Posts Tagged ‘ Lone Survivor

LONE SURVIVOR: 27.3.2012

It gives me great pleasure to finally announce that LONE SURVIVOR will be debuting on PC & Mac on Tuesday, 27.3.2012 (that’s 3.27.2012 in American or 2012.3.27 in Japanese.)

The price of this piece of interactive entertainment will be ten American dollars ($10.)  This will be for the Standard Edition (which includes DRM-free updates for life, and access to both Mac & PC versions.)

There will also be available a ‘First Aid Edition’ which is partly intended to help support future freeware development.  If I could, I’d make all my games for free, but unfortunately my wife, my child and even I need feeding.  Any funds I make from this edition will go into paying myself a survival salary while making these games.  The First Aid Edition will be priced at a ludicrous $50, but will also include the Lone Survivor OST, as well as an exclusive short game to be finished afterwards (LS3D - a side adventure to Lone Survivor,) as well as a couple of mystery gifts, such as scans of designs and artwork from the game, to be decided.

On the subject of future updates, there are still two more secret endings I’d like to add to the game.  While the game is fine and complete without them, I think it would be fun to have a couple more to explore on a second playthrough, and one of them I actually have something quite silly planned for.

This does depend on whether the game makes enough money for me to continue my indie career, but if it does, rest assured you’ll get a free Special Endings Edition when the time comes!

In addition, as thanks for early support, the first 1200 buyers will receive a copy of the Soul Brother OST, normally priced at $5.

I’m actually assembling the final build of the game tomorrow, fixing the last 15 minor bugs or so, and removing cheat modes I put in for testing.  It feels like I’ve been making this game forever, and I’m still sort of in shock I can’t find much more to add or fix.  It really is finished.  And, I have to say, it’s one of the rare things I’ve made that I’m kind of proud of, in 15 years of making things for a living!

It will launch initially through my website only (a new site for the game itself, which is under construction at the moment.)  You’ll be able to download or play the demo in your browser, to see if you’d like to purchase it.  There will be a nice new launch trailer (I’ve already 99% finished it, but I’m saving it for just before launch.)

More than anything, I hope you all get something out of playing it. Heartfelt thanks to you all, for sharing the long journey with me, and supporting a game which tries humbly to do something a little different.

Jasper

Need sleep.

A few weeks from now, I’ll be able to get some, at last.

A couple of days after IGF, I’ll be announcing the launch date and the price, and more importantly the game will be 100% complete!  The reason I’ve barely written about this last period of development is simply that it’s been bit of a living hell I’d rather not share with you.  I’ve smoked altogether too much, ate bad food, not slept well, seen no-one and done nothing but work from dawn ’till dusk, mostly on the horrible tasks I’d stockpiled for the end of the game.  Things like the map were a very difficult and fiddly challenge to get right (took about two solid weeks to rework following some excellent feedback by Terry Cavanagh.)

Thankfully all that nastiness is out the way now!  My wife and daughter are back from their time in Japan, where they were visiting family. For the sake of getting Lone Survivor finished, and partly due to dwindling funds, I had to stay behind … which was pretty tough.  But they’re back now, and I’m really glad I’ll have their support over this final hurdle.

The tiredness is still mounting up with the last few tasks to do: last bits of content to finish, the website to launch, payment systems to figure out, press to contact, demo to make, video to record, soundtrack to prepare.  These are all fairly nice tasks in comparison to the map, though.

So it won’t be long at all now, and I hope you might be pleasantly surprised by the launch date I’m shooting for!

It’s in BETA.

It’s in BETA*.

* lots of exciting, actual information to come soon.  Watch this space.

It’s very nearly there…

It’s very nearly there.

The Home Stretch

Thanks for all the kind comments on the previous entry, despite its total lack of information!

I really would love to write more on the blog at the moment, but I figure everyone would probably be happiest if I focussed fully on getting the game finished, and spoiling as little details as possible.

The endings, the new intro section, the little tweaks to gameplay here and there, are progressing well.  If you’ve been following my twitter you’ll have some idea of what I’ve been actually doing, but I think for the most part I’m happy keeping any more details a mystery at this point.

