Happy New Year!
2014 is almost over, and so is the Sportsfriends project. Now that we’ve finally released the game on Mac, Windows, and Linux, we wanted to take a moment to reflect.
The majority of the Sportsfriends games were prototyped as early as 2011. We’ve come a long way since then! The idea that we could commercially release these games – on console, no less! – still strikes us as pretty radical. Nothing about Sportsfriends – the development, the marketing, the user-interface design – was straightforward. But we really believed in the games, as well as the broader movement of local multiplayer, and so we knew we had to do something to get them to the wider public.
It’s true, we probably could have just released our prototypes for free (in fact, Bennett did) and moved on with our lives. Instead, by "finishing" the games, binding them together, and releasing them on PSN, Steam, and Humble, we were able to introduce them to players who never would have heard about them otherwise. We’re proud of all our rave reviews – people "get" what we were trying to do!
A bunch of other excellent local multiplayer games have been released since we started Sportsfriends – Samurai Gunn, Nidhogg, and Towerfall, just to name a few. We’d like to think Sportsfriends has contributed positively to this movement. Bringing people together to play games is as important as ever these days, and we hope Sportsfriends will help do so for many years to come.
None of this would be possible without all of you backers. Cheesy as that might sound, it’s the truth. These days, it seems like there are so many armchair critics of Kickstarter and of crowdfunding more generally. It’s smart to be discerning about what projects you back, but we urge you not to succumb to cynicism. Kickstarter has made such an impact on us, on our games, and on the whole videogame industry. Weird games like Sportsfriends won’t ever be funded by traditional publishers, and so it’s still tremendously exciting that crowdfunding makes this kind of project possible. We hope you’ll continue to back other game projects that excite you, that mean something to you.
There are so many people, even beyond our backers, who went above and beyond to make this project possible. Appropriately, Sportsfriends was truly a community effort, and we’re both humbled by and grateful to everyone who made it possible. We tried to provide a full list in the game’s Credits section, but we’d like to single out a few folks while we’re getting all sentimental here.
We’re tremendously grateful to all our collaborators – musicians, illustrators, programmers, and so on. All of them were total professionals and delivered stellar work, even in the face of sometimes difficult conditions. We’re especially grateful to our lead programmer Jonathan Whiting, who persevered in the face of major technological hurdles. It isn’t easy programming this kind of game, especially when you’re working from a remote office. We couldn’t have done this project without him.
Speaking of programming, we’re also heavily indebted to the folks at Choice Provisions (formerly known as Gaijin Games), who licensed us their multi-platform engine, Atrophy. We’re especially grateful to engineer Andrew Hynek, who provided support along the way. Choice Provisions letting us test-drive Atrophy is a perfect example of indies helping other indies – not because they necessarily stand something to gain, but because they want to see other cool independent games out in the world.
We benefited from other software projects, too, including the open source psmoveapi as masterminded by our friend Thomas Perl. Johann Sebastian Joust would not have flourished without that API, and in fact we still use it in the final Mac and Linux versions of Sportsfriends. We’re extremely fortunate that Thomas decided to open source the project, and maintain it as well as he (and others) have.
Sportsfriends could also not have been completed without the support of Nick Suttner, Brian Silva, and their team at Sony America. Nick in particular championed Sportsfriends within the company, and stepped us through the entire process of publishing on PSN. Nick really cares about videogames, and, more importantly, the people making them. He is a goddamn videogame hero.
We’re also indebted to the folks at Humble, who were instrumental in helping us distribute early versions of the game (as well as some other rewards) to our backers. The folks at Humble were always responsive and accommodating, even though our project often necessitated atypical requests. We shudder to think how difficult it would be running this kind of Kickstarter project without them.
Finally, we’re deeply thankful to all the events, exhibitions, and conferences that ran our games over the years. All the public showings – and there were many, around the entire world – are the main reason our games attracted any attention in the first place. Sportsfriends was specifically designed for these kind of settings, and indeed the recent resurgence of local multiplayer is directly tied to this renewed interest in public videogame events. We hope you’ll all continue to organize or attend such events.
Wrapping It Up
We're still making our way through a ton of support requests. Thanks for your patience.
We also have some final backer rewards to sort out, as well as some extra J.S. Joust support (as we discussed in the previous update). Again, if you feel like you're missing something, or you haven't figured out how to redeem your copy of the game yet, get in touch.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year,
– The Sportsfriends –