Shadows of Doubt DevBlog #29: 2021 Wrap-Up
Shadows of Doubt is a detective stealth game set in a fully-simulated sci-fi metropolis! There’s been a murder and it’s up to you to solve it by any means necessary, with the condition that you keep a low profile. A unique mix of procedural generation and hand-crafted design enables every room of every building to be explored. Be sure to wishlist on Steam, join our Discord or read previous dev blog entries here!
Hi everybody! It’s time for a 2021 retrospective, where I’m going to wrap up all the fantastic progress we’ve made on the game in 2021…
Where were we this time last year?
Looking back in my source control commits reveals that I had just finished a revamp of the way the citizens were put together. Something that we’ve really capitalized on (and you can read about here). The fleshing out of the citizen visuals is something I’m super pleased with, and arguably the biggest area of improvement this year; giving them a real new lease of life.
The game was, at this point last year, only really playable in terms of the more scripted story component we have; a lot of the procedural gameplay elements were still lacking refined enough systems to be properly part of the gameplay. And in fact, due to the complexity of it all having to fit together to work; something this remained so for a large portion of this year.
What notable progress happened this year?
I’m pleased to say the game has come together a lot (especially in the last half of the year).
We launched a short closed alpha in June to gather feedback, and although the game was buggier than I would have liked at this point, we did gather plenty of vital feedback which we’ve been busy implementing. It’s always hard to semi-publicly share something you feel is still very much a work-in-progress, but in retrospect, this was a good time to do this. Most things at this point were not set in stone, so we were able to chop and change a lot, whereas if we’d waited it’s possible a lot of work would have to be undone (or feedback thrown away). Thank you to everyone who participated. And to those of you who chose not to, or didn’t get into the alpha, rest assured you’ll be playing a better game!
Miles, our excellent pixel artist turned voxel artist has been working very hard over the course of this year. Not only had his hard work on the citizens paid dividends, but the number of props we have in the game has exploded (and we’ve still got plenty to add that you haven’t seen yet). The new street props help differentiate city districts, making them feel much more unique.
The world has been further developed and fleshed out thanks to our star writer Stark Holborn, which you can read about here if you haven’t done so. We’ll also be looking to share more exciting detail about the sound design with Monomoon in the new year.
Gameplay has seen huge shifts too: Playable side missions, AI killers, identifiable footprints, guns, hilarious passive-aggressive AI behaviour, a GUI revamp, a huge array of interactable items, status effects, weather effects, basements, purchasable upgrades and apartments… Plus I fixed that condiment bug.
Where are we now?
Obviously, global events continued to throw a spanner in the works this year. A good portion of the start year here in the UK was spent in lockdown. We’re hoping 2022 will be the year we can safely think about public events again, but if 2021 has taught us anything, it’s to keep plans like this on ice.
But game-wise I’m feeling very positive about 2022: We’re going into it more or less at a phase where the core systems are all in and functioning (minus bugs and in some cases more iteration).
Much of 2022 will be about adding content and iterating (fun), and then bug fixing and optimizing (less fun but necessary). I’m really looking forward to sharing the progress. And to address this elephant in the room, we’re not quite ready to talk about release dates, but you’ll read it here first when we are!