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Investigate real haunted places in a first-person adventure horror game for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One.
Investigate real haunted places in a first-person adventure horror game for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One.
Investigate real haunted places in a first-person adventure horror game for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One.
2,243 backers pledged £56,931 to help bring this project to life.

UPDATE #15 – making ghosts not becoming them

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Dear Hunters, Patrons, Angels and fans of Ghost Theory,

We know it’s been ages since we published our last update but we’re finally in a position to spew what's new, about us and about Ghost Theory.  There’s a lot to cover here, so grab a beer, a brew or just whatever appeals to you when reading lengthy and generally rather glum missives.

Here goes…

Erm, we're going to be late

There is some proverb about tigers never changing their stripes or giraffes keeping their spots or some such but the point is we are the same developers who made the ever-so-slightly delayed Dex.  This is due to a sickness known throughout the developer community as Over Optimistic Projection of Selling-date – which, if you put the words together, spells 'Bugger.'

We’re going to be late with the delivery. And we thought it fairer to tell you now rather than at the last minute so that you might at least give us points for being honest. And we honestly didn’t expect anywhere near as many problems as we faced after the Kickstarter campaign.  But the important thing is that the development of Ghost Theory remains on-going, just like our ever-beating hearts. You’ll get the game, your rewards and our bleedy-vascular love for your patience.

We’re trying not to read too much into our artist’s recent fascination with Aaokigahara (Suicide Forest)... or her one-way plane ticket to Tokyo...
We’re trying not to read too much into our artist’s recent fascination with Aaokigahara (Suicide Forest)... or her one-way plane ticket to Tokyo...


       * Change of Engine

The first reason for delay, apart from contracting a nasty case of Bugger, was the effect that changing our game’s engine had on development. We were forced to rework everything we made in Unity and that meant starting almost from scratch.  We had some issues with CryEngine’s documentation as well, to be frank -  and consequently spent quite a lot of time figuring out the necessary operationals and their related pipelines. 

Virgin Ghost Theory screenshot made in CryEngine
Virgin Ghost Theory screenshot made in CryEngine

 


       * Development of new side-projects
The second reason for the delay is that we needed to develop other small titles in order to secure future cash-flow.  Although it's true your Kickstarter money didn't keep the development train tooting for long, it gave us a bridge over the worst and helped the project stay alive.  It also showed us that this was a game with a passionate fan base which was worthy of our own ongoing investment. We now have a responsibility to ourselves as well as to you to deliver Ghost Theory, and as soon as we can.  But, for that, we need to keep our best resources – our people, our Dreads –  in the fold.  And that means not leaving them so hungry they start boiling chair legs to make soup.

Our income from Dex, our previous game, is getting thinner every month, as expected. And, at the moment, it isn't covering the studio’s monthly costs.

That’s why we’re simultaneously developing other small projects – in order to keep our people in the fold.  Don’t panic - we’re constantly developing Ghost Theory too, but not many of us are working on it full-time right now. And definitely not as many as would love to. It’s quite common to see one Dread working on two, three or more projects projects at at any one time.  Securing the cash flow and keeping the chairs for sitting on.

So what are we working on right now?
* Ghost Theory
* a new casual F2P mobile puzzle game for iOS, Android
* Dex – DEMO (PC, Xbox One, PS4) + marketing campaign
* Dex – Wii U version development
* Dex – Japanese and Russian Localization + market research
* Dex - PS Vita - Optimizations Update 
* Mimpi Dreams (iOS, Android) – reaching out for the Asian market
* Mimpi Dreams licensing

Screenshot from the game's Prologue chapter. Car make and model, anyone?
Screenshot from the game's Prologue chapter. Car make and model, anyone?

 


How long?
So, how long a delay are we talking about here? Our rough estimate is the size of a baguette. In the world of clocks and linear time that means somewhere in the region of a year. But the baguette could be a really long one or, if we're lucky and get an investor, one of those short ones you find in supermarkets.  We just don't know.  Basically each of the two reasons for the current delay slapped on an additional 6 months to the development so far.  And our future productivity on Ghost Theory depends heavily on the size of the final game against the size of the team working on it.  With the cash-flow situation bobbling around like an apple in a bucket, we simply don't want to project in case we happen upon another Bugger.

