Hello, Backers (spoiler image ahead),
As we move into the holiday season, I wanted to let everyone know where we are. Some of of us will be taking off next week for the Christmas holiday, but the group that will be around will be finishing up the final pieces and testing the game extensively. We just upgraded to Unreal engine 4.10.1, and it was the smoothest upgrade yet. A few industry vets have had a chance to check out the game, and we’ve gotten some great feedback. We have a lot of tuning to do, but the game is feeling great.
So what is the plan in the new year? Well, we need to test and optimize, then rinse and repeat. Tim Sweeney, one of the founders of Epic games, summed up game development nicely, "In game development, the first 90% of a project is a lot easier than the second 90%." He is absolutely right. We are on that second 90%, and we are working harder then ever.
We are very pleased to announce that the Game Developers Conference has officially accepted Eric Anderson's (our Art Director here at Cyan) presentation "Building Obduction: Cyan's Custom UE4 Art Tools." If you plan on attending GDC, you can find more information here.
Limited Edition Art Print Box Set
This beautiful, limited-edition Myst art print box features 5 fine-art-quality giclee prints corresponding to each Age in the original Myst game. These images are high resolution renderings from the original Myst models that have been gently enhanced. The box and prints come with a Certificate of Authenticity that is hand-signed by Myst co-creator Rand Miller. More info here.
Even amid the Thanksgiving overeating, it’s been a remarkably productive few weeks. We’re wrapping up our latest build of Obduction — another internal build that we use for testing and demonstration. This is one of the first builds that has almost every one of our worlds at a decent level of finish.
Perhaps we should define "decent level of finish" so that no one gets too excited. All of our worlds now have most of their structures, terrain, artifacts, and interaction beyond "block world" and "grey world." Almost everything has been modeled and textured to a sweet level, and they are playable, for the most part.
So what’s left to do? Well the words "most" and "almost" should give a clue that each world still has some holdouts — small areas that still need some modeling or texturing. Then there are the additional items like diaries, journals, messages, notes, books, and other clues. Of course all of those need various passes to make them look authentic, and they all have to be translated into other supported languages. And did we mention the additional sounds and music that have to be finalized and added? And animations? And special effects?
And beyond that we need love, lots of love. Love in this case means polish. And polish in this case means either distress or detailing. Some manmade items might need to be more weathered or corroded. And some natural areas might need a bit more detail to… well… look more natural. Beyond the look of things is the feel — we’ve got to fine tune all of the interface elements so that they feel natural and intuitive. We’ll also be prettifying and smoothifying all of our settings, save/load, and preferences screens, and adding the all important player journal. And we’ve also got to spend time adding "nodes" for both playing Obduction in “point and click” mode, and in VR.
And finally there is optimization — we’ve got to spend a some quality time making simpler and "smaller" versions of EVERYTHING. And we've got to check our code to make sure we’re not wasting cycles drawing things or calculating things that we don’t need to. We figure we should do this so that Obduction doesn’t require a supercomputer to play.
Sooooo… as excited as we are to be making progress, we’ve still got a lot to do. Thanks for your support, and keep cheering us on!
P.S. Here’s a new peek at one more of our worlds…
We just posted our third Cyan Obduction Team video -- it's an Atrus cornucopia! Enjoy!
We also want to thank you all for the wonderful messages of encouragement! It's wonderful to have such a supportive fan base. In the midst of pouring our hearts into so much hard work, it's nice to replenish ourselves with your kind words.
We tried to think of something clever to end this update, but in leu of what we titled it, better to just leave it hanging...
Two Years and Counting!
It's hard to believe, but it's been almost two years since our Obduction Kickstarter succeeded, and our Obduction production began in earnest. Wow!
We've accomplished so much this year -- and we've had our share of ups and downs. But we're in a great space, and Obduction is feeling amazing. We're looking forward to getting our last world finished -- and then polishing things to rusty, shiny, corroded, organic, degraded, alien perfection.
Music by Robyn Miller!
Some incredibly exciting news for those of you who haven't heard -- Rand's brother Robyn (who co-created Myst and Riven) has agreed to do the Obduction soundtrack! Among other things, (writer, director, actor, artist, and more) Robyn is a very talented composer -- well know for writing and producing the award-winning music for Myst and Riven. He has already started on the first of the musical/ambient soundscapes, and we couldn't be more excited about having Robyn's music enhance the Obduction experience. Robyn's production company, Zoo Break Productions, has produced a feature film and two short films, and they have a TV series in the works. You can follow Robyn on twitter at @tinselman.
And, once again, thank you so much for your continued support!