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Sui Generis is an original open world RPG for the PC featuring dynamic story and physics based gameplay.
6,931 backers pledged £160,055 to help bring this project to life.

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Exanima Greenlit on Steam

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Exanima was greenlit with this Monday's batch of games. The process went incredibly well, we had a hugely positive response with 87% voting "yes, I would buy this game" compared to an average of 30% in the top 50 out of over 1700 games. We also had an impressive 1500+ comments on our Greenlight page. Things are looking good for Exanima.

Link to Exanima's Greenlight page.

A huge thank you to everyone who voted for us and helped by spreading the word!

We plan to release Exanima on Steam some time in April, there is a bit of preparation involved and we're working on a launch trailer. Naturally we're also working on adding new content and features to the game. All our backers will receive a copy of Exanima with the launch and if for any reason the Steam launch should take longer than expected we will anyway release the game to you.

Best,

Bare Mettle

Greenlight Exanima!

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Exanima is now on Steam Greenlight. Visit our Greenlight page which includes some nice new screenshots of the Exanima beta and please vote yes! We need a lot of votes to get Exanima approved so spread the word.

Here's the link to our Greenlight page:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=412380198

Best,

Bare Mettle

EXANIMA BETA RELEASED

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This update is about the beta launch of Exanima but first we think we should address the elephant in the room. Why the lack of updates? What's happening with the game's development?

Let's be honest here, when we came to Kickstarter we didn't know what we were getting into, not so much in terms of development but everything else. We were excited about making the game and naive about many realities. We saw ourselves as indie devs promising to do a lot of cool new things that people would share our enthusiasm for. Our plan was to focus on the game's most unique qualities, release it and then continue work on it indefinitely after release, improving and expanding it. What we soon realised is that most people were not so willing to forgive a few flaws for the sake of the game's virtues. We would be subject to harsh criticism on all fronts and where we showed ability and quality these would only serve to make them expected everywhere. Sui Generis does not present itself as a humble game and expectations were sky high.

Our focus almost immediately shifted from just developing the game to improving everything and responding to criticism so that people would not prematurely dismiss the game. It is a very unconventional game, one that can't be described with what are usually the biggest selling points. It's unfamiliar and people don't know if they want it, they will more easily compare it to what they know and fixate it on flaws rather than understand its unique potential. This was further reinforced by our first alpha releases, our alpha backers were in large part people who believed in and understood the game but a lot of people who knew less about what they were getting into and what the game aimed to achieve were, at least initially, not as impressed.

Does this mean we've bowed to criticism and let it change our game? No. We've listened to what meant improving on what we already had, whether it was making animations more fluid and lifelike, controls more responsive, armour designs more realistic or whatever reflected our own desires for the game. It seems there's endless room for improvement and as something approaches perfection any flaws only become more apparent. For a small team with limited resources working on such an already ambitious project this has proved to be a gargantuan challenge and incredibly time consuming. Doing things well just takes a lot of time and some of Sui Generis' more ambitious and experimental features are incredibly difficult to do "well".

Is this overall a bad thing? We think not. Without so much scrutiny and feedback early in development the game would never be as good. It has evolved from something experimental and rough around the edges to something very refined. But it has been taking a lot longer. It has had the unfortunate consequence that with the game being constantly subject to new iterations and dramatic improvements we became reluctant to show it in its incomplete state. Recent months have also been a constant cycle of feedback and us making improvements, something that is not very meaningful to those that haven't experienced the game. Our insider forum is a busy place where there is constant and meaningful interaction with us developers, now we are opening the gates to this interaction for all of you.

WHAT IS THE EXANIMA BETA?

We call it a beta but really this is more indicative of what tier of backer has access to it than anything else. We've reached a level of quality and functionality that we're happy with, we've used our alpha testing period to refine core gameplay and weed out all the bugs we could find. Exanima is a prelude to a game that is still in development and our focus has been on getting the most fundamental things right and solve any issues before we start piling on more features.

The purpose of Exanima is to give all of you something to play and provide feeback on as we complete development of Sui Generis. It is also designed as a standalone game that we can release to raise further funds for the final stretch of development. It is designed as a slice of Sui Generis. It is set in the same world some 20 years earlier, it tries to convey the existence of this world beyond it and the events taking place at this time are of some importance. You could see Exanima as what a long trip into the underworld in Sui Generis might be like, we have been faithful to it in every regard.

