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DEV BLOG :: SEPTARIUM

Title: The Space Adventure
Date: 2013-09-05


Memoirs of the forthcoming Septarium game.

ENTRY


Particle Editor, FrameworkYet another astonishing story about castles in the air, but here they took place in majestic space. I have put it off for months, but I finally got around to writing both project and this developer entry. Original idea came from the ashes of my early game which some of you might played – Contraband: Packing Time (if not – don't). What made me cast reviving spell? First of all, the whole idea of CPT is actually quite promising but the implementation turned to be immature and defective. Here's how Septarium came to the scene. Make sure you read Zork: Prototype entry before reading this.


Development of the Septarium took its place on late Summer 2012. As for the main game development tool I thought why bothering if there's only one option for that – Game Maker. Well, it was only option because it was the only thing I knew how to handle back then. Development started by writing new universal framework for current and possible future projects. It actually came into reality: now I’m using concept of that framework for Septarium game, but not via Game Maker (later about that). Framework was some kind of game maker inside game maker. It had particle editor, game options tweaker, script editor, data packer and parody on debug mode. I was so proud of it that all the hails were dedicated to the framework rather than actual project. Yes, this major mistake is a personal favorite of many modern game developers. Some of these developers can prove opposite – once you've done a great engine/framework, you will be thankful for it in future. Of course, I can't say the same. At least now!

Tired from being loner I decided to gather some team. This new adventure caused a lot of whirls and project was floating from one shore to another. I'll try to keep myself from telling details because you can imagine them if now, September 2013, I’m doing this project almost alone – as in good old days. The picture of the Lizard in Septarium page was the best experience with the team but unfortunately that experience disappeared. Oh, by that time I wrote few kick–ass tracks but unlike Zork: Prototype they will remain unrevealed till release.

Prototype of the Septarium game was done at the end of 2012. After it, for same reasons mentioned in previous dev blog post (about zork), I have to leave project aside.

Real party started during Zork development. I had to sunk down one week for very important deliberation – whether to continue development using Game Maker tool or start writing it using C++. Decision was very vital for me. It was like Rubikon and with great trembling I had to cross it. Yep, the dice is cast and there's no way back. So, all those dogs days of Summer went for Septarium development. Managed to finish game design document. One of the most sinister and amoral books , which I can't reveal to the public, suggested me to rethink everything from A to Z and write it down. Previous game design document was nothing comparing to the new one. Now, with great confidence, I can give GDD to anybody and be sure that he or she will be on the ball after reading it.

Even today, whole development process is half divided into two tasks. First one is the development itself and the second one is education. Not that education from school or university – i'd say it's more like self–learning or self–training.

With all the obstacles observed back in zork prototype development it was easy to start up doing new engine for Septarium game. Engine was designed according to the Game Maker's concept – with all the objects, sprites, events and scripting possibilities things are very convenient to manipulate. Currently, engine has all that stuff except particle support. In order not to waste time a decision was made to use SPARK particle engine. It looks awesome and quite fast.

Engine is capable of rendering 1024 animated objects with alpha blending and anti–aliasing on ancient laptop of mine without losing frames. I think it could be all better but the evil book mentioned above also pointed out that the one who is obsessed with eternal idealization process will never become ideal no matter how he tries – if that person will become ideal, he will realize that he had spent millennium trying to get better leaving no results behind. So, I left "future todo" list for the engine – engine will be modified for next game. I understand that yet I am not the authority for the readers but I strongly suggest to keep the things this way if you do similar projects.

Cpp Engine Septarium is a very interesting project and I think will be felicitous enough after release. Game will focus on story and action at one time. I believe there are some players who don't want stories, instead the seek action. No worries, player will get option to tweak not only game setting but gameplay features too.

It's hard to say when the game will be released. The engine is almost finished and the game is not ready yet, as I said before I never count obstacles that might occur in the path. I can't say game will be released when pigs fly but I’m pretty sure that this Autumn. I don't want to rush – Contraband game was done in a such hurry that made this game look terrible.

Good results require careful dedication, don't you think?

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