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An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one.  Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one. Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
5,449 backers pledged $187,865 to help bring this project to life.

The State of Limit Theory Development, 2017!

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)

Hi everyone!

So, we've got quite a bit of catching up to do.  I know that those of you who don't keep up with the forums have been in the dark for quite a long time now, and I hope you'll accept my sincerest apology.  It's been a rather rough time for LT development over the past two years, and that situation has made me less than keen to communicate, since I've grown all too fond of communicating good news over the course of LT's dev cycle.  That being said, it was a very poor choice to leave so many in the dark for so long, one that I now regret deeply.  As of last week, I've launched a serious campaign to rectify my communication habits, bring everyone up to speed, and ensure all who care about Limit Theory that, despite roadblocks, it's coming :)

For those who want the full, gritty story on development over the past two years (and why it's not been nearly as fun as usual), I'm going to refer you over to the forum announcement that I made last week.  Though I don't wish to trivialize that beast of a post with a summary, I understand that not all of you want to read another Josh Novella, so a rough summary is: LT development has run into a very difficult technical problem with no clear/easy solution (in particular, achieving high run-time performance while also being maintainable by one programmer).  The result is that I've had to spend a great deal of time exploring solutions, all of which have thus far failed (although the latest one is currently looking more promising than any before it).  Quite honestly, it's been a rather bleak period for me -- where once I got to have fun building things freely, I've had to shift to the much less fun problem of figuring out how to do so 'sustainably,' so-to-speak.  Anywho, I won't ramble on about it, if you want more details, please do have a look at the post.

Second on the agenda, as some of you may already know, I attended PAX South this past weekend with a small LT combat demo!  I should have announced my attendance beforehand, as I'm sure some people would have wanted to come -- unfortunately it snuck up on me and I was absolutely swamped with work getting ready for it by that time.  I did get to meet a few forum members, a few backers, and a few general lurkers, which was a great deal of fun!  Although the demo was very simple (being built quite hastily on top of the current 'attempt' at solving the aforementioned problem), it's quite fun if I do say so myself, and should also serve as a bit of comfort to anyone who's genuinely concerned that I've quit working on LT or am not making progress (really, if you read the posts I link, you'll know how far that is from the truth).  For more details on the demo and PAX experience, you can read the recent devlog that I posted, which summarizes the past week.  Or, if you're only interested in the screenshots, you can have a look at the LT @ PAX South 2017 album I made, which contains some shots of the demo as well as a few bad pictures from my phone of people playing it.  If you're wondering why the ships are rounded boxes, you'll have to read the devlog :)

Since I can't resist popping something shiny into this post, here are some of my favorites from the album:




Speaking of dev logs!  As I mention in the first forum post, I'm going to resume a regular development log series, albeit at a reduced frequency.  I understand that I can't keep doing this irregular, unpredictable communication style.  It doesn't work, it's hurting the community's trust in me, and it makes me feel bad on top of it all.  So, the current plan is weekly or bi-weekly (I'll have to feel out which is best) 'low-pressure' logs.  The idea is that, in an effort to make sure that I communicate regularly, the understanding with these logs will be that I'm going to summarize development whether it be positive, negative, shiny, unglamorous, etc.  The fact of the matter is that a lot of weeks aren't going to be glamorous, but you guys have made it clear to me that communication of news, even if it's not unicorns and rainbow nebulae, is far preferred to no communication.  Got it!  The first such log is already up and is, again, mostly about building the combat demo and the PAX experience.

Finally, in terms of Kickstarter updates, I'm not quite sure what to do, so I'm open to suggestions on this matter.  I don't really want to flood you guys with a weekly / bi-weekly KS post just for a dev log that may or may not be of interest to anyone.  Typically I reserve KS posts for 'bigger' matters.  Perhaps, then, I should do a sort of 'monthly aggregate,' wherein I take all the logs for a single month and pull them together so that you guys get a monthly digest?  Or something else entirely?  Please let me know what you, personally, would like in terms of KS updates -- it'd really help me get a sense of what to do!

Really happy to be back in communication with you all, I've missed it.  We all knew LT was an ambitious project from the beginning.  Some knew from the start that it would be..errr...'slightly' more difficult than my youthful optimism led me to believe.  Nonetheless, we have come entirely too far to throw in the towel at this point.  I'm 25 now (can you believe I was 20 when I started LT??) and the world isn't as rose-colored as it used to be, but I still see so much beauty in Limit Theory.  It's a beauty for which I'd happily wrestle issue after issue.  Many days when I sit down at my desk to start work, I imagine the day that LT is released.  I imagine all the happy people around the world creating their stories in a limitless universe.  It's enough to keep a guy going no matter the difficulties :)


Flatfingers, Stefan Fransson, and 107 more people like this update.


