The Finish Line - Public Version
THIS IS A REPOST OF THE BACKER ONLY UPDATE. WE DECIDED THAT EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW THE RELEASE PLAN. ALL CONTENT IS THE SAME AS THE PREVIOUS UPDATE.
We're close folks.
Bunch of stuff to cover, so let's get to it.
We will start with what you want to know first, then reverse engineer. So release date. It's looking like January. How confident are we of this? We can guarantee the game will be out in January, but on a limited basis. We will being doing a soft-launch in a couple of western territories. We're not really going to bring attention to it and we will be doing bug squashing and gameplay fixes based on these results for the big USA and UK launches. This is a big reason we do not have an exact date - we don't know what may come up yet. It's very dependent on how smoothly those soft launches go.
Why soft launch? We are a first time release company for a game that has quite a bit of hype and with a large scope to boot. We currently have 17 missions, 10 races, tons of ships, classes etc. That's all very good but there is a lot that can go wrong as well. We still are a very small team and massive QA testing is very difficult for us and would push our release date significantly - so this is the path we have chosen. We fear a Pocket Planes scenario where a small percentage of phones are aging saved-games wiped - y'know tiny bugs like that.
So what does that mean for PC/Mac launch? This is the good news. We are going to try to release very close to soft launch on those platforms for Kickstarters to play via Steam Greenlight. With Steam Greenlight, if we get the go ahead (fingers crossed) we will distribute BETA keys to all of our kick starters. (if no go ahead - then Desura is our backup). This version will be almost identical to the mobile version - the real desktop experience, with our kick starter's alien species, characters, enhanced ships, UI, missions to be added on an ongoing basis. It will VERY much be a beta product. Some weird bugs, weird interface problems should be expected. But you will have the game in your hands and hopefully we can start making the game better based on the massive play test that will be taking place. You could also start to work on any modifications you guys have brewing in the deep-dark recesses of your twisted minds.
That leads to our development process and what we are doing for the PC release. Basically, after mobile launch, our development cycle flips. PC becomes our top priority and testing ground for all new ideas. Things like tactical readouts for targeting (we know the mini-games aren't popular for the PC crowd, but they work really well on mobile), diplomacy options and just a larger game scope are the focus.
As a matter of philosophy we are emulating Team Fortress 2. We have said this from day one, so it's not some new design idea that we have come to, but we really want to make it clear for our desktop audience. We love Team Fortress 2 as a game, but more than that we love how Valve released brand new content for years after release, for free, that were big changes. Free weapons, new levels, new game types. It's the model we think is the best and the one we have always envisioned for Star Command. When we release you will get the base game: something we are super happy with, that introduces you to our world and should give you some genuine entertainment for a long time.
But that really is just the beginning. We have a level cap at 30 for your entire crew and our first FREE expansion will take our gameplay feedback into account and hopefully move you into the middle levels. The enemies will be more challenging, the missions more complex and the game just more refined. More perks for you crew, more alien species etc. This is our vision for the game and one we will follow through on. We want to give you the ability to actually invade alien ships (the resources here will be significant though) and possibly even go down to alien planets. Both gameplay modes could would have your away teams sweeping unknown spaces and getting killed at random.
A lot of these bigger ideas are based on decent to good sales, of course, but assuming we can keep making games for a living, this is content that you will see. Regardless we will absolutely put out a badass PC version, complete with new aliens, missions and mod support.
Finally, we want to thank you guys for your patience. We know the game has gone WAY over our original release goals. There are a thousand reasons for this, but the bottom line is that we are forever grateful for the opportunity we have been given. If we have success, we will be able to directly attribute it to our Kickstarter audience. When people give you the amount of money that we received on essentially a hope and a promise, it really motivates you to meet expectations. We have done our very best to be responsible with your money and to make the game you want to see. Keeping in mind it was 3 people plus a gang of talented freelancers, we genuinely feel you will be impressed with what we have created, and will absolutely enjoy the game and you will be wanting more - and that is something we will continue to deliver.
Also, here are three sizes for the Phobos Shipyards in convenient wallpaper formats! Enjoy!