-good as the old sierra classics. Probably not, but it is, to me, something cool and fun, and I think it will be even better to people who haven't been familiar with its basic structures for as long as I have.

Offline Collector

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2013, 02:44:45 PM »
Looks really good.
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Offline Spikey

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2013, 07:35:12 PM »
This looks INCREDIBLE, I had to register just to say that! Congrats Doan! Please finish this one and get it out there! Love Sierra's EGA games.

If you need music, I'm not a composer, but I'm happy to retool either MIDI files you or somebody else created, or old Sierra files.
Sierra Music Central
Keeping Sierra's music alive in the digital age!

Offline gumby

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 07:41:12 PM »
That promo was awesome.  Great stuff!
In the Great Underground Empire (Zork port in development)
Winter Break 2012 Rope Prop Competition

Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2013, 09:02:02 PM »
Nice! Good to see you finishing this off!
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Offline Collector

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 11:46:46 PM »
Hey Doan, do you want me to write a DOSBox installer for this when it is done?
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Offline Doan Sephim

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2013, 11:23:19 AM »
First of all, thanks to you all for checking out the video. I am glad that you are looking forward to the game :)

@collector - I think I have already configured the DosBox installer, but I did have a question. At default it is set at 10,000 cycles. I was wondering if I could set it to default 20,000 because I have a couple rooms that have substantial lag unless the cycles are that high.

This looks INCREDIBLE, I had to register just to say that! Congrats Doan! Please finish this one and get it out there! Love Sierra's EGA games.

If you need music, I'm not a composer, but I'm happy to retool either MIDI files you or somebody else created, or old Sierra files.

All the music so far I have written as Midis and made into mp3s to use with Gumby's sciAudio program. I appreciate the offer and thanks for registering to give me feedback. The response gives me greater incentives to finish.

Offline Collector

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 03:58:13 PM »
If by the "DOSBox installer" you meant my run utility, that is just a very generic utility intended just for the developers and probably is not so great for distribution. This is mostly because it does not take into account the wide variation of users' system configuration. I was intending a full blown installer that the end users could download and install to have all configurations done automatically. If you have not used one of my installers, you can download Infamous Adventures' Space Quest II VGA or Infamous Quests' Quest For Infamy demo. To see how I do DOS games you can try some of the Sierra demos from my site.

http://sierrahelp.com/Misc/Demos.html

The default cycles for SCI games is just to avoid the many SCI timer bugs. These are fairly rare, if not nonexistant in SCI0, so can be set higher. If you have not set any timers to the processor's speed, then it could even be set to max. For the beta testing phase, you could have the cycles set to max to see if there are any issues. Of course this is another thing that an installer written for Betrayed Alliance would achieve is that everything could be optimized for it.
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: Betrayed Alliance Book One: Release Date - Dec 24 2013
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 04:39:26 PM »
Some fangames can suffer from not having enough cycles in DOSBox because some of them were just not made with slower computers in mind (they were not made for DOSBox either, but for Win95/98). As a result they can slow down to a crawl. I remember running into this. It's easy to not follow limitation conventions that would have been common back in the 80s with much slower systems so that speed issues weren't a problem, but fangames don't really take this into account. I don't know how Doan programmed Betrayed Alliance, but I know some of the things I've done have slowed down DOSBox and my 486 considerably. It's not necessarily a foregone conclusion that there are no speed issues in SCI0 fangames.

At any rate, it's easy enough to set the default cycles in the dosbox.conf file and have it install with one of Collector's install utilities. (which are very good! I would recommend utilizing it!)
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