Development Diary #8

Refilling the Magic Well

Over the last two weeks I have allowed myself to enjoy things outside of my obsession of Kingdoms of Immacus. I feel a little guilty about this, which is funny to me because since this project is so massive, a few weeks of leisure is a drop in the bucket as far as time dedicated to the project goes. Nevertheless, I feel it is important to take breaks every now and then to refill the well of creative juices so to speak. This is important to the creative process because it allows you to reflect and be inspired by others and their work. Last week I took a trip to Utah, which was fun and allowed me to pull the plug on my constant attachment to my laptop. This week I decided to get back into some gaming, which has been a really fun, and a treat I haven't allowed myself in a long time.

With this week of fun, I have decided to mix up my development process a little bit. Firstly, I don't think it's healthy to obsess over everything that needs to get done. It doesn't make the process go any quicker, it only stresses me out to the point that the game becomes a chore to develop. Secondly, fun is important, and since I work two jobs, I haven't allowed myself to have much of it. So, I will allow myself Saturday night to veg out guilt-free and sprinkle in some fun time throughout the week. Maybe an hour or two a night. My Starbucks time will be for Kingdoms of Immacus, which gives me nearly three hours to focus and progress on the game. The biggest change I think will be the lunch time playtesting torture tests.

Much of the progress of the game relies on the foundation and the cards to stop changing. Therefore, I need to torture test the game. This is what I plan to do during my lunches from now on until I am completely happy with the Xizeks and Ethereals. There have been some minor card changes, and I want to finish these minor changes before moving on to the Astracites. These changes are more or less refinement, and represents a beta form of game development, though the game as a whole is very much in alpha stage. Basically, I want to fine tune the game with the first two races before fixing the rest of the cards to match what mechanic changes there are. I haven't reached the mechanic freeze portion of the game yet, so I am hesitant to format all the cards with impending changes afoot.

As I take the time to refill my magic well, it will allow me some non-obsessive reflection on the game on what I want to change and where I want to go with it. With some of this well-filling time, I have come to the conclusion I need to switch up some of my artists that are not following the vision of my game as closely as I am instructing them to do. This is my fault for trying to fit an artist's style into a style that may not mesh perfectly with my direction for the game. The hard truth is that I am just a single person trying to fund an immensely expensive project, so I have had to make concessions in places I didn't want to. None of this is super bad, but making a AAA game with a B budget is rough. Nevertheless, the domains are coming out great and fit the theme of the game perfectly. The rule book is looking great, and the revamped kingdom crests I am working on are going to be great as well. I found a few artists I may want to reach out to as well, so there is progress. I'll update a few more times this month, but I'm off to find some more magic for my well.

-Jonathan Flike

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