Development progress?

How are things progressing? Any closer to some sort of release?

I noticed a twitch stream some days back, but didn't get to watch it, and there hasn't been word of that either.

Comments

  • Yes. Thing are most certainly progressing. We actually sat down and put together a massive plan that stretches out over the next six months just last weekend. We haven't been streaming on Twitch quite as much because we're working on things that can't really be shown, but that's really the only reason. Progress is still happening. VQ is taking a bit longer (understatement, yes) than we originally anticipated, but it will happen. Last Saturday's meeting was to ensure that. :)
  • edited June 2015
    Software kickstarters who say "This will be done in 3-6 months" are like people in horror movies that say "I wonder what's going on in the basement."

    Nonetheless, a notification that there is now a plan, or maybe some idea what is going on currently (yes, even if it's switching from one library to another, or refactoring code, or fixing a bug where 64-bit computers with more than 10 Tb of ram have mild memory leaks, or just rearranging the desktop items on the dev machine) would definitely be appreciated.

    Way too many kickstarter projects have ended in a vanished dev.
  • Gavan's been doing a lot of refactoring of the engine to improve performance, and he's also added a few new features like subtraction of shapes. There will be some big news in the coming months -- as @Talvieno said, we've been meeting frequently but haven't been able to stream the meetings.
  • edited June 2015
    Yep, I'm not planning on vanishing :) - there is still progress but I only post updates once an interesting milestone is hit. Right now there is a whole lot of boring stuff going on (you can occasionally catch glimpses of my current work on twitter in http://www.twitter.com/voxelquest or http://www.twitter.com/gavanw (@voxelquest is filtered to things strictly relevant to voxelquest). This stuff mostly revolves around updating everything to work as it was using my new rendering methods. I tend to do updates every month or so but this update might take a little longer than that. Also, as discussed elsewhere, no more rendering improvements after this! It is embarrassing to be stuck on engine problems 2 years into development (although to be fair, the line between something that is used within the engine and something that is strictly necessary to gameplay is blurry).

    And yes, my estimates for when the alpha would be out were way off as well, and this has been further complicated by several other issues. When I first wrote my KS, I figured I would just ship the game in whatever state it was in and work from there. It turned out to be way more complicated than that - both in terms of losing user faith, and evaluating deals, and more which I will explain below.

    There is still a lot to discuss as far as the future, and no plans are 100 percent definitive, but we may have differing short-term goals and long term goals. I was planning to save this for the next update but I might as well put it here for now.

    First of all, nothing is set in stone. If something bothers you, tell me why and we will see if we can work out a solution. I'm always listening! :)

    So, the long term goal is still the same - to ship the game as we originally envisioned.

    The short term goal might be to work towards the long term goal but also implement something that is relatively easy, fun, and can be shipped fast as a quick prototype (similar to how Rockstar shipped a ping pong game with the GTA engine, although I am not planning to build something so drastically different). We have speculated about shipping a minimally viable game in the past (on the Twitch stream and so forth), but this might be a slight deviation in that regard. Whatever we put out will be similar to the long term goal in terms of code and assets, so most of the work put in should be towards a worthy cause. This is not to flip the switch on backers - the original goals are still there but in the short term we need to focus on what is viable, fun, and can be shipped fast, for everyone's sake. We will explain this in greater detail when we have nailed this down and if we are sure it is the right thing to do. We are also open to game ideas that would push VQ forward but at the same time provide a good mini game as a testbed (but at the same time we need to nail down these plans fast, so if something ends up being a large deviation from prior plans it may not be possible). In essence, the problem I see is that if I ship the original game prematurely, I don't think it will be fun in the short term, and I want whatever gets out the door first to be fun above all else. Additionally I'd hate to fall into the trap (as I have already) of "it is not fun yet, I can't ship it." This might be something that is hard to understand unless you have ever put your reputation on the line in a similar manner. Nonetheless, it is possible that something will get out the door pretty fast for people just to play with, even if I would qualify it as just a "tech demo."

    The TL;DR: there might be a few gameplay features thrown in for the short term that deviate from the long term vision of VQ, but we are still planning to pursue our original vision.

    Again, I appreciate everyone's patience. I've made my fair share of mistakes already, but hindsight is 20/20 and I couldn't be where I am now without those mistakes (to clarify, I am happy with how things are progressing, even if slowly). I am as invested in this as all of my KS backers and others who have provided patronage and/or preordered the game. The opportunity cost for me thus far in the project has been somewhere between $500k - $1m (no exaggeration). In fact, one offer I got recently was to backpay all my wages on the order of ~$500k in a sort of acquihire deal, which I turned down. So if that does not demonstrate my faith in this project, nothing does. :) Additionally, in terms of equity and real money, I have invested over $100k (excluding KS) in the project and may put in up to $200k more based on what I raise.

    Speaking of raising money, let me offer a bit of transparency in that respect:

    I can't name names, but some fairly prominent people (with net worths in the 8-10 digit range) have offered to invest in VQ, as far back as March 2014. I have mentioned this in the past, and since then at least one more person offered. To date I have been approached by 4 people that would fit this description, and several more "normal" people. I have also mentioned that taking investor money was a last resort (at least, if that money comprises my values and vision). Still, it is a better resort than going bankrupt.

