C.W.I.S Devlog #8 | Prototype Release

Summary

Its been a long time coming but I have finally gotten a build out for C.I.W.S. I will pre-face this as the build is just an early prototype and has a few bugs in it, but I hit burnout on the project again and didn’t want to just abandon it as it was in a good enough place to release something. If there are really game breaking bugs then I’ll give them a fix if reported, but otherwise the game will remain in this state unless there is mass interest in it. There is definetly more that could be done on this project but I needed to move for now.

Where can I get the build?

The prototype build is free to all and can be downloaded from the following pages:

What now?

With the release done, I’ll be moving to the A plan I mentioned here, working on some major updates to some of the tools/systems I’ve released. Both major releases are massive improvements over their older versions and bring them up to standard with what I’d use in a project these days. From there I have a few smaller projects I’d like to do, plus actually playing a few games as well for a bit of fun xD

Year In Review 2022

Welcome back to another year in review. This is now the third year running that I’ve posted a summary of some of the stats behind the scenes and expressed what I plan to do in the upcoming year. If you want to see the previous years, you can access them below:


New Releases

This year has been a quite one for new releases. The main release on the assets side was the experimental Multi-Scene asset which is currently only avalible on GitHub & Itch.io.

On the games side there was some decent progress on both projects. Project Tilly ended up hitting a major roadblock with some of the 3D assets I’d need to make. This is still a project I plan to go back to once I’ve gotten better at 3D modelling a bit & when I’ve sorted out the story a bit as well.

C.W.I.S has been the main project for the majority of the year with slow but steady progress throughout. Just before Christmas I managed to get the some new features in such as an online leaderboard, a chaft mechanic & several fixes to some of the minor but annoying bugs with the game. I’m hoping to manage a release of the build around the end of Jan 2023 but like every other deadline I’ve set its not in stone.


Downloads

The download stats this year are about what I expected. I got a bit of an increase on Itch.io due to a few game jams but nothing significant. The asset store remains the best for downloads as a whole getting around 100-150 per month dependant on if there are updates released that alert users or not. Google play saw a drop in downloads from 2021 but this is mostly due to my own neglect of the platform this year. I do hope to put out a few more products on google play in the future though.


Upcoming in 2023

The plan for 2023 is a bit more fleshed out that in previous years because I wanted to make it achievable and while also having a clear plan of what I was doing for the year. I’ve split this into three plans:

Plan A

The A plan is the plan I am committing to completing in 2023. These are goals I will be hitting next year first, and are the aim for the year at a minimum. This also includes the release of the C.W.I.S build but with any luck that won’t be much longer down the line.

  • Audio Manager (3.0.0)
    • A fair amount of progress has already been made on this update.
    • A new static only version of the system.
    • Automatic library management.
    • Play from estimated start time removing blank space at the start of a clip.
    • Library search.
    • Automatic variance to vary the volume & pitch without any extra work.
  • Save Manager (2.0.0)
    • New save structure for better modularity.
    • Save editor to edit the save in the engine.
    • Custom save path option.
    • Migration system from 1.x to 2.x.
  • Leaderboard Manager (2.1.0)
    • Extra display options such as same position options (show as the same with gap, same without gap, etc.).
    • Custom save path option.
    • Settings panel to match the other assets.
    • Audit of the existing code to match the latest standards.

Plan B

The B plan is mostly a load of smaller projects or updates to existing projects that need a little work still. This includes:

  • Multi Scene (0.3.0)
    • An update to the experimental asset to add some better scene loading options as well as an attempt to improve the performance a little where possible.
  • Build Versions (1.1.1)
    • Just a small updtae to correct a few bits, but its nothing urgent hence it been in the B plan instead of the A plan.
  • Detective Notes (1.3.0)
    • This update would be a bit change, but most of the setup would be the same.
    • The UI & feel of the app would be improved
    • I’d look into having the app run better over longer time periods.
  • Game Prototypes
    • I’d use some of the time in this plan to prototype a few games idea’s I’ve had. I would release these builds for people to try out and give feedback on.
    • More on this if/when I get to it.
  • Personal Projects
    • Blood on the Clocktower app
      • A little side project to make an app that helps an ST run a game as well as lets a player take notes in a game. I have started this project behind the scenes, but needs a few weeks of dedicated time to actually make it work.
      • The idea is to automate bits as well as remind the ST of bits they need to do with a kind of checklist before letting them continue. As well as applying reminder tokens to players automatically based on the context.
      • This wouldn’t be made public out of respect for the games creators as they already have an online app which is great for running games online. My app is more for personal use if I want to try and introduce new players to the game without having a copy of the game to hand.

Plan C

This is the stretch goal plan where any extra bits I’d like to try would take place after all the bits from the A & B plans were done. These indluce a few additional personal projects that are mainly focused on making game mechanics from games I’ve played both old and new to see if I can make them. It would be with programmer art and more of a test of my skills for a bit of fun.


