Monday, August 20, 2012

Gridiron Solitaire #18: Grinding

I totally forgot to mention last week that there is now a wildcard:

It's part of the card deck now, so it's a 53-card deck instead of the standard 52. It provides a few additional strategic wrinkles when it appears, and it's fun.

In general, the fun factor kicked up last week. Both the new drive meter and the wildcard have made the game more fun to play. It's probably a little too easy now, but that can be adjusted while still retaining the additional fun.

I'm working very hard to get to the official "open" beta stage. I have a list of 32 items, spec'd at about 110 hours in total, which means the wider beta should start in about five weeks. But there's no point beginning the beta when I know there are things that still need to be fixed/improved.

Also, DQ XAML Advisor Scott Ray suggested dynamic help screens. That would obviously be much slicker than the static screens that pop up when you first play the game, but I resisted trying it because of the amount of work involved.

Now, though, I realize he's right, and I've at least roughed out a way to do them in a programming/layout sense that would be manageable. The full-blown screens will still be available via the Options menu, but the in-game help will be more sequential and hopefully more user-friendly.

I'm also retooling the playcalling A.I. For game difficulty, the CPU needs to rip that extra card slot from the player as often as possible, so I've made some adjustments that have made it smarter, which makes intelligent playcalling by the player even more important.

I appreciate the support you guys have given me after I announced that I was actually doing this crazy thing. I'm grinding through smaller things now, and it can get frustrating, but your general enthusiasm has been a huge help.

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