Monday, May 14, 2012

Gridiron Solitaire: Grinding

I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but I'm wearing down. Trying to balance everything has become nothing short of insane, really, and I'm just trying to hang on until things settle down.

This is probably a symptom of 90% Disease. Gridiron Solitaire is at least 90% done at this point, but that last 10% will be very challenging. Polish. Game balancing (which has already been done, to a large degree, but I still want it to be better). Refinement.

Headlines are a good example of the refinement category. They're working now, with 400+ possible main headlines and almost unlimited combinations of sub-headlines. But out of all of those headlines, do any of them not display properly?

That sounds easy, at first glance, except the sub-headlines are generated in a more complex manner. Here's an example:
"Opportunistic defense grabs " + intCPUTurnovers.ToString + " turnovers in " + userscore.ToString + "-" + cpuscore.ToString + " win"

Looking at the headline in that format, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so to speak. I've gone through the code several times, but I'm sure that I've made more mistakes than I've found so far.

I'm glad I wrote so many headlines (Paul Costello and John Harwood contributed some as well), because seeing the same headline over the course of the season will be very unlikely, but it makes it much harder to test.

Headlines are one example of a feature that will need a good deal of refinement, even though the code has been written. And refinement isn't nearly as much fun as blazing ahead, writing code for new features.

The schedule this point includes another few weeks for polish, then I'm going to send out the "friends and family" beta when we get back from Eli's goalie camp in mid-June (Grand Rapids, Michigan, hello). A wider beta is on tap for late July.

I have some decisions to make, though, in terms of distribution.

The simple approach is to just do it myself, sort of in the Vic Davis vein. The downside, though, is that there's no publicity from the distribution portal in that scenario, and having a little assistance on the publicity end from a distribution partner could make a huge difference in how many people know the game even exists.

There are so many trade-offs involved with any option I choose that nothing is necessarily optimal. The good thing, though, is that even in a worst-case scenario, the game is going to be available, even if I have to homebrew a solution.

After Fredrik sends me the background image for the newspaper and I get everything formatted properly, I'll put up a headline.

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