Despite all of this it is important to remember that while Exanima could be seen as a slice of SG as an actual game it doesn't have much in common with it. It's made from the same ingredients but follows a completely different recipe. More importantly we've prepared the finest dough and baked it to perfection but we're still adding the final icing that will make it taste delicious.

Given the kind of criticism we've been subject to in the past this could be considered risky. We've been accused of focusing too much on technology and not enough on the game, an accusation that frankly we consider utterly ridiculous. In order to make exactly the game we wanted we had to develop all the technology, games are made with technology and it's all about the game. This means a lot of very large scale development goals are the reality we are confronted with. Implementing the complete gameplay front-end to this is hugely important, perhaps more important than anything else but considering what we actually had to do and implement, it is trivial. We're not saying the design of the gameplay is trivial, only its implementation.

We are as you know including all the trappings of an RPG, it is a genre that we love, we are crystal clear on what we want here and it's something we take very seriously. But we've often described ours as "world first design", what we want above all else is a world that feels real and is incredibly dynamic with an unprecedented potential for emergent behaviour. This includes complete interactivity, realistic and functional behaviours, meaning attributed to every single thing, AI making real decisions rather than following rigid scripts, physics, lighting and basically just everything being part of a real functional world rather than being symbolic of it.

So, while we hope that Exanima succeeds in conveying at least the spirit of SG please bear in mind that it is far from feature complete, there are many details and big gameplay features still missing that are hugely important to your enjoyment of the game. Despite this the game does already provide a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. More features will be coming in fast, just in the past two weeks we've added a really large amount of new and important content and features and made countless improvements. Expect the game to improve dramatically in the near future. We've been battling giants all this time and now we're just breezing through development.

In past updates we've also talked about the care we were putting into many things such as interaction, animation, the inventory system, sound, combat AI, pathfinding and many other things. Now you can see how serious we are about doing all these things right. It's easy not to notice these things but that means we've done our job well.

Finally, please note that the game has a very steep learning curve and does not yet include a tutorial. Be sure to read the user guide accessible from the main menu, experiment with the game and learn to play it. There's a lot to the game that is not immediately obvious so take your time in discovering it.            

GAMEPLAY VIDEO AND NDA LIFTED

We've put a quick gameplay video up so you can all see some of the game in action. This is not a trailer intended to demonstrate features but just something to give you some idea of its current state. The footage is actually a bit out of date, but you should be seeing more recent and complete videos from players as this version is not under NDA.

 
                          

To download your copy of the Exanima beta use the following link:

http://www.baremettle.com/sg/login/

Best,

Bare Mettle

Prelude Alpha Release

65 likes

The first prelude alpha is now available from our website. For those of you who haven't caught on yet, the prelude is named Exanima. If you have alpha access then go grab it and then come to our forum and tell us what you think. You're our first testers so this first release is still under NDA until we've dealt with eventual major issues, please keep this in mind!

So, we've somehow overcome the huge ordeal of developing all the functionality and technology needed for a fairly complete playable experience. It may even appear very complete and polished but don't forget this is only the first alpha, there are many features and improvements to come for both Exanima and Sui Generis. This is happening very quickly now that we've gotten the really big and difficult stuff done. Some of the features we have not completed yet will obviously have a massive effect on the game, such as character advancement and thaumaturgy but we have been focusing on things that we believe present the biggest technical challenges and making sure we get them right. Even so we believe this alpha is very enjoyable and that we've already largely succeeded in providing the kind of atmosphere and experience we're aiming for.

This alpha is fairly short and doesn't have a proper conclusion, that's because it's the earliest part of the prelude. Once we've gone through some initial testing and completed the most urgent features and improvements we'll be opening up more of the prelude and then going into beta. The first full release should be close behind. Don't underestimate the volume of content though, you will have to be quite thorough to discover everything and all doors except the big double metal ones can be unlocked.

Please be sure to consult the control reference in the first run screen or the included readme file, you may have difficulty with certain interactions if you don't know the controls! Customisable controls in the in game settings screen will be included in a future release.

As mentioned before we will continue to add features and improvements to Exanima as we develop them for the full game. This will allow us to get your feedback as we continue with development and improve both the prelude and full game experience. In the near future we plan to release a roadmap of major development goals. This will give you a clear idea of what we're working on and perhaps even allow you to influence how those goals are prioritised.

