Swimming Towards 1.0

Originally, I wanted to launch MerFight into version 1.0 by May of 2023;  however, this is not going to happen.  I'm a bit disappointed in myself, but I also learned a few things as to why this happened.  With that being said, here is a list of what else needs to be accomplished so that I feel I can enter 1.0 for MerFight:

  • Finish Story Mode Content
    • I feel I could release 1.0 with some characters' story modes incomplete, but I'd rather not.  That being said, there are a lot of unlockables I have to make to finish said story mode.  The more time-consuming task will be animating the facial expression for story mode's lines.
  • AI
    • There's no point to story mode or any single player content mode if the AI opponents aren't good.  I'm not looking for expert-level learning, but something a bit better and something that makes the difficulty levels feel like they actually matter would help.
  • Main Menu
    • A smaller task, but I want to make the main menu a bit less cluttered.  There are a LOT of choices now, so organizing this I think will look nicer when new players launch the game.  Having some nice, new character art would be a plus as, but I'm not going to press my luck.
  • Fix and Finalize Steam Achievements
    • A small task but one that needs to be done, especially with how some changes have been made to the game, some of them probably aren't doable anymore.
  • Non-Gameplay Animation Fixes
    • I want to redo some of the non-gameplay animation such as character intros and outros.  I probably want less cinematic work because those can cause weird issues with the environment backs, for example, how the floor clips for a brief time during Bolt's win animation.
  • VFX
    • I started going through and fixing everyone's VFX, but then I re-investigated this, and overall, I need to do this process again.  I think I'm close with an experiment I did with Strike, but I might need some work. 
  • Environment and Style Art Polish
    • This is probably the biggest and most challenging task.  If I had done a more thorough job of art directing from the beginning, I may have even finished on time.  I'm still looking into art styles to this day, which isn't the best.  Lately, at least for environments, I've been thinking of going more abstract and hyperwave-inspired.




At the same time with the above, I do think there is a point where I will simply say "Eh, this is good enough," and move on.  I want to work on other games as well as MerFight's DLC.  The good thing with art style items is that even past 1.0 launch, if I find something I really like, I can still update it without breaking too much -- hopefully.

  • Improved Online
    • This is a big task, and I'm not sure how much I can really do, but I'm contemplating on porting the online to either Photon Fusion or Photon Quantum.  Doing so could improve some lag issues that are currently happening in the game.

Other News

As I continue to work on MerFight, the community continues to have our monthly kumites, which I'm grateful, the next being May 21st.  They help me see the game in action, which is very beneficial as a developer.  I've been tracking points to for 2023, and hopefully after this year's final kumite, I can give prizes to all participants in 2024.

Additionally, ACP Krabb is hosting a tournament series, DIY or DIE, featuring MerFight, and other great indie fighting game titles -- Mega Knockdown, Fight of Steel, and Rainbowcore Hypernova.  MerFight has a prize pool of over $500 dollars, which is great.  Hopefully it'll usher in some new and experienced players alike.

Future Lessons:  Direction

For my next, original game, I'm going to spend a lot of time on the art style and direction.  That's probably been the biggest lession from MerFight.  I may have had some idea of an art direction but it wasn't very strong, and more importantly, I hadn't tested to see if I could actually accomplish said art style on my own.  Now, admittedly, one of the issues was that, due to covid and quarantine, I focused more on developing the cast because I enjoyed doing that more.  Had that hadn't happened, who knows where MerFight would be in 2023?  I may have taken more time to develop the aesthetic, but maybe I wouldn't have had the time to finish the cast until 2024.  That being said, this lack of direction also hurt character gameplay design.  Some characters I had thought more about gameplay style than others, and because of this, some characters have a sort of identity crisis and have gone through multiple iterations, even now.

Anyway, that is the current status of MerFight.  I want to thank everyone who has supported the game thus far.  Hopefully my future projects such as Battle High 2 A+ XChange and CupKick will be supported as well.

 

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