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    1. Jordan Louis on

      I am supremely gratified that you are posting updates again. I wish you the best of luck on this project. I have made peace with my contribution to the project, as there must ultimately be an understanding when one makes an investment in a company, a project, or an idea that it may fail, and have decided to be happy to have supported this endeavour whether or not it ends up bearing tangible fruit.

      Thank you once again for the update, and I wish you well.

    2. Patrick Wyss on

      Josh, thanks for showing up again. Look I appreciate the update and all. BUT...
      Seriously I think it's time that we get something real for our money.
      So for me there's 3 possibilities:
      1. you open-source it! I think this would be the best to get the project completed. People could and would help you, I'm sure. I understand that you might not want to let other people work in your code, and that is OK.There might also be indirect help around, I 'm also a dev mysefl and would of course love to have a look.

      2. if you do not want to OS it, I insist on monthly releases. Ship early, ship often. To minimize the effort I recommend to make clear that you do not want error reports at all or specify exactly where and in what form they are helpful. This is not a big thing to setup.

      3. if none of the above, then I'm sorry but I want may money back!
      I did not pay for some Videos and Screenshots and a software developer's live novel.
      I paid for software. Executable or source.
      I hope you do understand.
      I expect an answer from you within 30 days. Thank you!

    3. Missing avatar

      Stephen T. Robbins on

      Getting a summary update through KS once a month or so sounds good. Good luck on continuing the project.

    4. martiz on

      Glad to hear (and read) that you're still kicking alive and well ;)
      From my experiences, I can tell and also concur that upholding comms in whatever form or situation is very much appreciated than nothing.
      Keep up the good work so far and I surely can wait for the finished product.
      Best greetings from Berlin, Germany!

    5. Jason S on

      Best of luck on the re-engineering.

    6. Josh Parnell Creator on

      Hey all, once again, I'm humbled by the degree of understanding and kindness that you guys have shown me. Thank you :) It's also really interesting how many developers we have among the backers -- thank you to those who have expressed sympathy from the developer perspective and know what I'm going through! I'm also thankful for the large amount of quality suggestions that I've been getting from devs concerning potential solutions. Some promising new routes have been opened up due to people sharing languages or technologies with me of which I was previously not aware.

      To @Anatory Software and everyone else who backed at the $75+ level: I *am* still able to provide the original LTP (Limit Theory Prototype) that was distributed in 2014. Although I can't modify or improve on it (I never took a snapshot of the codebase at that point) I *can* give those of you who backed at that level a new download link if you want to play the prototype again.

      So, if you need a new download link for the old LTP, please send an email to *using the same email address that you used to back the Kickstarter*, and just say you'd like an LTP download link. I will confirm that you are a $75+ backer and then send you a new link!


    7. Dadalos on

      Love seeing communications being brought back online, and seeing the forums getting a jolt of life put back in them, and several of the members there contributing to the goals we all backed to see happen. From what I saw way back when the project first got started is still true now. This is a game I have and will continue to happily wait for.

    8. darker70 on

      Yep,he's back and chatting away on the LT forum like the good old days also having something solid to show helps a bit as well ;)

    9. Missing avatar

      Rickard Armiento on

      monthly aggregate as kickstarter update: yes please

      Please find a reasonable rate of communication that works for you. I'd actually propose you put a *short* monthly kickstarter update with maybe a few screenshorts as your *only* must (no video necessary!) If you also can and want to do bi-weekly devlogs, fine, but feel free to let those slip.

    10. Andy Marzec on

      Wow! Welcome back! I don't want to be too sour, but 15 months is an awfully long time to keep us in the dark on the KS page. I tried to look around the forum, but I didn't find your development logs before. Now that I have the link, I'll follow along, but I support the monthly updates on KS. Just cut an paste your weekly logs on here. No need to take year+-long breaks between updates.

    11. prototype27

      You're alive! Thanks for the update, and great to hear that you're still working on Limit Theory (even if that work isn't going perfectly).

    12. Missing avatar


      Thanks for the much appreciated update! I still think about Limit Theory frequently and skim the forums to see what's up, but it would be great to hear about what's been going on through Kickstarter every month or so.

