In about 48 hours we are going to be submitting Star Command to the iTunes store - the product of nearly two years of work and three guys working their asses off on something they love. We want to address a few things on here, because post-launch it's all about the future and what we're going to do with bug fixes, Android, PC and new features to the game. So let's start with the past.
To begin with, I want to emphasize the work portion of the above statement. We have really been working our asses off on this game. Seven days a week for two years. Nights, weekends and holidays - someone has been touching, thinking or playing this game for two years straight. Speaking personally (Jordan that is) I have had another son be born during the making of this game, worked my normal job and put in Star Command just to make things interesting. That process has been challenging, at best. And ever since January of this year we have been nose the grindstone every single day.
This has produced a few things. First, and foremost, we are VERY proud of Star Command. Is it everything we had hoped it would be? Of course not. Probably 30% of the original vision. Originally we wanted different eras of ships starting with mankind first heading into space, to a lumbering Ridley Scottesque commercial fleet to a more peaceful and exploratory Star Trek like experience. Those were the thoughts of drunk men. We wanted research, a robust diplomatic engine on par with civilization, the ability to capture and torture enemies, and eventually the ability to invade other ships and beam down to planets. So understand that the final product is not near our final vision - and that is ok.
The process of creation requires that you get to the core of an idea and remove all else. Star Command could never be all those things. But we do feel like we got to the core of the idea - managing your ship, hiring your crew, making life or death decisions, meeting strange aliens and exploring the galaxy. There are many things we would like to still do, and we will get to those in future updates.
But with the understanding of those circumstance, we want to apologize for few things.
First, we're sorry that the game isn't all those things that you and us wanted it to be. We genuinely did our best, and the thing about a kickstarter process is your giving a design doc to the masses. Your saying "this is our intention" - and when you remove things people naturally get upset. "This isn't what I supported". It always makes us feel better when someones says "you supported the idea more than the final product" which we feel is very true. Take OUYA or Occulus - those are ideas. There is a good chance they may not be the console killer or usher in the new era of virtual reality gaming, but as Kickstarter supporters you're getting behind the idea. These are things that, in principle, you want to see. Star Command is the same. We have done our best to keep the integrity of our original pitch while being as responsible as possible with what we have capability of actually creating. We are very, very happy with final results and genuinely surprised that we got it done at the level that we did, but there will always be a feeling of "but we could add more!"
Which leads to our second apology, which is timelines. Yes, this is our first game. This is not an excuse, just a reality. We have learned more than in the time that we have been working on Star Command than I have the capacity to type out, much of that being the process of making video games. Many of you are going to say that what your about to read is complete bullshit, but we swear on everything it's true: we never once put out a release date we didn't backtrack and think we could hit. That part might offend you or make you extremely weary of our abilities to make schedules, deliverables etc. But it is the truth. We never, ever purposely mislead or just put a date out because it would make people go away. We looked at August of 2011 and said "yea, if we just get this AI going and a copule more assets, this should be feasible." Then, "Alright, well November or December should be right, we just have to get the combat engine polished up, and get contraband working before September...." and that date would pass. None of these things are good and the amount of annoyance you have felt about missed deadlines can be multiplied by a factor of ten for us. We don't like missing dates. You would think otherwise, but again, its true.
Another apology comes in the form of updates. We genuinely feel like we did our best to keep everyone in the loop, and in the future we will make a conscious effort to make weekly updates from this point out. Almost all of you will be involved with that in the form of the PC beta, and therefore you will experience our work in real time (bugs and all). Again, we did our best in this regard, and are sorry if you felt like you were not kept in the loop enough.
Finally we want to apologize for any threats of physical violence or anything else that we have said that has offended you. Two years is a long time to work on something as closely as we have. Statements like "you haven't been responsible with the kickstarter money" or "you guys are scammers" or "you're purposely misleading" or "you're lying" are offensive to us and, to us, are character attacks. We joke around with our community and we don't take this too seriously - after all, this isn't cancer treatment or open heart surgery - they're just video games. They are supposed to be fun. But we have integrity and morals (very loose) and when someone makes those types of character attacks after two years of hard work - well, it's not too hard to catch us on a bad day and get us to say something stupid.
We will never go out and hire a PR firm to do our relations - we love talking to our community. We love discussing nerdy stuff, going off topic, making jokes and being honest. You have to take the good with the bad - we are open and accessible but occasionally we are going to say things that offend or make people angry. We are totally comfortable with that. If you are not, we are probably not the game company to engage with. There are thousands of other good games and game companies out there that you can seek out and we would encourage that. We have our fans, we love them and we hope that they accept us, flaws and all. But again, we are sorry for any threats of physical violence. Personally speaking, I have seen Justin punch. It's nothing anyone should be afraid of.
Finally, we want to thank you. You really have given us the opportunity of a lifetime and we have protected that to the best of our ability. This is our life dream - to make games. Kickstarter has given us that chance and we hope that we get to keep making awesome games for a long time to come. You are the reason that we have that chance. And for that we are eternally grateful.
So what's next?
iOS will be submitted this week. We will show you the receipt for proof. We will continue to make the Android version, with its 10,000 devices to test, and get that out as quickly as possible (we're estimating a month post-launch on iOS). Again, we know this is something we missed on, but it's just a reality. We don't think everyone could wait a whole month for side-by-side release.
After that we will move to the PC version of the game, which, as we said, becomes our beta platform. We will test new features there, bug fix, release then bring them back to mobile. That method makes a ton of sense. PC gives us a platform which allows for public bug testing that mobile simply does not have (yes, we have testflight, but it's very limited compared to desktop).
Our top feature looks like a sandbox mode. From early previews/reviews everyone wants to just jump around the universe and see whats out of there, so that will likely be our first and biggest feature for the PC market. We still love the idea of research and diplomacy as well as the ability to invade other ships and planets, but those will probably be a bit further down the road.
More to come very soon!
The Star Command Team