Today, May 24, 2020, in the middle of quarantine, I would like to announce that I have completed the Main Quest for The Ditty of Carmeana. One can now start the game, and play through to the end (of what I’m planning to release, anyway), and hit every point in the Main Quest.
As such, I am entering a “soft freeze” phase of development. The soft freeze means the Main Quest is fixed; I will be making no more content for the Main Quest.
It’s only a soft freeze because I still intend to develop more content for Side Quests, and for generally fleshing out the detail in the game, and for a few minor things I patched over in the Main Quest. Since I’ve been focusing on the Main Quest, I haven’t been doing things like fleshing out towns. I have several towns but they aren’t really towns, per se. There are not enough shops, characters, money-making opportunities, or goodies. I still have to create content for all that.
(Fun story: when I played through the game from start to finish, I found out that, due to the way I set things up, there were insufficient ways for Lance to earn enough money to buy things he needed for the Main Quest. I never noticed this during development because I have a developer key that can give me as much money as I want. In my playthrough, I had to rely on some backhanded ways to make progress in a few places. It wasn’t cheating, since I was planning to have those backhanded ways exist in the real game. But still, I need to let the player advance without neeting too much creative thinking.)
Furthermore, there is a whole lot of revising, bug testing, and odds and ends to get to. A whole lot. The game isn’t close to even beta quality. It still crashes here and there (though it’s far more stable then during some earlier stages).
But as for the Main Quest, it’s pretty much done.
Fair warning: the last time I implemented a feature freeze was in 2012, to get the game ready for a Demo. The very last new content I put into the game were the Rickroll and the background music. After this, it took me two years of just fixing bugs and improving the interface until I had the game ready for a Demo release.
This release will have about 4-5 times as much content as the demo, so, yeah, there’s a lot of fixing things up left to do. In fairness, a lot of the time I spent getting the Demo ready was just getting the control scheme right, and I don’t have to do that again. It’s not a linear thing; a lot factors affect how much time it takes to finish bugs. But don’t think I’m almost done. I’m not.
And one last point. With one possible minor exception, this progress report is the one and only progress report I’m going to give you until I have a release date. So enjoy it.