I know most of you who were here ended up on our own site, supporting us there, etc. That said, I do occasionally update here just in case there are a few stragglers out there -- yeah, I'm talking to you :) You're waiting to see whether it's time to follow Pantheon again... when is it going to hit alpha testing? Launch? Are they making good progress?
So if that's you, 3 quick updates:
1. Our next major internal milestone is Pre-Alpha 1 (PA1). That is where people who pledged enough for pre-alpha will be brought into the game to help us test it. This is not your typical early-access or just an opportunity to play the game earlier (although you will be able to do that to some degree). It's just that we're going to put you to work to and sucking you dry of comments and suggestions. When will it be ready? We have a solid internal date we are tracking to, but still a bit early for me to put that date into the public eye. In the meantime, we appreciate all of the patience and support.
2. Recent growth in both crowdfunding and traditional funding has allowed us to build the team up quite a bit -- full time animators, concept artists, character modelers, environment modelers, graphics programmers, etc. Aside from the obvious 'why this is good' why this is particularly good is it allows us to both march steadily towards PA1 as well as move the game forward big picture (for example, we're working early on on zones that won't be in PA at first, etc). And it also allows us to start putting more time, money, and effort into PR/Marketing, more specifically increasing Pantheon Awareness, which will include a new stream coming up very soon!! A great place to be, where we can follow all three important paths without being tempted to borrow from one to feed another.
3. Are you all on the newsletter mailing list? If you're still reading this update, I'm betting perhaps not, lol. Sign up for it or at least give it a quick read and see what you think:
4. As mentioned, we now have resources to start upgrading Pantheon graphics directly... while we love Unity and they update often and do a great job, the reality is that, especially over time, we'll be replacing things here and there to make the display as Pantheon-specific as we can -- there are certain technologies you don't use for an FPS but you do for an MMO, vice versa, etc. For example, while it still may be bit away, we're likely going to write our own skin shader. As you can see from the newsletter, right now we're working big time on lighting, water, tree and grass rendering, upgrading the UI, and undoubtedly more. Check out this latest screenshot taken with one of those sweet widescreen monitors I'd like to get a hold of one day :)
The time has begun for us to not just attend trade shows, but start to actually have a booth (perhaps small at first) and then for us to start showing both the game and other related goodness. The first time this truly takes place is:
Anyway, if you haven't been following, hopefully that will whet your whistle a little bit :)
People we are showing the game to are becoming more and more excited, whether it be the media, influencers, potential investors, or really anybody -- people in general are really changing -- for a while I think if something wasn't VR or AR or Mobile/FTP or failed to fit buzzword bingo in general, it wasn't taken as seriously. I've seen this happen -- it's cyclical. In any case, with the game so much farther along, the company growing in a healthy and productive manner, and people returning more to the 'let's make great games and let's do what makes sense for the game, its genre, and its platform... as opposed to just making a game because, allegedly, it's the right kind to make for the moment. Yech! No fun in that (and not much profit either).
Visited Gamecomm in Germany this year -- a show that makes E3 look like a kindergarten party. Met with a lot of great and interesting people. Got to hang out with at least one super-fan :)
Another stream is coming pretty soon, again focused on some of the visual upgrades we've been working on. Bothering the dev team with some stream specific needs would be met with ire as they are so focused on PA1. But that's good -- we're to the point where we can try out different formats, focuses, audiences, etc. So the next stream won't be an epic 3 hour romp through Terminus.
Here I am doing a quick talk actually about how many MMO players feel orphaned by the hyper-casual shift that's occurred in the last 5 years. I went through recent history, ideas and explanations, and of course where I think we should go next: choose a solid target audience, make the best game you can for them, listen to them and start listening early, regardless of genre or difficulty level, platform, etc. We happen to be working on an MMO that I think will be hugely greeted, but what about my other favorite genre, the traditional base building RTS (AoE, Starcraft, C&C, etc.) -- anybody know if someone's working on one? And I mean a real one, not again hyper-casualized by doing just brilliant things like, say, removing the need to build a base to produce things in an RTS. WUT?
Hanging out with the actual Twitch.TV guys! Found out there are a bunch of MMO fans over there, especially some EQ players! You might think twitch is more FPS or MOBA, but we had some great talks, and I think twitch and streaming is going to play a HUGE role in MMOs -- yes, even PvE focused MMOs (although we talked about PvP too and it's role, especially post-launch when we can put some real time into it! I look forward to plotting and scheming with them in the future. In the meantime they logged into Pantheon and played well over an hour -- it was very validating and encouraging as it was almost so loud in the room, overflowing in hoots and cheers, that we almost had to move some of the meetings to another part of the building! Great people, potential to help each other out immediately, short term, as well as big time long term.
That's pretty much it for a quick summary.
To those of you who still read these, thanks! We're going to ramp up the end if this year quite nicely and then have an amazing 2018.
Here's a link to our latest screenshots, streams, videos, etc.:
And as a reward, the following is an unauthorized and never before released screenshot (exclusive to this update). We had to cut it previously due to the violent subject matter, but perhaps we will have more latitude here :)
Onward and upward!
-Brad "Aradune" Mithara