Plans for the rest of the development cycle!
Baldi's Basics Plus entering early access was a huge milestone for the game, but it's also just the beginning for things to come! Now that the game's been out for a few days I figured I should share what my plans are for the rest of the game's development cycle, from now until the day the game leaves early access and officially releases. If you've already bought the game, this will give you an idea on how often to expect major and minor updates. If you haven't bought the game yet, you can use this info to decide if you want to grab it now or wait until after future updates have released. The choice is up to you!
Oh, and of course, all of this stuff is subject to change! Hopefully it won't change much, and if it does, hopefully it will be change for the better!
I have no strict schedule on when I'll release updates, but I do plan on releasing them fairly consistently. There will be two types of updates during the development cycle, major and minor updates. Minor updates will consist of bug fixes, tweaks, and improvements to existing content. Major updates will introduce new content, and may also include major overhauls and additions to existing content. Minor updates can be expected about once every week or two, while major updates can be expected about once every couple of months.
This will continue for a while. Eventually, once the game has an amount of content that I'm satisfied with, I plan on taking a longer period between updates to work on one big, final update that will bring the game pretty much to its finished state. This final update won't focus on new content so much as polish, horror elements, secrets, etc... I don't want to say much about what I have planned for the final update, as I don't want to spoil anything, but I think the fact I even have to worry about spoilers should tell you something about what to expect.
After the final major update I'll continue with minor updates until the game is stable enough for an official release!
Currently the game costs US$10. As I've mentioned in the early access info, I do plan on increasing the price as the game receives updates. Currently I'm planning on increasing the price a little bit two times. Once at an undecided date to coincide with a major update roughly half-way through development, and once more to coincide with the final major update (Not the official release, but the final update before the official release). Of course, anyone who buys the game at any price will receive all future updates for free. I'll be sure to announce price increases before they happen, so if you're unsure about buying the game now, but still want to snag it at the current price, keep an eye out for that.
My Thoughts on the Game Right Now
I'm pretty happy with the game overall at the moment! I've expressed in the past that I wish things were further along than they are now, but even if things do go slower than I'd like, that won't stop me from finishing this game!
I've received a lot of great feedback from players so far, and have already used some of that feedback to make game tweaks in the 0.1.2 update. While I'm pretty happy with the state of the core game, there are some things I've been thinking about that I'm going to be making some major changes to.
Somewhere along the line I forgot to make sure field trips were fun. That seems like a pretty big oversight, but you'd be surprised how often fun can be forgotten about in game development when something seems cool!
When I made the camping field trip demo, I primarily made it as a proof-of-concept, a way to say "Look, you'll be able to play mini-games and win items during the main game!" I also made it with the hopes that YouTubers would play it and help spread the word of the Kickstarter, and they did! I seriously cannot thank them enough. However, I didn't really spend much effort in ensuring the field trip was fun to play, and looking back, the fact that it didn't doom my Kickstarter by being as boring as it was kind of amazes me, haha.
When it came time to add field trips into Plus, I made a big mistake! Instead of coming up with a new, fun idea for a minigame, I just ported the camping demo into Plus. No changes or anything to make it fun I just moved it over pretty much exactly as it is in the demo. It's at this point I kind of lost sight of what field trips should be. After that I added the farm field trip, which I think is slightly better, but not much.
I write all this to say... Yes, I'm aware field trips feel like chores right now, and I'm going to address that issue! I'll eventually rework the current two field trips into something fun (Or scrap them entirely if that doesn't work out) and future field trips will not be added unless they're fun to begin with. They won't last so long, and they'll be more engaging. I'm sorry you all have to suffer through the current field trips if you want a chance at getting an apple... But hey, maybe the apple is still worth it! :P
I mentioned this on my Twitter a little while ago, but I've come to realize - both through my own play testing and feedback from others - that the game is currently too slow. The speed currently is equal to the speed of Baldi's Basics Classic. I used that speed initially as an easy starting point for Plus. While the speed of Classic is great for Classic, since the game is so short, I've quickly come to realize that it's a bit too slow for Plus, due to the fact that it's much longer (And will be even longer in future updates!). A play session through the three levels currently in the game can take over an hour! I've actually been meaning to increase the speed a bit for a while now, but just never got around to it. Now though it's moved up pretty high on my priority list. The speed increase won't be huge, I'm thinking something along the lines of making the walking speed the current running speed. This means that the game will still have the same slower, more methodical feel to it that it currently has, but levels will be quicker to complete. I also intend to keep the relative speeds of NPCs the same, so balance will remain similar to how it is now.
On a related note, I also plan on adding a save and quit feature so that you can take a break from longer play sessions that you don't want to lose progress in. This will also help prevent play sessions from becoming too long!
The first major update, version 0.2, will come with some new features, including the in-game shop that will put the YTPs to good use! It will also include a handful of new items and events, a new character, and a new field trip. Before I begin working on those things however, I'm going to turn my focus towards some internal stuff that needs re-working. Namely, the way I create pre-made levels. Besides the fact I haven't built a proper dev tool to build levels by hand (The only way I can do that currently is with a painfully slow process where I click and drag prefabs into scenes by hand), I also currently have a very poor method of turning randomly generated levels into pre-made levels. The issue is that when I save a generated level as a pre-made level, it loses references to the prefabs used to build it. So, when I update a prefab, it doesn't actually update in the pre-made levels, which is why there have been some strange bugs in Plus that only occur on the challenge maps and the medium endless map (For example, if I were to update the door prefab, that change would instantly apply to randomly generated levels, but not the pre-made levels, which could cause some unexpected behavior, and makes updating things needlessly difficult). Once I take some time to create some proper level building tools (For myself. I'd love to add such a feature to the game, but making it user-friendly enough to add to the game would require a lot more work) and a good method for saving generated levels, my workflow will improve a lot when it comes to things like adding challenge maps.
Because of this, the gap between now and the first major update may be longer than gaps between future major updates, but then again, maybe all of this will be finished a lot quicker than I expect.
That's all for now!
I think that about covers everything going on with development for right now! Once the next major update is nearing release I'll be sure to post about it with more details on what to expect. Until then, I'll continue with minor updates to version 0.1. Thanks for the support everyone!