One thing, we'll say, though - we have started discussing the possibility of going into Early Access, which would allow you to get your hands on the game earlier. Do please feel free to let us know what your thoughts are on that.


Securing the funds from investments and support programs

As we've said before, there are on-going negotiations with potential investors, publishers and other business partners, the fruition of which would stabilize our cash-flow and allow us to focus exclusively on the development of Ghost Theory. But it’s not easy to find a sponsor with the same vision and expectations we have. If Ghost Theory were a free to play multiplayer game, for example, we would already have an investor. But a high budget single-player adventure to which future business partners aren't permitted to demand big changes... that’s kind of like trying to find a poodle trainer to help you raise your lion.  But we're very active in the hunt. We recently visited two b2b events – Casual Connect in Germany and White Nights Prague here in Czech Republic – and have been approached by several new interested parties. These talks have led to new negotiations and we’re devoting as much time as we can to securing a productive partnership.

Of course, last year, we participated in Crytek’s Indie Dev Fund, hoping to win some extra funds for development. Thanks to your 1181 votes, we climbed up to third place. When the contest ended, all applicant projects were asked to wait for the announcement of results. We’ve sent a few e-mails to them during the last six months but always received the same reply – please keep waiting. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We’re also applying to an EU fund for game development in the hope of getting some funds from there. At the moment we’re filling out forms, iterating like a Victorian poet and communicating with a partner company who can help us make our application stand out.

Shot from a GT test scene in CryEngine. We’re all over the atmosphere.
Shot from a GT test scene in CryEngine. We’re all over the atmosphere.

 


Arriving at a d
esign crossroad (aka liposuction day)
We always thought that, by this stage in the development, we would have solved all budget questions. But, as you can see, that’s still far from the case. We always hoped to develop our full vision of Ghost Theory and so kept in all the key features of the game, even if they were part of stretch-goals which were not reached.

We fancied that along the way we’d meet a business partner (poodle trainer) who could help us integrate our lionsome features into the development. But the reality is, if we ultimately have to foot the bill for the rest of Ghost Theory's development ourselves, we're going to have to suck out some creative blubber from the project.   Which is the last thing we wanna do, cause blubber is good – it's what seals use to swim in ice water, for example. 

But negotiations have been so incredibly slow that we’ve already passed the stage where we need to make a decision about what can stay and what has to go in the game. We’re still hoping, pushing and doing everything we can to put off the grand liposuction day, but we've had to set a final deadline for the sake of the game’s design – as it is now sat at a cross-road, eating chips and a kebab, waiting for the light to turn green... Too many metaphors? Never.

But if we don’t find the right publisher/investor by the end of March 2017, we’ll be sucking up the pink grease with an aching heart and will push GT towards a release in a reduced form. It will still be awesome – and some actually prefer leaner anyway.  The cuts will be mostly with regards to Barbara’s personal story and related scenes, RPG mechanics, the University as a playable sandbox... Our lean liposucked version would instead use the University as a menu through which you access the playable ghost hunting missions – and these missions will retain their full-flabber awesomeness. 

Mr Black Monk of Pontefract on one of his more ‘active’ days. Bad Fred.
Mr Black Monk of Pontefract on one of his more ‘active’ days. Bad Fred.


Acquisition of Silicon Jelly and the birth of Dreadlocks Mobile

Silicon Jelly was once a small Czech indie games studio which mostly focused on the development of casual mobile games. Their last work was called Mimpi Dreams - a magical puzzle platformer for iOS and Android with a cute white dog as the main hero. Unfortunately, revenues from this game didn’t flow in as fast as expected, so the studio staff left to created a new startup. Dreadlocks were then offered to acquire Silicon Jelly and we went for it. We believe there is enormous business potential in the games this studio produced and we aim to build on their portfolio. We decided to use this acquisition as a springboard for our own mobile games development department. So, it is with some pride that we can announce that Silicon Jelly will be soon rebranded as Dreadlocks Mobile. Revenues from Dreadlocks Mobile will mostly be invested into Ghost Theory.

