The game is officially done! I have a few more things I want to go back and polish up, but those are mostly wishlist and if they don’t get into the final version, it’s not a big deal. But took a couple of months off after some of this and then came back to finish up after I finished some other projects.
So I started out by finishing up playtesting. I was able to get through the game from start to finish with only some minor bugs throughout! I did some intensive debugging to iron out some of the parts that were having weird issues but weren’t technically game-breaking. So overall A LOT OF TESTING. Though I was taking notes and it was played throughout the day, I’d say it takes about 3 hours to complete the game from start to finish. So it ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be! No wonder testing has been taking so long. This might be the longest game I’ve ever developed.
So I ended up fixing all of the bugs I ran into, including some of the music-related ones too. And everything is pretty much good to go. I would like to go back and add color if I have time, but we’ll see if I end up getting to that. I also was looking into the Super Game Boy borders for a bit. I’m not sure I’ll put a lot of time into fixing colors for the SGB, but making the border won’t take long. I started by doing some sketches for what it might be. I was leaning towards one of the more candle-like ones.
So I took a very short side trip to try and implement a Super GameBoy border because I thought it’d be cool. But then I discovered from some research that SGBs don’t play well with EZ Flash Jrs and my game is technically a GameBoy Color game to bypass some limitations, so it probably wouldn’t work on one anyway. I at least didn’t spend too much time on it, but was an interesting thought.
Then I did some sketches to figure out the cartridge and case artwork. I was also thinking about coming up with a more detailed logo and seeing how I can incorporate it into the existing title screen as well. One idea I came up with was that I’m going to add a QR code to the back that takes you to the itchio page instead of a bar code.
Then I looked at some instruction manuals. I was mostly inspired by Pokemon Red/Blue and Donkey Kong Country 2, since those were ones I remember fondly looking through a lot when I was a kid. I wanted to create fun themed ones like those ones were. So I started to sketch out some ideas and wrote up a Google Doc with some of the text/rough ideas for what all I want in there.
So then I took all of the sketches I drew on paper and brought them into Photoshop. I was mostly working on the whole instruction manual. I resized them and then used this Figma template to lay out all of my pages.
Unfortunately it ended up being not the actual print size so I had to remake them and recreate the roughs in Photoshop. But it at least helped me with lining things up and I used a few of those.
I spent a lot of time doing printing tests. When I was first starting, I was going downstairs to the printer pretty much every day to try something new. I haven’t printed a book on my own before, so this is pretty new. I’ve only printed on Blurb where they did the actual printing for me, so this has been a learning experience.
I started with figuring out the pages and which ones I needed to print together. There was a PDF booklet setting but it didn’t print at the size I wanted, so I ended up manually pairing the ones I needed together. I cut out little pieces of paper and wrote numbers on them to get a feel for how many pages I needed and which ones paired together. This was actually really helpful as a reference!
I did some different size tests and eventually got a ruler to really measure everything precisely. I ended up with 4x4 for the instruction manual. So I ripped out papers to fit the sizes so I could test and make sure before completely resizing everything.
So as mentioned earlier, I got these exact sizes down in Photoshop with my templates. Then I proceeded to work on the case art. Luckily the instruction manual cover, box art cover, and cartridge sticker all use the same art, so I just had to design it for the largest one, the case, and then that art was good to go for all of them.
I designed the entire box art to include the GB side (and I reprinted it to make sure it was sized correctly and the logo was facing the correct direction). I also made the back cover with the QR code like I mentioned earlier.
I was going to print a test print before the final, but unfortunately the printer didn’t have any color ink. So I just had to use the black and white for my first test. I got a final black and white test print and learned that I probably made the colors a bit too dark for the print, so I learned that at least. I also made sure it fit into the box exactly as I wanted, so that was great to see!
Then once the color printer had ink, I was able to print a final version of the box art. I still want to reprint it a little bigger so it can fit better, but it was a good first color print!
And then I proceeded to work on the final art for the instruction manual! I was heavily inspired by the early Pokemon watercolor concepts, so I tried to emulate that style and used some of the same color palettes.
After I finished the art, I did a final test print of everything and then had a few things I wanted to change, so I made some changes and need to reprint. One of those being that I printed them on the wrong sides so when I compiled it, it didn’t line up with the pages in order. But it was good to test printing all the way through with the front and backs. I also needed to fix some of the pages that didn’t quite line up.
And then I got some feedback from my friend Jinny on making the logo bigger and so it stands out more. So that was really helpful!
That’s it for this time! Like I said, I took a quick break and then came back to this project, so it’ll all be wrapped up next time. Though when this is posted it’ll be next time, back in CUPdate time, I paused a couple of months. But the next devlog will be finalizing and wrapping up the game! I’m just going to ask my friend Jinny to playtest it for me, then I’ll be good to try the final version on the hardware and in the browser. I’m hoping to have all of the final prints of the physical aspects at that point as well.