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|Blog written by Mod John A on 30th July 2009|
|Mod John A talks about the final stages of implementing a project and getting it ready to go into QA.|
I've just been told I need to write a new dwarf dev blog. Actually, I've been meaning to write it for a while, but hadn't found the time. I've had so many little jobs to do...
The development of the dwarf quest is nearly finished. It's been nearly finished for the last couple of weeks. Â‘Nearly finished' can be quite a drawn-out stage sometimes, and that's definitely been the case with this project.
In the last blog, Mod Mark talked about how he'd played through the quest in its rough-and-ready state with placeholder graphics, and said he had some changes he wanted me to make. I've made those changes, and I agree with him that the plot revelation works better now. Apart from that, I've spent my time polishing every detail of the quest, to take it from the just-about-working version that Mod Mark played, to a piece of content we'd be happy releasing to you.
This polishing stage is a quite different kind of job from starting to write the quest. It's as if the project disintegrates from one big job into lots of little jobs - this NPC doesn't have chat written if you talk to her at one particular quest stage; that puzzle will get stuck if you teleport out at the wrong stage; the timings in a cutscene don't quite line up - and so forth.
One of my tasks has been to replace the placeholder graphics with the final graphics as the Graphics team create them. You remember the screenshot I showed you a while back of a new area made up of blue blocks? Well, here's what it looks like now...
Adding the graphics is sometimes a simple swap, but other times it involves major changes to the code. For example, the basic layout of the area in the screenshot is the same, but the exact proportions are slightly different from what I mapped down, which means the code for the action that takes place there had to be changed slightly. At other times, the graphics might not be quite what I'd wanted, or might not work properly with the code, so I've had to get them changed. There's a lot of back-and-forth between Content and Graphics at this stage of a project.
When I say the project is 'nearly finished', that's nearly finished as far as this project stage is concerned; that doesn't mean it's about to be released. Once I've got the whole quest working without any bugs I'm aware of, the project will go into the QA stage. That means the QA team will find the bugs I wasn't aware of and send them to me to fix. I'm expecting to be able to send this quest to QA within the next couple of days.
Another thing happening now is that the quest's text goes into editing (to catch any spelling and grammar errors and make sure all text is in the house style), and translation. That's actually already started - so if I change any text now I have to send a note to the editor so he can look at it again.
Finally, it's at this stage in a project that we start thinking about any extra website features that we'll release along with it. We've decided that for this quest we'll be doing a new Lores and Histories story to be released at around the same time. Writing that is my next task once the quest goes into QA.
Back in one of my early blogs for this project I told you how the quest didn't have a title yet, because I'm rubbish at coming up with titles. Well, at this stage of a project we really need the final title to be defined, so I've racked my brains and come up with the following: Forgiveness of a Chaos Dwarf.
A nice, intriguing title, I think. It tells you that at least one chaos dwarf is involved, but who is it forgiving and why? You will just have to wait and see.