Monday, June 16, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #109: This Week

Two big news items this week.

First, it looks like 1.03 (or whatever I call it) is going to be released before the weekend. The final version is in the hands of the testers. Well, almost final--I still need to add the splash screen for the patch itself when existing users boot up the new version for the first time.

I've been fortunate that all the things I changed and added have all balanced out in the end. The game is more dynamic now, far less predictable, and more challenging in a strategic sense.

Plus, with Eli 12.10 and Gloria going to Shreveport next week for a few days, it looks like 1.04 (which is all the new team history tracking and display) might get released only a few weeks after 1.03. I seriously considered holding 1.03 until it was all completed, but John Harwood argued (convincingly) that 1.03 was a gameplay patch, while 1.04 was a features patch, so it made sense to release them separately.

1.04 only needs a few pieces of art: a new journal cover and page backgrounds (several versions so that they show wear over the years), and not much else. Everything else is code and layout, so this piece is mostly on me (may not be a good thing).

Once 1.04 is complete, the buildout of the game is essentially complete. There's a small, non-connected list of features that people have requested, and I'll add some of those, but the big feature patches will probably be done.

Famous last words.

The last thing I really, really want is a revised card deck. Two versions, actually--one with the new dynamic big image poses, and one with larger numbers on the outside of the card instead of focusing on the jerseys (because some people have a very difficult time doing that). That's kind of a stretch goal at this point.

After 1.04 is done, I will then try to market this game much, much more strenuously than I did at launch.

One thing I didn't even think about was how much revision I'm going to have to do to the game's Steam page. It's going to be a full time job for a few days, at least, as I try to add new screenshots and add patch notes and revise the game's feature list.

Second, I'll be able to give you impressions on the Surface Pro 3, because I pre-ordered one last week. The coolest part about this is that I'll be paying for the Surface Pro out of revenue from the game, which blows my mind. That seems like Candyland.

Even better, it's actually tax deductible. I'm legally a software developer. That also blows my mind.

Sometimes I'm very worn out, and there have been many very tough days, but this is probably the most satisfying thing I've done in my adult life (not including family things, of course). It's been more satisfying than writing a novel, which was a huge deal at the time. Writing a book is like creating a piece of sculpture. Designing and developing a game, in contrast, is like tending an orchard.

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