Right now we’re finding bugs and tuning the game. What exactly does that mean?
Liana stressed one of the game’s new features (using it as much as possible in a complete game), and wrote up a bunch of issues: it was inconsistent, wasn’t clear enough, didn’t feel like good value for the cost, and felt too generic. So I reviewed what was going on. Some of the inconsistency was actually just feedback and advice that was out of date. I added a new way to see all the effects. There are new side effects to help add value. And there is now the possibility of interactive results instead of a boilerplate response. These are new situations that need to be exhaustively tested, so that’s now on Kati’s plate. Some of these changes needed to be mentioned in the manual, too.
Liana had previously played a game where her main goal was to increase the size of the clan. I had fixed some of the specific bugs this revealed, and also started applying some new consequences and activated a new scene I had written the previous week.
I tracked down and fixed a bug which could make the game unplayable if you made peace with a clan right before it was scheduled to raid you (due to previous events).
Another timing bug (reported by a playtester) had to do with when the followup for an omen occurred. And another was a possible conflict with the seasonal calendar (you might be willing to ignore the harvest, but would your allies?).
One bug had to do with dead emissaries returning with gifts. This seemed like an issue that could happen in scenes other than the one it was reported for, so I swept the entire code and found another six places.
One game had very few raids. I looked at the logs and data, and made some adjustments to what are probably the underlying causes. (Raids look at many factors, such as relative strength and different aspects of inter-clan relationships.)
While playing, I was surprised not to get a relevant bit of advice on one situation. The exact set of advisors makes a huge difference on what advice is given, as does the context in the story, but I ended up changing the priority of one advice type. In theory this is a big change, but I believe it is more in line with how Robin and I used that type. We’ll need to play for a while and make sure you still get good advice.
A conversation with Zack sparked an idea that I need to implement this week.
By the end of the week, there were bugs relating to the new interactive results, so I fixed those.
And there were a number of typos and text edits.
So that’s a fairly typical week of polishing a game which is at the alpha stage.