We believe the update will be out sometime in the next month, possibly a bit longer. We are sorry we could not finish it in January as we previously estimated.
A few things came to pass that slowed things down:
- One of our programmer's finished his internship here and went back to school as he was in the middle of a 4 year degree when he first joined us. He has been working part time through the last month. Since he handled the multiplayer, things had to wait sometime.
- The physics movement took longer than expected to finish, and we are still ironing out a few kinks here and there. This is important to give everyone the feeling of very tight jumping and movement.
- Our optimization on the cube combining is also taking quite some time. Cube combining is when you add or remove cubes in the game. It has to combine a bunch of objects in real-time based on LOD's to help run the game smoother. But this step produces some lag. In a multiplayer game, this was a critical area where we couldn't afford any lag, so we had to rewrite it from scratch to use multiple cores and be more optimized. We are still not finished rewriting it as it is fairly complex to do.
- Since we are hiring on full time 2 programmers, we also needed an office space as our apartment no longer could fit us. This took some time to find a space, secure it, and now it will take some time to set up and move in. Never mind all the other work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a business running (accountant, insurance, contract work, taxes, market research, press relations, budgeting, etc.). Every bit of this takes time especially when your hiring. And then once your hire you have to train. But once this is done, future expansion will be a breeze.
- Forward thinking. We always try our best to set things up for the long term. Since the IndieGoGo campaign we have started working with a concept artist and LoudCore. Our concept artist is currently finishing 2 desktop illustrations, and then will be moving on to fleshing out the entire world of StarForge. And LoudCore is planning the soundtrack with us and will be producing it over the next year.
- Customer service also took a good chunk out of our time as well, we've now pushed through over a few thousand emails and still receive about 20 a day. Running a campaign on IndieGoGo was a great success, but it also took a lot of time to sort out when it was done, and we still have work yet to do on delivering it's physical prizes.
- Making a new game mode is a learning process in of itself. You can only pre-design so much, but it's only when you actually program the components do you realize certain things are fun and others not so much. Then you add things and take things away to make it fun and addicting all the time.
- Making games always seem to take 2x as long as you first estimate, especially multiplayer games with new tech. When you program games, there is so much more behind the scenes that isn't apparent to the user in the end but is still needed to keep things running smoothly.
We want to do our best job with this update and make a great first impression on the multiplayer. Even once we finish we want to spend time balancing everything as Fort Defense is a new gameplay experience. We also try to find and eliminate any causes of lag and slowdown. Once we feel it is ready and we have fixed all the bigger noticeable bugs, we will release it.
This is why we put a blanket statement on release, because from past experience, putting and missing an exact date is very upsetting to our fans and very stressful on us.
We will always try our best to let everyone know how things are going via our Twitter feed. We enjoy the interest and it always keeps us motivated, we really do love what we do, and all the amazing support we've gotten. If we could get back to every email and every question we would, but that would stop finishing the update completely, lol. So we thank everyone for their patience and understanding.
The good news, it's a huge update, and it is becoming really fun to play. Here are a few screen grabs from our latest version. The level art is just a placeholder. You will notice how the pallets and resources are becoming integrated into the main system.