Footage from Unity GT Early Prototype
As you know, we moved the development of Ghost Theory from Unity to CryEngine. We promised to show you at least the footage from the Ghost Theory prototype we made with Unity before we drew a chubby line through that stroke of history and left GT's Unity heritage behind for good. Although at this stage we feel that publishing the prototype might be a little counter-productive, we promised it so here you go. This video is the one we’re using to pitch GT to publishers and their poodles. Enjoy.



The actual publishing of this playable prototype is still under discussion. It’s quite buggy and we feel like we would be better off advancing the full game in CryEngine than bug-flogging this stinky old mare.

Forum & Feedback  
We saw that we missed a patron call on the forum – doh – and replied late in the Kickstarter comments section. No wonder it left you feeling anxious. Our sincere apologies. To prevent this from happening again, we’ve assigned one Dread to community management whose goal won’t be just to answer your questions but also to explore new ways of connecting more closely you, the players, with us, the developers.

More frequent updates
We realize that staying quiet for so long is not acceptable. It's actually not even very nice. So we want to improve on that front as well; we really appreciate what you have done for us so far and we want you to feel that appreciation. So from now on, no matter how busy we are with the development and other things, we’ll always be looking for reasons to send you a new update.

What’s gonna be in the next one?  
There are a few other things we’d like to talk about in the next update. For instance we’d like to share some new info about the Ghost Theory documentary series that's currently in the production pipeline. It'll definitely be something to look out for.

And we'll of course keep you abreast of the situation regarding funds as they relate to GT liposuction too.

Thank you loads for reading all this!

See you in the next one,
All of us Dreads

Saodhar, D-Boy, and 51 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. laracroft on June 26

      @Petra Dvořáková: Just checking in, sounds good, looking forward to your next update.

    2. Missing avatar

      Petra Dvořáková Collaborator on June 23

      @Street Cone
      Yes, the development is really stressful, but it's fun. :) We will back soon with new screenshots of the final version of the main character, new assets and a lot of new information.

    3. Street Cone on June 23

      How are things going Dreadlocks? Are you all doing ok? I bet development can be stressful.

    4. Dreadlocks 3-time creator on June 8

      @Sterling Treadwell - based on majority of the feedback here we're doing short updates in the main comment section, so as all of you know we haven't gone anywhere and we're still working hard to make all of this happen. We made some important cuts in the budget, yes, but we haven't cut it to the low-budget minimum. So it was a compromise.

    5. Sterling Treadwell
      Superbacker
      on May 28

      "in a few days" you say but here we are well over a month+ and nothing. What gives? did you decide to cut updates from the game? lol

    6. Dreadlocks 3-time creator on April 7

      Hunters,

      We got in touch with new publishers shortly after we published the last big update, and so we did not execute the cuts yet. However, we are ready to make them. This situation should be resolved in few days. Then we will post a new big update.

      Stay tuned.
      Dreadlocks

    7. Martin on March 29

      Just take the time you need to make the game you want (and can afford, of course) and to put your heart into it.
      I know too well that rushing things always takes its toll on the results.

      Well, maybe put a liiittle bit of whip to all those carrots, but between better or faster, I'd choose better.

      Looks great so far. Love all the interior designs and about atmosphere, well, you definitely nailed that aspect.

      Good luck! We're all counting on you.

    8. Missing avatar

      Luhrion on March 16, 2017

      Sorry, I am late to reply but just wanted to say: No worries. I think most of us can relate to all that.
      Personally I won't mind any delay at all as long as the game will get done someday. XD I would rather wait longer than making any cuts, too. Especially personal story and RPG elements sound so great, I'd really hate to loose those.
      Oh, and I, too, won't mind paying a little extra if that would help. I don't think a second Kickstarter campaign would be wise but maybe some kind of rally? Maybe "Patreon" might be worth considering, too.
      Eitherway, good luck to you guys!

    9. Teppic on March 9, 2017

      I don't mind the delay. I'm more worried about the lack of funding. Maybe a second kickstarter to get the extra funds needed? I wouldn't mind going in for another $10 or so. Release it on
      Early Access if you really have something good to show. The last thing you want is a lot of negative reviews. Most people don't understand what early access really means and will treat it as a full release.

    10. Missing avatar

      braduc1980
      Superbacker
      on March 7, 2017

      A kickstarter creator announces he is going to be late...

      In other unique and rare news, a woman had a baby today.

