Progress on Road of Kings continues at a good pace thanks chiefly to our tireless intern Max. While he continues to pound out scripts I have been tuning the combat UI, and I think we’re really just about done with that. It’s very nice to see the combat screen look so good now, it was in rough shape for a long time. I’m sure James will want to take second and third passes on several of the individual pieces, but I think it’s quite passable now and can only get better.
Next on the hit list for me and James visually is the map screen. We’ve let it lag a bit behind and actually broke it a little when we experimented with a new slightly 3D look to the map. The direction is good but we need to come back and add a bit of spit and polish. Once that’s complete James can get back to adding more character art to the game. Right now we have just three characters, and it is a bit disconcerting to see that one sword-wielding dude stand in for everything from peasant girls to dragons.
I did take a little time this weekend though to sit back and just play the game, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn fun! With all the content Max and Mike have been adding the world is starting to feel like there’s some actual variety in it, which is a far cry from the HelgaCon playtest where the winning strategy was to farm dragons in the same ruins over and over again. Unfortunately with all this feature development the game has also become a bit buggy, so we’ll have to come back and do a serious bug fixing pass.
Tracking down those bugs in so many events will be a serious chore, but that’s where you come in dear reader. My goal is that once we have a passible amount of content in the game and nothing that’s really too visually jarring we’ll begin a closed beta. The system is all set up for the beta, with builds already pushing to a website that can be played right in the browser, as well as special Android beta builds for those willing to install unverified software manually to their devices. I’m giving a rough estimate of another 1-2 months before we’re there, so keep your eye on this site for more updates. I’m not sure how many seats we’ll have for the beta, but the good news is once it starts it will really be the end run and official ship will not be far off.
Officially, I’m not tying us to any specific dates here. With 3/4 of the group working only nights and weekends and the other 1/4 going to leave us at the end of the summer, even the smallest road bumps can severely alter the road map. Still, I’m hopeful we’ll have this thing out there in your hands soon. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep giving you little sneak peeks into the process here.