Closing Thoughts

While 2022 didn’t go as well as I’d like, a though I’m sure many feel with the current state of the world. I’m hopful 2023 will go a little better. I’ve spent the Christmas period mostly relaxing & plan to continue until the new year as I havn’t really had any kind of break in a while. So I’m playing some games and taking it easy until the new year. See you all in 2023.

New Website Layout!

For a while there has been a notice on the site stating that it under construction. But I have finally gotten around to sorting it out properly. I wanted all the stuff I’ve made so far to be accessible by one click and to keep the menu navigation as simple as possible.

To start I blocked out the rough design I wanted to go for and tried to make it as close as possile to said designs. This was mostly successful with only a few minor changes needed to make it work. Below you can see the before and after of each page:

Home Page

The home page has changed the most over the years. In this latest version I’ve made it really compact and ditched the footer content for a simple logo & copyright notice only. I kept the old intro header as I felt that was okay as is, but the rest has been updated with the asset pages now being a click over their logo’s which also have a little hover animation now.

Initial Design

The Result

The Blog/Posts

The blog section has been rather under used this year, but I hope to change that next year. The initial design was going to be mostly the same, however I ended up going for a much simpler design which just has all the posts in one place with pages for seeing older posts. That being said I did still make some minor adjustments to the setup for the posts that appear.

Initial Design

The Result

Pages

The design for the pages, mostly the asset ones were the ones in need of a refresh. The current page for C.W.I.S is good as it is for now. The old asset pages were muddled or lacking information such as the documentation which is currently a mix of hosted locally on this site or on Notion. The new layout has the notions pages on the site. I did hope to embed the pages so I didn’t need to do too much work, but sadly notion doesn’t let you do that & the solutions online were paid only which was a bummer. Instead I resorted to an export of the Notion page which seems to do the trick as the file size for a page was only a few MB.

Initial Design

The Result

New Content

Just this morning I added a new page to the site, but there isn’t any direct link to it yet. This page is the Unity coding style page, to be followed in all projects in 2-23 and beyond. The idea is to keep the style consistent in all my code assets for both myself and any other contributors who wish to add features to them.

You can see this page here if you want a peek: https://carter.games/unity-c-style-guide/

I am also planning to post more on the site with updates on projects as I go as well as some guides & tips to help y’all out. The idea is to make a post atleast once a month, but hopefully twice if not more. We’ll see how it goes.

Closing Notes

With the website now done, I can focus on some other tasks. I have the year in review to prep which is coming up in just over a week & I still have C.W.I.S to finish off. I can say that a good amount of progress has been made there, leaving mostly polish bits and a few gameplay bugs to fix. Most of the gameplay bugs are to do with missiles missing their targets, so quite bad xD.

Another Website Update & Future Roadmap

I have yet again updated the website look & feel. It has been a while since I last use the website posts section to make announcements etc. but this will become the norm soon as I want to revive the website as a hub of knowledge for everything going on with Carter Games.

What’s changed?

So, you’re probably wonder what has changed. The main change with this website update is the structure of it all. Before there was a massive header menu with a load of items and it was all a little too cluttered. Now there are just three sections, “Home“, “Posts” & “Contact” to keep it super simple and easy to follow for any visitors.

The home page has been updated to have more content on it. Previously it was very bland and simple as the footer was an actual part of the page. Now the homepage contains a summary of every major active or release project to date as well as separate pages for users to read more about a particular project and a main link to the relevant store for the project if it is released. I’ve also added an about section at the top of the page and plan to add a slideshow in the future showing off some of the better-quality projects when I have some to show.

The news section has been setup for future content, including guides & development logs. Currently there are obvious gaps which I hope to start filling up in the coming months so keep your eyes peeling for more here soon.

Other updates

Outside of the website update I spent the time to revamp the brand graphics. If you follow me on the socials you will have already seen this, but I thought I’d mention it here to in case you missed it. Below is a before and after for the logo & banner graphics.

A before and after of the Carter Games logo & banner graphics

Roadmap

Going forward for the next 6 months or so I have been planning out what I want to release and when. These are obviously not set in stone, but it’s a rough plan going forward with a more certain one coming around the new year.

Autumn 2022

Audio Manager 2.6.x

I spent the last long weekend 50/50 working on C.W.I.S & this. The idea is to clean up the asset a little and provide some minor improves to the inspectors as an end-of-life update. That is end of life for the 2.x.x version line, not the asset. The asset has a new 3.x.x line in the works which I have made decent progress on and teased on socials a while back. The new 3.x.x version is still quite a way from being production ready. So, this update acts as a mediator between the two versions, introducing the project settings window for the asset settings as well as some of the new standards all the assets will follow in updates when they are next released. Below are some screenshots of the new inspector looks:

The Audio Manager script 2.6.x inspector look
The Music Player script 2.6.x inspector look
The Audio Player script 2.6.x inspector look
The Audio manager 2.6.x settings provider window look

C.W.I.S Arcade Build

I’ve been spending a lot of time on this game project since I started a remake and progress is good. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get a good enough looking water shader working from a top-down perspective which is harder than it sounds. I have since settled on a look and continued to work on fixing the existing mechanics to work as intended.

