I'm really hyped for this. Please don't abandon like the others did.
What's In Store For 2020?
The New Year
Where is The Miami Horror?
Let me start off this blog post with something sobering, but at this point, not unexpected. I still can’t make any promises or guess-timations as to when MH is coming out. As it has been for the past 3 years of development, I want MH out the door this year. As it has been for the past 3 years, it is now more likely than ever that it can be finished within the year.
But I still don’t know, and the last times I made promises about this mod- it didn’t go so well. I don’t want to put you guys through the hype-disappointment cycle again, so just know that I’m hard at work on this project, and we are making huge progress.
What Am I Working On?
The Wrong Editor, exclusively. Over the past 3 months I’ve made huge strides in functionality. An internal build of it well suited to level design should be available to my team this month (yay!). They’re waiting on only a handful of key features.
- Level transition and landmark tool
- In depth enemy tab
- In depth player tab
...and that’s it. Of these, I think the most difficult/time consuming will be transitions and landmarks. I’ve already started them, but they’re definitely more complicated than the two tabs.
After that, my team should be able to quickly develop layouts for main campaign levels, and while they do that, I’ll be spending my time working on important gameplay content- including playstyles, enemies, and special events and mechanics. Developing in parallel like this should help speed up the process overall.
What Does Release Depend On?
A lot of factors will affect when and how release occurs.
- Time of year of completion of main game content.
- Number and time requirement of localizations.
- Correspondence with music artists.
- Practicality of a Steam release.
- Confidence in game quality.
- Completion of all level design, including gameplay, intro and outros. (Not started)
- Completion of all content and mechanics. (Lots of stuff)
- Completion of all playstyles. (5 remain)
- Completion of all plot and story elements. (Full detailed outline complete)
- Selection and implementation of all musical and sfx elements (Always ongoing)
You’re thinking to yourself things like ‘that’s a lot, isn’t it?’ and if you’re a regular visitor something along the lines of ‘haven’t you said before this stuff was getting worked on? Why hasn’t there been any notable progress on all this?’.
It’s a bit of a cop out, but the answer to the latter is ‘technical coding,’ and the answer to the former is ‘yes.’
For the vast majority of the time I’ve actually spent working on MH, I’ve been working on the technical side of Hotline Miami. How levels load, how they’re drawn, how characters and enemies behave, how things despawn, optimization enhancements, memory leak hunting, system overhauls, etc etc etc. What this essentially means is that I haven’t personally spent time on content in a pretty long while. I might develop an enemy or gore feature now and then, but I still end up coming back around to systems and behind the scenes work.
Why? Because I’m a perfectionist, and this stuff bugs me, so I spend a lot of time working on it. The game is very clearly better for it, but it comes at the cost of time I could be spending doing other things.
My latest technical endeavor, the Wrong Editor, is an extension of this. My team would much prefer working with levels in something more familiar to them. And I would much prefer they make the best levels they can as fast as they can. As such, I’m sacrificing a few months of work now, to hopefully save us many months of agony later. In the mean time, I’m also developing a much requested feature for the Wrong Engine, so its a win-win. For me, at least.
Once I have a just-polished-enough layout editor, I’ll be back to fleshing out content. Which is a much faster task. Which means more progress! Yay!
And to touch on what I called ‘intangibles’. These are the things that won’t affect when the game is finished, and aren’t necessarily things we have direct control over. These are things that will change when the game releases. For instance, the time of year of game completion will determine when the game releases, because I have two specific dates I’d like to release on. When the game is actually finished will determine whether we pursue those dates or not, and additionally what kind of bonus content we may plan for the game. Some of these are more important than others, but you get the gist.
Release or no release, 2020 is a very critical year for MH’s development. A lot will be done this year. I am extremely excited and hopeful going into this for what we will accomplish.
Easily the biggest factor towards completion of MH is simply my ability to commit time to it. University starts again on Monday, and I may or may not be changing jobs soon. These things will change my ability to work on MH, for better or for worse. My goal right now is to get the editor in such a condition that development can continue with or without my constant attention.
I want very badly for 2020 to be MH’s year. More than I wanted it for 2019 or 2018. But that doesn’t mean much. Nevertheless, I promise you guys, and the other team members, that I will be spending as much time as I am able on this project this year. If 2020 is going to be a big year for MH, then I have to be the one to make it big.
Hopefully more forthcoming. As always, I can’t do much more for you guys than offer my most sincere gratitude, for your support and patience (which must be wearing quite thin 3 years down the line already).
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