The Path —— Status Report January 2009

January 5th, 2009 by Michael

We did it! We achieved beta stage right at the end of the year. What a relief! The game is done! Of course we still need to check it thoroughly on different computers and fix any errors that come up. Hopefully we don’t run into any serious issues.

As expected, December was quite stressful. But it was also a race to the finish. So the end was always in sight -even if at times it seemed like we weren’t going to make it. It was just a matter of doing that last effort to get there.

We had a few more alpha-tests in the beginning of the month. But most of the time was spent on tweaking and polishing interactions and systems and finalizing the assets. The game looks really nice now. Even the final part, inside Grandmother’s House, that nobody has really seen yet in its full splendor.

It’s funny how, when the remaining time becomes really short, cutting features becomes very easy. Simply because a lot of things have become impossible to implement due to the time they require to produce or the risk they pose to the stability of the project. At some point, it felt like for every issue that we would fix, two other things would break. So as time runs out, to some extent you need to stop fixing things. Or at least evaluate and prioritize. Under the pressure of time, it becomes very easy to see which features are important and which are not. And we were lucky that the most important things were done already.

That doesn’t mean that The Path is perfect. Several systems and visual elements could definitely be improved. But this is a low budget production and we simply cannot do everything that a big developer can. We hope that our audience cuts us some slack and that the uniqueness of the experience makes up for the weak points in the game.

I must admit that playing demo’s of triple A games on our Playstation 3 Christmas present has made me feel a lot more confident in this area. There’s a lot of things that The Path simply does better than those multi-million $€£ productions. It could just be me, of course. I guess I don’t exactly like a lot of videogames. If so, I hope there’s many people like me out there.

We took a few days off around the holidays. And crunch time is now officially over. Working after dinner is not allowed anymore. We’re slowly attempting to get our lives back.

I hope the beta-testing does not reveal any annoying situations. Because I’m really looking forward to working with the game rather than on it. Creating marketing materials, figuring out how to advertise, finding partners to distribute the game, etc. It all seems like a vacation after such a long period of hardship! :)