Tell us more about the game's development process.

General discussion about End State and other similar games.

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BillyB
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:59 am

Tell us more about the game's development process.

Postby BillyB » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:49 pm

The subject of game design and development is always of interest to me. I'm curious about the design development processes your End State's team has already gone through, and what remains ahead.

For example, I believe you were originally (perhaps before there was a team?) working on your own engine for this, but then at some point switched to using Unity 3D. I'm curious why, and what other engines did you look at, if any, before making that decision? Are you using the Unity Pro version, or are you able to get by without the extra bling? Are there any essential Unity Asset Store assets that you are using in your game?

What kind of 3D modeling and other graphic software is your team using, and why? Are those types of decisions pretty much based on what your team already had working experience with prior to this project? How are you handling sound effects and music? Have you created any of your own sound content, or is it still (for now at least) all from other sources?

When starting a project like this, at least after initially hashing out the original idea, where do you go from there? Is game play and general play-ability what gets worked on first? You've got a small team, so I assume different aspects of the game can be worked on at the same time. But, since the team is small, do most of your team members have to multitask a lot in different roles? I assume the artist mostly does art work, but I'm not sure about everyone else.

Is play-testing mostly a within-team endeavor, or do you have friends (and maybe even family?) helping out with play-testing? How much, or how little, of the game's overall design was done before a larger team became involved? Have there been many features initially planned for that got dropped? What type of features? Why did they get dropped? Was that decision process a fairly easy or fairly difficult one to go through?

How much time in team man hours do you think this game will take to complete? How many man hours do you think the game's development had put into before there was a working team? If you had to complete this project by yourself (for whatever reason), how long do you think that would take? What features and other aspects of the game would have to be dropped if this project was a lone developer operation from beginning to end? How did the current development team end up being put together in the first place? Have there been previous team members that dropped out? If so, why?

Okay, that's probably way too many questions already, so I better stop there. If anyone else has some interesting questions they would also like to ask regarding End State's development, please feel free here. I don't know if we will get many answers, but it does not hurt to ask. It is a curious subject matter. One which I often don't read much about, especially when it comes to a fairly complex turn-based man-to-man tactics game such as End State.
phosphorous
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Re: Tell us more about the game's development process.

Postby phosphorous » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:54 pm

Hey BillyB, here are answers to some of these questions!

For example, I believe you were originally (perhaps before there was a team?) working on your own engine for this, but then at some point switched to using Unity 3D. I'm curious why, and what other engines did you look at, if any, before making that decision? Are you using the Unity Pro version, or are you able to get by without the extra bling? Are there any essential Unity Asset Store assets that you are using in your game?

I have used few other engines, but liked Unity the most because it has a good workflow and good tools, also C# is very productive language. These days there are more and more other valid engines available.

What kind of 3D modeling and other graphic software is your team using, and why? Are those types of decisions pretty much based on what your team already had working experience with prior to this project? How are you handling sound effects and music? Have you created any of your own sound content, or is it still (for now at least) all from other sources?

Our artists use Blender, ZBrush, Substance Painter and Adobe Photoshop among others. The decisions are based on what we think will produce the best quality end result.

We do have some soundtrack, effects and voice acting produced for End State.

When starting a project like this, at least after initially hashing out the original idea, where do you go from there? Is game play and general play-ability what gets worked on first? You've got a small team, so I assume different aspects of the game can be worked on at the same time. But, since the team is small, do most of your team members have to multitask a lot in different roles? I assume the artist mostly does art work, but I'm not sure about everyone else.

I think it is most important to get the game play right first, and during the development process remember what are the core things that make the game fun, and to always refine ideas but still try to stay true to the vision.

Is play-testing mostly a within-team endeavor, or do you have friends (and maybe even family?) helping out with play-testing? How much, or how little, of the game's overall design was done before a larger team became involved? Have there been many features initially planned for that got dropped? What type of features? Why did they get dropped? Was that decision process a fairly easy or fairly difficult one to go through?

The play testing is mostly done within the team but we have also held specific testing sessions with people new to the game.

It does happen that we think of some idea, and implement it, and then come to the conclusion that it did not turn out to be as good as the idea sounded like. It is not nice because of the feeling of wasted effort, but of course that is how we learn.

How much time in team man hours do you think this game will take to complete? How many man hours do you think the game's development had put into before there was a working team? If you had to complete this project by yourself (for whatever reason), how long do you think that would take? What features and other aspects of the game would have to be dropped if this project was a lone developer operation from beginning to end? How did the current development team end up being put together in the first place? Have there been previous team members that dropped out? If so, why?

These are some tough questions. Knowing what I know now, all the things I've learned during the development, it would be shorter development time. I think few things that would have to be dropped for sure would be the graphics since I would not have the time for them.

Okay, that's probably way too many questions already, so I better stop there. If anyone else has some interesting questions they would also like to ask regarding End State's development, please feel free here. I don't know if we will get many answers, but it does not hurt to ask. It is a curious subject matter. One which I often don't read much about, especially when it comes to a fairly complex turn-based man-to-man tactics game such as End State.

Yeah feel free to ask. :)
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Shadow
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 1:07 pm

Re: Tell us more about the game's development process.

