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Zafehouse 2.5: State of play

Zafehouse 2 has had a rocky development path. I started on a sequel over two years ago. Called Deadshed, it had a quasi-X-COM feel and like the original game, focused on strategy over tactics. It had a neat event logging system which could be filtered depending on what you clicked, so it was easy to see at a glance the entire history of a person or building.

It grew, exponentially, until it wasn’t what it needed to be – a successor to Zafehouse. It became its own game, a game I didn’t want to make.

Consider it the first prototype.

A little side project – a 2D map generator – I’d been working on while hacking away at Deadshed suddenly became the new Zafehouse 2. It was closer to the game’s original vision, just with more stuff. Lots of neat features were added to this generator, until it started turning into a game.

And then I got suckered into building three combat engines, which culminated in a solid tactical 2D game. I’m actually happy with the result, and I have no doubt a fun game of some description could come of this project.

But again, it wouldn’t be Zafehouse.

After spending weeks contemplating the future of the game, I decided to follow my gut. As painful as it was to do, I shelved the Zafehouse 2 codebase and accepted it as the second prototype.

I then started on Zafehouse 2.5, scavenging a couple of chunks from Zafehouse 2 – the audio engine, random name generator and a few miscellaneous bits and bobs.

Yes, I’m essentially starting Zafehouse’s sequel from scratch, again. But the clarity of thought, purity of design, experience and elegance I’m bringing from Deadshed and Z2 are worth their weight in blood-stained gold. I’m finally happy, completely, with the direction the latest incarnation is taking and, for the first time in at least a year, I’m really enjoying working on the game. The inspiration and passion have returned, and these are by far the most potent qualities a developer can bring to a title.

So there you have it – an honest assessment and lowdown of the current state of the project. For everyone who’s stayed with the game, I can’t begin to thank you for putting up with the sparodic updates and procrastination. This year’s been hard on the game industry, particularly in Australia, both emotionally and financially. It’s good to be able to once again take a firm grasp of the fundamentals, the primal drive for doing this thing, and wield like a dwarven berserker would a mangled hatchet in the face of a stalwart, somewhat insane orc army.

As for tangibles, expect screenshots and gameplay details in the New Year. Until then, enjoy the holidays. :)

~ by Logan on December 22, 2010.

9 Responses to “Zafehouse 2.5: State of play”

  1. Do we have an estimate…please?

  2. Good to hear that you’ve found a way to keep the spirit of the original zafehouse and have fun making it at the same time. I think I speak for more than myself when I say I’d rather get a great Zafehouse game than get a good game which can’t really be considered a ZH1 sucessor. Keep up the good work :)

  3. Oh yah…All well I don’t care if it takes another two years for you to do it, quite frankly the original Zafehouse I still carry on a flash drive and its helps me cope with many days of nothing to do. Providing me countless hours of fun and quite simply its just outright addicting for many reasons. So I have no problem waiting for whatever you feel works. It will only be my third year following Zafehouse sadly..This is my first time saying anything.

  4. I feel kind of bad, cause i was one of those who pushed you to add features which seemed good (otherwise you wouldn’t add them) but in the end they probably pushed you from the direction you wanted to go with the project. …sorry. You know what, its your game, make it the way you want it to be. If you have an idea what the gameplay should in the end look like, go for it and don’t get distracted. Good luck.

  5. Logan, have you stopped replying to us?

  6. Not at all bbad89. Whipping the game into shape for some screenshot action.

  7. Sorry, I should also say I’m looking at the end of Feb for alpha. It’ll spend a month or so in beta and then hopefully release in April. Though it could be sooner.

  8. I remember this time last year when you said it would be done by june…. last year :/

  9. Thanks for the update! I am awaiting the new game. It sounds like your putting a lot of hard work and thought into it. Please know we all appreciate it. =P