Happy New(s) Year!
That's right - we're way overdue for an update post! Thanks for bearing with us backeroos. Here's what's been going on:
As some of you may know, I had a book come out this fall and a 3-month countrywide tour immediately afterward. Naturally I was hoping to get the game out before having to leave on that because I had some vague idea that it sounded like I might be a bit busy during that time and as the programmer and lead design, writer, etc etc that could possibly slightly result in a bit of a tiny delay. "Not a big one!", I told myself as even the work leading up to the launch started to get more and more intense. "Hell, I've done train jam, I've worked on the road plenty of times, I can still get stuff done AND launch a book AND be on the road for three months. How hard could it be? I don't even have to release a patch!"
This was ahhh... somewhat naive, as anyone with common sense who hasn't been driving their brain into the dirt crunching on trying to finish a game before a book tour might immediately be able to tell. My bad on that one, legitimately.
But! The tour gave me a lot of perspective. A lot of you probably know that, because there were some of you at every single tour stop, always asking about the game in an excited way that got me excited to finally get off the road and back to work. I love working on this thing. The team's great, the actors are great, Chuck is great, butts are great, comedy is great, fmvs are great, what's not to love honestly? I love it a lot, and I can't wait to share that love with the world.
I started to notice some common things though, meeting so many of you lovely folks and getting far enough out of the video game industry echo chamber that I was basically roaming around in a totally different industry for a few months there. Quite a lot of people wanted to play it, but weren't super into games as a whole cause there wasn't a lot of stuff out there for them, or they hadn't had a console, or they just didn't know weirdo indie games like this even existed. That reminded me of how I'd deliberately tried to focus on browser based game development before now - the accessibility of not having to download anything or own anything that you wouldn't already have to find out about the game was extremely appealing, because I've always wanted to reach people who haven't found out that games can be for everyone yet. I don't like making it hard to play my stuff. The first version of this game that I ever prototyped actually *was* browser based, but that ran into performance issues not worth getting into with anyone who hasn't asked for someone to ramble about RAM indefinitely.
This came at a time where I've been trying to wrestle with a few Extremely Large questions I'd been wanting to avoid answering, largely about the sustainability of doing content-driven weird stuff in the PC/Console market, especially as a, well, let's say heavily politicized figure in the industry? How much of my time is going to be eaten up if I put something as queer and weird as this on something like Steam with moderation of comments sections and review bombing? When a lot of the audience I want to reach isn't already following gaming, how can I make it so they can find my work?
Then I kind of had an a-HA moment after talking with enough people who I'd met in the publishing industry on tour who had never really considered themselves someone who would be interested in games - a lot of them actually already were, but were not counting the games they had on their phones as "real games".
It seems so obvious in hindsight, I regret not seeing it sooner: I could attempt to solve these issues by switching over to focus on making games for mobile devices, where adoption is extremely wide (92% of Americans own a cell phone, 45% own a tablet, compared to 40% who own consoles) and the audience is very different. With The Tingler, I had already been designing with accessibility in mind with regards to the control scheme - nothing about the game would have to be compromised. It actually lets me do some additional cool stuff I wished that I could've done before.
I've done design stuff for mobile before but I haven't done the tech side of things until now, so I've been playing the decision extremely close to my chest so I don't promise anything I won't deliver on, but I feel after this long I owe y'all some answers. Everything *seems* like it's going to be a smooth transition into finishing off this game with being played on a mobile device in mind, but I don't want to say that without the caveat of "I'm still verifying this with several amazing mobile devs way smarter than I am to make sure I'm not about to be hoisted by my own hubris" added in the mix. Absolutely no one I've talked to so far has any doubt about it being a better fit for the game, but hey, game development is fuckin' wild sometimes and we're all kinda figuring out a surprising number of things as we go.
I hope that's ok with you. I'm making the call that I think is ultimately important for this game, and likely the rest of the games that I'm directing down the line. I know this project has wildly exceeded our initial, extremely humble scope of "tiny game with butts and love and unicorn underoos" and into a much more content-rich, SAG-AFTRA project with actual celebrities and a half a dozen totally different minigames. I know all this backend stuff is also boring as hell and doesn't really leave me with the cool gifs and animations to show y'all like the other updates, but I feel like I owe it to you all for making this possible to at least give you a glimpse of what's up, even if it's a lot of extremely unsexy techie and logistics stuff. Don't worry - we'll still be releasing on PC/Mac regardless, but I'd like to have a simultaneous mobile launch as well, with the design optimized for that format. I'll confirm with you all when we're sure.
So! That's a lot of words to say this - sorry for the lack of updates, the book tour and reworking Crash Override (the resource center) for our 2018 goals hit me harder than I'd anticipated, but ultimately I think it'll be worth it because I'm actually really excited at the possibility for this game to get into the hands of people who didn't know you could shake a butt around to cast magic and draw dicks and prove love is real with the handsome body of a living video game.
Love you backeroos <3 Thank you for your continued patience.