Making the date
I wanted to give you all an update on the progress of Wasteland 2 and to answer some of the questions I have received on production. I can happily announce that we remain well financed for development, thus allowing us to ship a product without compromise. This is primarily due to our disciplined spending, project planning and the benefit of our back catalog sales to cover any extra product features and content we loved.
One of the unique aspects to our crowd funding campaign is that we greatly overfunded which is wonderful in allowing us to create a larger experience, one that is in fact quite epic in size. It could well be the largest RPG I have worked on to date. Of course there is an inherent struggle with the original date hovering despite our greatly increased budget and design. In fact, we learned from this lesson on Torment in adjusting our end date as the monies increased and the stretch goals were met. It’s also important to note that we do not profit from the monies raised from crowd funding as we take 100% of that money (plus extra money in our case) and put it into the game, a game that we can be proud of and one that can become a classic.
So let’s get into a bit more detail on timing:
In the next month we expect to have a version of the game that is feature complete, meaning all basic game functionality is in. This covers the combat system, character creation, radio support, world map travel, logbook, inventory, loot drop system, save games, AI functionality and much more. In addition all of the game maps are in and we have been in the process of making art and reactivity passes already. The basic building blocks of each level are in and the artists are fully propping them out, and the progress on this front is staggering. The hallmark of a great RPG is how reactive the world is, so our scripters are busy focusing on increasing this aspect of the game. We have encounters that look at the gender makeup of the party, the health of the party, the NPCs who have joined you and so many of the various world states. This is the kind of subtlety I love and makes the games both deep and re-playable.
Mark Morgan has had his all music segments assigned and is on schedule as expected. Our particle effects man is working hard through his list so we get the drama and graphical payoff we are looking for. The portrait artists are all cranking on an amazing array of different pieces of art. Our sound team is in full swing with all of the various sounds coming in at a rapid pace.
This feature complete playable is about 6 weeks behind where I had wanted it to be but I can’t be too surprised considering the increased scope. We have been able to accomplish so much in so little time by our experience, fantastic team and tools.
Unity has played a huge part in allowing us to make a game of this scale in a short period of time. The ease of use with Unity, the asset store and our working with the crowd to help source additional content has allowed us to spend less time on the mundane and more on the creative aspects. I read a quote once that said “art is born from adversity and restrictions” and I think that perfectly applies to this process. The process for development of this game is one that was born from necessity and has made us smarter about how to deliver an amazing amount of content for a reasonable budget. We have also benefited from having just one game in production at a time.
As a producer I always find myself in a conflicting role of both pushing on the design and detail to achieve something special yet at the same time keep it on schedule but that is the job. I’m quite pleased with Wasteland 2 from both a graphical and creative aspect; the scope of the game will be quite a surprise for people.
As this tremendous amount of content comes together, we get to the artistry of making a game. I will soon be able to truly experience the game to get a sense of mood, timing, balance, variety, reactivity, strategic thinking and overall fun. The first phase of this will involve getting it into the hands of a few select players so we can analyze what we have and hone in on the right elements. And once we have made several passes at this phase we will open it up for our beta testers to get reactions and help us further hone the experience.
We plan to begin beta testing in October.
You have helped make this game a reality and you will be with us to the end in shaping the final piece through your comments. The best moments in a reactive RPG come during this phase, which provides for touches and details that could have never all been captured in the upfront design. The beta testing will be critical to help us hone in on finalizing a game that can become a classic. And with your help and input we will release the game when it’s ready.
Thanks to this new crowd sourced model of game production we have the luxury of working on a game that won’t be rushed out the door. Under the old process we would often have either retail or a publisher pressuring us to ship a game before we were happy with it. Or the more draconian measure of being sued or having the game handed to another developer to finish, (yes those clauses are fairly common) if we wanted to spend more time polishing our little gem… fortunately we have NONE of this.
Once the beta testing begins in October and once we have enough feedback from testing, we can evaluate where we’re at and set a new release date. By that stage, over ten thousand of our backers will have gotten to play the game with us. In the end, quality comes before everything and fortunately the backers have been in line with us to make sure we get it right.
We are still having a blast making Wasteland 2 and we thank you again for entrusting us to work in a matter that will allow us to deliver to our vision and quality standards.
Wasteland 2 at GamesCom
I and a few other Wasteland 2 devs will be at the GamesCom gaming conference in Cologne, running from August 21st to August 25th. We will be showing Wasteland 2 for the press, and discuss the game with them, so expect an influx of coverage following GamesCom. We will not be showing the game to the public on the floor, but we do plan to create a video for our backers and fans, based on the area we’ll be demoing. That area will be either the old prison or the rail nomad camp, both of which are looking good. We'll determine which one we'll show closer to the gaming conference.
What else is new?
The Through The Aftermath podcast’s 50th episode has a one-hour interview with me and Wasteland 2 writer Nathan Long. It covers inspirations, writing post-apocalyptic stories, differences between Wasteland and Wasteland 2, carry-overs from Wasteland and nods fans will recognize. It has some spoilers but is also very information-dense, you can also read summations of the points covered on RPG Codex or GameBanshee.
Wasteland 2 Guru has been adding some great info on the original Wasteland. For instance, here is a copy of the Wasteland Survival Guide, a hint guide providing a narrative walkthrough of the game. They’ve also merged their wiki with Kayahr’s to significantly expand the official wiki’s content.
Speaking of the original Wasteland, remember the Centron Deluxe Model, a cyborg that roamed through the difficult Sewers levels? Well, they’re back, and they haven’t gotten any less nasty (full size)…
Until next time!