Meta #1 - Alpha Release & The Future

Hey, welcome! I hope you have been well. After a few years of on and off work, Pilgrimage of Embers was finally released on February 1st. I'll go into more detail in a section below.


Alpha Release

For those who have had time to play Pilgrimage of Embers, thank you for participating in the alpha release. A little over fourty people received usernames and keys. Fifty people signed up, although some had invalid emails and no social media links, so they could not be given it.

The bug reports and constructive criticism sent by the players has been immensely appreciated. I've enjoyed reading your responses. One person even messaged me as he played it, which was really fun to read. Most computers were able to run the launcher and game with no issues, although some couldn't. It was really valuable experience for me to think of solutions why it was crashing on start.

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I'm a bit of a perfectionist, a trait I'm trying to balance out. There are a lot of areas that needed improvements, but if I waited until they were complete, I would have never released. So, that's why there are flaws (and you hear me mention that in other places).

I'm self-critical, so I often don't appreciate what is finished, but focus on what needs to be done. If you've talked to me, you know I've always talked like this when asked about Pilgrimage of Embers. I've decided to mix it up a bit by talking about what I personally love about my game, mentioning nothing negative. In no particular order:

  • Flora & Fauna. The palewood trees, with their autumn-like leaves. All the flowers and herbs, and how they sway in the wind. The rabbits, both soot and ashwhite variants. The insects are really fun to watch, too.
  • User Interfaces. The inventory (and quickslots by extension). I love the items, which have good names and great icons. Offerings UI, Ore Smelting UI, and Brewing UI are nicely put together.
  • Lore & Characters. I have yet to put any of this in, so you won't know what I'm talking about. I love the location names, descriptions, and how they connect together. The characters feel alive (even the dead ones). The timeline from the beginning of the world is solid and well-planned, and will be a strong foundation. The past is important for the direction of the future. It's the "seed" of a story.
  • Code. I have written some good code for Pilgrimage of Embers over the past few years, like particles, audio, game objects, AI, weather, etc.
  • Launcher. If I can count this as a part of the experience, it's my best written software, both in user experience, code, and creativity.

The Future

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I'm going to take some time off from working on Pilgrimage of Embers. It's been quite a few years since I started this journey, and I have learned a lot. This was my first real game project, and I'm proud that I was able to get it to an alpha stage. Don't worry, this won't be permanent. I love the world I've created, and I want to keep improving it. Unfortunately, I feel it's in my best interest if I work on different, much smaller scale projects.

For the bug reports you have submitted, I will likely update the game one more time to fix them. The alpha won't discontinue, so you can download any time. I love the launcher, and want to continue using it. I plan to re-code it to support multiple games, split into two tabs: one for alphas, and one for prototypes. This ties in with the section below.

With that, I'll change how my Patreon page is structured to a multi-game format and back to monthly subscription. I'm decent at making games, but making communities isn't my expertise (yet). It would be incredible if a community of people who love my games joined together.

Finally, I'm going to write more meta posts (kinda like this one!). These will be various articles where I talk about a specific process, whether that is in art, coding, or game development. I hope it will help other creators in some way.


An Improved Creation Process

I need to drastically improve my process for creating games. I'm not absolutely certain how that looks, but I know some key points:

1. Planning. This is both for planning small features, and making sure they actually fit into the game. I often did the former, but the latter less so. The result of this was a game that had some great UIs, but didn't necessarily match up well design-wise. I should truly define the "core" of the game, and stick to it. PoE underwent quite a few lore, world, and plot design changes. This caused a few features already coded to become obsolete.
2. Prototyping. This is step would be putting the planning step into action, usually through coding. I will try to be okay with using "programmer art". I will set a timeframe to code it. If it's not fun or playable by the end of that, then move on. The one feature that would have made Pilgrimage of Embers truly engaging is combat, but I saved that until the end, so the core experience I wanted to portray suffered.
3. Early Feedback. After the game has reached a playable state, upload it for others to try! This will tie in with the improved launcher I mentioned earlier.


If you have any ideas, constructive criticism, or just want to tell me how much you dislike my projects, you can: Send me an email, tweet @TheShyyGuy, gab to @ShyyGuy, comment on the Facebook page, or respond in the comment section below.

Do you want to support the developer? Here's what you can do:

  1. Become a Patron here!
  2. Tell your friends and family about my projects!
  3. Retweetrepost, and share the content that you like!

Thank you for reading!

From Enckling, with love.