I know Pico-8 Is taking all of the hype right now, but I really am looking forward to seeing the 0.3.3 Voxatron Update.
On October 28th this year, It would have been exactly 1 year since the 0.3.2 Update (or so I have read from the date of this blog post: 9238).
Even though you have been supplying little update notes with a gif/vine here and there. They are kind of sparse compared to how updates were flowing before.
Just as a request I ask; How is the Voxatron update going along? I hope I don't sound selfish or rude, because I understand working on both Voxatron, and Pico-8 is probably a handful, but there are some of us (The Lexaloffle followers) that would like to see Voxatron get updated.
Thanks for reading,
Not at all -- I appreciate that Voxatron users are hanging out for both software & dev updates which are both way overdue. Partly because of responding to pico-8 blowing up faster than expected (a great problem to have!), but also just because of slogging on internal details that are hard to cut into a build / dev post. I plan to do a detailed post about updated Voxatron plans and progress with 0.3.3 this month, but I'll take the chance to give a quick overview here.
The short answer is that 0.3.3 is going well (although it's around 6 months late ._. ), and an update is arriving relatively soon -- the tasks I have left are brushing up the demo carts to use the new inventory system and fixing legacy bbs cart breakage caused by large internal changes (mostly due to preparing the engine for Lua -- the last large feature). I don't want to post 0.3.3 without some new cart content, because that normally seems to be the main source of complaints from long-term users checking in on the project. The new stuff is mostly in Bloot and Chaos Fortress, and doing this has also been a good way to catch a few extra bugs pre-release. This week I'm finishing pico-8 0.1.2, but apart from that I'm on Voxatron full-time.
The longer-term answer:
So, my general approach to Voxatron now is to optimize for completing 1.0 which means keeping several streams of development active. I found earlier on that focusing on releases sequentially was a good way to lose creative direction and get into technical debt. So the stuff I've been working on are:
Demo cartsThere are two main demo carts that will be available with 0.3.* updates. The Adventures of Zoot is around 80% finished (bunny with a sword game) and looks like it will make it into 0.3.4. The DJ Beep Space Adventure thing (still don't have a good name for it!) I'm not sure about -- might be unnecessary as an alpha demo cart and better to push to post-1.0.
AcornProject Acorn is the codename for a completed set of functionality and content that could be perceived as 1.0 to the casual observer -- the ability to make completely arbitrary games, with Lua scripting support, and to have the look and feel of a console. So kind of a super-deluxe pico-8.
This is basically my goal for this year, and is what I have been focusing most of the time on -- how to tie up all the engine features so that they can be access cleanly through a Lua api, and how to present it in a simple way (both the front-end menu will change, and also a UX pass on the editing tools). 0.3.3 has everything that acorn needs except for Lua scripting, which is going well but still too early to expose in the editor.
Voxatron ArenaI'm keeping the design of Arena as small as possible, but it will likely be the first of two substantial 'primary' cartridges that users see the first time they run Voxatron. This coincides with Voxatron 0.4, which I'll call beta and push into early access on other distribution channels. I'm around half way through development, which is mostly content (monsters, portal locations, music). Arena is shaping up to feel like a fairly substantial wee game -- it might even make sense to do a separate stand-alone release for players who aren't interested in the other various aspects of Voxatron.
Voxatron StoryThe other main cart. This one is pretty large, and central to the identity of Voxatron. (hence shipping it at 1.0) I dedicate a fair amount of time to keep trucking on Story (much more than Arena) so that I don't lose creative direction, and to keep development time post-beta from being too daunting. I'm planning to give myself around a year to finish Story after Voxatron goes into beta, and will likely do a teaser trailer or something near the start of that process, so that it isn't /too/ mysterious.
Extra PlatformsI can't talk much about this yet, but I'm also working on bringing Voxatron to other platforms and display devices. I'm not burning too much time on it at the moment, but it's something that needed to start early so that I could create an overarching strategy.
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