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Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with unknown dangers and lost technologies. Inspired by nightmares and dreams alike.
24,150 backers pledged $645,158 to help bring this project to life.

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Seasonal Update Party!

Posted by Heart Machine (Creator)
161 likes

Drifters! It's been a bit of time since our last connection, so I come bearing .gifs  and information!

Heart Status

Good news, everybody! I've successfully furthered my slow robotic transformation by approximately 10% through a hefty valve replacement procedure. I took a break from updating last month due to this, as some rest and recovery was needed. 

One sentence review of the whole thing: new hybrid valves are great, heavy internal procedures that decimate your body and leave you with a stabbing heart-feeling, triggering fevers + extended sleepless hospital stays, not so great. 3 stars, slow shipping, would not recommend.

Hyper Status

First, a few .gifs for fun:

We're deep into our last stretch of development. This includes:

  • Getting and implementing feedback from close friends/developers digging into private playtests - this is where we find what issues may be plaguing us mechanically, story-wise, and some general bugs. 
  • Finalizing systems - includes our Skills/upgrades, general economy balance, ironing out lingering bugs with saving/loading/warping etc.
  • Finalizing levels - this takes the most time, as flow and pacing is critical to the experience and requires a fair amount of play testing with others to get perfect. This also includes all the lighting, set dressing and ambiance.
  • Polishing the rougher/looser visual elements - e.g. there were a lot of rough frames of the Drifter with no eyes/arms etc for over a year. Some bosses had intentionaly been left sketchy in order for us to finalize the mechanics of the battles before digging our heals into the animation
  • Cut scenes! All the lovely little animation flourishes and sounds will find their way into these next month.
  • Music - Disasterpeace has been laying down supremely hot tracks throughout the process. Some are still in a rough state or missing. These final months will see all the gaps being filled and any placeholder music getting fleshed out.
  • Planning our hardcore QA and optimization phase - this will occur fairly soon with an experienced team we've lined up.
  • Focusing on Mac and Linux ports - We want to launch PC/Mac/Linux all at once, so this process has already begun with the help of an experienced and trusted developer.
  • Platform implementation + marketing - this includes putting the game and all the assets and achievements up on Steam and other services (a bit more complex then just putting an exe up on a sever and pressing a button), sending out builds to Streamers and press for reviews shortly before release, and getting the word out through however many channels we can.
  • Remaining Kickstarter rewards - this includes getting the rest of the surveys out and generating the required keys, goods and so on.

Final Bits

This list doesn't include everything, just some of the broader points I felt people would like to know about as we close in on release. It's exciting! And terrifying! Spring is so close, and this anxious feeling only grows larger with each passing day.

At any rate, Drifters, we'll return next month with more inside details to share. Perhaps a few new gifs as well?

Spooky Update!

Posted by Heart Machine (Creator)
137 likes

Drifters! This will be a short update, since time is in great demand these days!

Internals

We're on full-blast mode at Heart Machine with our release coming up in spring (much to do yet!), so future updates will continue to be light in order to maintain focus until post-release. (Once there, I'll have a bit more breathing room for answering and engaging.) 

I've also not had much time to answer KS messages on the back end, but will tackle that backlog as soon as I'm able. If you have any burning questions, please hit me up on info@heart-machine.com. 

We're screaming through remaining content at a monstrous pace, so focus is vital.

Heart Parts

I'll be going in for a procedure to get a new heart valve bolted into my chest in early November. It's a (relatively) simple affair, but I've learned through the years that any medical procedure can be nerve wracking and traumatizing to your body. I'll be taking a few days off post-procedure to lay down, watch some good (and bad) anime, rest my tired bones and brains. 

The positive side is that my heart won't be as crummy, and I'll be 10% more robot!

Meanwhile, the team will still be in full production mode while I get all needled-and-knifed, so worry not!

Final Bits

It's honestly a bit of a double edged sword with release coming up so soon, and I imagine this holds true with most games and creatively driven projects: you've been crafting this work for so long, and to finally see the thing come together and become presentable for consumption is immensely exciting and completely terrifying. Before KS, I was a very private creator; to have the public get to play this very personal project soon will be something else I'm not sure I'm entirely prepared for.

