Infidemia Development Update (2)

Update: Renamed the article, it sounded confusing to have two posts named “Infidemia Development Update”. This is the second one. After more than two weeks, it seems.

Hi there, just wanted to announce some upcoming details for Infidemia.

This game has been a challenge to work on, mostly due to the issue in development where I restart scriptwriting and end up writing several variants of the same intro, without getting to the significant parts of the plot… (even though the intro is significant, as it’s what gives the first impression, but also may have some plot to it as well)

Anyway, challenges aside, here’s how development’s going:

–> Intro #? – Redoing the game’s introduction again (Chapter 1’s development has slowed down a lot due to this).

–> Battle System – New abilities added. Haven’t playtested much recently, though it’s easier to build up the Heart Gauge without waiting ten turns or spamming the Guard command, and now I fixed the combo system and have temporary status conditions added to Wagers. (More info on that later.)

–> Maps – Dungeons 1, 2, and 3 are fully complete. 2 was a bit rushed, so I might finish adding content to it. Currently, there’s a bug with Dungeon 2 where you can hold the dash toggle button while running to count as running… …instead of counting as walking. The overworld is getting there… …at least, trying to work on the main city of the game, as it’s where most of the story will take place…

–> Characters – Last names to school faculty have been added, and more of the faculty members will be added to the game (finally). This means academics should be more interesting. Dialogue has been modified, but I am currently keeping the line that involves “…a demon in the shape of a cat” because I removed it earlier and decided it sounds better in the actual context of the game. Renaming the main characters has been tricky, although I will go for a better naming convention and I am working on coming up with names that will work well (sorry… I’m not very good at explaining things.)

–> User Interface – I figured out how to do the battle UI a while ago by making a prototype in another application. I was really happy with how it turned out, so battles will have a custom interface… …for now, everything in the engine is represented by default resources, except for a customized window texture.

–> Story – I made up an ending to the game a while ago. Then I started thinking about it. Then this started distracting me in daily life. So I got an idea to improve the ending to make more sense and also fit better with the game. I’m not saying what it is.
Other story stuff – Figured out multiple characters’ backstories, and I’m now working on making characters dynamic. Although you can’t change your friends’ actions, your decisions affect the story, and your friends’ personalities will change as well… …just don’t make anyone mad.
Character relationships – Friendship levels between friends and family members have been considered to impact some battles. Just know that the game has a friendship system… …even if it doesn’t do much yet.
Cats – There was a cat who seemed to be unfriendly. That cat is still in the game, but, it’s hard to tell if the cat will be a friend or an enemy.

–> Boss Fights – The first midboss and the first boss have been added. I won’t say if they’re optional or not, if they’re part of the main story or not, though there are some tough foes out there in Infidemia.

–> Dialogue – Considered adding character portraits and backgrounds to style the game like a visual novel, just because I noticed writing lengthy dialogue in somewhat empty areas felt like it could use at least different character expressions and more detailed scenery. However, I don’t consider myself good at drawing, I haven’t made much concept art for this game, and… …just know that this is a consideration in development…
Dialogue choices – Added a few more options to some things… Added a new option that should appear in (most) scenarios.

–> Glitches – Still putting together a compilation of various bugs. Well, at least characters no longer jump on the table instead of attempting to sit in a chair. Also fixed an issue where characters would jump onto the same tile and stand there when attempting to use a bed to rest. Now characters should be able to have their own space and resting areas.

–> Secret things – (??? was found.)

–> Fixing some things – Screen flashes will not happen anymore. Applying a filter to the screen is still possible, and fading the screen in and out is still possible as well. However, that was from an update a while ago. The font size has been hard to work on, as I have to make sure characters’ dialogue fits inside text boxes (regardless of how much they’re talking or not) though it should be better off than where I was before. I’m making adjustments to the game to fit anything that would make it user-friendly for me, although in a later feedback survey after the demo to be released in some time, I will see what I can do to add features of interest.

–> Mods – I considered allowing players to modify the game without having to open up the executable file or mess with data structures inside the game. (While you may have to do that to modify the game anyway…) I’ll see what I can do to modify the base engine of the game to allow players to easily modify the game, without causing issues in playability. However, I’ll be testing this myself, it may be a demo feature, and the feature will only be used if it is considered safe. (More details on that at a later time.) I’ll test this feature quickly then report on my findings. Oh, it looks like it works! (*Game crashes twice in a row before working*)

–> Platforms – So far, this game has been tested to run on the Windows operating system (copyrighted by Microsoft Corporation) and the Android operating system (copyrighted by Google LLC). In general, PCs and mobile devices are not even playing ground for gaming, though my goal is to focus on performance and playability for Infidemia, and so far both of these platforms work, although not with the minimum requirements I hope to meet. Hopefully this game can run on a lot more devices than I expect, though it will take some optimization to get there. After finding a setting for building it as a mobile application, I was able to improve performance and only face slight lag while in the overworld (I think the dialogue text box sound effect may have lagged the game considerably, so I may have to change how that works on mobile) while having battles momentarily pause after playing animations that affect the whole screen or take longer to load. Anyway, for now I don’t know what platforms the game will be playable on, though I am testing platforms that I am able to.