Postby Shadow » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:17 pm

I am also very interested in your game development process, because I like the thought of fans helping the developer so that they have a small positive impact on the game. And the fans get a better game in the end. So its a win win situation. But I also know not every fans idea is directly useful. But it can have a positive impact and that is what I like about indie development and kickstarter projects. The Fans have a voice that can be heard which you dont have in AAA-Projects.

So I know that I ask tough questions now but maybe we can get answers:

1. Is the games development doing well, so that you just need more time to finish and polish things up or are there bigger problems with some of the elements of the game like AI, gamebreaking bugs or balancing problems?

2. What is the most difficult part of the game to develop in your opinion? (graphics, gameplay, AI, Story, Missions, User Interface or balancing?

3. As an indie developer how important do you think is the right marketing/hype/PR to be successful on the major plattforms like steam or gog/consoles?

I think when you look at games as usual you need to get a glimpse of how you can create a small hype when you have a quality product. Nowadays you sometimes need more than a good game. You need a good, faithful community, a small hype and a perfect release date. And the most important part is for sure that you have a good quality game that keeps the players for years.
phosphorous
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Re: Tell us more about the game's development process.

Postby phosphorous » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:56 am

I am also very interested in your game development process, because I like the thought of fans helping the developer so that they have a small positive impact on the game. And the fans get a better game in the end. So its a win win situation. But I also know not every fans idea is directly useful. But it can have a positive impact and that is what I like about indie development and kickstarter projects. The Fans have a voice that can be heard which you dont have in AAA-Projects.

Hey, yes I agree with you here.

So I know that I ask tough questions now but maybe we can get answers:

1. Is the games development doing well, so that you just need more time to finish and polish things up or are there bigger problems with some of the elements of the game like AI, gamebreaking bugs or balancing problems?

I think it is going well in the sense that we have been making progress in both the tactical gameplay and the strategic layer. The main problem is the time it has been taking to get everything the way we would like. There are couple of parts of the game that have been remade few times over.

2. What is the most difficult part of the game to develop in your opinion? (graphics, gameplay, AI, Story, Missions, User Interface or balancing?

Each of these have their own difficulties for sure, it is hard to say which would be the most difficult. If I address few of these:
    - Graphics for example is a multifaceted problem, first you need the talented artists to make the art and then you need the tech to make everything work and run well.
    - UI and gameplay go very much together, it is hard to make a final UI if the gameplay mechanics aren't there yet
    - Balancing is an interesting problem between the aim for realism and "what works in a game". For example the firearm mechanics have been taken pretty far in the realism direction in few ways (I have been making muzzle energy calculations that take in account different cartridges and barrel lengths. in order to get the weapon powers at realistic levels compared to other weapons)

3. As an indie developer how important do you think is the right marketing/hype/PR to be successful on the major platforms like steam or gog/consoles?

I think discoverability in all game marketplaces has been getting harder because of the continuously increasing volume of new games. So it is more and more important to get the marketing right. One thing of course is, that in a niche market like this (turn-based squad tactics), there are is a smaller audience who are looking for precisely certain types of games, and especially higher-end games in those area might not be so numerous.

I think when you look at games as usual you need to get a glimpse of how you can create a small hype when you have a quality product. Nowadays you sometimes need more than a good game. You need a good, faithful community, a small hype and a perfect release date. And the most important part is for sure that you have a good quality game that keeps the players for years.

Agreed. What do you think makes a perfect release date by the way?
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Shadow
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 1:07 pm

Re: Tell us more about the game's development process.

Postby Shadow » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:01 pm

Thank you for your open and informative answers :)

I think a perfect release date for an indie developer is when you think your product can compete with the most indie games of your genre and in some ways with bigger titles like XCOM or Jagged Alliance for example. For sure your game mustn‘t be finished. You go for Early Access and you need a clear roadmap when you release the next bigger milestone updates, so the fans know what to expect in the coming months.

A good example is the game WOLCEN. The developers of the game talk to the fans all the time and give the fans monthly updates. They show what they change and how the game will evolve in the next months. When you are a smaller team maybe you can give updates every two months.

But for sure release your game first when you think its ready so that you are pleased with your own product and the fans have a good basic game that can evolve in the future.

But dont make the mistake that you release a game with too many building sites. When you have a good game with great gameplay mechanics that is fun and where the most basic elements are in you can build on that. I guess when you have a good overview about your own next steps in the games development before you release the whole process will be easier to handle until the full games release.

You can also create a small hype where you tease your community with screenshots and small videos. Give interviews on bigger gaming portals if possible. Talk to journalists so that they often write news about your game. Show your game more often on gaming events like gamescom . And when you think your game has a good quality standard and there are enough people who already know about your game its ready for release. But as I said release first when you have a clear roadmap so you can handle the fans so that they know what to expect in the future.

And maybe you can have an eye on the triple AAA game releases. Sure your game is an indie game but its clear that the people have more money if they dont throw it at three AAA Games that are coming out on your release date.

Also its good for you that there hasnt been a product like yours for a long time. You can promote your game as the next big game in the jagged Alliance genre.

I havent seen a game like yours for a long time so this alone is a big selling point. The only game I know that is a little bit like yours gameplaywise is BATTLETECH. By the way when you look at their kickstarter campaign maybe you can get also useful information how to take your next steps in the development process. What I could read the fans there are very pleased with the game.

Keep up your great work and show the game to the fans sometimes. And when everyone (including you) is pleased with the basic game and the core gameplay (which is the most important part I think) is really fun you can release your game.

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