    11. Dreadlocks 3-time creator on March 3, 2017

      Thanks for your support, hunters! Your patience and positive attitude means a lot to us and helps us to overcome challenges that we are facing. We'll seriously consider going into Early access. To be honest with you, it's the last thing we want to do, but if the situation will require it, we'll do it.

      Thank you for your tips regarding possible business partners. We're negotiating with some, but some are new to us, and we'll give it a try.

      As for the Switch, at the moment Nintendo is choosing titles they want to feature exclusively and Dex is not among them. As Nintendo stated in their reply to our request, we must wait until Switch is available for all developers.

      Also, thanks for your question related to further community financing -- ie, that an existing backer would be able to send us more money. We've got two problems with that. The first is that we have nothing new, meaningful and interesting to offer, something that wouldn't strain game's budget even more. We also want to avoid instant physical rewards, because we want to avoid wasting time with packaging and post office. The second reason is simply that we feel that you've already invested more than enough into this Game. We want you to be our hunters, our friends, not a source of money. The best way how you help us here is to draft new hunters, who pre-order our game and sign up to our community.

    12. Jens on March 3, 2017

      Thanks for the detailed information. And good luck!

    13. Missing avatar

      tom atkins on March 3, 2017

      Love the update, thanks for the latest on how you guys are progressing.

      I'm surprised you guys didn't go with the Unreal engine as I keep seeing quite a few titles using that versatile engine.

      Looking forward to hearing more about your progress. In the meantime I'm off to watch Supernatural ☺.

      Ciao.

    14. David Tortorici on March 2, 2017

      I actually dont mind the delay gives me more time to complete all the current games im playing

    15. Koochi on March 2, 2017

      @lara, as long as starbreeze doesn't create games like they did with Payday 1 and 2, riddled with bugs and no attempts to eradicate them, I'm okay with them.

      @mykll, yup, you had same idea as mi about switch. Great minds think alike! Just like weird ones xD

      @dreadlocks, see, ppl dont care bout delays, so just take your time ^^

    16. Tyler Anthony Edwards
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      Early access isn't a bad route to choose. But seriously, don't rush the game or cut the blubber to get it to us earlier. I could care less if the game came here in 2019 if it meant we keep the blubber and the game's intended vision is released in all its beauty.

    17. Aaron Batty on March 2, 2017

      I will always prefer a better game later than a disappointing game sooner. Take your time, work your craft, and do what you need to do to ensure that YOU are happy--really happy--with it, and all will be fine.

      Unless you're writing Duke Nukem.

    18. Missing avatar

      RainPally on March 2, 2017

      Oh, Dex Cyberpunk interactive puzzle game novel confirmed?!?! :D Love you guys so much, never stop!

    19. Mykll Valiant
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      I appreciate the lengthy details even about things that have not been going well. And especially not being too serious about things or yourselves. I'm not worried with you needing to do other work, that seems to be the norm in a lot of projects. I just hope being actual real people, you are able to do enough to keep the lights on, not have to eat chair legs, and can find some time to create a great game. Don't have a Wii U or Switch on pre-order, but I am eyeing the Switch. But then I would get my key for PC and I wouldn't be buying another key so it wouldn't matter. But I am curious why the Wii U instead of Switch. And we don't seem to be so busy (I don't social media so no clue about there) that it shouldn't keep your dedicated person busy at all for now. Thanks again for the update. I personally don't need them weekly or monthly, but something more often than every 7 months would be nice. Hope things work out and you can make the full game you want to make.

    20. laracroft on March 2, 2017

      @Dreadlocks,
      Hey guys, another game on Kickstarter I and some other people here backed called "Deliver Us The Moon", being developed by indie developer KeokeN Interactive look to have found a publisher that they are happy with, maybe you could check them out (see the link to the press release below) . . .

      https://www.starbreeze.com/2016/11/starbreeze-indielabs-signs-its-second-title-with-keoken-interactives-deliver-us-the-moon/

    21. Missing avatar

      Gambler on March 2, 2017

      Thank you for being honest. As the others already said - I don't mind waiting longer and please take your time to make it as good as you can :) Keeping my fingers crossed that you'll find a good investor before the deadline!

