Friday, July 10, 2009

Island Commander Released!

How I imagined the game in my head

This is NOT what the game looks like,
but may do if I have enough time

One thing I remember reading on Joel Spolsky's blog something about "don't alienate your audience by releasing buggy software too early" (or something along those lines). I've always been curious how this works with the open-source mantra of "release early, release often", but I'll save that discussion for another day.

Anyway, with that in mind, I'm using the Google trick of making it beta, so if there are any bugs I can easily explain them away. I haven't actually found any, and the last fews days has been spent balancing the game and improving the AI, which plays a mean game.

Talking about the AI, I'd appreciate if someone else could give me feedback. I think it's getting easier to beat, but that might be because I am so awesome (and have had lots of practise since I've played it about a gazillion times).

So anyway, the Island Commander can be played! Point your browser to and strap yourself down. All feedback welcome, of course.


qubodup said...

I like it. It seems the game freezes when I'm winning though.

Also if the current sprites are ripped, consider using these.

Anonymous said...

Release early, release often doesn't mean release before it's ready. Early means get something solid out as soon as possible wielding the minimum amount of "major" features. Often means keep iterating your program with features user's want and release it ASAP. In both cases it means only releasing solid code. Not buggy code.

Steve said...

I'll have a look at the freezing issues, though I've never had that problem myself. If I can't find the solution, I'll just blame it on the "advanced AI having a sulk."

Steve said...

Oh, and thanks for the graphics links - I'll add them to the game.

Bryan said...

Most professional development companies classify and prioritize their bugs. Then they allocate a certain amount of time in their development cycle to fixing bugs. If a feature breaks a previous feature / higher priority feature, it gets removed for the current release.

zorful said...

Potentially fun concept, though the balance is imho wrong - the cash is generated too slow (the computer seems to generate it faster than the player btw). And somehow my units are slashed to pieces very fast though his aren't even in one on one melee.

Tweak the balance a little and it'll be great even in this proof-of-concept stage :)

BTW, I think you should simply state what excactly you've released and it'll be fine.

Steve said...

You've got a good point - I imagine a lot of people are put of cos it looks like they've got no money at the start, and it doesn't look like it's increasing. I've changed it now so that it does show that it is increasing. I'm still fine tuning the balance though.

However, I can assure you that the computer gets money only as quickly as the player. Maybe the reason it seems your units are cut to shreds is because the computer has Missile Silo's? They do double damage compared to everything else.

zorful said...

Is the speed of cash generation dependent on the cell color? How does the controlled area propagate?

Now concentrating on silos works like a charm. In fact I'm not sure if it's a good thing. But I still recommend increasing cash generation speed - in fact you can make it configurable in options. Also, I think it would be great if units would regenerate over time (if they do, they do it very slow).

The update function happens too rarely (Is that what you fixed? It seems everything is as it was).

Steve said...

Sorry, I should have said that I haven't actually released it yet, I've only changed my dev version (which is available via svn - see the IC website). Once you've seen the new version (I'll update the release tonight) let me know about the cash update. I think if I increase it any more, it'll turn it into a frenetic arcade game as the player tries to spend the constantly replenished cash!

To answer your other questions:- All cells provide the same rate of cash, but cells can run out of ore - the lighter the cells, the more ore there is. And units don't currently regenerate. However, I was thinking of having different factions, a'la Starcraft, and some factions have this ability.

zorful said...

Aha, so lighter color means more ore. That makes it more interesting.

What's wrong about being a frenetic arcade game? Starcraft certainly feels like it at times :)

MrZaphod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MrZaphod said...

Hi - the latest changes make the game a lot more fun.

I'm finding the only/best way to win is being the first player to deploy a tank/airplane, when you get close to the enemy mines, by the time the AI has reacted you have enough money for the next tank/airplane and the rest is history. I've tended to not bother with missile silos.

Two suggestions:
- Make the AI keep gold back in order to reactively place a defensive unit when first attacked - however this will have to be balanced with initial expansion.
- Maybe try and give the mines a few more hit points - give both sides a bit more time to place defenses when attacked.

Sorry about the deleted post - it had a very bad typo!

Steve said...

MrZaphod, what a great idea. I came across the problem myself earlier yesterday - the first person to attack invariably wins - but I couldn't think of an easy solution. But increasing the HP of the mines seems to have done the trick. I've just uploaded the latest version (0.4 beta) with this implented.