Devlog #1: from prototype to app
When we started the Kickstarter, Dungeon Alchemist was in the prototype stage. This means that we had a testable but extremely rough version of the core functionality, including the AI algorithm. However, the prototype of an app is lacking many important parts, including a functional user interface. Additionally, it is built quickly, which means it needs to be cleaned up before it can be turned into a fully functional, stable app.
To turn the prototype into Dungeon Alchemist, there are a few steps we need to take:
We need to rewrite big parts of it. We need to create a stable, well thought-out foundation to build the app on, so that we can avoid bugs and issues later down the line. This means that, for a while, things will get worse before they get better again, since we'll be rebuilding some core aspects of the app from scratch. This has the additional benefit that we have learned from our prototype, and can build a better, cleaner, more performant version of the systems the second time around.
We need to build an efficient asset creation/configuration pipeline for Wim, our artist. Previously, configuring different objects (doors, tables, walls, etc) for the AI algorithm meant a lot of manual work and tweaking, and this is not an efficient way to spend Wim's time. Instead, we need to build an easy-to-use tool for configuring all the hundreds of objects that will end up in the final product. Writing such a tool is a lot of work, but it will save us way more time down the line. A huge advantage of this approach is that eventually, we will be able to expose those tools to the community, so that they can configure/import their own objects!
The good news is that we have been making really good progress on both fronts. Additionally, we've also been making a lot of progress on the user interface, and we want to show you a short video of what we've been up to:
We noticed that in other mapmaking apps, one of the biggest issues is figuring out how all the different objects in the library look. That's why we decided to go for a full 3D preview of each object, so that you can immediately see what an object looks like and how big it is. We think this is a big improvement over how most existing map tools work.