It’s been a busy couple of months since the last update - and we’ve got some good news!
Happy Kickstarter Anniversary!
It’s now been 4 years since we launched our Kickstarter. By that point, I had already quit my day job and put in about 6-7 months of work to create a workable prototype and proof-of-concept of our dream game. That early build came together so easily and effortlessly that we naively assumed turning it into a full game would be just as easy! Since Kickstarter makes you put in an expected release date, we put down May 2014. Well, it turns out that we missed that date by a little bit, but we’ve stayed committed to the original vision and quality bar that we set out to hit from the beginning. I know I sound like a broken record, but I can’t overstate the appreciation we have for everyone’s continued support and patience. And with that, I’m incredibly excited to announce...
We’ve Hit Alpha!
The big announcement is that we’ve officially reached Alpha! Alpha means the world, story, characters, powerups, enemies, bosses, and major set pieces are all complete. The game is playable from the beginning to the credits and has all the required features. Our plan is to send out the Alpha build to a few trusted friends in the industry (mostly other game developers) to kick the tires and make sure there aren’t any major flaws that we’ve just overlooked since we’re too close to the game at this point.
The next step is Beta. That’s the version we’ll be sending out to all of the Early Access-tier backers from Kickstarter. To reach that stage, we’re working on adding all the extras like more content, items, FX, and lots of polish. Luckily the hardest part, creating an entire replayable world, is over, and now we get to focus on the details that will keep everyone playing for a long time to come. As much as we want to get the game in everyone’s hands already, we also don't want to rush things now that we’re so close to the end. I’m hoping that in the next newsletter, I’ll be able to give you a good ETA on when we expect to hit Beta. Once we reach that milestone, we’ll gather feedback from the backers, fix what needs to be fixed, and get ready to launch. There’s light at the end of this tunnel!
Shows and Travel
Staring at the same screen all day and tweaking and retweaking rooms and enemies for months on end can feel a little isolating. Progress is never as fast as you want it to be, and there are a million little details to get right. So going to a gaming show every now and then can be a huge shot in the arm.
Last month I went to Boston for PAX East. As always, PAX was a fantastic experience. I got to talk to a lot of people who have been following Chasm for years, and others who had never heard of it. However, the the most exciting aspect was probably that we were able to show off the opening scenes of the game for the first time ever. It really gives the game a more cinematic experience and makes it feel like a real game. The opening scene gives a lot of the context for why you’re in these mines fighting monsters and how all of that came to be
The feedback from PAX East was truly fantastic and extremely reinvigorating. When you work on the same game for so long, you tend to notice all of the flaws, and for most of the last year, I was working on all of the technical plumbing and infrastructure that was super important but not fun in and of itself. It’s super gratifying to see people loving the game and totally getting your vision for it.
A couple weeks before PAX East, we were contacted by a group of gamers from Kuwait, of all places. They invited us to the small gaming convention they hold every year and told us that even though most people don’t realize it, there are a ton of passionate gamers in the Middle East. We took them up on their offer, and Dan spent a week out there.
It was definitely different from what we expected. In some ways, it was very similar to an American or European show. People were super knowledgeable about games, and Dan had lots of conversations about the games that inspired Chasm, including Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. There were cosplay contests and a fighting game tournament - with world-class players. Even the male:female ratio was comparable to what you’d see at PAX. A lot of stereotypes about the Middle East were challenged, to say the least!
In other ways, it was very different. Unlike Western shows, this event started at 5pm and went until midnight. There is no alcohol in Kuwait, so there were no after parties like you’d see at PAX. And for the fighting tournament, they had to get special permission to play DOA, since the scantily clad female characters are not officially allowed in Kuwait. Overall though, there is much more that unites us than divides us. We’re all hoping that the common language of videogames will serve as a bridge of understanding for our and future generations.