Jules and I had a couple of meetings this week. I’m on “vacation”, which really means that I still come in to the office but I mess around playing Ar tonelico 2 and jam out on my bass and code on Soft Landing instead of doing work.
We have done some more to adjust the game system to better fit the pace and personality of the type of shooting game and novel game we want SL to be. That is, more Gradiusy for the shooting and richer for the novel.
What we mean by Gradiusy is that the screen should scroll more slowly, you should have to budget your bullets in order to blow up the carefully placed formations of enemies, and the environment should be as much your enemy as the aliens are. This all means a whole new powerup concept, a new “trust”-based score system (which supplants most of the systems we already had in place for the shooting part), and new equipment management systems. What we mean by rich is that the novel part should pretty frequently present you with, well, novelty: close-up character portraits, dramatic fades, visual effects, inset images, and so on. As the resources for this kind of thing will be in Jules’s signature sketchy watercolory style, he can produce many of them quickly, and they will be well worth the time they take to create.
That’s all good news. But we are still just giving ourself more work before we can release the demo that we’ve been calling “almost ready” for about two years now.