June 30th has come and gone and the game has become far more playable now. I've completed some essential artwork, gameplay, and storyline content. It feels richer as a result.
The Prologue is starting to take form. There are more maps, dialogue, events, tasks and things to explore. The real effort has been deciding what not to put in the Prologue. The principal mechanic that drives gameplay in this demo will be resource management. It's the most difficult and important aspect of the game, and it needs to be put on the table early so the player knows what kind of game they're getting into, and so I can tweak it as needed. Going to the South Pole is incredibly dangerous and mismanaging your food and fuel will get your team killed. Therein lies doom!
Pixels and programming weren't the only driving force this week. I researched extensively, and have put together a beginning-middle-end for the Prologue that will make it feel less like a demo and more like a mini-game. Surviving each day will be rewarded with increasing exposition of true story; the 1902 journey South taken by Scott, Shackleton, and Wilson.
I worked hard on various programming scripts and had a laugh pretending I was good at pixel art. The sad thing is that pixel art is fun, a time suck, and I'm terrible at it. Not a good combination. I managed to make some snow look like a different kind of snow, and some rocks look like ice. Move over Kandinsky! There are at a minimum 10 kinds of snow to be walked on while in Antarctic, and I haven't even started on the ice yet. The Antarctic has so much color, much of it in the form of some kind of solar effect. I can't wait to translate that into the game, but it's going to be tough.
I've also added a new name to my game: Antarctic Simulator 1914. I couldn't help it. The game is developing into a simulator in so many ways and there's going to be so much historical detail that I thought it would be really fun to make the comparison to modern day simulators and just change the date slightly.
Also, please take a look at my research page, which is an ever growing bibliography of the books and articles that I use to make my game. Many of the books are free and available online.
Much of the work up until now has been divided into three categories: research into the history of Antarctic exploration in the early 1900s, testing out various gameplay mechanics, and coding. I recently switched programming languages, which has afforded me more flexibility. Development has become a lot easier now that I've made it more database driven.
Work on the Prologue for Heroes of the Antarctic is in full swing. The Prologue acts as both a demo/prototype of the game and a way to experiment with gameplay mechanics while I write the script for the full game. Many of the graphics are placeholders and will be replaced. The user interface, in particular, is likely to receive a major change that isn't as pixelated.
I had fun making the faces, although I will need to rework them to match the photos I have for the various crew members.
Here I take a look at the work I've been doing and share status updates and any of the interesting bits that might appeal to you.