The last weeks …
First of all I am sorry for the silence the last couple of weeks. I had a lot of stuff ongoing and wasn’t able to spend my time to keep you informed. Anyhow I will try my best to catch up. Bad things first I think, I will not be able to release any stable version of Timbertales soon. I did a quite unrealistic estimation with being releasable in October. Everything costs more time than expected and I also have to say I am not very happy with the gameplay itself at the moment. For this reason I want to delay the release – to craft a game, which fits my idea of quality and fun. But let us talk more in detail …
Money, resources, budget
September was the last month I could afford to be independent with my resources. So I needed to find a solution to keep the project ongoing. I had the opportunity to work as a full time freelancer for a project, which is scheduled for 3 months. This is one of the reasons, why I was such busy the last weeks and will be the next weeks. With the full time job it takes me a lot of energy to work in my spare free time, but I do my best to work on Timbertales every day. At least one problem will be solved: The money. After the project is finished I will have enough money to focus on Timbertales again completely for a long time.
Quality, concepts and more
Another reason for the delay as I mentioned is the quality of the game at the moment. I am not very happy with some parts of the game.
First the graphics, I actually like the graphic style and think for an Independent developer without any real artist resources its quite good. But I would love to offer more effects, animations and stuff like that. I think there is a lot of space for polishing and make the style more shining even with the limited resources. Of course it will take some time to implement such stuff, but in my opinion its worth.
Second I missed to design Timbertales with a mobile focus. I started to develop Timbertales as cross platform game, but with the lack of mobile game experience and testing everything on desktop version I lost a little bit the view for mobile. The last weeks I played a lot of mobile games to keep up with experience and concepts how to change Timbertales. The biggest problems I am aware of at the moment are: The registration, payments and the look and feel.
Registration: As known from most of the mobile games I played it is unlikely to register yourself an account today and is a barrier for new players, since there are google play and the iOS equivalent, if you want to persist your progress. Also on steam we don’t need a extra registration, so I will remove this part from the game with the next update. New players will also instantly start with the first tutorial mission after downloading and starting.
Payments: I spend a lot of time to think about how to monetize Timbertales and wanted to be innovativ with the start of development. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out and I have gone into a completely wrong direction. Instead of focusing on developing a good game I started to make myself to many thoughts on this topic. I received a lot of negativ feedback about that topic.
Simple Solution: Simple approach will be a place to exchange money for acorn points. Everything in game will be paid by acorn points except skins. Of course acorn points can get collected by playing and don’t have to be bought. I am absolutely open for suggestions on that point. Feel free to contact me!
Look and Feel: I think it is possible to create a better look and feel with using touch technologies of smart devices. Since most parts are tested and played on desktop version I missed to apply touch events for several actions. For example to collect acorn points in game you have to move your unit on the acorn point, why not touch it to collect? Presenting rewards will be also improved for mobile devices.
I am currently working on performance. I refactor a lot of old code, since my first approaches on openGL wasn’t the best. I learned a lot about openGL and libGDX the last couple of weeks and trying to improve a lot of parts through the game to minimize draw calls, memory usage and space usage. I am nearly finished on that topic so with the next update you should also receive a much better performance.
This is the road map for the next updates. I think the game lacks a bit of long-term goals at the moment, but I can’t focus on everything and have to be more focused on single parts. My goal is to release a version as soon as possible, but it must fit my expectation of quality. For the moment it is really hard for me to say how long it will take until Timbertales is release able. I will provide an update as soon as possible with the mentioned changes. I hope to receive a lot of feedback and we can plan the next steps