|Posted by [email protected] on May 9, 2016 at 4:00 PM|
So as we've banged on about several times before, our fall and spring seasons tend to be overflowing with college studies and commission work, and so we all die down online and go quiet until things start to open up for us. Which, generally speaking, starts during the Summer.
With that said, Summer has indeed started and we're all trying to hit the ground running this year with We Need to Go Deeper development, which I'm happy to report is inching ever closer to being something we're feeling comfortable letting people get their hands on again since we started rebuilding in Unity! All the disparate pieces are starting to come together, and within the first week of full time development we've already managed to nail down some of the core things we've needed for some time, especially in regards to networking. As the weeks progress, we'll try to clue everyone in on what's goin' on here, as I'm really trying to buckle down about being present on social media this year, now that I've finally joined the modern age and gotten myself a smart phone.
But first, let's talk about that juicy announcement I teased in the title there - which for a lack of ability to pace out this post, I'll just spit out in the next sentence.
WE NEED TO GO DEEPER IS GOING EARLY ACCESS!
Steady on there, though. Not straight away. What I mean to say is, we're GOING to be in Early Access as soon as we're ready for it. Hopefully this year. Maybe. Who said that?
Also, let me address this first, since I know someone's eventually going to bring it up:
So yes, these are things I said. I also meant these things at the time I said them. However, this is back in the days before I really saw any evidence of Early Access being a model that can be done RIGHT. At the time, we were all pretty against early access since it seemed that pretty much any game on the service seemed to be either an entirely broken product, a money grubbing sink hole, or both. We are still super against this kind of model that takes advantage of players, which is why we want to ensure that if we do it, we'll do it RIGHT! I'm not gonna go over the specifics just yet, but I will say that the Early Access development models of Nuclear Throne, Don't Starve Together, Darkest Dungeon and others have been a huge influence and are something we aspire towards. Also, past me spelled "privilege" wrong, so clearly he's an idiot.
As for WHY we decided to pursue the Early Access model, the reasons are many and varied, but the advantages eventually managed to outweigh the disadvantages for us.
For one, Early Access is a great model for a game that changes and molds itself off of community feedback. Being a multiplayer game made by fewer people than there are fingers on your hand, we will absolutely depend on the community to help shape Deeper into what it will eventually become. While we have all these great ideas and mechanics that we personally think are great, there's no real way to tell how they'll fare until we throw em into the wild. And Early Access provides a way to do that early and often, and help fund development while doing so.
Speaking of funding, while it's not a part people LIKE to talk about, keep in mind that we never had any kind of Kickstarter for Deeper as seems to be the case with many games on Steam, and because we're also struggling students trying to make our way in the world, the well of passion time runs lower every year, making development take longer and longer, and making our wallets smaller and smaller as we take time away from doing things that would otherwise be making us money. So Early Access provides us a way to keep development afloat, and to justify all the time we're putting into it. Unfortunately, making games takes a lot of time and effort, and the bills simply don't pay themselves, so unless we want development to last a lifetime of weekends and holiday breaks - which basically means none of you will ever get to play it - realistically money is something we now have to worry about as the college loan pile gets higher and higher.
It's also a model that is well suited to games that CAN grow and expand in complexity and fun with frequent updates, which, being a roguelike with randomized elements and unlockable content, We Need to Go Deeper certainly is. What's exciting about it to me, personally, is that it means if the Early Access model goes well for us, the game can grow even further and become even better than what it might have become had we simply developed and trimmed the fat on our own, with what would have been a much smaller test audience.
Because the fact is that Early Access CAN be a very exciting development model for players, so long as it's approached with them in mind. For Deeper, I can say we're definitely gearing towards our Early Access release to being a big community fueled process, and one we're not content with limiting to posting bug reports on Steam Forums. We live in an interconnected social age now, where behind the curtains development is no longer the only or even the best way to do things, and it's something I hope we can embrace in a way that will be beneficial to everyone. I'm excited to start talking about more of this soon as we come closer to our Early Access release and I want to thank everyone who has been so patient and supportive of our development thus far, and I hope you continue to do so!
Now let's see how those water physics are coming along:
Perfect. Ship it yesterday.