All posts by Michael

We’re making AAA games!

Almost eight months ago, I wrote about how we fared after the release of Galacide, and provided a road map for work this year. One of the ways we adapted after a tough release, was to partner with another studio to help them out!

 

After release, we had the advantage of being one of very few indie developers that shipped Unreal Engine 4 game, only months after it became free-to-use. It made sense to help studios on their new projects, our experience would mean things get done fast!

 

The call was put out to various developers, and we couldn’t have been happier with who responded: creators of many of our childhood favorites, inXile Entertainment. We knew we could learn so much from this collective of incredibly skilled industry veterans, so we jumped at the chance to work with them!

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With hopes high, and ambitions higher, we set out to get started on inXile’s newest chapter of the Bard’s Tale series; Bard’s Tale IV. A small team at first, we sped into development on a turn-based combat prototype, party systems, and implementing unheard of depth into the dungeons of the city that started it all, Skara Brae.

 

bardstale4

Once production kicked into full swing, we became a small part in a much larger team from their New Orleans and Newport Offices. In total, eight of us in North Carolina and another three on the West Coast, have been staying busy alongside about forty other developers. Over that time, our partnership has grown and everyone is hard at work on other great titles from inXile Entertainment, like The Mage’s Tale and Wasteland 3.

 

magestale wasteland3

 

 

Downtime, while cooperating with our friends at inXile, has allowed us to stay busy on our own projects as well. We’ve recently announced that our acclaimed tactical third-person swordfighter, Blade Symphony, will be transitioning to Free-To-Play soon. Check out all the new features and work we’re putting into its release!

freetoplaybladesymphony

 

We’ll be coming back to you in a few weeks about some updates we’re making to Galacide, and potentially some to Dystopia. So stay tuned by joining us on Discord, or by checking out our newsletter!

Forecasting upcoming months

Roughly 3 weeks have elapsed since my last update regarding Puny Human. I found that posting to this blog was a great way to organize my thoughts, and inform everyone what’s going on, so I’m doing it again.

 

Work with our unnamed client continues, keeping three of our most experienced Unreal Engine 4 developers busy. It doesn’t really bring in much revenue for the company, just enough to pay for expenses related to sending monthly invoices, yearly tax forms, payroll, and online bookkeeping applications. Which is something. We’re probably about four months from announcing what it is that we’ve been working on, and who with.

 

As for those of us not working on that project, work continues on Blade Symphony and Galacide. As it stands, Josh and I are working on some back-end things for storing Blade Symphony item information, without the help of the Blade-Symphony.com website. I go into some detail about why we are re-inventing our own wheel, here.

 

When Josh has free time, he works fast. He has a version of the Source Engine compiled using 64-bit binaries, now it’s just a matter of making Blade Symphony use it. However, his first priority is getting F2P functionality working for a regular release. This means than an initial a F2P release, probably won’t have a Linux and 64-bit port. We’ll see, though.

 

I’m still keeping a bit busy with Galacide. I’ve almost completed re-tooling the build system it uses, in order to be a little less needlessly complex. My hope is that this will help whatever Unreal Engine 4 programmer I can find to add multiplayer functionality, quickly make changes and test them. After I’ve completed this task, I will release previously mentioned fixes and Engine update, for Windows 64-bit, 32-bit and Linux. After I find someone to help add multiplayer functionality, I will work on testing and optimizing the OSX port.

 

In the “shadows” so to speak, I’ve begun preliminary work to show that we’re more capable of offering outsourcing/contract work to external vendors. Why? Simple, the work is steady, and it pays for the people that still work for us, while we can tinker with things like Blade Symphony free to play and Galacide multiplayer.

 

This is part of a larger effort to make Puny Human more appealing for a future organizational change, but more on that later.

 

People seem to be finding me and asking questions over Reddit or Discord, so if you have something to ask, that’s where you can find me.

The slowly burning candle

The ‘we’re still alive!’ post is cliché, I know, but that’s exactly what this is. Let me bring you up to speed as to what’s going on.

 

After Galacide‘s release, our lives were upended. That may be an understatement, but revenue wasn’t enough to support expenses. For most, that spells liquidation and reduction, but we tried to avoid that. Fortunately, I’ve worked with some fantastic people in the past, that helped some of our developers stay on solid ground. In addition to finding temporary work with a talented bunch of developers, I worked to sub-lease our office, and now everyone is at home again!

 

A few months later, the team is working hard on a sequel for a wonderful AAA game developer. We can’t say which right now, but we’re happy to be working with them to this day. The rest of us have put out small updates, including achievements for Blade Symphony (more to come) and dove head-first into our aging infrastructure.

 

Here are a few things that we’re still hard at work on, but have no ETA for:

  1. Update to Galacide’s engine version, with bug fixes.
  2. Transitioning Blade Symphony to free-to-play.
  3. Migrating Blade Symphony’s website to a more manageable and updated version.

 

We’ve received questions about Blade Symphony free-to-play, and I won’t be answering them here. However, rest easily knowing that current players and past purchasers will have plenty of content exclusive to them, as well as some additional thank-yous from us for supporting development all of these years.

 

There’s been some excited conversation recently, and I also want to share a wishlist of things that we’re working on, but aren’t a big priority:

  1. OSX build for Galacide: This isn’t very difficult, I just haven’t got around to updating our build pipeline.
  2. Multiplayer Galacide: This is a bigger undertaking, and as such is longer-term, but there’s a few of us that really want this.
  3. Older version of Blade Symphony for the few of those that are nostalgic.
  4. 64-bit Windows Blade Symphony support: This is happening, but isn’t a priority for a while.
  5. Linux Blade Symphony support: This is likely, but same as above, we want to finish much of the cumbersome and boring free-to-play things.
  6. Dystopia Engine Update: This is going to happen at some point, because a fair bit of people can’t play the game. We have newer versions of Source that we’d like to put Dystopia on, which may allow us to 64-bit and Linux-port it too.

 

I hope you didn’t read that last list and think all it is certainly happening, because it may not, or maybe not right away. However, we want to do as possible (while we can,) to support those who have helped us out for so long. If you bought Blade Symphony or Galacide, were a PHAN Club member or Dystopia supporter, then this is our last hurrah to you for your love, patience and gratitude. More updates to come.

Our Blog

We have a lot to say, but in the past, we’ve been fairly bad about blog posts. We attempted to post things on our old website, but struggled with a high barrier of entry. This time around, we’re using WordPress for our Blog, so the difficulty of posting is much lower.

 

Like I said, there are meaningful and (sometimes) valuable things that we would like to get out there, and we want to ensure that this is the place that we do it. It makes sense for all of our game’s websites to have news and information specific to that game, such as releases, or sales, or community announcements; but we want this to be the place to talk about development.

 

Not just development, either, but everything regarding what we do. I’ve spent the last 8 months quitting my job, forming a company, hiring 6 employees from all around the country, sponsoring a conference, hosting 7 contractors for a week, building an office and dealing with an almost stressful trademark battle.

 

Just by myself, I feel like I could write something that would be of help to other indie developers when dealing with these problems, and I want this to be a place where others on the team can feel the same. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we’ll see that come to fruition.

 

In the meantime, welcome to our new website and thanks for reading. That’s all.