Witchfire dev creates internal demo to nail the core combat loop, still nowhere near done

By Sherif Saed, Thursday, 8 October 2020 13:38 GMT

Witchfire is back in the spotlight thanks to a new development update.

As we’ve come to expect from Witchfire developer The Astronauts, the team has returned with a new update on development progress. The latest dev blog, posted this week, is special because it chronicles a major step towards release.

The team at The Astronauts has created a new playable demo that the developer says nails the core combat loop. Prior to that, much of the team’s time was spent creating new systems and mechanics, using placeholder assets. But the developer decided to pause and see if all the existing work has been worth it by delivering a playable demo.

“The idea was to nail our core combat loop, and to see all the hard work, especially on the AI and animation logic fronts, finally come together,” creative director Adrian Chmielarz explained.

We may never see this demo ourselves, but it sounds like it’s been a major success at the studio. So much, in fact, that The Astronauts decided to spend more time polishing up the demo and get that segment to near-final quality. This is when the team discovered that the process is much harder than anticipated.

“The milestone looked very much doable. After all, we already have a lot of stuff in a good place, so it looked as only a matter of putting final touches to a particle here and animation there,” Chmielarz wrote. “Not only we have not managed to do it all, but we didn’t finish the milestone the next week, and even today there’s still a bit left to be done.”

This was in part due to working from home. As the blog post explains, this specific stage of development requires constant communication and rapid iteration, which is much easier and more efficient to do when everyone is in the same room.

The current demo was based on a repeatable 30-second loop of fun, so The Astronauts’ next goal is to figure out if it can be turned into 30-minute loops, which dictates the general flow of the full game.

Sadly, this new update didn’t bring us a new trailer, or a release target – though we do have a couple of new GIFs (embedded throughout the story) that show off the polish.

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