    13. Missing avatar

      coder1000 on

      Thank you Josh for re-opening the lines of communication and writing this post. I think doing the updates as you've suggested here is a great idea -- a monthly digest of some low-stress logs.

    14. Ben Overmyer on

      As someone familiar with burnout, running Kickstarters, and an extra decade's worth of experience in dev work, let me suggest this: do KS updates only once every month or two, and make it just a summary of things you've already written on the forums. Keep your most brain-intensive writing limited to a single channel (in your case, the LT forums). Make sure there's a link to the latest forum content for people who want more detail.

    15. Peter Ståhlberg on

      I'm so looking forward to what this project will end up as. Linux support and all I think it's going to be a fantastic ride. :-)

    16. Nathaniel on

      I'm glad to hear that something I backed is still going. Monthly updates sound great to me. Keep on Keeping on!

    17. Cecilia Rossiter on

      Even once every two months would be fine. Make it work for you!

    18. Shain on

      take all the time you need buddy!

    19. Ian Wellock on

      The journey is what I backed; following along on all the trials and tribulations, seeing the lows as well as the highs, regardless of the final outcome or any delays on the way. That's what I paid money for, and I'm thrilled to see the renewed, Pragmatic Josh 3.0 undertake this commitment.

      Monthly updates, be they just C&P versions of the bi-weekly text-only updates, would be perfect for me.

      Welcome back, man!

    20. Missing avatar

      Tamajyga on

      Hello Josh! There are no problem for me. I give you some money in order to allow you to perform your dream. And to know that you are still at work is sufficient for me! Continue your great work and I'm personally ok with a monthly update just to know that you continue to progress! Thank you for your efforts and see you soon!!

    21. Missing avatar

      Richard Kolarik on

      YEEEES, YEEEES !!!!!!! I NEVER faith man. i still watch the old dev logs you made. i was 22 when i first saw this crazy project about a universe where i can be anything and do anything. i have since gotten married and my daughter is now 2. this game is a legacy in my life. I cant wait to see what your incredible brain will come up with next with limit theory. We love you josh from the Kolarik. I personally like the monthly digest in kickstarter posts and do what you do best in the forums. I would really kill for a video after you figure out this technical problem.

    22. Missing avatar

      Adauli, Red Wizard of the Obisdian Order on

      As other mentioned giving a live sign and some info how the work go along once a month should be enough.

    23. Mantle on

      Thanks for the update! I'd also enjoy a monthly summary post here -- I only have a chance to check the forums sporadically. Video is fun, but way more effort, so I don't mind text at all.

    24. Missing avatar

      Mike L

      Honestly this is what I fund kickstarter projects for. Not a prepay for a guaranteed product but to give someone the opportunity to create something. Josh may have underestimated the effort but he isn't giving up. Regardless of the outcome of this project, I would fund it again.

    25. Justin Grubbs on

      holy crap, I thought this was a dead and failed project. Good to know progress is still being made!

    26. Missing avatar

      cpt_freakout on

      Thanks for the update! Monthly or even bi-monthly would be more than enough :)

    27. Missing avatar

      Jobbe Smit on

      I'm fine with weekly updates in my mailbox, or bi-weekly. Glad you're alive and working.

    28. Missing avatar

      Brandon Singer on

      Thanks for the update and keep up the good work. I think an KS update once a month or so would be good. Just copy your weekly summaries into the update.

    29. Thomas R. Moen on

      Great to hear some news! I would be ok with monthly updates. Maybe you should consider another team member or some collaboration on the difficult parts? Good luck!

    30. Steven Langevin on

      Thank you for the update Josh! Hearing this from you was a welcome surprise !!

    31. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      Thanks for the story! Happy to see you alive and well!
      Copy-pasting or a monthly small post with links and a few lines is both fine and much appreciated by me :)

    32. Missing avatar

      Angel Docampo on

      Long time no see! I expected something really bad. But that seems promising :)
      It's natural that one man developments get stuck somewhere in time.
      Keep doing the good job and I think that one brief monthly update will be more than enough for more of us, telling the progress in a non-coder point of view and linking to the forum for those more interested in the details.

    33. Akryum on

      I was reading the forum post about the FPTL when I though, did you try ? It may allow you to write gameplay logic with a high-level language and transpire it into C++. Thanks for the update!

