January 1, 2011


Aurora is "done". All intended features and all 15 levels have been implemented. The word gets scare quotes, however, because I keep playing and finding little things to tweak. The highlights around the suns have gotten reworked. The mouse wheel zooming has been made smoother. The behavior of the stars on the menu has been tweaked (and tweaked, and tweaked).

Every time I play I find something new that I want to change, but I don't think that's a negative. I really enjoy what I've created, and I'm satisfied more and more with every change. I don't think everyone will like what I've made, but I'm pretty confident for the first time that my game is objectively good, if such a thing exists.

One out-of-the-ordinary major feature I added is a "speed mode", in which the suns create units four times faster and the units themselves move over ten times faster. The slow pace of Aurora was a core part of the original artistic intent, but once the fundamentals of the game have been mastered at a slow pace, that slowness turns into sluggishness and only serves as a barrier to gameplay. The speed mode gets unlocked after the player wins 10 levels, so the slow part is unavoidable. Also, the game records and reports the record victory times when speed mode is activated. It ends up adding a lot of longer-term value to the game, I think.

I've already drafted a website for Aurora, though it undoubtedly needs work. The next step is to craft a good installer for the game (no trivial task). Then, I need to make a kickass (or, at least, not-embarrassing) trailer video to advertise the game. Then, I plan to enlist a bunch of help for beta testing. If it's installing and running well on the vast majority of systems, I launch. The current release plan is to give away the game and hope to make money later. Call it the dot-com approach.

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