August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.

First of all, I want to do a shout-out to the reddit AMA that we did yesterday.  We’re still answering questions in there some, even though the AMA is technically over.

I am going to be traveling this afternoon and over the weekend, so will be responding less (if at all) during that time.  However, I will try to get to any and all questions by sometime next week if more come in (at the time of this writing all of the questions have been answered, which I’m very pleased about).

Lab Two Tunnels

Another Delay

Okay, yep, another delay.   This time less than a week, though, and there’s solid reasoning to believe this will be the last one.  So what’s up this time, right?  Here’s the scoop, copy-pastad from the email I sent to staff (we’re all virtual, so no office):

Progress has been good, but not quite what it needs to be (mostly on my end).  Ultimately it comes down to me being too much a bottleneck for everyone else.

  • I had to take out a bunch of time to set up stuff for Cinth (setting up props), which has saved time but cost me some upfront.
  • I had to take out time for the same thing for Keith (helping out with programming procgen).
  • Blue (artist and level design) needed various things and I had to take time out to get those ready for her.
  • I spent pretty much all yesterday either writing dialogue or recording it with Ben McAuley (voiceover actor), partly so Craig (major help on audio editing and work) would have time to split it.

And all of this has delayed a lot of the work that I need to do in order to stop blocking Misery (major help on enemy design, and also coming up to do tactical room design) from doing his work, which is some of the most critical remaining stuff. But all the other stuff was (and is) also critical. It’s nobody’s fault at all (certainly not anyone but me if it was), but there’s just a lot of stuff and I have been too embedded in all the parts of it to let proper progress be made in all the areas that need it.

Factory Floor

The Positive Bits!

THAT said, the slowdowns have had some positive unexpected benefits.

  • Blue has been greatly expanding the variety of environments that we have, which should be a really good thing for us both in terms of screenshots, videos, and early replayability.  A lot of the cool environments you can see in screenshots in this post.
  • Cinth has been actively feeding in more components for her to use, which has been a huge help and feeds that ability to really have a variety of atmospheres in such a positive way.
  • Craig has had extra time to work on things like ambient sound effects, which add so much to the immersiveness. I’ve seen Jim commentate on such things in The Jimquisition, so that stuff does matter.
  • Keith has not only taken a bunch of load off me on the programming with the mapgen stuff, but he’s reworkng a lot of areas there so they are legitimately better under the hood and will help us give better and more correct results in terms of the levels created. But of course that takes time, too, so it works out kinda well I guess.
  • Misery has been coming up with a crazy amount of enemy ideas (and Craig added some too), and the number of ideas there has really let me put things together into some enemies that have graphics assignments figured out as well as voicework designed, etc, so that we can have a variety of grouped variants with each visual and audio consistent enemy. That’s been absolutely killer of a help. Ben even remarked at one point “How do you guys come up with this stuff!?” and “You sure aren’t making this easy on the player, are you?” at another. ;) Those two things ought to be the motto for Arcen in general, I feel like, haha.

Lab Two Reactor

Summing It Up

So there’s been a pretty darn big silver lining with all this, in that nobody has just been sitting around waiting for me, which has been my goal. It’s why I’ve done things in the order I have, even though in some respects that has been to the detriment of overall timing I have to say.

If I’d chosen a different path through some of this, we might have been able to hit the deadline, but we’d have had a bunch of idle periods where I was completely blocking someone for a week or more, etc. This sets us up for more success at launch and immediately following launch.

Lab Two Intermediate Office

So overall, even though I’m not happy about the delay, I am pleased with what we gain in exchange for this particular delay.

On a more personal front, I’ve been struggling with a variety of things on my end that have also started to intrude into work over this past weekend and into this week. We’ve been sick, my six year old son has had some issues that we’re trying to help out with, some things with extended family have come up, and so on. So, yeah. From those things, I don’t think I’d be in mental shape for a release next week even if we could barely squeeze it in. I hate yet another delay, but such is life. At least have potato.

Dark Cafeteria

What About ProcGen And Updated Pre-EA Demos?

That’s the other thing that we want to be able to show off a LOT prior to launch on the 22nd.  We should start rolling those out on the 17th (when we originally would have launched), and then will be packing in more enemies, rooms, and tactical setups throughout the week and weekend after that.

Talk to you soon!

Chris

Industiral Tunnel

Lab One

Click here for the official forum thread on this post.

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