Beta 3 is just around the corner, releasing this Friday the 28th of April 2017. Just a little over a month since Beta 2, which is a nice turn around for the addition of some solid features, along side the usual slew of bug fixes and optimisations. I’ve had to expand the menu again to take into account the new features and give the old ones a little more breathing room. There’s a lot to be said about negative space, which Station Generator’s menus don’t have a lot of. They could still do with a little work and I’ll be thinking a lot about that before it gets final release.
Where we’re at now
So what’s been added? A full list will of course be available in the ReadMe file in the download but in the meantime I’ll give you an overview of the main feature, especially if you’ve not yet bought and want to know what’s in it 😀
I keep wanting to say the biggest feature is X and then say it again for the next feature, so I’ll just get on with a list of what feels like some pretty great additions to the app. You can now create, save and if you want delete your own room presets. For me this is pretty big, you can prep your game by creating the necessary stations types and then get your players to roll for things like size and type, so you can have control and still get the players involved in the creation of the station! I love this because getting the player involved in world [station] building can really help pull them into the game more and give them more investment in what happens there.
The next area I looked at was improving player navigation. I tackled this at two levels, which look at two different perspectives. From the macro level there is now a coordinates system in place so each room can be described in an x,y fashion with [1,1] as the origin. And depending on what you’re used to, there are a number of options as to where that’s located. At a more granular level there is also a number of grid types available to break up each room so players can more easily describe where they are in more detail.
I didn’t just look at making navigation easier, I also added an obstacle to navigation in the form of our old friend, Fog of War. You can now reveal to your players as much or as little of the station as you would like. Just turn on Fog of War by choosing either the light or dark option and click on a tile to reveal it. But if you want to go a little bit easier on your players, you can also choose to use the line of sight tool, which will reveal adjacent tiles (unless there is a wall blocking the way) to a level that suits you, maybe roll perception to decide how far the player can see!
If you find a bug, want to give feedback or just have a suggestion I’ve made that easier than ever by including an in-app feedback form. An internet connection is required for this feature to work, however it should make contacting me to help make Station Generator better a simple and straightforward process which I hope you take advantage of.
There are plenty of other quality of life improvements, bug fixes and optimisations but I’m not going to get into them here.
Where we’re heading
Originally, and you may have noticed this in previous posts about Station Generator, the plan was for three Betas and then final release. I think it’s time to revise that plan to match what’s happening at the moment. It was a good plan when I made it, and took into account a lot of the features that are now in Station Generator. Happily, I’ve been able to over deliver where features are concerned and in keeping with that I think there are a few more features I could add before release.
So with that in mind I’m strongly considering doing a fourth beta before going to release. There are two other factors at play here. One is a strong wish to do another active feedback round (though of course I consider all feedback, whether I’ve asked for it or not!), in which I actively solicit feedback as much as possible, then review it and act on it as necessary. A fourth beta would really feed well into this and give me a chance to collate everything once the feedback has been acted on. The other factor is more mundane, though due to the continuing success of StationGenerator.
Unfortunately Station Generator hasn’t started paying my mortage yet, it has seen some relative success on both itch.io and the Humble Store, and I’m really happy with that. It has also had a successful Greenlight campaign on Steam! What this has meant in terms of development though, is that I have to get a bunch of tax stuff in order so that I can get the maximum profit out of that success. Station Generator is selling, but selling in pretty small numbers in the scheme of things, so while it makes me very happy to make those sales, I need to make sure I get every cent out of them.
I don’t live in the US so I need to get a bit of paper work in order to reduce the amount I’m taxed on sales. As you can imagine, a government as large as the US’s can be quite slow, which is understandable, if a little frustrating. Once everything is in order I will be moving ahead with a Steam release as soon as possible. My side of the paperwork is all done and sent in, so I’m just waiting on a reply now.
So while I’m waiting, I might as well work some more on Station Generator right? Before I make the final decision on that, I will see what the active feedback brings in (though I strongly suspect I’ll be doing a fourth beta, it’s always good to have all the data in before making a decision right?).
What’s next for SeveralBytes?
To look into the far future, beyond Station Generator itself, I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to do next. I’m not sure when that’s going to be as that depends on how long it takes for Station Generator to be finished but I do have an idea of what that’s going to be. I’ve been working on and off on a few ideas for a turn based racing game. I’ve worked out the general gameplay idea, how it will flow and the main mechanics.
It will be active time based gameplay similar to Final Fantasy 7, with a card based mechanic for movement and weapons. Upgrades and cards will help fill up your time bar quicker and dictate what your deck looks like for movement, support and weapons cards. I don’t really want to talk to much about it as nothing really exists for this yet beyond a few ideas and the concept art above! But I can say I’m pretty excited by the concept, and am looking forward to getting to it, once Station Generator has been properly finished of course 🙂