Chaintanks Devlog 9 – Going Live

It’s been a little longer than usual since my last devlog, but I’m made some good progress since last time!

Last time I discussed the Tech feature I was planning to implement; it’s now finished and working! I was a bit worried that it would take a long time to implement it, but I was able to keep a solid plan of action in mind and carry it out within a week or two.

Tech Screen
The tech screen is almost done, but it’s missing the upgrade thumbnails.

I ended up creating four upgrades for max HP, rate of fire, vehicle speed, and bullet speed. All of them are in the game and working, but they aren’t balanced yet so I’ll have to keep that in mind for future tests. I suspect that some will be less useful, like bullet speed and will probably be cheaper to compensate for that. There’s also some work left to be done on the UI, but I’ll probably end up doing that sort of work at around the same time as I create the final UI artwork.

With Tech out of the way, the only major features remaining are the final boss and saving the game. I’m not sure exactly how saving is going to work just yet, and I’m not going to worry about it until all the data I want to save is in place. As for the final boss, before I start seriously working on it I want to have most of the maps done so I can play through all of the game leading up to the boss properly.

The Grind Begins

My goal will be to get the game reasonably well balanced and ensure that it’s actually fun before I move onto the boss. With that in mind I’ve started working on completing all of the maps in the game.

New Map Screenshot
One of the new maps, some walled in structures protected by towers.

So far I’ve managed to finish 9 maps out of a total of 28 – nearly a third, so good progress so far! In order to make the maps more interesting I’ve also been adding new buildings into the mix to vary the scenery a bit. One new feature I needed to add for these maps was ‘escort’ enemies. All they are is a slower head vehicle followed by a bunch of tails with no turrets on them. Now that I think about it, ‘escort’ is a pretty bad name for them since they’re not very dangerous and are effectively being escorted by the normal enemies. Naming aside, I managed to get these implemented in only a couple evenings of work. All I have to do now is drag them into my maps when I want something nearly defenseless but mobile for the player to shoot at.

Escort Chaintanks
Escorts are nowhere near as dangerous as real enemies, they’re just for flavor.

Twitch Time

Lastly and certainly not least, I ran my first stream yesterday! I was worried that I’d be nervous or awkward on camera but it ended up going really well. I made a few followers and had around two to four viewers throughout most of the stream. The biggest success was that I was actually talking with a few people in chat which tells me I didn’t instantly drive anyone who happened to stumble across the screen away.

Another unexpected benefit from the stream was the amount of work that I got done. When I’m working on my own I find that I get distracted fairly easily at times, be it with social media or just spacing out. When I was on stream though, I tried my best to be constantly entertaining to anyone who might be watching even if nobody was there. This meant that not only did I have to be talking about what I was doing or thinking at the time, but I had to actually work!

Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat pressed for time, like I don’t have enough time to work on my game, play games, and do whatever else I want to do in a day. Streaming certainly took some time to get set up, and I still need to spend more time improving it. Aside from that though, streaming simply replaces time I was already spending working on my game, helps me focus on the work, and builds my online presence all at once. I’m sure there are downsides that I haven’t run into yet like harassment or fatigue, but for now at least streaming seems like a massive benefit to me and I’ll be streaming a lot of my gamedev going forward!

My goals for the stream aren’t anything outrageous. I don’t really expect to become a partner, and I have no plans to take donations or make money from it. For now I’m going to be using it solely to help me focus and get my game in front of more people. It’s possible streaming could become a bigger thing in the future, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it if I ever do.

That wraps up my progress for the last month or so. I’m hoping to put out another post in two weeks from now which will probably be a screenshot gallery of the maps I’ll have done so far, so check back soon, and in the meantime check out my stream!

2 thoughts on “Chaintanks Devlog 9 – Going Live

  1. You were fantastic streaming the other day, Jai and I both tuned in and I enjoyed watching you 🙂

    The only downside of streaming is that if you get legitimately stuck in a difficult bit of debugging, or if you are reading and researching and integrating a new API you are unfamiliar with people may not want to tune in. You can still stream that stuff, but your viewership might not stick around if you just have wikis up.

    With that said, the upshot is HUGE, as you’ve already identified, when it’s going well, it *really* helps a lot. And it helps to stream often. Visual tasks stream a bit better than non-visual ones, but you will find it usually still draws viewers so long as you vocalize what you’re working on. 🙂

    1. I’ve done a few more streams since I wrote this, and I’ve had very few viewers, but even still, I find that working while streaming is still keeping me a LOT more focused than my usual workflow!

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