It’s been about two months since the last time I gave any updates on how Chaintanks is going and I have some free time, so now is a good time to finally put out an update on what I’ve done so far. Since my last update, I’ve gotten a fair bit of work done, though not as much as I’d hoped for.
The largest task that I’ve finished has been the completion of all the UI in the game. After getting feedback from people I reordered the UI so the upgrade screen comes first. People new to the game will no longer be able to jump into the game without being seeing the upgrade screen first. I also added a tutorial that takes the player through the process of buying upgrades for their tank. The tutorial forces the player to spend all their scrap before moving on, which should ensure that the player knows how to upgrade their vehicle before they proceed.
I also created all of the final UI art. All of the game’s UI is now in a shippable state!
I also implemented the in game pause menu, audio sliders, and even a colorblind mode. Colorblind mode took a little longer than I expected due to a few bugs that cropped up with it, but I didn’t have to make any new art since I was able to substitute the existing police vehicle art in place of the red enemies in colorblind mode.
I also implemented saved games, which took a LOT less time than I thought it was going to! The implementation is pretty hacky – I’m just saving out json into Unity’s PlayerPrefs object, which is really easy for the user to manipulate if they want to cheat. I don’t really care too much about stopping someone from cheating though, and if they really want to I don’t really see a reason to stop them – there are no online leaderboards or anything that can be manipulated, so if they really want to then I might as well let them.
I finally implemented the end game screen, which isn’t remarkable on it’s own, but the fact that I’d neglected to do it up until this point was. I also changed a few more things based on player feedback – turrets now always face directly towards the cursor rather than rotating slowly towards where the player is aiming. This makes the guns feel much snappier, which suits the game much better than the old way.
Players can also now reconnect to dead tail vehicles by simply running over them. Previously, losing the second or third vehicle was very punishing since it meant losing most of your chain. With this change that’s no longer the case; you can now recover much more easily from losing those vehicles. I still have to make them get picked up automatically at the end of a mission, however. I wouldn’t want a player to finish the mission with detached tails and lose them.
There really isn’t much work left to do actually! The only large tasks are redoing the explosion animations, adding proper sound and music, and adding difficulty settings. Even these tasks are not ‘large’ compared to what I’ve already done. I plan on finding either free or cheap music and sounds, and the other two tasks shouldn’t take more than a few hours in total. There are also a few polish items and bug fixes I have yet to do.
In theory, I feel like I could have the game done within a month, though it’ll probably take a bit longer than that.
The reason for why my progress has been so slow is that lately I’ve been feeling a little bit burnt out on working on Chaintanks. I don’t feel awful about working on it, but I haven’t been enjoying it as much as I did earlier on. Even still, with how close I am to finishing it I know I can push through to completing it, and that doing so will be very valuable even if it isn’t a good game.
I think there are a few reasons I’m feeling burnt out. The first is what I’ve already mentioned in my last post; the game just isn’t good. It’s hard to stay motivated to work on a bad game, but it’ll be far more valuable to me to complete something than to leave behind yet another dead project.
The second is that I’m not entirely happy in my day job at the moment. It’s not by any means awful, but this has been building for a while. The reasons why are outside the scope of this blog, and though I may write on it at some point, I’ll just say that my feelings there are beginning to leech outside of work a bit.
The last reason isn’t actually a bad thing – I’ve started to actually build more of a social life, which is totally unrelated to gamedev but still has been taking some time away from it. My time has been stretched as far as it can possibly go, and setting time aside to work on Chaintanks is getting a little harder. I think with time, however, I’ll get better at dividing up my free time and this won’t be as much of a problem.
In any case, the new year is just a couple days away, and I hope to bash out the last few bits of this game as soon as I can and be ready to move on to whatever comes next!