There's been a few important developments here in the last week that I felt we should share. First some good news. The most critical and difficult-to-find bug in our video engine has now been resolved. This was the last major barrier to overcome before we could make our next release. Now we have to complete the following:
* Fix a few more minor bugs in the engine
* Polish off a couple of the new features we have added
* Adjustments to the map scripts and game content
It is just a matter of finishing all of these small and relatively easy tasks. If you're interested in helping us test our pre-release build, make sure that you are registered on the forums and an e-mail will be sent out when we reach that stage.
The second piece of news involves recruitment. We've added a few more programmers to the team in the last six weeks so we're not entirely understaffed in that department now. We had a meeting this weekend and decided that ideally, we could use three more programmers to work on the graphics engine, map exploration code, and game editor areas. We're also still interested in getting a 3D modeler/animator on our team if you're in that area of work.
The last and most important news item is a design decision that we must make. We have a critical problem with our battle artwork requirements: they are simply too high for us to continue along our current path. We've proposed and debated 3 solutions to this problem:
1) Generate 3D models and animations for the characters' battle sprites, and translate those animations from 3D into 2D for use in the game.
2) Re-use our map sprites for battles in place of separate battle sprites, and have battles take place on the maps themselves rather than on a battle background
3) Keep everything in battle mode as it is currently, but replace the battle sprites with enlarged map sprites.
There are of course many benefits and downsides to each approach. We have a thread on our forums which you can find here where our community is actively discussing which approach we should choose to take (you have to have a registered account on the forums in order to view this particular thread). The outcome of this decision will no doubt affect the design and gameplay of Allacrost, so we encourage you to voice your opinion about what you personally think is the best option.