See you next month, Drifters.

September Update Time!

Posted by Heart Machine (Creator)
78 likes

Drifters! The lovely Month of September has mostly passed, and we've once again made progress.

PAX

We had an amazing time at PAX Prime in Seattle this year. A steady stream of people came by our booth (nestled within the larger MEGABOOTH) with kind words of encouragement and excitement. Casey hugged a fair amount of backers. No one got deeply ill this trip. Shirts sold out. Success!

The highlight of the event was meeting NightMargin, our most dedicated backer, in person. She was kind enough to bring us gifts, including a custom made plushy and printed booklet of all the art she has produced over the past two years. It was amazing and we all hugged. Thanks, NightMargin.

A few pictures from the event:

Always prepared with metal brackets in hand
Always prepared with metal brackets in hand
First day hi-score
First day hi-score
All set up!
All set up!
Street breakfast after plan rides.
Street breakfast after plan rides.
I forget what day this was. Intense times.
I forget what day this was. Intense times.
Custom plushy courtesy of NightMargin
Custom plushy courtesy of NightMargin
End of the show! Four days is LONGGGG.
End of the show! Four days is LONGGGG.

It's easy enough to dive so deep into development that words of encouragement tend to fall by the wayside. It was a refreshing event in many ways. You're all lovely. Thank you.

Development Update

After a brief respite from PAX, we picked up where we left off: ironing out the full gameplay loop. We're planning more extended internal play tests now that we're nearing the tail end of content production.

I'll let Teddy, systems wizard and designer extraordinaire on the Heart Machine team, provide insight on this subject:

"Let's be real. Everyone at Heart Machine has gotten pretty good at playing Hyper Light. While that makes us feel pretty bad ass, it makes us terrible judges of how difficult or understandable our own game is to play. The most valuable and painful tool we have in game development is what we call "playtesting" ~ putting the controller into the hands of someone outside the team, and having them play as total rookies with no help or instruction from us. 

For the last 6 months, we've been holding a formal full-team playtest every 2 weeks. We usually ask a friend or other developer who hasn't played Hyper Light to come to Alex and Casey's house, where we all gather on the couches and watch them play. It's incredibly useful to watch them play, to see what they understand and what they don't, and how much challenge or frustration the game is giving them. These tests can be very validating, and sometimes painful to watch a player struggle against a part of the game we thought would be relaxing... even see them get frustrated. Ultimately, the point is to catch these issues and bugs, and spot them as early as possible. It's a vital part of the development process... and then we can all have pizza together."

Final Bits

Thanks again to everyone who made it our to the booth and said hello. You're all amazing. See you in October with more details, Drifters.

New Trailer! Release Details!! Other Things!!!

Posted by Heart Machine (Creator)
124 likes

First, a new trailer:

https://youtu.be/uN9YsuJMsDg

Release Window

Hyper Light Drifter will be released in spring of 2016.

We wanted to address this ongoing point with confidence before providing any more details. Release dates are a sensitive subject, and our attitude has been to take the time we need to do this right. Though we have hinted at estimated dates before, we are thrilled to finally come to you in certainty with our official release window!

We have set a high standard for ourselves throughout the entire process, and will not compromise those to release a title before it’s ready. We’ve seen how that choice turns out time and time again. The final game will be far better for it.

The first release will come to Windows and Mac, followed as quickly as possible by consoles. A very significant labor of optimization and platform requirements go into bringing a game to consoles. We have already begun juggling that process in tandem with the completion of the core game, but have decided to not withold the PC version while we wait for the console versions to pass certification.

Why has it taken this long? 

Game development is often an imprecise process of discovering how everything works together; the core concepts, the visuals, the audio and the interactive. Hyper Light Drifter is a big game, with a small handful of extremely dedicated people creating it. It has required a massive amount of careful design considerations, extensive conversations about the story and world, engine and tools building, plenty of discovery, trial and error, working through a variety of game-breaking and time-draining bugs, reworking and cutting of systems, reshaping, and streamlining to feel like we can deliver on the original intention and vision of the project.

