October 16th Update: Where we've been and where we're at!
Before I give you details, let me start by saying this. We are not broke and we are all still in this 100% and will make this game become a reality even if it kills us.
THE CHOICE OF WORKING WITH A CUSTOM TEAM
After the successful funding of SpaceVenture, Mark, Scott and myself (Chris), had multiple bids from companies wanting to help develop the game with us. Unfortunately, after Kickstarter and Amazon got their share of the money, along with having quite a few declined transactions, and budgeting our Kickstarter rewards, hiring a development studio to help us was not affordable. We budgeted our money based on what we brought in from Kickstarter, and decided to hire our own developers to help do the programming for SpaceVenture.
During the Kickstarter, we made it known that we had chosen Unity as our engine of choice for developing SpaceVenture. A huge part of that decision stemmed from wanting to create the game on as many different platforms as possible. No doubt that the game being available on multiple platforms was good all around, partly due to gaining us more backers that were interested in seeing the game on other platforms, but also in garnering future sales for the game. Needless to say, we stand firm behind this decision, but we do want it to be clear that there was quite a learning curve for everyone involved that proved more daunting than expected.As for hiring our dev team, we hired two developers to begin with, one being a senior developer and the other being under his management. In the visual department, we’ve always had the talented Mr. Crowe overseeing everything involving artwork, and we hired a lead character artist/animator and contracted with other artists to help with character design and modeling.
The humor infused story of the adventures of Ace Hardway and his little metal apprentice Rooter, Mark and Scott have collaborated on story development in typical fashion. As Scott says, “Mark’s kickass art is quite a literally a canvas that inspires the narrative and dialogue, or whatever the kids are calling it these days, One of the very cool things that hasn’t changed from the early days of our partnership is that we inspire each other. As has always been the case some things are very fluid during the development process. Don’t be surprised to see the part of the game that was demo to have evolved. We intentionally have very slow setting concrete.” It was a no-brainer to bring in Ken Allen for the music and sfx when he expressed interest given our history. He’s back in peak form if not better than he was in the days of Space Quest. These things allow us to have a compact team that’s very effective.
All of us on the dev team have worked really hard to pump-out the highest quality code and assets, but the biggest snag we ran into was programming. Though our programmers were busting tail trying to get things done, there was so much that still needed to happen foundation wise before we really had anything to show for ourselves. We decided to hire another programmer to work with our team to help move things along faster. He was another very talented developer that was able to help immensely due to the fact that he had experience in dealing with event driven systems. The three programmers together made a big difference and a lot of the foundation code needed for SpaceVenture was finally completed. Having a good event driven system in place has been critical for us in order to have code that could continually be reused throughout the entire creation of the game. In other words, we won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we need to make the character interact with things.
Once we had a big portion of our foundation code written with an event driven system in Unity, we were able to start plugging in all the visual elements that Mark and his team had completed. This is where the demo started to take shape which came out in July. The single biggest number one thing that has slowed us down is in having to deal with building the foundation underlying code of the game. That is also part of the problem with having a lot to show on the Kickstarters updates. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to show you all kinds of amazing things that are going on, it’s that a lot of the progress that has occurred have been focused mostly on the underlying programming components.
Here is a summary of some of the recent project accomplishments:
- Event Driven System that is invaluable for reusing programming elements within our game engine
- Custom built narrative editor used to easily manage all game dialogue
- A newly designed working solution that makes implementing cut scenes much easier
- The original demo code has been updated to be much more stable and is being utilized for the rest of the game. Though it is not a priority, we do plan to eventually re-release an update with a more stable version of the demo for backer testing.
THE BACKER WEBSITE
One thing for sure I would personally like to get moving along better is the SVRewards website. I might have to get the SQ3 skumsoft whip out in order to make it happen, but I’m gonna be pushing to get the team to start posting more frequently. Be on the look out for a lot more activity coming your way!
THOUGHTS ON WHERE WE ARE NOW
The three of us are firm believers in accountability and we hope and know you all will continue to keep us accountable, but at this time, we can’t give you an ETA on when the game will be available. We know this will anger a lot of you, but that is anger we will have to suffer, because we are NOT going to put a game out that is of low quality and doesn’t meet the expectation that fans have waited 20+ years for. We have decided to wait until we have a much clearer view on when the game will be ready before letting everyone know another expected date of delivery.
Hopefully you can see that we haven’t been idle throughout the entire project, like a lot of those that have voiced opinions, we are frustrated at the speed in which things have been moving, but on the flip side we will not jeopardize the quality of the game in order to meet deadlines. When SpaceVenture hits the market, it will be the game it should be. I have said many times, and the Two Guys are 100% in agreement with this, we want to make the existing adventure game fan base happy, but in order for us to succeed as a company we have to produce a game that also holds up by todays standards.
We’ve worked very hard to manage things with the funds we’ve been given. Please remember that we’re NOT doing a remake here, this is a brand new game, with brand new characters and scenery. And although $539,000+ is a lot of money, and in our opinion, enough to make an adventure game, it also means we have to keep things small and manageable in terms of our dev team. I wish I could say we had investors lining up to help fund a proven development team for completing the game. I wish Mark and Scott had not blown the millions of buckazoids they made at Sierra back in the day on triple breasted women and Keronian ale, else we could have most likely funded this sucker ourselves to begin with. But I digress.. ;)
All joking aside, in saying all of the above, Mark ,Scott and myself all want to let everyone know that we by no means think all the decisions we’ve made were perfect, but we have always had the best intentions for the project in mind, and taken a cautious slow burn approach because of technical problems. We’ve worked hard to keep our belts tight, made decisions as a team, and with the exception of those jetpacks we purchased, we’ve tried to be good stewards with the money you all have so graciously trusted us with. We also want to thank you so much for the patience that most of you have shown. We want to make a game that will blow you away with story, humor, music, graphics, and gameplay.
A SMALL CLIP FROM A CUT SCENE IN SPACEVENTURE
We wanted to share a small clip that demonstrates an in-engine 3D cut scene of Ace, Rooter, and "Scraps" rocketing their way home through a treacherous asteroid belt. This clip also features an inspiring score by our composer, Ken Allen. Don’t worry, this video is not too spoilery ;)
NEW BI-WEEKLY PODCAST BY THE SPACE QUEST HISTORIAN '
Strap into your space jockeys and fly off into the nebulous with The Space Quest Historian, a bi-weekly show of all things tenuously related to Space Quest, SpaceVenture and The Two Guys From Andromeda. Soon the podcast will be available in iTunes, but for now, you can listen to the first episode HERE!
OTHER SIERRA ALUMNI PROJECTS
AN UPCOMING GAME THAT WILL HIT KICKSTARTER SOON
Become a Reggae legend in "Bolt Riley" - A Jamaican adventure game by Adventure Mob
Thank you so much everyone for all of your support!
Chris Pope a.k.a your humble local intergalactic SpacePope
PS- I will be at the Geek Media Expo in Nashville TN from Nov 1st - 3rd and would love to meet some of you. Drop by and say hi if you can! :)