I can say this – I really feel the game is taking overall shape now, in the editing phase. And each day brings improvements, rather than additional content, which is actually really satisfying to watch.  It’s the part of a big project I enjoy the most, when the end’s in sight, and the worst bits are over (which were slightly before the end), and you’re just going back over things with a fine tooth-comb and polishing them until they shine (hopefully!)

I’m now happy with the story itself, which has been the hardest part (or rather, what of the story I reveal to the player, in each path.)  It’s taken several years to come to this point, and a fair share of angst, but I feel comfortable to let it out there in the sense that it is close enough to what I wanted to achieve.  In some ways, seeing it as a complete interactive work for the first time has made me feel that I’ve managed to do a few things I didn’t even set out to do with the story, but sort of happen as a result of the mechanics.  I’m being vague here, I know… I have to try hard to contain the urge to share my interpretation of the narrative, as soon it will be in the world, and everyone else’s will be equally valid.

I’m getting really close to finishing now, it really might be done in the next couple of weeks, and onto a short period of beta testing.  As we we enter that stage, I’ll be announcing the actual launch date and pricing (it probably won’t be February at this point.)

I’ll be contacting various distributors soon, as well as the press, making a new trailer, setting up a new site for the game, and overhauling this sorry place, especially the frontpage (if I even keep it.)  I know Soul Brother is still listed as ‘unfinished’…  Sorry about that!

Anyway, I’ll try to write again next week, even if it’s brief.  I may even have some more detail about the launch date then.

Slight hiccup today as I managed to lose two months’ backup of my music and graphics, my HD suddenly failed and I realised I hadn’t backed up for much longer than usual (Lone Survivor itself is safe, don’t worry!)  But this means I will be lucky if I’m able to put the Lone Survivor OST together after the game, as I think quite a few critical files (including the uncompressed masters) have been lost.  I also lost another couple of game prototypes I’d been working on over New Year and some art for those, and other mockups.  I should be back up and running in a day or two, providing the new HD is not DOA (machines like to die when I’m near them.)  It’s a bad blow at this point, but I suppose I’m just glad LS is safe, even if the soundtrack album has to be sacrificed.  I’m going to look into some kind of incremental backup, because I currently just clone my drives, but it scares me that you have to wipe them before updating the backup…

Amyway, now begins the final crunch, so wish me luck, and that no other mechanical failures occur etc!

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

It’s nearly there.

The Genesis of a Survival Horror

2004

On my hard drive as ‘mygame.app’, for Mac OS Classic.  The beginnings of a point’n’click adventure around the concept of dream-logic.  Learning to code after 10 years out.

2005-6

Began to develop the editor I use for Lone Survivor (at least, the point’n’click side of it.)  At this time I was re-doing the art in 3D, and the game had a name: Amnesia.  Which as you can guess was never released (although another one was!)

2008

Made Soundless Mountain II for a one-month competition, using my ‘platform engine’, a separate framework.  Getting much more interested in survival horror as a new direction for Amnesia.  Or maybe a hybrid approach…

Began building Amnesia engine 2.0 – a hybrid of platformer and point’n’click engines, all powered by the scripting language.  Initially in XNA, then I reverted to my original plan of using BlitzMax. Began to develop complex lighting treatments, a simpler implementation of which still exists in LS.

It initially looked like this…

Then this…

Then this…

2009

And finally this…

The bedroom has been part of the plan since the start.  I spent a lot of time getting it right, then ended up with something much plainer in the end.

But it was getting too ambitious.  Each treatment more elaborate than the first.  I abandoned Amnesia at that point, and to contain my disappointment, I decided to work on something that was small, silly, manageable*.

Thus was born LONE SURVIVOR.

It was to be one level, one weapon, one enemy, simple survival mechanics.  Everything Amnesia wasn’t.

First three mockups I recently found, probably done on the first day of development.

I’ll share the development images in the next post hopefully.

*SPOILER It didn’t turn out small, silly or manageable.  It turned into Amnesia, but at least I’ve finally made it now.

“You should just relax and try to enjoy it.”

It’s not often you get the chance to finish up a three year project, and I’ve found there comes a point when the end is in sight, and with it a psychological hurdle.  Do you have what it takes to push through the hardest part?  Is the project all you hoped it would be?