A screenshot of the arcade scene in C.W.I.S

I’ve also spent the time to improve the realism of the missile launchers. Previously they would just spawn missiles from the centre regardless of the number of missiles shot. Now they have the tubes that open before the missile in the tube launches. It’s a subtle difference but a feature I really wanted to add. At the same time, I was able to fix up the missile objects, so the trail particle now correctly reset instead of using up all the particle returning to the launcher when a missile is called to fire again. I also fixed another issue where only 3-6 launchers were being used due to the same reset logic.

A screenshot of the Unity editor showing a open missile tube on the ship in C.W.I.S

Multi Scene 0.2.x

Some of you may be wondering what on earth is Multi-Scene. Yea I’ve kept this somewhat quite apart from a few teasers on socials. Multi scene is a experimental asset to help with making games that use Unity’s multi scene setup, this is where you load scenes additively instead of one at a time allowing for elements of your game projects to be split up into manageable chunks. If you’ve had a gander at the Carter Games GitHub, you’ll have seen this as a repository for quite a while.

Dark Mode

Link: https://github.com/CarterGames/MultiScene

The last major release was back in February of this year with update 0.1.3 where I added a ordering feature to the interface referencing setup. This 0.2.x update adds a load of new workflow improvements to make using the asset a lot easier. These include scene selection for the scene groups instead of a string field, a lot more control over how scenes load & how often the listeners run when a group is loaded + an editor window to load scene groups at the press of a button in the editor. On top of all that the asset manager is now static instead of instanced based for ease of use. There will be lots more on this when this update is released to go over how to use the asset and were using a multi scene setup can be handy.

A promotional image for the Multi Scene asset.

Winter 2022

Compared to autumn, winter will be quieter with some room to allow one of the above projects to fall behind if it happens.

Leaderboard Manager 2.1.x

The leaderboard manager had an update somewhat recently to fix one or two issues. Since using it in a personal project I noted a few features that could use improving along with a few suggestions or comments from users that could be handy for usability. These include:

  • Option to show equal scores as =3rd instead of 2nd & 3rd for example.
  • Option to change the save location of the leaderboard data
  • Option to not use the display pooling setup, instead having the leaderboard be pre-defined in the scene with the rows in the parent object.
  • Option to view and edit all leaderboards and entries in a editor window of some kind.
  • + All the new improvements I’ve made to my other assets in recent times.

Detective Notes 2.x.x

A bit of a supprise one, but for a while I’ve wanted to make an update to the detective notes app with some clearer art, animations & performance improvements.

Early 2023

The new year is a bit of a blank space for the time being, but I do have a few ideas of things to be doing that year which I’ll list below:

  • Audio Manager 3.x.x
  • Some other minor asset updates (possibly a new Save Manager if I get the time)
  • Anything that has overrun from the previous year.
  • Some new game project planning.

So that’s all for this update, keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon!


Website Update & Future Plans

Hey all, J here! So it’s been a while since I last posted on the site and I totally missed the March Monthly Update. This post will kind of count as both the March & April update as I’ve been sorting stuff out behind the scenes. The biggest of which you can see currently. The website has had a complete overhaul with a new theme, new plugins, new graphics & a new layout showcasing all the work I currently have public in a releasable state.

Changes To Carter Games

This nicely leads me on to a change to the meaning of the name Carter Games. Originally, I planned to turn it into its own studio. However, after giving it some though I’ve decided to instead turn it into an alias/publisher that I release my public works to. Given that all the work on here is currently my own anyways there its really any harm in doing so. So, I have been around and updated all the description of the brand where I used We or Studio and corrected them to follow this new narrative. This doesn’t really affect anything currently in the pipeline but leaves me free to make a studio under a different name in the future should I wish to do so.

Current Work

Some may have missed the news regarding Project Tilly which is the game I was working on since the start of the year. So here’s the update I posted everywhere else. Project Tilly is on hold until further notice, this is somewhat due to a little burnout on the project and partly due to a lack of personal ability to complete the project. I did over scope a little, even in the MVP, so I’ll be leaving the project on the backburner until I have the motivation to work on it again or some new ideas for it. Its sad news to those who were interested in it, but I really want to get a new game published this year so I’m focusing on an older project which is already halfway there. This being C.W.I.S, though I’ll likely rename the game for release. I had a working prototype around winter 2020 and I feel like it’s a title that I have some ideas for and could complete in 3-6 months with my current skills. That includes the art side as well.

The Future

Other than that, I have been working on a few GDD’s (Game Design Documents) for some possible future titles. None of these are set in stone yet as they still need fleshing out a lot before I decide which one to move forward on. So. there will be more in this in the coming months. In the meantime, I will be making further improvements to this site & publishing minor updates to existing products. I will be back with another update at the end of May if not sooner with more info on where I go in the future.

That is all for now

~ J