“Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” – Development Progress for Hand-Drawn 3D Indie Game

It’s been a long time since I did a blog post. Which, really, is how it should be, I made way too many posts before. Again, this is because I am very busy finishing “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth,” which I planned for completion in August (next month).

It’s been a bit over 30 days since the hand-drawn 3d puzzle platformer has been on Steam Greenlight. It’s made some progress, although the biggest jumps it makes to the top 100 games comes every two weeks when Steam greenlight’s a giant batch of games. It’s nice to get those popular games, some of which have been there for a long time, out of the way, but it’s not exactly how I hoped to get my game passed. And I’m still confused as to exactly how Steam compares games to be in the “top 100,” as I expect it isn’t just number of visitors or number of “up” votes. Anywho, if you haven’t yet given the page a look, progress has slowed to a crawl, and I’d appreciate a visitor and a vote, either yes or no: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=268645572

And how exactly is progress on “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth?” I’m happy to say that, since my last post, I have completed about half of the levels (both design, look and lighting). The lighting and look of the levels hasn’t actually changed too much, but is slightly more refined, and a couple bugs tuned out. And animation for Drew and the one other character, a talking bird that guides you, have been completed. Well, I’d like to add a idle animation or two for variety, but I’ll consider that a last-minute thing.

Second character in "Drew and the Floating Labyrinth" - a talking bird

Second character in “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” – a talking bird

I was worried about that level design, as I spent so much time focusing on purely character animation that I left that to the side for a long time. Thankfully, the levels aren’t too difficult to make (yes, they look incredibly simple to make, but the functionality takes a couple hours per level). The levels left to complete are the more difficult ones for the player (which may require more creativity) and the story-driven ones (which may definitely take time), but still on track.

A variety of puzzle types in this platformer, all not too challenging.

A variety of puzzle types in this platformer, all not too challenging.

I’ve also started working on dialogue, an optional way to see the story unfold as you play the game. I’ve about finished writing a “script” (roughly eight pages of text), and am soon planning to cast the two main characters. Don’t contact me just yet if you want to provide voice acting, I already have a least a couple contacts who’ve offered (although if you desperately want to take part, it couldn’t hurt). Music hasn’t been updated in the slightest, I’ll have to start looking at that very soon. In worst case, I can still rely on using the freely available work by Kevin Macleod and company, at http://freepd.com/ . It’s very good music, but I like to pay something to anyone who helps with my work, either I could find a way to donate to these artists or lookup other music available to buy rights to use. I’ll start looking at that soon.

The ending will explain a lot about these two...

The ending will explain a lot about these two…

Also, I had submitted my early game demo to a number of contests and submissions (all the ones here, except the Unity-Windows contest, which might have been the easiest if not for the requirement to submit my game for publication on the Windows store weeks before the deadline), including Indie Megabooth, who has regretfully not enough space to show my game as I found out this week. Thankfully, they were incredibly kind and encouraging, and linked to a great collection of other game-dev deadlines that I’ll use a lot more often. Not all of them easy to submit to, but a deadline to SIGGRAPH seems perfect for my game, and there’s just enough time for me to polish a large chunk of the game by then.

As I sit here, my game about 50% complete, standing back to look at it, I’m hopeful. Between the level design, the animation and the dialogue for the story, I think this is going to be a fantastic indie game. Better than I hoped for. At the same time, I’m my greatest critic, and think it doesn’t stand up to most indie games that actually get finished and released. And I also know that I would have obvious bias both for and against my own game, so I don’t know what to think. But truly, after months of development, I’m more excited than ever for the potential of this game, and I’m so close to completing it, a project that I have more pride in than anything else I’ve done in my lifetime. And I can’t wait to show you more.

Oh, and that “August” deadline… can I really finish this game in the next three-to-six weeks? I think so. Despite only being 50% done, I’m still certain I can absolutely finish “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” by early-mid August. Actually releasing the game might be more problematic (I have to actually submit the game to other proper retailers besides Steam and hope they accept it), but even then a late-August 2014 release is very likely. Time to rock-and-roll.