State of the Game Address
I will try and make this update a bit shorter and to the point than my usual esoteric ramblings. We know you've been awaiting news of progress on Gibbous, and a lot of you have been looking forward to the beta. Here's why all that didn't happen.
The reason we've been keeping a bit radio quiet and also the reason there is no beta yet is that Don, our main voice actor, has fallen pretty seriously ill. Here are some updates from him:
AUG 27th: I spent sat and sun in the hospital, having lost motor control in my right side and in severe pain. I’ve somehow damaged my spine and a nerve cluster and am seeing a surgeon.
SEPT 30th: Multilevel digenerative disease, most prominent at the C5-C6 level where there is mild spinal canal stenosis. Mild to moderate right neural foraminal narrowing also present at C5-C6 level.
OCT 18th: Scheduled meeting with surgeon in 2.5 weeks. Will be going under the knife shortly thereafter.
As you probably know, voices are usually the last game components to be recorded and implemented, since the script is being edited and adjusted until the last moment, as we play-test it.
A pretty big chunk of Don and Lindsay's voices were recorded in early August, and the second, biggest chunk was scheduled for the last few days of the same month. We had planned a late Autumn release, and Don's health problem came out of nowhere and completely threw us off schedule.
You can probably understand that our concern for Don's health comes first, and since his diagnostic was uncertain for a pretty long time, we figured we would wait it out until we had solid information to provide you. He had a pretty bad period where he was under heavy medication, and after that he assured us that, as soon as he was feeling better, he'd be back in the booth.
The good news!
The good news is that Don is recording his lines in the week starting with the 5th of November, and having his surgery right afterwards. All our thoughts are with him, and we alll really wish this hadn't happened.
And, again, we apologize for the delay and for keeping you in the dark for a while, but we really didn't want to say anything definite until we knew exactly where we were; we preferred to wait for Don's situation to clarify.
What about the rest of the game?
With the exception of one particularly tricky puzzle that we're still fine tuning (it's a pretty special one, and it also involves voice acting and an interesting collaboration - you'll see when you play the game!), everything other than Don and Kitteh's voices is in the game and working nicely.
As you can probably surmise, Don's illness is also the reason the beta didn't go your way yet. As you already know, the game is peppered with animated cutscenes that punctuate important plot points. The animations are done, but they don't make any sense without Don's voices, so you'd probably have a hard time understanding what's going on. Normally, you would wait until you have the voice files and animate based on that, but we animated everything but the mouth movement and will add lip sync and tweak lengths once we do have the voices ( please don't tell other animators, they'll think we're bananas - we probably are, but we just couldn't sit on our thumbs and just wait around).
As soon as the voices are in, we're sending the beta your way. Again, apologies - this was completely unforeseen, but we're getting back on track nevertheless.
As we've promised previously, we're currently working on localizing Gibbous to French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Russian, and looking into more languages. Happy to report that the German translation is already done and about to start being tested, with the rest being worked on.
Here's something you aren't necessarily aware of when starting work on a game: editing and implementing voice acting and localization is by far the most stressful part of working on a game. I'm constantly testing the game, hunting down missing or misnamed voice files, and there's thousands upon thousands of them and just one of me. Still, really happy we've chosen to voice everything - it all sounds so good! The world really feels alive.
Given what's happened, it's looking like very early 2019. Releasing on three different platforms and in at least six languages requires some heavy testing and optimizing, making sure the experience is just right when you get your hands on the game. Less frolicking and more furious testing this Christmas. We all really feel bad about delaying the release, but it's not like we've been sitting on our fingers in the meantime. We've put this uncertain time of waiting for updates from Don to good use, check it out:
What we've been up to in the meantime
Since we were suddenly faced with a period of waiting for news of Don's health, we used that time to add even more custom animations to make the game look even cooler and more cartoony.
Before, you'd just see Don standing in a basement he previously woke up in. Now you get to actually see him do it:
Examine dusty books? Animation for that, too:
Before, Buzz would just tilt his head down when talking to kids or people that were sitting or laying down. Now he crouches down to their level:
Chatting to someone? Leaning against a table sure looks a lot more natural than just standing there:
As for Kitteh, well, she's just being Kitteh:
...The kind of stuff that's overlooked in most games. Well, we're not most games!
We've also tweaked the game a lot to allow for more friendliness and quality of life. One of those things is increasing character speed, and allowing impatient players to double click and Benny Hill all over the place. Check it out:
Do you ever get the feeling that you're being watched? No? You will in Gibbous, because NOTHING escapes Kitteh:
Heck, even the menu watches you!
As you can see, we're using every bit of time we have to polish Gibbous as much as possible, and have it be a joy even just faffing around in the menus.
Winning! (not in Charlie Sheen voice)
Gibbous recently won its first ever award, Best Visuals at DevPlay 2018!
Getting recognition for all the hard work we've put into making this game look excellent felt really, really good. Woo!
I also managed to break the award 15 minutes later. It's Okay, it just came off its little stand, I knocked it over with my foot because I was nervous, because indie game legend Rami Ismail was playing Gibbous! He really liked it, and gave us some super useful onboarding advice, suggesting a couple of features that would help folks who've never played an adventure time easier understand what they need to be doing.
Gibbous at AdventureX 2018
We'll be showing Gibbous at one of our favorite yearly events, AdventureX London 2018! We love hanging out with our people, the adventure game crowd, so if you're there, come say hi and talk adventurin'!
Whereas last year we were just visitors, this year we actually remembered to apply and be exhibitors - and the kicker is that the venue is the British freakin' Library (yes, they should rename it to that).
The Art of Point and Click Adventure Games
That's it for this update
Okay, this update didn't turn out as negative as I expected it to be. It had its share of bad news - and I hope you're not too mad about us holding out and only updating when we knew exactly where we were standing - but the good news is that it looks like we're over that particular bump. We're still on track.
Once again, we all extend our apologies for being delayed, but no one can predict health issues, and there was really nothing we could do but wait it out. We really hope you understand us not willing to ditch Don the moment he got sick, and we appreciate all the patience you've shown. We wish Don the best with surgery, and hope he'll have a speedy recovery.
Thank you again for understanding, we know you're looking forward to playing the game - so are we! Life just hits you out of nowhere sometimes. There's nothing more we appreciate than the trust you guys have put in us, and we feel terrible for the delay, but it was completely out of our hands. Now that it's coming back into our hands, there's nothing that can stop He Who Dreams at the Bottom of the Sea from rising.
Liviu, Cami, Nicu, Roxi, Orsi, Zeus, Garfield and 3.0 occasionally
You guys know the drill already - here are a couple of adventure games you might want to check out:
I love the atmosphere in Lamplight City, I like that it takes some very courageous steps toward letting you be an imperfect detective - and suffering the consequences. I wish I had more time to play it, but you can! Get your steampunk detective on. Click the pic below to visit its GoG page.
"Follow a trio of burglars as they quest for pirate booty, and try not to get haunted in this cartoon-style adventure game!" That's the tagline. Josh is a single developer that has been working on this for quite a while, so if you want to give him a hand making his adventure happen, his Kickstarter is happening right now. Click the pic below to go to the Kickstarter page.
See you next update.