Q2 2022 Courier Tale Dev Blog

It’s the middle of the year, so it is time for another Courier Tale dev blog…

Since the last blog, I’ve tested a full playthrough of the game. It was missing one side quest and one ending, but overall fully playable. As expected, the game is looking to be about 3-5 hours long depending on if you mainline the game or do a completionist playthrough. Having been the only one to playtest the full game so far, it’s hard to know how accurate that time is, but seeing it is what I originally estimated, while I’m sure some people will take less time and maybe some will take longer, I think on average that will probably be the playtime.

Once the game was a fully playable alpha, focus shifted to polishing and improving the demo. The reason for this is Courier Tale took part in the June 2022 edition of Steam Next Fest. There were over 1000 demos featured in this edition, so it was hard to stand out. Still, it saw Courier Tale almost double its wishlists and a massive increase in demo players (compared to when the demo launched a couple of weeks prior to Next Fest). It’s debatable whether the June edition was the best one to be part of, especially as it was during Summer Games Fest, so media was being flooded with game announcements all over the show, but I’m not sure that it would have made much difference waiting til the October edition.

Now that Steam Next Fest is done, we are officially moving into the polish/beta phase of Courier Tale. The first focus has been controls. I normally test the game with controller or keys, and the demo at Perth Games Festival 2021 was played with a controller. Turns out the game engine I use has pretty bad mouse controls by default, which became apparent to me from feedback after the release of the demo online. I’ve also discovered from researching, that games made in this engine seem to mostly remove mouse control because of how hard it is to get it to work as good as controller or keyboard. I would like to keep mouse control if I can. Not only from an accessibility point of view, but also that more and more I feel like the game has similarities to a point and click adventure, so it would be weird to not have mouse support for a game like that. I’ve managed to solve many of the mouse problems so far with various plugins. A big one was allowing the player to walk with a single click and dash with a double click (thanks to Gimmer for this custom plugin). I think I have everything fixed except one thing now. It’s a major thing so if I can’t get that fixed, I may have to do the same as other similar games and remove mouse controls. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but consistency will be paramount.

While there will be tweaks to be made all throughout the game during the polish phase, the main work will be graphics. It’s hard to know for sure how long this polish phase will take, but at this stage I think it could be anywhere between 3-9 months.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already check out the demo on Steam, wishlist the game and keep an eye out for upcoming events…