Q: How long does it take

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Q: How long does it take to develop and design a #Minecraft adventure like #WashingtonHasFallen?

A: So far two years, and that is having started with the #LifeBoat #WashingtonDC as a template to save time. Add two years if you design all buildings.

Bottom line is, it partly depends on a lot of different factors. Washington Has Fallen encompasses multiple large missions with complex coding.  When the project began, SkyThrusters the project creator had only been playing Minecraft for about five months so he had to research, study and teach himself coding in Redstone, which is the most basic version of Minecraft coding.

The first version of the Washington Has Fallen adventure was coded entirely in Redstone, using Redstone machines and contraptions.  This kind of coding is ok for mini-games and if you are building in vanilla Minecraft in native survival game mode.  However it is problematic for bigger projects, because Redstone machines require complicated coding and massive amounts of space.

By the time the main storyline, new infrastructure, an missions has been completed, SkyThrusters had taught himself the advanced coding using command blocks and command codes.  This was a breakthrough, because it reduced the time required to code a mission by 95%, and similarly reduced the space required for coding to around 90%, when compared to Redstone coding alone.

Fortunately, by the time the majority of the core coding began, SkyThursters had already moved the coding to using command blocks and command codes. That makes repairing bugs much easier, because if something is not working as programmed, it is usually a piece of bad code.

Command codes also make it easy to reset a mission or event after it has been played, but requires a lot of forethought compared to RedStone coding.  Redstone coding has the advantage, that it almost always includes a switch or more that start the event. Because Redstone machines are "Hard wired", as long as no dispensers are involved that require being refilled, it resets itself.  Where as, a command block machine needs a command block switch that begins the event, and then resets itself after a certain amount of time.  That can be tricky, depending on how complex the machine is, but command blocks make it possible to create complex machines much easier and in a tiny amount of space.

During the current and final beta testing of the Washington Has Fallen, Minecraft adventure, when we have to go in to fix a bug, we're also reviewing and inspecting its necessity by asking the following questions. 
  • Is this event still needed?
  • Can we change the way it was originally coded to make it work better?
  • Does it still make sense in the storyline?
  • Do we need to add more coding and additional features?
  • Does this part of the mission flow well, or do we need to add in hints or NPC guides to provide more information about what is expected?
  • Are there any final design changes to the buildings or mission that will improve its appearance?
As of May 15, 2022 we just completed "final" beta testing of Mission four and five.

Mission one, had minor redesigns but no new features.

Mission two, had no redesigns and no new coding because it is so simple.

Mission three, consists of four different sections, but only had minor redesign and minor recoding.

Mission four, is one of the entirely original world areas that didn't exist in Life Boat's Washington DC template.  It is one of the larger and more complex coding projects, consists of eight different sections. It received some major redesign, new coding, new features during it's final beta testing.

Mission Five we finished final beta testing early this morning. Similar to Mission four, Mission Five occurs in the US Capital, so it is quite large and expands over four floors of the building. This mission required significant recoding to make the sequence of events flow smoothly and reduce the error ratio. Some of the coding in Mission five uses timers to trigger events. Its largest mission features has to perform a bunch of events sequentially in a matter of seconds or the player gets killed and that particular mission gets messed up.  It's only been tested with a single player so far, and we learned during the original live team beta test that having multiple players doing missions together, often creates unintended events, especially when they occur in small spaces.  So it's possible, this mission may need to be revisited more in the future.  

There are still a whole lot more missions to test and fix.  How many?  That is a great question, because when we were designing Washington Has Fallen, we didn't have a set amount of missions in mind, just the story line.  So no one has counted yet.  We're actually counting as we do the final beta test.  A mission often contains five to six self contained missions. We're only counting the entire mission, since its basically like reading the chapter of a book, and sequintial.

For example, if I break down Mission three into the "tasks" or mini-missions required to finish it, it contains at least twenty different stages.

One problem is finding Minecraft players who want to test it, but even more so, is finding Minecraft players who will actually tell us the bugs they encounter. Most just want to try it out and get a basic idea of the adventure or try to look at the coding.  No one wants to actually contribute to helping use find the problems, so that means we are having to do the play through tests and then debug too.  Chances are high, we're only catching the big bugs.  The big bugs are the most important bugs, because they break the flow of the game and prevent moving forward to the next mission.  We built the adventure so it progresses. Most of the missions are locked until you finish the previous mission.  Some of the missions can be explored externally, which ultimately could mess up one or two of them that are dependent of moveable objects. It's possible that those may end up being fixed now that we moved to command coding events.

Check back later for more updates. 

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