    34. Missing avatar


      welcome back.
      I also second some regular updates on KS (maybe monthly or when it fits).
      It is always a great fun to read

    35. Missing avatar

      Matt Williams on

      Welcome back :) it's ready when it's ready

    36. Rabain on

      I'll add my 2c that a Kickstarter monthly update would be fine. Post more regularly on your forum if you wish.

    37. Germán Rojo Eguren on

      Great to have news again! Josh, take your time in finish the game :).

    38. Launster on

      Hi Josh !
      Well, I must confess that I thought the project was dead, and I were quite disappointed about that.
      But, as a programmer myself, I admire your tenacity and your skill. It must be very hard to code this kind of project alone.
      I don't care how much time you take to accomplish this project. Just take your time and don't ruin your health :-)
      Ho, and for your question, I think a monthly update is pretty nice, just give some news without span our mailbox, it's a great comprises, I think.
      Keep it up, I think you can do it !

    39. Missing avatar

      David 10216 on

      Good to hear from you, Josh!
      A summary update roughly every month (or 2 or 3) would be great.

    40. Mats Jonsson on

      Hi Josh!
      Really nice to hear from you again!

      I like the idea you had of making KS monthly digest. I think that would be a good fun read.

      Keep it up and good work so far!

    41. Missing avatar

      B+P-Snegge on

      Welcome back Josh!

      I agree with Kaeroku. Just Copy&Paste the (bi-)weekly updates without much editing. I have backed many projects on Kickstarter and am already having trouble keeping up with their updates, so I don't have the additional time to read what's going on in the individual forums and depend on what's written in the KS-updates.

      The screenshots look very pretty and I have to muster my strength to wait until I can play it.

    42. Missing avatar

      Kaeroku on

      Also: this is probably the most positive response I've seen for an abandoned project on KS.

      If nothing else, you sure have a talent for inspiring loyalty.

    43. Missing avatar

      Kaeroku on

      Long overdue, but, well... I'm glad you made it here. You should probably just directly copy the devlogs here to be honest Josh. It takes care of regular comms without added maintenance on you and should satisfy most.

    44. LegendaryTeeth on

      Man, you do what you need to do. I'll be right there whenever it's done.

    45. Missing avatar

      saluk on

      Welcome back! I agree with those that say too much communication is better than too little. But, having been on the other side of it, the important thing is not to feel pressured about the communication. Think of kickstarter updates a little less like a presentation to the board room and more like hanging out at the pub with your friends and talking about your week.

      It's just like how you had people come by your booth while you were coding just to see what you were up to :)

    46. Joshua Johnson

      I think monthly kickstarter updates are a good balance, a lot of projects I follow do that. Doesn't overwhelm people with info but keeps the updates regular. I honestly thought this project had died it had been so long since an update

    47. Andrew Phillips on

      Glad to hear you're still working on this Josh and that things are better with you.

      I know you have a lot of pride, but have you considered reaching out for help solving the technical problems? Surely between the community and other game devs out there the power of many brains might be able to help?

    48. Wilhelm Fitzpatrick

      Glad to hear you are still working on it. As for Kickstarter updates, I'd prefer something along the lines of monthly summaries (perhaps with pointers to longer posts for those interested). I'm interested to get a general sense of how things are fairing, but don't want to be inundated with details.

    49. Missing avatar

      AstralWanderer on

      Thanks for the update - like others here, I was worried that this had gone to Kickstarter "Never-Never" land.

      In terms of future updates, I would agree with others here on a summary around once a month. Ultimately, no-one here wants you risking a burn-out from over posting.

      With regard to the performance issues (FPLT sounds more like a name for a deranged motorcycle engine that a programming problem...) you didn't mention using profiling to identify where the most time was being spent. If the "90% of time spent running 10% of the code" dictum applies to LT, then maybe coding the critical sections in C++ and using LTSL for the rest might be a way forward?

    50. Grant Brennecke on

      Hey Josh, it was great meeting you at PAX South - I did one of the biggest double-takes ever when I saw the Limit Theory sign! I swung by on the first day as you were still polishing the demo, great to hear you had it up and running quickly (I'll admit I'm a bit upset I missed a playthrough haha).

      I tend to pay more attention to kickstarter and rarely visit the forums, so I'm really happy you're back to posting on here. Something like a monthly or quarterly update would work great for me, just to keep us in the loop! Maybe a sort of overview with links to all the forum posts with the nitty-gritty.