Astrobase Command Progress Report – Weekly Dev Update – November 27th, 2015

You, fine members of the Astrobase Command community, have asked for a bit of big picture visibility on our progress since we’ve started and a better sense of where we are heading.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been almost 2 years since we launched the Kickstarter for Astrobase Command. Even though it didn’t turn out quite the way we hoped, we’ve been busily pushing on with the project.

In the course of those two years, we’ve put out quite a few updates and as we burrow deeper and deeper into our respective areas to get the game ready to go, we sometimes get pretty focused. Our friend @AztechConsulting led the way recently by pointing out that we were getting so far down into the stardust that you can’t see the galaxy for the planets (how’s that for mixed metaphors?)

So we spent some time gathering some notes that would help give you a better picture of where we stand at this point. In the process, we cast our gaze all the way back to our pre-Kickstarter era and then took note of key events and developments to take stock of the challenges and accomplishments we’ve undertaken so far.

We were quite surprised by how much we have actually pulled off. It’s easy even for us to lose sight of the mountains of work we’ve had to conquer to get to this stage. Here are some of the key themes and events that we’ve tackled to date:

  1. Created an original IP and set a distinctive retro visual style;
  2. Set up a collaborative workspace in which we can efficiently create and share content despite being separated on two different continents;
  3. Developed our dev tools;
  4. Emerged from the chrysalis of our prototype coding with wholly new builds to improve code efficiency and integrate new gameplay elements;
  5. Developed a mechanism for characters to have conversations;
  6. Developed AI Agent utility systems;
  7. Handled the business of actually setting up a company. It takes more time than one would think;
  8. Created a slew of procedural generation technologies for character portraits, planets, planetary locations, weapons and equipment; and
  9. Most importantly at this stage, we are in the process of wrapping up the foundational work for the AI Storyteller. We are getting diverse stories that are tailored to each character’s attributes and presenting engaging dilemmas for them to tackle in their own manner.

All of this leaves us only a few features away from having the full game loop that we can start polishing up in anticipation for its release to EA. Mind you, some of these features are hefty, so Astrobase won’t be on EA in the next month or two, but the light at the end of the hyperspace tunnel may be coming into view.

Also, each of the team members have undergone a number of personal challenges, ranging from cross-country moves, to changes in the situation on the home front, and even medical challenges.

As member of the gamedev community, we’ve also lived through the shift in perception when it comes to the level of finish expected of Steam’s Early Access candidates. It would have been a poor move for us to hop on just to try to get a revenue stream too early, as we believe that it would have ended up representing a greater risk to the ultimate outcome of successfully delivering a full-featured Astrobase Command to all of you.

And yet, despite these obstacles that have been thrown in our paths, we are still here, we are still working, and we still burn fiercely with the desire to deliver Astrobase as soon as possible.

Now that we’ve cycled through some major internal milestones, we have a strong understanding of the time it takes for our small team to tackle different challenges. It’s also clear what we’ve got left to do before we’re ready to get Astrobase Command into your hands.

We have carefully planned our Path to Early Access. In the short term, we’ll keep scheduling details For Internal Use Only because we’re still finalizing our PR strategy. Announcing a specific date is a card we can only play once, so we want it to make as much of a bang as possible to the media.

What we can say is that our EA release date hinges on how much we like our next internal playable build. It is scheduled for late December. We only want to release something to EA that is good enough that we can ethically charge money for it.

Because we haven’t taken any money yet, and that we don’t intend to until we are happy that we have a special nugget of gaming unobtainium, we’re not under any commitment pressure. This is a luxury we want to keep because we’ll keep cutting builds until we’re satisfied that you will be satisfied.

We do enjoy being open with you and sharing some of what makes making games so engaging and challenging, and hopefully pass on some useful learning points and tips for you to use in your own projects. So hopefully this update will meet that objective and at least let you get a feeling for where things are at this point.

 

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