By 2011, at long last, we'd cobbled together something strongly resembling a game! Yes, loaded with various rough patches though it was, World's End had become playable. Actual playtesting could thus commence and we were well on our way.
...With the usual caveats, of course. Playing through the 2011 build, I marvel at how clunky everything seems compared to the current published game. I was just happy that things were running! The user interface could wait!
And what of my initial enemy stats? Ecthain have mercy! Even the earliest battles featured staggering difficulty. I wanted our game to be challenging, but I now reckon most players would ill tolerate, say, three pleb-tier thugs randomly stabbing poor Ivan to death before he might dispatch a single one of them.
By this time (much to my trepidation!) our “entertainment product” was sufficiently developed that we had to begin thinking about actually releasing it onto Flash game sites, in some odd fashion. The immense effort that had already gone into our creation led us to further split up the game.
I'd thought for a long time that World's End ought to be divided into three “installments”, but looking at what else was going on in the world of Flash games, it was clear that, even so hewn, the gargantuan mess that was the first nine episodes was altogether too much.
So Installment One gets chopped in two, and we decide to roll with putting out Episodes 1 to 4 as a “standalone” game. Frankly, I don't know how we'd have managed otherwise, and ultimately, World's End as a whole became better for this decision. More on that later.
That red and gold color scheme's really something, eh? Yeah, that definitely had to go. Crack insisted that we were RPG developers and not a fast food franchise.
We're not gonna serve you fries and a coke with your slunk nuggets, okay? But whatever role we'd taken on, considering the primary mission of Mezzanine Stairs, there was a major point we'd been neglecting.
Long years before the whispers of game production grew to deafening bellows, Crack and I had been producing music — this was the original impetus for what became Mezzanine Stairs. World's End circa 2011 remained silent, and that would most certainly not do!
But what direction might we take? The music we'd shat out so far had largely been created separately, each of us pursuing our own marginally-related sound agendas. It was clear, though, that for this endeavor, close collaboration was mandatory.
We hadn't developed a coherent music plan, and the early efforts either of us brought to the table for our game were still heavily grounded in our respective styles. A trifling issue — a greater concern was worrying about file sizes!
At that time, as far as I knew, Flash game music largely consisted of one or two looping MP3s of dreadfully low quality. With our game size rapidly approaching the dreaded 20 MB limit mandated on many game sites, we had little room to spare on music.
Would this abide? It'd have to, until Crack made a certain discovery....