    Some of these deals I did evaluate, and am still evaluating, to see if I can find one where I can take money without sacrificing what I believe in. That may or may not happen, but at least I have the funds to proceed independently, even if it means continuing to live on the bare minimum. Anyhow, what I can't stress enough is that even speculating on these deals has consumed a significant chunk of time. Some deals have asked to implement various things as far as features and performance, and they are all good things to have in the engine ultimately but mess up the way I have prioritized my tasks.

    The usual thing I will stress is that my life is quite easy about 10 percent of the time and quite hard about 90 percent of the time. And this is not so much to complain, but just to offer some perspective into my world. On top of the tasks of running a one-man game company (+ our great community mangers), there is a whole world of external complications that hover over me on a daily basis.

    I have perhaps the most ideal job in the world in terms of being an interesting, fun job (at least, when it *is* fun, and when I am not tackling boring task XYZ). But it is also a huge amount of self-inflicted suffering - still, I cannot complain because my situation is more fortunate than the vast majority of people in the world, and I have it by choice, not by necessity.

    My work consumes my life, and even that is not enough. It leaves a significant gap in responsibilities and finances that my family must fill. If you have ever known an alcoholic (as I have), you can't help but feel like one. Those closest to you will doubt you, and you can't blame them. You will probably come to doubt yourself. I am fortunate to have many people who believe in me but the majority of people are still rightfully apathetic or even critical, and that is what maybe hurts the most - you have to truly wonder if what you are doing is worthwhile if most people just don't care. It is that much harder when offers lay right in front of you to sell out and do the easy thing.

    I am not looking for sympathy - as stated this path is my choice and I have made it for a reason. I believe in this reason, and I hope that one day most people will at least understand why I believed in it. Until then I will continue to work hard as usual. :)
  • Wow, now I feel like an asshole. If my snotty comment is as bad to you as it looks to me, please accept my apology- considering the things you've done already to revolutionize rendering, there's no reason for anyone to complain. It just looks so cool I want to play with it!

    I'd love to discuss what a prerelease/minigame/prototype game could or should look like. When you're ready to discuss that, let's start a thread.

    Your work brings to mind three other independent (that is to say, not indie, but _really_ independent) developers. You already know about Tarn Adams. Dwarf Fortress is his baby, and he has made it work. He didn't sell out, and he's happy with the way he works. And no doubt you know all about Markus "Notch" Persson.... Promise me that if somebody actually comes at you with $2 billion dollars, you won't stand on ceremony; I know I wouldn't. In the words of Tom Lehrer, if you really have integrity, that means your price is very high...

    One person you might not know about is Ian Dallas. Around the same time Notch started Minecraft, Ian started producing Unfinished Swan, an exploration game with some really fantastic ideas. Then he got bought out by, it was later revealed, Sony. All we knew is that two, three years passed and nothing came out of that studio. Finally, in 2012, Unfinished Swan was released exclusively on some dying sony consoles and was never heard from or seen again.

    I think you know way, way more about the industry than I do, and you definitely know more about the nature of the offers coming to you. I really respect you for sticking to your guns and for the work you've done to advance video rendering. I'm super excited for Voxel Quest.
  • PTTG said:

    Wow, now I feel like an asshole.

    Please don't feel bad - you really did not say anything bad at all (at least, I did not take it that way). It is kind of hard to gauge emotions across the internet (so I understand), but in general, its pretty hard to offend me. :) Most of my response is to no one in particular really - kind of like a diary entry. I hate to ramble, but sometimes it does get lonely and you feel the need to get words off your chest.

    As for acquisition - I don't think it will happen but who knows. I once said that I would not "pull an Oculus" - this was right after the Oculus acquisition. In retrospect, they had little choice about the acquisition due to the people involved. In the same way, I do have one investor right now and possibly more in the future, so that is not entirely my choice. I will say that if an acquisition did happen, I would refund at the least all preorders and KS money (should such a thing be desired).

    If I think I can do more good by taking an offer than turning it down, then I might take it. If someone offered me $2b, that is a lot of spending power that could be put to good use (if nothing else, to fund people who struggle as I have). However, I suspect that if I were to reach such an offer, I'd already be generating over $100m annually so I would need a pretty good reason to leave.

    I had never heard of Ian Dallas somehow, but that is an interesting story. A similar thing happened when Intel acquired Project Offset, only that Project Offset got canned entirely.
  • Heh, yeah, sorry for sounding impatient. I was just wondering, since there's been nothing at all on the forums for a while now, neither dev updates, nor other discussions. Maybe I should start my own.

    Also my personal reason for being a little impatient is because I have less interest in the game itself than the engine, but at least now I know the wait will be worth it, because all these engine refactors are definitely welcome.
  • Japa said:

    Heh, yeah, sorry for sounding impatient. I was just wondering, since there's been nothing at all on the forums for a while now, neither dev updates, nor other discussions. Maybe I should start my own.

    Also my personal reason for being a little impatient is because I have less interest in the game itself than the engine, but at least now I know the wait will be worth it, because all these engine refactors are definitely welcome.

    No problem - I understand. As it turns out, getting the engine out early may have pissed people off because there have been so many breaking changes lately (literally thousands of lines of code tossed or changed to support the new rendering methods). Speaking of which, I am offering a preliminary peek into the (quite unoptimized) performance of the engine (updating the blog right now with some stats).
  • I'm at the edge of my seat.
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