We took a bit of a break, all of us. Some time with our families over the holidays. I hope you'll forgive the silence on our part.
And while I still found time in the mornings and some evenings to keep tinkering away at things, it wasn't until this weekend that I got to really delve back into the project. I have to say, it felt good to give things a look with fresh eyes. My initial thought is, "Why the hell is he ice-skating everywhere?"
My second thought was: Oh yes, I am so glad Mihai changed the camera motion. Everything looks much more organized now, and it's easier to feel more comfortable in the game.
Unfortunately, some things still felt off, (and still do, if I'm being honest) so I continued to trial and error my way into a better game by making slight changes to movement speed, jump height/speed/control, texture choices, tree size/growth speed/etc. After each tiny change, I'd give it another whirl. If it felt right but not enough, I'd go more. If it felt like too much, I'd tone it back the other way. It felt a lot like lockpicking in Skyrim.
I also redid the entire ending to our demo (AKA second) level because something felt really wrong about it. I've now got the player doubling back through the level at the end but on a different Z plane, and that really makes everything feel a lot more organic.
Then I rearranged some of the decorations at the start and moved some of the camera nodes a bit. I've also decided to make water a mandatory feature in the game (as was initially planned in the design doc) which can be used by the player to notify him or her when plants can be grown. I think that this is ultimately going to make the game a lot more interesting to look at and a lot clearer to play.
I also managed to more or less finish the first level (which you won't be seeing, but as I've hinted at on Twitter several times, it moves kind of Land Before Timey). That feels pretty good. The others I've been working on are moving nicely and I think I've got some good layouts here, but ultimately with the features we have in right now I fear we haven't enough to fill an entire game. So, the plan for a Kickstarter continues forward.