What have we been up to?? This progress report is long overdue but I am finally posting it today. I’m sorry we haven’t gotten one out earlier but we’ve been looking at revamping all aspects of the game, and that’s an overwhelming task in itself! I’ll try to get into the habit of posting more regularly. Anyways..! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us because we’ve been putting all our energy into the game. Let’s take a look at what we’ve done since the beginning of the year.
Name Change!The most significant change to the game was a relatively easy one. We changed the name! Our game is now called “Homeless” instead of “iBeg”. Why the change, you ask? We had a few good reasons:
- We never loved the name iBeg. I mean, we didn’t hate it, but we figured we would be able to come up with something better.
- The name “Homeless” is more PC. The name “iBeg” ruffled some feathers and immediately attached a negative stigma to a project that aims to promote the positivity of social games. We received feedback from many people on the Internet about the original name and we listened to that feedback and made the change!
- The name “iBeg” put the focus of the game on begging. While the game does have begging in it, it is NOT the focus of the game. The game aims to simulate everything about being homeless, so “Homeless” made a LOT more sense as a name.
- The whole iThing is kind of overdone and cliche. It seems everywhere you turn, someone is coming up with the next iThis or iThat. Our game has a unique message and we would like it to stand apart from the pack, instead of just being another fad.
- There is already an app on the iTunes store called iBeg. To avoid any confusion between that app and ours, a name change seemed appropriate.
Team Expansion:Thanks to all the generously donated funds on KickStarter, we were able to hire some people to help us out, as well as some volunteers too! Our little team has grown and we are pleased to announce:
- PowerUp Audio will be working closely with us to provide the music and sound effects for our game! We have the utmost faith in these guys and know that they will bring our game to a whole new level.
- Buko Studios will be supplying us with some animation help. This studio applied to our ad for a pixel artist and won us over with their talent and professionalism.
- An independent artist will be helping with some of the background art in the game. He also applied to the ad and submitted an amazing mockup of a Vancouver clothing store that secured him the job.
- An additional designer will be helping us out with the game’s User Interface as well as various other design decisions in the game.
- A social worker has graciously volunteered her time to help us with researching everything to do with homelessness.
- A few friends have volunteered to help test the game on a regular basis. We couldn’t ask for more!
Prize Updates:We sent a survey out to all of you not long ago in order to start collecting your information. We are happy to announce that prizes will be ready soon! Here’s an update on where the prizes stand:
- Everyone who paid to become a pedestrian in the game is fully designed. It took awhile to track all of you down and get your pictures, but believe me, it’s worth it! About half of them are already in the game roaming the streets, and the rest should be in there soon! We are just waiting on a few more animations and then this prize will be complete.
- The poster is designed and has the new name “Homeless” on it. It features all of the backers who became pedestrians and most of the characters from the game. The posters are printed and will be delivered in the near future.
- The t-shirts have been designed and also include the new name of the game. We are in the process of looking for a manufacturer and expect to have them printed in the next few days.
- The magnets are designed and just arrived today! We are really happy with how they turned out, and hope that you will be, too!
- The rest of the prizes are in various states of completion and we’ll update you again when they are finished.
- We’ve expanded the game by adding a bit of time management-style play to it. As the days in the game take place in real-time, you have to choose how you want to spend each day. The idea behind this is that you have to make decisions about which locations you visit during the day, and at what times. For example, a soup kitchen may give out a free meal between 12 and 1 PM, but that is also a good time to make money during lunch downtown. Which one will you do, because you won’t have time to do both!
- We’ve prototyped a character customization system so that you can create unique looking avatars! Players will be able to choose their gender and skin tone for their avatar, and can customize their look with clothing in the game.
- We’ve implemented a character dialogue and response system to interact with the characters you meet in the world. Players will be able to ask and answer questions from NPCs in the game, and the choices they make will affect gameplay!
- We’ve also implemented an event system that dispatches tasks for players to perform on their way to getting off of the streets. Events dispatched by this system can be either set or random, so be prepared for both! A random event would present the player with a scenario in which they would have to make a decision. For example, you notice a pedestrian has dropped their wallet. Do you pick it up and return it to them, or keep the money for yourself?
- All of the Backer pedestrians are designed and about half of them are in the game. We’ve also populated the world with placeholder pedestrians as well, based on each location and the time of the day.
- All of the locations in the game have been designed and are functional in the game with placeholder art. We are updating each location as the art assets come in.
- Interactive objects are prototyped and in the game, with different objects spitting out different items. This means parking meters will give out coins when tapped on and garbage cans will produce bottles, cans, and other items too!
- Can collection is in the game and allows you to collect cans and bottles and return them to a recycling depot to exchange for money. We just need a bit of polish on the User Interface for this and it will be finished.
- We have designed all of the User Interface screens for the game and will be implementing the wireframes in the immediate future. This means we will have a fully functional menu system to navigate and populate with amazing screens when the art is finished.
- We’ve prototyped a feedback system to indicate when pedestrians prefer (or hate) specific begs.
- We’ve replaced the static skies with new dynamic skies that change colour depending on the time of day. We’ve also added a sun, moon, and stars!
- We’ve improved the way the lighting looks in the game, brightening it up at night time and adding more lights to the scenes during night time.
- We’ve started working on a user tutorial to help guide players along and show them the ropes.
- We’ve got audio working in the game using placeholder sounds for most interactions. Everything is set up to drop new sounds into the game quickly and easily when we receive them.
- We’ve also done a lot of bug fixing, balancing, optimization, and many other things to improve the game.