After some Asteroids Millennium-related stuff got taken care of (a bug here, an extra feature there), I experienced a day or so of mental peace where I felt absolutely no desire to work on any projects at all. I was peaceful and content, and it was horrible and boring.
Eventually, though, the desire to build something – anything – resurfaced with a fiery vengeance like last night’s curry and once again I knew no peace. Fortunately, because this is my normal mental state, I knew precisely how to deal with it: I started drawing up plans, prototypes, and mock-ups for a few different game designs, wondering what to work on next. While I won’t deny that I came up with some ideas that I would love to explore later in the far future, none of them really grabbed hold of me as much as the idea of working on Gateway again.
By now, I had learned a lot from Asteroids Millennium, which I considered to be very well organized. This was mainly just architectural stuff, the types of logs to keep, asset munging, etc., and it made me painfully aware that Gateway was lagging far behind what I now considered to be a sound structure, in terms of both code and project organization, at least for myself. So, for my first task, I dug my hands up to the elbows into Gateway‘s deepest, lowest dungeons of satanic code and vowed to cleanse the demons even if it was the last thing I did.
After a few part-time weeks of refactoring and some excessive use of the backspace key, I brought Gateway up to my Asteroids Millennium standards, or at least pretty close. And it felt good.
“Now,” I said to myself, rolling my sleeves up even further, “enough of this screenshot nonsense. Let’s post a full demo video and get this sucker to official alpha status.”
I’m not going to get into the development details, but it suffices to say that I once again exorcised my code into something fully playable. This included adding a few new minor features (such as the ability to destroy entire cruisers, which I always thought the game badly needed), improving existing features, and some performance optimizations. I also found an idiotic bug in my level editor that I’m amazed didn’t snap me in the ass until now.
Gateway is officially alpha, and here’s a game play video of a special demo mission that doesn’t appear in the single-player campaign. Oh, and it’s not called Gateway anymore, either. Apparently that’s the name of an interactive fiction video game from 1992. So I’ve tentatively renamed the entire project Hypergate, which sounds way cooler and probably won’t buy me a lawsuit. Surprise!