Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pulling into Station

The title comes from a realization I recently had. I need to finish TMGS. I'm sure there are still going to be some small issues, but I'm to the point where the time I'm devoting to this game could be better spent elsewhere, so I'm wrapping it up. Here's the schedule.

I just finished another play-through this past weekend. Fortunately, I've been correcting most of the issues I found as I go this time, so there are only about 30 or so more to do. There will be some targeted testing with some of those items. Then I'm waiting on two more reports from beta-testers, and I'll address whatever they come up with. After that, I have to incorporate the music whenever that comes through, although I've been told it will be March. When all that's done, I will personally do one final, but thorough, play-through to convince myself it's all properly integrated, and then it's time for release. I think a conservative estimate would be about May 1st, but that's dependent on the music coming in March.

People may be wondering how I can play so many times and still come up with 150+ issues every play-through. The answer is that there are over 200,000 words of dialog in this adventure, and several tens of thousands more in the journal, item descriptions, creature descriptions, etc. Also, as in the SG series, many of my quests have multiple ways of completing them, and then there are consequences later on for if you complete a quest one way or another although some of these are so subtle that I'm probably the only one that would realistically notice. There's even differences based off which companion you have. As I've said before, the two have very different personalities and so will notice different things or give different advice in certain situations. Every time I play through I try different choices and that means that inevitably a bunch of items pop up that need more polish. This last time through, I took the personality of an aloof, uncaring protagonist who was oft-times rude to the companion, and it was the first time I had chosen most of those dialog options.

By the way, assuming about 300 words per page, 200,000 words is the equivalent of a 667 page novel, and that's without the journals, etc. And man, it feels like I've written that much! Good thing I didn't know it would come to that when I started, or I never would have. But don't worry everyone! No one will read nearly all that in a single play-through!

My Little Poll
The poll came out exactly as I thought it would: overwhelmingly in favor of the bug staying in. Someone in the comments suggested possibly removing the bugged feature, but there's a major problem with that. You see, I tried to describe the feature enough for people to understand how it would be used in the adventure so that they could vote appropriately, but not enough to spoil the surprise it's used for. Suffice it to say that if I got rid of that aspect, I'd just have to chuck the whole project in the garbage. We're talking a MAJOR plot point here, so it simply cannot be disregarded.

When I came up with the original novel-to-game conversion (recall that TMGS was supposed to be a novel at one point), I knew that we could access a character's spells via scripting because of my work on the SG series, so I kept the idea in the story and built the entire adventure around it. It was only during testing that I realized (accidentally) that getting to the Domain spells is bugged. Very annoying, but it's in now and not going to change.


Alexander said...


Sent you an e-mail with some minor bug reports from act I and II tonight.

Would like to know the answer to the last question before I proceede further in act III, where I now am.

Altogether, this module is proving t be among the best I have played.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your thoroughness. Hope everything goes well until the end and we can finally play this mod.

This being said, it will give me time to play trinity and misery stone so I'm not complaining at all about the release in May.
These mods added with DaO, ME2 and DAAwakening make me say it's a great year for CRPG fans.


Anonymous said...

Still very much looking forward to this. I appreciate how thorough you've been with it all, and I know it will be a great mod. :)