Weeew lad this is taking a while. At the current rate I'm only completing one checkpoint per day. 9 more maps to go, 10 checkpoints each = 90 day! 3 more months till the campaign is done! It sure takes a long time to create interesting puzzles.
Of course it won't actually take that long. Most of my time right is spent coding in new features. I'm getting some massive feature creep going. I start working on a new stage and think.. hmm what would a cool puzzle be here? Then end up spending all day coding in some new functionality to make it work. I mean just look at all these guard AI options!
Hopefully I run out of idea soon and can spent the bulk of my time on the actual map making process. Although I must say I have coded in some pretty cool stuff. Today I coded in something VERY cool which will have huge potential in future maps. Sometimes... I can't even. And now is that time.
I've done something else cool too. I've set up some elaborate stats tracking to measure campaign progress. Every time a player triggers a new bomb I send off some information to the database about what stage they're on, which bomb, how many times they've died, etc. This will all be added up and after a couple weeks I'll be able to report some really cool findings.
The most important thing I can measure is the start/finish attempts for every bomb in the game. The very first bomb in the very first map will let me know how many players are even attempting the campaign. Then I can look at the next bomb and see how many players have reached that. Then I can see how many have reached the next and the next and so on. So what I might find is something like this:
Map 1 Bomb 1: 1000 players reached
Map 1 Bomb 2: 998 players reached
Map 1 Bomb 3: 970 players reached
Map 1 Bomb 4: 650 players reached
Map 1 bomb 5: 640 players reached
Now if I see something like this in the database I know that a huge chunk of players are failing to reach bomb 4. This would most likely be because bomb 3 is too difficulty and is causing players to rage quit and not return. I can then go rework the puzzle on that bomb. I can also view average deaths and time spent for each bomb to further fine-tune the puzzles.
This should really help and is part of the reason I'm going to release v0.994 pretty soon to the public. I would love to get direct feedback from you guys on what works and what doesn't, but I also just want to start collecting stats from the steady stream of newbies who are constantly downloading the game every day. The 3 maps I've got so far will be enough to teach the basics and give me some insight into what sort of puzzles work and what don't.
Anyway won't be long now. I'm almost done with the 3rd stage - Driving Downtown. Here's part of the puzzle I worked on today. Perhaps the most awesome bomb yet!