Is our goal too high? What if we fail? An announcement. A big publisher offer. And the new voxel terrain engine!
so there’s plenty to talk about today:
- our campaign progress
- our story engine
- a high goal, a big publisher offer, and what if we fail?
- the new voxel terrain engine footage!
- a game developer question
- and friends -- Duelyst and Paradigm
I’m genuinely touched by your help and was surprised by the support of you on the interweb and the project creators on Kickstarter. Much love, really. Thank you all!
Our Campaign Progress
We’re doing great so far. We made £19k ($31k) in 1 week which is more than the average campaign - especially for a non-US campaign. At this very moment we are #2 on the “Video Games” Hot List on KickTraq. We are the #4 “Video Game” on Kickstarter Discover. And while KickTraq projects a 24% goal trend, KickSpy expects a 110% funding in 3 weeks!? Overall the campaign feels a bit strange – when compared to other campaigns. There’s no big drop of backers per day as if it takes a bit more time for the public to recognize our game. I’m a backer myself and remember campaigns such as The Mandate but really can’t predict how this will end. “Kotaku”, “Joystiq”, "Polygon", “Rock, Paper, Shotgun”, “PC Gamer” and others all wrote about us. While all of this is happening I’ve been talking to the Humble Store to launch our own store. Great guys over there, very indie. Before we launch a Humble store, I’d like to do a backer survey about how you guys feel about this soon.
A Story Engine
How does it actually work? What is an AI storyteller? How many episodes do we have?
The Kickstarter campaign is meant for 5 episodes (not only the first). Just remember that our scripted story is less complex than a Mass Effect story due to our focus on being procedural (and because we are a survival/sandbox game). You will talk to other aliens, they will give you quests and after some time it will be even more. You will get to know more about your past, about strange folks and interesting aliens as well.
Another side of the “story engine” is the AI storyteller: The AI is constantly managing your mood, ambitions and the environment. That simple eco system in the background forces some animal herds or alien villages to decide between attacking or talking to you. In addition to this there’s a weather system for a whole region and if you are too close to a “bad weather” area you might even run into a sand or ion storm. As always we start rather simple and add more complexity and depth to it depending on how it felt to you and us after an alpha test. For instance the “faction” allegiance is quite similar to the basic EVE Online (great fan!) allegiance mechanics (for single NPCs).
A High Goal, A Big Publisher Offer, An Announcement, and What If We Fail?
Obviously our goal is a bit too high. I am enough of a backer myself to know how it feels to some people to back a rather strangly progressing campaign. So, let’s do this:
If we don’t reach 25% of our goal until the 31st March, 2014 (exactly in 2 weeks), then we’ll cancel our Kickstarter campaign to probably launch a Humble Store instead.
I’d really like to hear your guys opinion about this as well. I’ll make a survey soon regarding all the mentioned stuff, OK? I think we need to be honest. Please, share and tell your friends about us.
Another thing I’d like to mention is that a big publisher made an offer and we’re in talks with them again. You may be wondering what this means exactly? To be honest: Nothing so far. I think it’s just great news I’d like to share with you guys. It feels good. Tough days, tbh.
So, what If we fail? I like Proven Lands, I really do. I think I’m not the only one missing such a game for years already. Its features, the mood, the atmosphere. It’s not just Don’t Starve in space. And I know that a certain big publisher thinks the same. I’m only guessing but even you guys might feel the same about it. ;) I like the guys behind the Humble Store a lot. So, if we fail we would cut some of the features to make it more reasonable, and do the Humble perhaps. Our Kickstarter goal is for an optimal team of 8-10 guys - for 12 months. Without funding I’d would work on it for free, Jeffrey would work part time on it. Extra preorder revenue would go directly to additional artists and coders, same as before. So no matter what, we’ll do Proven Lands one way or another. The only difference: A bit slower than planned.
A New Voxel Terrain Engine
Yesterday I finished a bigger step in our engine development. Proven Lands now has a voxel terrain engine! Woo hoo! See below for a very first footage without terraforming - but with strange caves instead. I wish I had more time. What it means for the game: Digging, terraforming, caves, flying isles and strange landscape formations.
Does it mean I could build a house out of dirt if I wanted to? No. We aren’t Minecraft, Starforge or Blockscape. I love Minecraft. Yep, I do. But: I don’t like “more realistic” voxel houses out of rocks. For me such a game concept works in Minecraft and Stonehearth due to “cubes” (or even in Terraria and Starbound). But in my eyes it won’t in games like Starforge or Blockscape (great guy, btw). I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t build houses and cars out of dirt and rocks. That’s why we’ll limit the possibilities (for game design reasons). It’s a game design decision only, actually. But what do we need it for then? For mining, digging, for awesome looking landscapes, for terrain animations (dune worms!), for rivers, for sand storms, for flying isles and for asteroids (in the orbit) – well, actually for many awesome things.
A Game Developer Question
Cosmin, a young game dev, asked me: “How did you get from the concept to what you have now in only 6 months?” Thank you for this, it’s great to hear stuff like this. To answer it: I think it has to do with your experience and your team. If you did an AI and 3D engine before, for certain you won’t make the same mistakes of Phil Fish for instance (who spent 4 years (?) on FEZ). I think it is about experience most of the time. Speaking as a programmer: When you solved a problem once you usually don’t make the same mistake twice. If you managed bigger teams and risky projects before, it is quite the same. I’m 34. I started to code as a kid. I am pro engineer for 10+ years. But another important aspect is the team. If you have some real talents around you they will make your ideas bigger and better; if not, you will fail or slow down, I think (see below for Quentin Tarantino's words based on an advice from Terry Gilliam).
Shout Out Time. Some friends to share!
Duelyst -- A Squad-Based Tactical Combat with Ranked Competitive Play. Brought to you by veterans from Diablo III and Rogue Legacy.
Paradigm -- A Point and Click Adventure Game which is set in a strange fantasy world in the not so distant future. Its main style influences are Eastern European settings, the late 70's and early 80's. By a friend. Wrench, our composer, is on board here too.