Hello again Chasm backers! Production has marched forward steadily this summer, and we're happy to report that we're making great progress. It's been a while since we've done a proper production update, so we thought we'd try to break things down into categories as neatly as we can, and give you an idea of where each is. Please don't take the percentages too seriously though, they're only meant as a rough approximation!
GAME ENGINE - 100%
The game engine has been done for a while now, and we have production-quality code running on all our launch platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4) at a silky smooth 60 FPS. We're still refactoring and cleaning things up, but all the major systems are in place and functional!
STORY - 100%
The basic story for the game has been done for over a year, but we have had to modify it a bit as we've progressed and fill in some details. Back in the spring we decided it was time to do a major revision in order to ensure all of the details we've added fit in nicely. We added a new intro, outro and epilogue, as well as improved the flow and trickle of new information. Your objectives are now clearer, and the stakes feel higher than ever before!
TOOLS - 100%
Our editor Apparatus was finished last year and has been working amazingly. We're able to create a lot of high quality content quickly and see what works and what doesn't. It also has custom support for the world layouts and dungeon creation, scripting, and animations so it's pretty much our secret sauce!
GAME DESIGN - 100%
As attested by the Alpha's success, the core game design is working well! There were a lot of tough things to figure out when thinking about how a procedurally assembled Metroidvania would work best: how the areas are constructed, how the portal system works, how to pace correctly with save points, and how to quickly travel back to town. Everything fits well and feels great now, but it took a LOT of experimentation to get here!
GAMEPLAY MECHANICS - 100%
The core moveset of the player was one of the very first things we tried to get right, but we have taken the opportunity to fine tune things and get it feeling perfect. We have a whole slew of awesome moves and equipment for the player to gain, spells that tie into puzzles as well as combat, tough platforming to perform, traps to avoid, and a ton of items to find. We'll be trying to add as much extra content as we can when we get to the end, but all the core mechanics are in the game now.
TILESETS - 90%
The visual building blocks of the world are the tilesets. The tileset for each area includes the terrain you walk on, walls and ceiling, as well as the wall behind the player and parallax backgrounds. Dan is finishing up the last tileset (Outpost) while doing revisions to the others, so we're expecting these to be completed in the next few weeks!
SOUNDTRACK - 90%
A lot of effort went into finding the right atmosphere to accompany the visuals of the game and set the tone, but we finally found what we were looking for! The soundtrack tops out at 20 tracks, including 8 main area themes, plus intro, outro, credits, and many special tracks. A couple dozen rough cuts and concepts were left on the cutting room floor, so expect to hear those in the Extended Soundtrack. Jimi is working on final touches for the last area's music now, so it should be wrapped up soon!
USER INTERFACE - 80%
We just finished up our UI framework earlier this year. We did a full pass on the game consolidating all the menu and UI functions, improved NPC menus and dialogue, journal and note interfaces, and more. We still have a little more work ahead with final styling and making sure everything is consistent before calling it done.
BOSSES - 75%
There will be 6 main bosses in the game, and as of now 5 are playable with the final boss ready to be prototyped. Some areas also have minibosses to battle, and 3 out of 5 of these have been completed.
ENEMIES - 70%
We've completed the core enemies for just over 2/3 of the game as of now. The fifth area has rough prototypes while the last is in concept only, so a large amount of the content work lies here.
BACKGROUND ART - 65%
These are mainly extra background wall variations to keep things interesting, as well as what we call "set piece" rooms - rooms with large, unique (and time consuming!) backgrounds that aren't reused anywhere else. Some examples would be the Campfire room, the cave paintings and frescos, and the boss rooms. Once the tilesets are completed Dan will be focusing all his energy on these.
ROOMS - 60%
All of the areas have been planned out in detail (you can even run through the entire game at this point), but we have just over half the rooms required in the game. As well as the special core rooms, we also need to create a lot of extra rooms that will enhance the procedural nature of the game. Along with enemies this will be one of our main focuses this Fall.
SCRIPTING - 30%
We've tried our best not to put scripted sequences in Chasm to keep the player always feeling in control, but there are certain instances where that has to happen, such as the intro of the game or special events. These scenes have all been written and storyboarded, but we still have to script most of them in the game.
SFX - 25%
We still have a lot of sound effect work to do, but once the Soundtrack is completed Jimi will be focusing his full attention on it. Unfortunately, sound always seems to get put off to the end, but it's almost necessary in a way so you can see what all your game needs. Consistency is big thing here, so having the perspective on how the game looks and feels should speed things up considerably.
ETC - 20%
There's a lot of necessary extras that don't particularly fall into any category that will take some effort to complete. Things like extra side quests, game modes, NPCs, minigames, secrets and more are all planned and detailed out, but are waiting their turn to be worked on.
As we've learned during development of this game, one of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of game development is really just finding what works best for your game. With all the difficult design decisions out of the way and the unknowns down to a minimum, we're finally able to focus 100% of our efforts on churning out awesome content to jam pack the game with.
We know everyone is anxious for a release date to be announced, but we're not quite there yet. We do have a much clearer picture of what's ahead though, and we've started talking with Sony and Steam about the best time to launch from their perspective.
It's been a long journey, but we want to thank you all again for sticking with us and believing in our vision. Chasm is turning out more amazing than we had any right to expect, and we have you, our incredible backers, to thank for helping make that happen!
P.S. One more thing before I go – three members of our team, Tim Dodd, Dan Fessler, and Dan Adelman, will be showing off Chasm in the Indie Megabooth at PAX PRIME this weekend! If you’re at PAX, be sure to swing by and say hi! We’ll give you a full update on how PAX went after everyone fully recovers.