Beta Submitted into QA
by jasonrohrerMonday, July 18, 2011 [5:21 pm]

I've been traveling with my family for a few weeks, but right before I left, I submitted a feature-complete version of Diamond Trust to Zoo and indiePub so that they can get started on QA in preparation for Nintendo's Lot Check process. There are no known bugs at this point, and the game passes all of the Lot Check requirements as far as I can tell.

Work in this phase involved finishing up clone boot support for Download Play off of a single DS card, replacing some of the last remaining placeholder graphics (including some of the fonts), adding in-game help pages, and developing the music engine. Tom was able to get three interactive songs done in the music engine for this milestone, and he hopes to have a bunch more included in the final release.

All of the screen shots in this post are from the Beta that was submitted to Zoo. More details about the graphical updates are interspersed below.

I wanted all the graphics in the game to feel consistent. I already had bits and pieces of antiquated office life in place, with ledger paper, Rolodex cards, and tear-off calendars, but other parts of the presentation didn't fit into that metaphor, especially where the variable text messages were concerned. I had white text just floating in black space, with an off-the-shelf font that I wasn't happy with.

The first step was to design a custom font. Then I switched over to a simulation of dot-matrix printing on "green bar" paper, reminiscent of the work my mother would bring home and spread on our kitchen table during that era. But I was still stuck when it came to lettering on the Rolodex cards and ledger paper. Dot matrix printing on those didn't make sense. I eventually scanned my own handwriting and made a "blue pen ink" font out of it.

I'm actually not a fan of "fake" handwriting fonts, because their fakeness can be spotted whenever the same letter repeats within a single word (see the repeated word "Will" in the screen below). In this case though, I was stuck, because baked "real handwriting" samples of the various phrases would make future localization really difficult, and also wouldn't work for the handwritten numerical displays, which must be font-based anyway.

In addition to the ROM submitted to Zoo, I also had to submit samples of the "special box inclusions" for approval by Nintendo. I'm not going to say too much about them now (or ever, maybe, because surprises are great). Suffice it to say that the planned box inclusions are totally unprecedented in the history of boxed video games, which is why I'm a bit nervous about Nintendo approval.

[Submit Comment]
by samSaturday, August 6, 2011 [1:59 am]

Wow - this looks awesome. So much care to detail. Clever strategy games are a huge gap in the present game market when they used to be the bestselling games. To complete my experience of playing Rohrer-Games, I might now get a Nintendo DS only to play this game!