As promised here is a video showing how fast loading a game is. It is lacking in audio commentary, and for that I apologize. But it’s better than a wall of text, and I pledge that I shall lend my voice to the next video.
I am pretty happy with this, as it is almost instantaneous, and it includes loading the entire world and preparing it for game play. As the graphics improve, this will probably slow down, as there will be time required to pre-process some of the graphical elements, but it should stay close to this speed. It can be nice looking at pretty loading screens – but since I don’t have any of those yet, and there’s a lot of other things to spend the art budget on, fast loading is a must.
This week I’ve been fixing bugs in the load/save code, improving the dungeon mechanics, and adding province search mechanics. As you explore a province, there will still be secrets hidden in the wilderness after you’ve mapped out everything. Sending your followers to search the province, preferably the ones with relevant skills and professions, and they will discover any hidden dungeons, monster lairs, bandit camps, ancient ruins, etc. You then send parties of intrepid heroes to explore these locations. And if all goes well, the reward is a climatic battle with the dungeon boss, a parlay with the bandit king, the opportunity for an archaeological excavation, etc.
This create a game play mechanic of layered exploration, that I’m really fond of. As the game progresses, events may occur that make a new search relevant. Perhaps there are rumors of monstrous beings emerging from the realm below, a cult may be constructing a fortress in the mountains, enemy agents may be hiding in the country side, you might send out prospectors to find new sources of iron, etc. It’s important to avoid the late-game dearth of exploration opportunities that sometimes occur in strategy games, while avoiding turning this mechanic into an annoying whack-a-mole.
Hopefully in a week or two, I’ll be able to present a video with audio commentary on the different aspects of the game, as well as some new game play elements and their UI. Beta is also getting closer – and it is still my plan to launch it before summer is over.