I’ve taken more than six weeks off Lone Survivor. The first three weeks were due to sciatica, a trapped nerve in the back which means you can’t really do much.  After that I tried to go back to work but felt the pain coming back. I was quite out of love with the game at this point too – almost unsure if I wanted to finish it.  I loaded it up and played it but I couldn’t see past all the stress the last few months had given me (basically I was burnt out.)  I couldn’t really stand the sight of it at that point.

So I took another three weeks off, relaxing, getting well, playing some DARK SOULS (and Demon’s Souls again,) spending much needed quality time with my wife and daughter, and yes, I admit, working on a secret side project.  Which I’m super excited about (and will reveal when this is all over.)  But I’m putting it back to the side now, as the final crunch begins…

My wife and daughter are off to Japan tomorrow for six weeks, and in that time I’ve resolved to finish Lone Survivor!

Michael ‘brog‘ Brough said to me: “Trust your past self, stick by the choices you made when your head was clearer, don’t let the stress throw you off.”  I appreciated that advice, it was what I needed to hear, I think.

I loaded it up again today, for the first time in three weeks, and finally I saw it with fresh eyes.  When I used to make music as my career, sometimes it would take going to bed to do that (for the ears, I mean.)  But with a massive game, it takes six weeks apparently.  I suddenly decided, from the list of hundreds of suggestions I’ve had from feedback, to pick a few key things I think will improve it, focus on them, and add no new features besides them.  I’m going to work on the combat in particular.  That and take a good look at the level design, in terms of stealth, so I make the best use of my resources, and make the two key mechanics as satisfying as they can be.

Besides that it’s the endings, and I have them pretty much figured out scene-by-scene now.  Although I’m going to trim them down to the minimum too.  I actually want a short ending after the conclusion of the city, it feels right for the game.

Anyway, for now, as Benzido says…

BONUS:  City artwork-in-progress I was gonna use for a behind the scenes, but I honestly don’t think I have time for that now (postmortem perhaps?)

Sick Puppy

Just to say why the feeds have gone quiet in recent weeks… I’ve had to take a little time off due to various ailments, and when I tried going back to work on LS I relapsed.  For that reason I’m going to take until the new year off, or at least just gently planning the rest of the work.  That way, when I get onto the final short push, I’ll be rested and ready.

Hope you all have a great 2012.  Hope Lone Survivor will be with you soon into it!

Metamorphosis

The world has changed enormously in the past couple of weeks.

For me, the city is now the most exciting part, it brings together all the mechanics in new combinations, and requires a lot of improvisation to get through.  There are also more choices as to where to look for supplies, so each playthrough will have quite a different feel.

The art and atmosphere are very different, it’s lonely and bleak, instead of cramped, putrid and claustophobic.  Hopefully it’ll provide a well-needed change in pace when the player arrives.

My good friend, Stephen ‘increpare‘ Lavelle came round yesterday (you should but his new game, English Country Tune, because it’s beautiful), and was the first person to test it yesterday.  It took about an hour, even though I gave a lot of prompts – partly because things needed polish in the level design and AI, but also because we just wanted to get through it quicker.  It would probably take longer without me backseat-playing, and that’s without even going into the sidequests.  I’m surprised and pleased about this because I was concerned the game wasn’t long enough… But it’s looking like it’ll be at least 2/3 the size of game like Silent Hill 2, if the player explores some of the optional stuff.

So, what else?  A lot of new items, puzzles fully implemented in the city, most of the sidequests, improvements to monster AI, meat-handling etc, adding of coloured text (which you can see above.)

Besides that, I’ve spent a lot of time on the climax of the city area, a very cool boss encounter and the final scene which leads to the final environment (which I’m going to start midway through next week.)

Also, I know I said I was going to do a dev-diary – well I have the video camera now, I’m just trying to get the right tripod / setup to do it, but it shouldn’t be long.  Will have to be soon, though, as I might actually finish game itself within a month or so, with beta phase / polish early next year as planned…

We’re nearly there folks…  Keep the fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and I’ll have a nice psychological survival adventure for you early next year!  I genuinely can’t wait to share it with you.