Year end retrospective-- DQ2 Progress Report for November 2022

Now that we're into December, I think it's useful to take a step back and look at where things stand with the game, and review everything we've accomplished in the last year.

Year end retrospective-- DQ2 Progress Report for November 2022

Howdy Defender's Quest fans!

Because most of the updates that came down the pipe in the last month aren't ready for public reveal yet, I'm skipping the monthly build this time around. But now that we're into December, I think it's useful to take a step back and look at where things stand with the game.

TL:DR – we made more progress in the last year than we probably made in the previous four years.

Somehow over this last decade, DQ2 got stuck in development hell, and it slogged on for years at a snail's pace. Finally, I got fed up and decided I'd never ship this game if I didn't make a change. Last year, I took on an investor, hired some actual staff, and got the gears unstuck. Here's a summary of what we accomplished just in the last year:

  • Finalized all the character mechanics
  • Finalized the character roster
  • Finalized the enemy roster
  • Mapped out the entire game
  • Coded all the new features we needed for e.g. boss encounters
  • Built new balancing and level scripting tools to speed up our workflow
  • Designed all the levels and got them in-game
  • Finished the entire story and in-game script (edits/polish still pending of course)
  • Finished all the concept art for all the characters, biomes, and enemies
  • Got initial biome art done and into (the internal build of) the game
  • Got initial sprite & portrait art done

Sometime next year we'll have our big reveal, which will include the identity of our investor as well as the hard working staff who have been helping us get this game off the ground. And a trailer for the game itself, of course.

Here's the big stuff that remains to be done:

  • Bit of a rebalance pass now that everything is starting to gel
  • Item schedule needs a lot of love
  • Get all the sprites & level art in
  • Get all the cutscene portrait art in
  • Get all the music and SFX in
  • Get the overworld art in
  • Bugs, bugs, bugs

It's also been a tough year for me personally, mostly for medical reasons. I'll keep the details spare, but one of my kids has been in and out of the hospital throughout the year (my kid is doing fine, no need for anyone to worry, it's just been tough).

The other big thing that happened in the past year is a slight change in day job for me. The number one rule of indie game development is "don't quit your day job," and for the last few years I've been a game industry consultant by day, getting DQ2 stuff done on nights and weekends (which has been greatly aided as late by having some staff to help out). For the last year in particular I worked mostly with the excellent research firm Naavik, where Anthony and I deconstructed over a dozen different crypto based video games (almost universally from a skeptical perspective). As of next year, however, I'll be earning my daily bread in the world of municipal property tax assessment of all things (yes it has to do with that book I wrote). But I'll still be keeping the faith with DQ2 just as I have for this entire past year, and if we can keep up the same pace in 2023 that we did in 2022, this game will ship sooner rather than later.

Thanks as always for your patience. The end is in sight.