–> Content rating – Compared to the Capsule Dragons series of games I worked on, Infidemia is a much more story-driven game, and I’ll have to review the story in order to establish a proper content rating. It also has a different style to it and I’m not sure what audience it will be appropriate for, although I am doing my best to keep Infidemia how I see the game, as well as keeping it a respectful and fun experience. There are various battle actions like using swords, spears, or magic spells, while some scenario actions include flirts and taunts. Out of context, a lot of this may sound strange, though it should be noted that this makes more sense when playing the game… …the content rating can only be based on how these things are represented in the game (and what things are represented), so without context of the game, I can’t give a proper description of what audience I think will be suitable, and I don’t have any official approval of a content rating yet, though there may be one in the future.

–> Drawings – Experimenting with some concept art, area design, a little bit of character design from last year, and I’m not sure what artstyle to use. I’ve been doing a little bit of this, but I do not consider myself an expert at art.

–> Paintings – There may be some background scenery that I decide to paint for the game. Please do not expect it to look good, just know that I am wanting to experiment with art and design as part of game development.

–> Progress – Development’s still going slowly.

–> Screenshots – Will be added once I think the game is in a presentable state.

I’ve been busy with random side projects (mostly just the music, and one day when I made a few sound effects) though I hope to be working on Infidemia more and write more posts about development.

I haven’t been in a good mindset for… …a time I will leave unspecified…

…and working on this game has been a challenge for me to keep working on it. Even when development gets tough, and I watch characters stare into doors instead of opening them, or somehow winning a battle perfectly by not doing anything after selecting an action-based command, I’ve decided I’ll try to work on this game a bit more. I view working on it like a test of “…can I make this game?”

Even though this project has been interesting to me (…working on Infidemia is at the top of my priorities, besides things I have to do) it’s been really hard to focus on doing it and also to focus on admitting the intro is going to be bad instead of trying to revise it… how many times… nine times? …What I mean by this is that I’ll have to admit that there will be many failures along the way, and I’ll have to learn from mistakes instead of trying to avoid them.

It’s interesting to learn a lot about making a role-playing game and trying to make it a game that I want to play (the focus on this game is making it how I want, while respecting the audience of anyone who plays the game). I’m not complaining about the amount of work or about time or anything – this is what I spend most of my time on anyway – and I just want to talk about the learning process involved for this game.

I’ve been taking inspiration from various games I’ve played, books I’ve read, etc., though I hope to make Infidemia feel unique. If you find anything that might sound like a reference or seem to be copying off one of the sources I was inspired by, it probably was either unintentional or happened to be something I used as a source… …anyway, I’m also accounting for copyright and trademark regulations, so references aren’t going to be completely obvious (if there are any noticeable ones, that is…)

Working on this game has made me think that it would be cool to see more people make games – I went from not knowing anything about programming to figuring out how to customize functions in another platformer project I’ve been working on – and I believe that anyone can make a game. It would be interesting to play more diverse role-playing games from more people, too, since role-playing games focus on stories, and maybe RPGs are the way to continue storytelling in a digital and interactive format.

I’m not an expert on games myself, though my best advice for anyone wanting to make a game would be to find tutorials about a style of game you want to make.

In my opinion, game design itself isn’t something that requires intricate knowledge of programming or art or music, it’s something that you just have to experiment with, learn about by examining it in games you play, and focusing on figuring out how to make a game that is fun to play – whether that fun comes from clearing a challenge, a reward system, or a complicated strategy that you build together and see the result of, game design is something that you can learn about by playing games, and studying games to figure out how to make a game you want to play.

Infidemia doesn’t really feel like it’s a game that has a meaning attached to it, though I’m making it just because there was something I wanted to talk about, and making a game seemed like it was the approach I could take to this. …I don’t want to talk about what “it” is, because that would spoil the story, though maybe the player will notice that when the game’s ready to play.

Even though the game feels ambitious and I’m making it sound like it’s a big project (it’s… a very short game, actually…), none of this would have been possible for me to do within one day, or an hour, or even one year. Although I started on it a while ago, and managed to get some base concepts and structure setup within the game on the first day (the first draft of the first script… …it’s not well written at all, but, it helped me figure out how to start the story), it still took a while to figure out where to go with the game.

Anyway… that’s all I wanted to mention for now. I’ll update this article if I notice anything seemed off.

Thanks for reading this.