It's been a pretty intense year for Rocket Science Amusements so please read through to the end of the update to get the full story.
Here are the main points...
- I pitched Last Life to publishers, but they passed on the project for various reasons.
- I moved to Chicago to explore the mid-west indie scene and escape the soaring rent prices of LA.
- I took on a bunch of contract work, which mostly went toward paying down credit card debt. Unfortunately, contract work alone can't raise nearly enough money to finish a game of this size.
- I tried to turn Last Life into an interactive streaming web series for Eko.com, but they ultimately couldn't provide finishing funds. Check out my pitch demo here (password: forbackers).
- I started prototyping a new (small) game idea, which I'm calling Slamdoku!
- I decided to get creative and take a new approach for finishing Last Life!
Interview with Unwinnable
This summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Davis Cox about my experience working on Last Life and it's current "on hold" status. Check out the article here.
So what comes next?
Here's my new plan for Last Life:
Since the scope of finishing a fully mo-capped and voice acted cinematic animated movie/game is just too large for a now-one-man team to finish, I've considered abandoning the mo-cap animations and refocusing my efforts on telling the story through the game's audio.
In 2015, I actually created a fully playable version of the game that worked like this, where the camera didn't cut in for close ups and the characters didn't emote during conversation, but the character interactions felt too stilted and inhuman, so I scrapped it and decided to pursue a more cinematic mo-capped experience.
Now, in 2018, I'm looking back on that early version of the game and wondering if I can take some of the cinematic lessons I've learned along the way and apply them to that more static dialogue system to get this game finished in a more affordable way that doesn't use mo-cap. Mo-cap data is a real hassle (aka expensive) to work with, btw, and I'm only talking about after it's been recorded.
Now, even with this cost savings, the game will still require some sort of funding to finish, albeit less.
Since it seems like I can't raise money without having released a successful game and I can't release this game without raising money, I've been in a bind that's felt more than a little uncomfortable. But that's when I had a new idea:
- What if I could create and release a much smaller (but super polished) game that I could use as a launching board for Last Life?
- That's when I came up with Slamdoku--a game that could break me out of that aforementioned bind and give Rocket Science Amusements the win that it needs to get a partner interested in Last Life.
- Slamdoku is a creative re-imagining of Sudoku as a competitive local multiplayer fighting game.
- Feel the physicality as you slam numbers onto the board. Bash your opponent out of the way to secure your victory.
- Don’t just be the best at Sudoku, be the best at Slamdoku.
I see Slamdoku's release as a step towards Last Life's eventual completion and I hope you will too. I understand the tremendous risk involved in making another indie game, but this time I've constrained the scope of the project and I've taken the risk on by myself. Right now this looks like the best option to break me out of that bind I mentioned earlier and get Last Life back on track. I need to do this.
I'm incredibly excited about Slamdoku and can't wait to share it with you all very soon.