Some of the more urgent things that didn't make it into this release:

  • More AI behaviours, with some very significant gameplay implications!
  • Greater environment interactivity
  • Walk/step backwards out of combat (with keyboard)
  • Automatic input correction to assist walking very near obstacles
  • Improved performance
  • Saving progress for multiple session playthroughs
  • Customisable controls
  • Various control improvements
  • Doors affecting room visibility system
  • Improved animations, especially for undead

The game is quite uncoventional in many ways but it shouldn't take long to get used to everything. It's fairly limited in scope for now but don't treat it as you would an action RPG, take your time and consider what you do, the most obvious thing is rarely the best.

As usual, to download the alpha access your account page on our website using your backer email address. If you don't have your password just use the forgot password feature.

Here's a few screenshots for those who can't yet see it first hand:

Best,

Bare Mettle

IT LIVES

57 likes


Recently we've been doing weekly updates on our insider forum, the prelude alpha is nearing completion and we've been keeping those waiting for its arrival informed on our progress and what challenges we've faced and overcome each week. It's been a very busy time for us but now we see the light at the end of the tunnel and we thought to do a more summary public update rather than the usual insider update.

We set a lot of extremely ambitious goals for ourselves with Sui Generis, we have to admit some of what we set out to do sounds a bit high-reaching. It's how we imagined future games when we were teenagers and that idea has stuck with us. You might find it a little concerning as a backer but there's quite a bit of what we wanted to do that we just couldn't be sure would really work. It made a lot of sense to us, we certainly thought we could do it but with no one having attempted it before we just couldn't be sure. There have always been moments of "Oh dear, what if this just causes too many problems?" There's also been a few times in development when we've imagined just how much easier our lives would be if we'd have gone for something simpler that's tried and tested!

Much of what we're trying to accomplish is far beyond the scope of the prelude and that's partly the idea of the prelude. It's an intermediate goal that is built from the same blocks but doesn't yet need to take advantage of everything they provide. In the end we've invested more in the prelude than we originally planned in an effort to do things right. Core to our game philosophy is that nothing is a static asset or effect, a predefined animation or scripted behaviour. We need to start with such things as placeholders while prototyping but in the end everything must be complex, mutable and reactive. If anything is possible then it should always be possible and be a natural result of the underlying simulation. We're not just talking about physics here but rather how everything has a meaning or purpose, how AI understands what things are and how they may relate to other things. Our event system and AI are aimed at providing an emergent story but we believe the most important and challenging aspect of this is the little things that drive how that story unfolds; the actions and objects that are instrumental to what actually happens and how what happens and happened previously can be perceived by AI. This has always been central to our design.

So far we've been very busy with overcoming the technical challenges of how to run a game where everything is dynamic, interacts and all motion is governed by physical forces; how everything can be described, how information can be accessed, interpreted and exchanged; how things behave in consistent and plausible ways rather than through simple schematic models; how AI can form opinions and make decisions that give them access to potentially unlimited options and roles, and do this in a lifelike and natural way rather than through a rigid set of unscrutable rules.

While on the surface the prelude is quite simple we have always remained true to our goals, it is built on these things and they are functional. It shows that we've already overcome the most serious technical challenges. Really we could not have hoped for better results. SG's physical world works beautifully and it can communicate, beneath the surface it is so much more than the typical series of player activated things, it is bursting with meaning and potential ready to be unlocked.

Now we're less concerned with technical issues and what could go wrong but rather with how to take advantage of everything we've done. Nagging concerns are being replaced by a flood of ideas about what can be done with what we've put in place. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, there's no mistaking it. We have developed models and methods, algorithms and data structures but ultimately it's the data itself that drives the world. We still have to design many of the things themselves, the activites or specific behaviours, the knowledge that governs them. This is an incremental process however where we can gradually expand options, understanding and possibilities.


We realise a lot of this may seem quite abstract but it's difficult to go into detail in a concise manner. Some people might also find knowing how things work breaks the illusion. If you are interested and have access to our insider forum, you will find more information about our AI systems, about how things in the world carry information and many other things besides. We plan to continue making frequent posts with detail of our progress and some of the game's inner workings.


On a more practical note, the prelude alpha is indeed very near completion. We've solved every major issue we're aware of, including those mentioned in our last insider Sunday update. This last week we've stopped to take a breath for the first time in a while and just look at what we're doing which is what inspired this update. It's very satisfying and exciting to see everything working smoothly. This week we'll be finalising some user interaction features and work on an actual release build. Performance on lower end systems is still potentially a concern at the moment (this is not a serious issue and will be solved completely) but we think it may be acceptable for a first alpha release.


Best,

Bare Mettle