Thursday morning it occurred to me that today would mark the 4 year anniversary of the start of my work on The Imperial Realm :: Miranda which made me think, "it's about time I put up some real, unretouched in-game screenshots."
I've been experimenting with the UI quite a bit. It's funny playing other peoples' RTS games now, because if they don't have WASD screen scrolling it drives me crazy. You'll notice that the first screenshot has no UI in it. After playing Skyrim, I kind of appreciate the no-hud aesthetic so right now the hud only appears if you hold down a key. I am going to make it react intelligently to ingame events, so if a new enemy comes in range, the minimap will appear. If a friend comes online, a little notification will appear for a moment. I'm not sure how this will work out yet - I suspect many players will just lock the HUD onscreen and go from there. Playtesting will tell.
One thing I discovered while taking these screenshots is that Alt-Printscreen is terrible in an OpenGL full-screen. I was trying to catch an image that gave an idea of what the moving screen looks like so timing had to be precise. As it turns out, Alt-Printscreen takes a screenshot of when you switched to the app not when you press Alt-Printscreen. So about 30 minutes of frustrating attempts to get a good result ended in me downloading Fraps which worked perfectly and also saved me the step of pasting the screenshot into Gimp.
Contemplating the length of time I've been working on this game, I spent a few minutes this week looking at other indie games with long gestations. Phil Fish spent five years on Fez and had a pretty tough time of it, although he admits that a lot of that is his own doing. I think I'm a bit more like his programmer - reasonably well balanced. Having a family really helps with balance. There's a nice piece on the difficulties of making of Fez at Gamasutra. I also read that Jonathan Blow spent three years and $200,000 of his own money on Braid. That makes me feel a bit better since I haven't spent nearly that much yet.
The game has come a long way from its first screenshot.
We were unable to retrieve our session cookie from your web browser. If pressing F5 once to reload this page does not get rid of this message, please read this to learn more.
You will not be able to post until you resolve this problem.