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I`ve spent most of my time during the last month working on new minigames and puzzles. There are now eight co-operative puzzles and two solo minigames, which is enough to fill up an entire voyage!

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What's New this Month?

Although there are still numerous gameplay issues, my main focus for the last month has been expanding the gameplay to cover an entire voyage. I now have enough rough content for a complete gameplay session - about 15-20 minutes of content. This is great news for several reasons!

  • I can start developing parallel versions of puzzles, which will be faster and leverage the randomly generated ships and storylines.
  • I can start working on the feeling of the game as a whole, now that a rough version is up and running.
  • And I can start working on the non-gameplay artwork around the ship.

Next Steps

It`s been a long time since the last playable build for kickstarter backers. My goal now is to have one available before the end of April! While the game is still very rough, and none of the artwork is final, I`m excited to be able to produce playable builds again. To this end, I`ll be spending the next fortnight fixing crashes, improving accessability, and making sure as many loose ends are tied up as possible so that playing the game goes smoothly.

Update Format

Sitting down and writing an in-depth monthly update can sometimes be difficult, because I`m never exactly sure how much to talk about and what parts of the development cycle are interesting for you to read about! I`ve found it much easier to share smaller bites of development more regularly, and if you aren`t already then I`d strongly suggest you follow my twitter account @philipbuchanan!

For the second half of this update, and potentially updates in the future, I`m going to try something new by amalgamating all my development thoughts from the last month into one nonsensical list. For those of you following only the monthly updates, I`d be interested to hear if you`d like to see more regular but shorter updates (probably every fortnight), or if the current long-form update is preferable. Let me know in the comments below! But without futher ado:

Development in 140 Characters

March 2nd - The new ship layout generation broke the path-finding algorithms :(.

March 4th - Today I'm playing with dialogue boxes! I have to make sure they don't overlap, appear offscreen, or cover important stuff.

March 6th - I'm implementing object tweens. Bounce, squish, fade, flash - pretty much anything is an improvement at this point.

March 8th - Speech and item indicators for 39 Days to Mars!

March 15th - I gave in and made a cursor for the mini-games. It's easier when things are systematic.

I chose a steampunk game so I could draw cogs and stay away from anything remotely anatomical. Hands are hard to draw.

This is 39 Days to Mars teaching the player how to use a wrench.

March 23 - A small tease of the puzzle I`m currently working on :).

March 26 - I upgraded to a new laptop, but unfortunately the drivers for the drawing surface weren`t supported on the GIMP for windows. I started using Krita instead of the GIMP, but my export scripts no longer work, and Krita doesn`t have Scripting :(.

March 28 - Working on some hints for the pipes puzzle.

March 30th - Here`s a Monday evening scribble with a new puzzle I`m working on!

April 8th - This evening I`m working on randomly generated space creatures!

April 11th - There`s nothing more important in a spaceship than an ornate bathtub.

Keeping in Touch

Let me know in the comments below if you`d like to see more condensed-format updates, more often, or if you prefer the longer but monthly-ish updates as they currently are.

And don't forget you can follow @philipbuchanan on Twitter for more regular updates and development pictures!


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