I don’t ever know how a game will turn out before release. There are times when I feel like, yes, these game mechanics are gonna work out fantastic. Until other people play the game, of course.
Not many others have played Neptune Gasoline- it’s still in an alpha state and not ready for beta testing yet, and in fact Sara (artist for the game) and Jonathan (music composer) have simply gotten builds to make sure their work is meshing well with the game…but the little input I’ve gotten has really gone a long way.
To begin with, the game is much, much faster now. I can’t even look at the old gameplay video without shaking my head at how slow that game seemed to be. The movement is faster, the gameplay is faster, everything works nicely. (fun fact: at one point I panicked and wondered if speed was really the way to go, so I turned it into a strategy turn based game. That lasted approximately one day before I threw that idea in the trash. :p)
The game will have over fifty stages to complete, set on twelve different stations on Neptune. Some of the features mentioned in the first reveal have been shuffled around- instead of buying gas pumps and equipment, the game will automatically supply you with what you need on each stage. The reason for this was to avoid the kind of balancing issues that the Oil Blue seemed to have later on in the game. I feel better when I’m in control with the player’s difficulty level, rather than throwing all the elements out there and hoping the game randomly chooses the right combination. There’s certainly a time and place for that kind of game mechanic, but I don’t think it fits with this game. And with the buying mechanic gone, so is earning profits, since you wouldn’t have anything to spend it on anyways. It’s a very mainstreamed kind of game: I want to get the player into the fun as quick as possible. I think the Oil Blue took a bit too long to do that.
I haven’t announced a release date yet, though I do have one I know I want to target. The art is essentially done, the music is being made, and I’m building the tutorial over the weekend (the worst part of making any game, quite honestly). When I announce the release date, I want to be able to have a nice trailer and a smattering of screenshots. But we’re still in alpha phase, still changing components around, so I don’t feel comfortable putting the gameplay in final video form just yet. It’ll get there soon.
I will put the date in perspective: I know that if I don’t release the game by mid October, I will have to hold it back until next year, because I don’t want the game lost in the huge holiday releases (plus I know how hard it is to get a hold of reviewers around that time, as it was with Spirits of Metropolis). I really, really really do NOT want to hold the game over till next year. So, take that as you will. 🙂
Till next time!