    22. laracroft on March 2, 2017

      Hi guys, firstly it's great to hear from you again so thanks for this update. I second what people here have said already, I wish you the best of luck for the future, I will wait as long as it takes as you are committed to delivering Ghost Theory, thanks for all your hard work and I look forward to your next update :)

    23. Missing avatar

      Benxxen
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      Firstly i want to thank you guys for this update. I was waiting for it a long time, but it's ok.
      I've no problem with the delay of the game as long as you can publish the game under the circumstances you want.

      About the early access i would say all of us would be happy to play this game as soon as possible. The problem is that there are always guys, which are criticizing each and every game. The backers of the games would be happy to play the game and help you guys with pur feedback.

      All in all i can say i'll wait for the game no matter what.

      PS: Do you have an option for backers to help you guys with some extra money? :)

    24. Koochi on March 2, 2017

      Hiya guys @Dreadlocks,

      I'm not one for games on time rather than games being to their full potential. If it'll cost more time to make the game, take all the time you need I'd say.

      As @christian kastaun said, if I wanted to have a rushed game, I'd just buy a AAA game in the store nowadays (nice one :P). I just want the experience to be good and it's always a struggle to make games. Even if you're backed by a good publisher, so for a KS project, I wouldn't even know how that would feel.

      About your Early access question. I'd say that that depends on you guys. Some devs release it thinking it'll all be praise, but when they hear the flood of negativity/uprooting feedback, they bail outta the game. If you've got a tough skin I'd release it, if you dont think you'd be able to handle the feedback, dont. Will this also be available for the Early Access initiative launched on the Xbox One?

      Why not try Ubisoft as a publisher. They're know for standing behind devs with new and intuitive ideas? They even mentioned that in last year's E3 and launched a program for indies. You have all the creative room and they take 0% of the profits.

      Lastly I saw you mention Dex for the Wii U. Wouldn't it be smarter to make it for the Nintendo Switch? A whole new audience can then play the game.

      Thanks for the update and speaking for myself, I'm not one to really seeing regular updates if not a lot is said. I'd rather have fewer informative updates than a bi-weekly one with a few new developments.

      Take care and hope you stop thinkering about tme delay. This is KS so everyone expects delays, no matter the project. If all devs delay games, indies to AAA games, why should KS projects not be the same. Hell it's even more impressive that you acknowledge it instead of just saying 'next quarter' and leave it at that. Better yet, without a publisher it's even more impressive that you're working ;)

      Let Dreadlocks feel the love and patience ppl!

    25. ThomasN on March 2, 2017

      Maybe try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambitious_Digital_Entertainment ? Nordic is also a publisher who apparently leaves much creative room.

    26. Megan Rene on March 2, 2017

      I'd prefer the leaner version, but I won't mind whatever comes up :)

      And I'm going to second another person-- maybe steam early access?

    27. Aron Smith on March 2, 2017

      Of course it's a shame that the delay needs to be done. But don't worry about it. Of course we'd rather it delayed than rushed. So ignore the people who are moaning about the delay like a spoilt brat without a car on their birthday. Them people are the first to moan and criticise about a game when it's been rushed.

      Really hope you get a nice bulk of funding too! It will be a shame to always wonder "what if?" When the game releases without its full potential.

      That footage looks brilliant! Just keep up the great work, keep going! I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end!

      Cheers Dreadlocks :D

    28. D-Boy
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      Thanks so much for the update! I really appreciate the hard work you've put into keeping the Ghost Theory train running. Don't worry about the delay, all good things are worth waiting for. Stay true and keep up the great work!

    29. Missing avatar

      Tyson Laplante on March 2, 2017

      I say Early Access it on steam so we can play it as it develops and you can get more funding from it.

    30. David Teach
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      Thanks for all the information. Good luck with development and hope any cuts aren't too deep.

    31. Missing avatar

      Steven Maier on March 2, 2017

      Note to self: Stop backing games on Kickstarter. Nothing but delays.

    32. Christian Kastaun
      Superbacker
      on March 2, 2017

      I believe the proverb is about the tiger changing its shorts.

      Anyway, don't stress yourself out over the delay - if we wanted rushed-out-by-the-deadline, we'd buy AAA instead of backing kickstarters. Hope you find some money-people before you have to trim the fat!

      Anyway, chin up, have a beer and get back to work. We'll be here when you're done!