With crowdfunding, we (and other developers in our position) have been able to share a small portion of this complex process with a larger audience, shedding a bit of light on the incredible amount of work and iteration that goes into just a single experience.

Why next year and not 2015? 

The game is rapidly nearing content completion. There’s balancing to be done with the economy/collectables, vital playtesting remains for specific regions and bosses, further cleanup for levels and remaining temp assets, some music to be composed, and bugs to be fixed. Each of these components are being worked on in-tandem, and each requires a healthy amount of time to bring to a satisfying, polished conclusion.

Games take a lot out of us. We’ve been working full-blast for almost two years, and the team as a whole needs to continue to steadily pace ourselves, instead of crunching; pushing any harder would burn us out, leading to a negative outcome. My own physical condition has been growing worse (as is expected), leaving me unable to do as much until I have the necessary heart procedure performed. This means pacing, resting, recovering, and getting treatment even when I have much to do.

We see how close we are, and how exciting it is to finally peek at the end of the tunnel. We are on budget, well paced, within our means, and more excited than ever.

Sound of Hyper Light Part 3

Our sound designer (and incredibly nice fellow), Akash Thakkar, has created another lovely and in depth video about his process for Hyper Light:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZGiggm9zDY

Final Bits

Developing games is difficult, complicated, kind of insane and extremely gratifying. I love it more each day.

Heart Machine has been fortunate enough to have a successfully crowdfunded project, which is no small feat. We have wonderful backers and fans to share our process with and help keep our energy and focus up. I’m looking forward to more in-depth looks at our engine + editor, some write-ups on design decisions, and more concept art posting down the line. It’s taken us a fair amount of time to get to this level; we won’t compromise on our standards now.

We hope you’ll enjoy the immense amount of wonderful thought and effort the entire team has poured into the experience when the time comes.

Full-timers: (left to right) Sean Ward, Teddy Diefenbach, Alex Preston, Beau Blyth, Casey Hunt
Full-timers: (left to right) Sean Ward, Teddy Diefenbach, Alex Preston, Beau Blyth, Casey Hunt
Music: Rich Vreeland
Music: Rich Vreeland
SFX: Akash Thakkar
SFX: Akash Thakkar
Levels Support: Lisa Brown
Levels Support: Lisa Brown
Art Support: Cosimo Galluzzi
Art Support: Cosimo Galluzzi

P.S. Come see us at the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX Prime August 27th-31st. 

July Update!

Posted by Heart Machine (Creator)
101 likes

Drifters! July has blazed by so quickly; we find ourselves savoring the final moments of this sweltering month. This will be a relatively short update, as PAX Prime is coming up NEXT MONTH with new info!

Team Member Announce

This is an introduction that's been in the works for a while. At the beginning of the year we asked around for a talented level designer to join us, since we had a huge workload ahead. 

We ended up with the wonderful Lisa Brown, an ex-Insomniac designer, doodler and owner of an incredible laugh. She has a plethora of insight on game design and is an active supporter of burgeoning devs around the world with her streams, talks and chats. She can be found online here: http://www.wertle.com/ 

We've had a great time with her on the team these last few months, and wouldn't be nearly as far along without her. She's been instrumental in boosting our productivity, keeping us focused, and pitching in on design meetings with her expertise and experience. 

Thanks for being rad, Lisa; we're lucky to have you with us.

PAX Prime

We'll be attending PAX in Seattle this August, and we'll have a bunch of new and fancy items to share leading up to it: videos, screenshots, new prints, shirts (see below) and new information on release. If you're attending the show please stop by our booth (location to be announced) and come hangout with us. We'll fist bump and chat about games and the vast sea of lovely people attending this madhouse event.

By the way, here's a peak at the new shirt design:

 Final Bits

It's been a month of incredible progress on our end. We've been blazing through designs and content at a rapid pace; chopping, focusing and polishing. We're feeling better than ever about our core. 

Every few weeks I pull back and play the game from a different perspective, and it puts a massive smile on my face when I'm able to see all that we have accomplished since the end of the Kickstarter in 2013. 

 Thank you, everyone, for your patience as we continue to push ourselves as hard as possible to give you the best experience we're capable of. There's more to come leading up to PAX. We hope to see you there, Drifters.