Deadline Looming, Progress Slow

So I made progress today, but not nearly as much as I should have. Let myself get distracted and wasted most of the afternoon diddling around on the web rather than working. Did get some real progress made, though, and so far the remaining features seem like they’re going to be straightforward; got autorouting cars entering the scene and stopping at the unloading zone, just don’t have them actually unloading yet. Also got despawn points implemented, and those do work. Built a system for managing rotation of the cars, but it’s partially hacked, since I haven’t made sprite versions yet and am still using a placeholder box. It also won’t apply to manually-entered routes, while whatever system I come up with there probably would work for autoroutes as well, so it might’ve just been a waste. A minor one, though, as I didn’t spend more than 20 minutes on the feature.

Trickiest thing left that I can think of is going to be having groups exit vehicles in an orderly manner, even when obstacles are present. This is essential to getting customers into the prototype, and is the first thing I’ll need to work on. Might just “cheat” and implement no-loitering-zones, where valets who stop are automatically routed out of them into adjacent valet loitering zones. That should actually be quite simple to implement, and will work at least for the prototype. Got the input methods and selection colliders tweaked. They were working great with a mouse before, but became frustratingly fiddly on the iPhone. Now works as well either way, though it’s still using mouse emulation rather than true touch support.

I found myself wondering today if I’m just complicating these core features for no good gameplay reason. Seems like I may be making the same mistake I make during LudumDare events, spending all my time on some particular piece of tech rather than focusing on getting fun gameplay up and running. Then again, the 48h time frame imposes some serious and artificial constraints, so perhaps it’s not reasonable to think in exactly the same terms here. I did only start this prototype less than a week ago, after all, so overall I think my progress has been good.

Overall, still loving Unity, though I learned that to keep an app below the 20mb 3g download limit may require the upgrade to Pro for the stripping features. That’s around $3,000 I wasn’t planning on shelling out until early next year. I’m hoping the asset set for this project won’t be too large, and will fit in 20mb without stripping, as it seems important to stay below that limit.

I also find myself wondering what hypothetical audience I’m writing these blogs for. They’re so specific to what I’m working on, and yet so vague on the kind of details that might actually be useful or interesting to anyone… but I find stopping to and explaining the upcoming challenges in semi-casual terms helps me to focus my thoughts on how to approach them in a way my technical notes don’t, so for now at least I intend to keep doing it.

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