The Cavalry Has Arrived

March 5th, 2011

I’ve been doing a pretty good job lately holding procrastination at bay, and as a result my SFK game is coming together at a decent pace. I’m a hair’s breadth away from completing all the units. I just finished modeling the Cossack, the last of the unique units, so the only thing left is some post processing and the General unit. Originally I planned to make a few additional units specific to some of the other maps, but file size concerns have gotten in the way. I’m aiming to keep the game under 10 MB, and that’s going to be hard enough as it is. The addition of variable color layers has nearly doubled animation file sizes from what they were in ADoE. Thankfully though, I don’t really need variable colors on unique units. I’m also brushing up against the limitations of Flash in other areas, so sometime soon I may have to start looking at other platforms. Unity definitely looks promising, though I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it during the two group projects I’ve used it in. UI implementation especially seems nothing short of retarded for someone coming from a Flash background.

There are other intriguing options as well. I’ve had some exposure to XNA on a game jam project, and it looks pretty reasonable, but getting on to XBox Live Arcade sounds like a hassle. Without doubt the phone/tablet market is the most inviting place for an indie developer who isn’t interested in Facebook games. And in that arena the choice lies between taking the somewhat more difficult and expensive plunge into the Macverse or betting on an emerging market like Android. Although I have heard rumors of a development application that can compile into both formats. I’ll have to investigate whether such a thing truly exists. Regardless, anything involving the iPhone would mean getting a Mac, a prospect I’m not too fond of.

But for the time being I am still a flash guy, and I’m still committed to making a sequel for SFK, so long as it isn’t a complete flop. And I really don’t think that’ll be the case; it’s already quite a lot of fun to play. It took me quite a while to tweak the strategic AI, but it puts up a solid fight now. AI-to-AI fighting is also nicely dynamic and unpredictable. On the Europe map there are some factions like the Arabs, Russians and Byzantines that tend to do very well, but even they do get swamped sometimes. Even seemingly minor powers like the Spanish and Vikings occasionally go on to create huge empires.

But perhaps you could all use a visual to understand what I’m talking about, so here’s a small icon for the Europe map with faction starting areas colored in. To make the title of this post a little more relevant, there’s also some horsey guys included.

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