Possession 2: Where things stand

Well, still no progress on the “post every week” front.

I started working on Possession 2 in November of last year. I’d hoped to get it out in less than a year, but things aren’t looking like that’s going to happen. Of course, January through April I was working 50+ hours a week at my “real” jobs, so I can’t really be too hard on myself about it. After all, if you look at it like that, it hasn’t really been a year, right? (Excuses, excuses…)

Onto some good news, though, I think things are close to being ready for another public alpha release, to play around with some of the new creature and levels. This one will be much more “complete” than the previous ones, with no ASCII stand-ins in graphics mode and more things in their “final” places.

On the "polish" front, I've made the new menu a lot more appealing. Graphical and ASCII versions for comparison.

On the “polish” front, I’ve made the main menu a lot more appealing. Graphical and ASCII versions for comparison.

In the final game, you’ll have to go through 10 levels (well, 11 if you count the final level) each time you play. I’d originally planned on adding 16 themed special levels, two each for levels 2-9, and the game would either pick one of the special levels or make it a “generic” level (which still has a lot of variety: each generic level has its own set of monsters, and they’re randomly chosen to be wide-open caves or rooms-and-corridors, can have lava, water or chasms running through them, or can be a forest). Levels 1 and 10 will be special levels in their own right, but the same special level each time, though still randomly generated.

Unfortunately, to be able to get the game out sooner, I’m thinking I’m going to have to cut it back to one special level per level at first, for a total of 8. Of course, each level will also have their “generic” version too. Considering I’ve got five special levels “done” (at least before I get testing and feedback), that puts me significantly closer to that goal. I’d probably release the 8 other special levels later in a free update. The five levels I have finished are the Tombs, the Sewers, the Eldritch City, the Swamp, and the Tavern. They’re all pretty different, and all have unique creatures, level features and bosses that go with them.

Click the images for larger versions:


I’ve broken it down to the major things I need to do before final beta testing. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something that I’ll add to the list later, but for now I have:

  • Final level and ending – There’s going to be a different ending in Possession 2 than the first game, and I need to implement it and make the game winnable.
  • Saving – Saving broke when I redid how some things are stored on the back end, and I need to fix it. I’d also like to add in support for multiple save games, which the original didn’t have.
  • Fixed Settings Screen – This screen hasn’t been updated since Possession 1. I need to add in new settings and keybindings, and make the screen look better.
  • High Score/Stats Screen – Mainly just need to make it look better. The game also tracks more stats across games (total possessions, ability use, etc.), so I need to set this screen up to show those.
  • Monsters for all generic levels – Each level has at least 5 different monsters, so I need a total of 50 (there will be more monsters than 50 in the game, of course, since special levels have their own sets of creatures). I’ve finished enough to fill up 8 levels. This is what I’ve been focusing on most recently, and shouldn’t take too long to knock out. I’ve got plenty of creature ideas, I just need to implement them.
  • 8 special levels – As said before, I’ve got 5 done, and have started on others, so more than halfway done on this front.
  • Sounds – The sound system is in. Abilities can have sounds associated with them, and creatures have death and notice sounds. The issue now is finding sounds to go with them! I’ve made some progress, but this could end up being pretty time consuming depending on how easy/hard it is to find good sounds that match the tone of the game.

So, all in all, while I haven’t made as much progress on the game as I’d have liked, progress is still being made. This is my first project of this scope, so I don’t really feel too bad about underestimating how much it would take. From what I understand, everyone underestimates how long software development takes, even people who’ve done it for years. Cutting back on content is not something I’m terribly happy about, but I think it’s what needed to be done at this point.

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