State of the Game:
We’ve been pretty busy over the last few months and in that time I’ve seen a few posts asking on progress and new players asking on the current state of the game, etc. So I thought I would just take some time out and update everyone on where we are and what is happening with Darkout. This will include: where it will go, and when. If you don’t feel like reading everything there is a brief summarized version at the bottom.
As most of you know we had a pretty rocky release on Steam but we got most of those issues sorted out within the first couple weeks. We changed the interface a little and tweaked some stuff that was bugging players in general. That was Stage One.
Since Stage One’s release we have added and changed a ton of content which you can see in the patch notes on either:
If we hadn’t decided to move the game to Unity then every subsequent stage would have seen a complete corruption of current player worlds due to how the code was implemented in Torque.
The game is basically there, there are only a few things we still wanted to add before going to Stage 2, beyond what was added in the patches since launch. What are they you may ask? Well…
- An extra Biome (We’re limited by current code set which would corrupt all player worlds)
- Next chapter in the story (Biome dependant)
- New enemy (Requires new Biome)
Yes, we have been hit with some hard times, and even though we have earned a ridiculously low amount of income from this for the efforts we put in, we’ve persevered for more than a year after launch of stage One.
We need every cent to keep working, but unfortunately most purchases have come in while the game has been on sale, which unfortunately keeps the funds down to a trickle. Don’t get me wrong, we’re extremely grateful to everyone that have supported us this far but unfortunately ‘sales only’ can’t fund any game’s development.
There have been suggestions on multiple occasions that we should start a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish the project, and we’ve actually thought about doing something like that for a long time. What holds us back is the fact that we don’t want to just ask for more money for Darkout, which you already own and paid for, and we don’t have any marketing budget at all to help spread the word beyond our current fanbase. We know some of you would not hesitate to help out, and that thought alone reminds us why we started Darkout in the first place. It was never about making a lot of money, rather, it was an effort to bring a game we are fiercely passionate about to a wide audience, improving and refining it along the way.
We had to think about this problem for a while and have come up with a few solutions, one or two of which that make sense and we plan on executing.
Step 1) Stages 2-4 will be paid DLC.
Initially we had planned to increase the games price with each new stage, with those who bought in early getting them for free, however now we have decided that with the requirement for more funds to complete the game we will need to release Stages Two – Four as paid DLC. Obviously, Stage Two will include the full Unity port of the game and then Staged Three – Four will expand and complete the story mode of the game.
Step 2) Something New
We’ve been faced with dwindling man power and a very extended development cycle on Darkout’s Unity port. This has been alongside the process of updating the original Torque version of the game over the last 13 months, which, we know is a requirement but if we’re honest it’s also a bit of a backpedal. Faced with the fact that we have been receiving most of our funding through the severely discounted sales periods and bundles we took a step back and thought about how we could generate more funds to eventually finish Darkout and not disband before that.
Solution = New game with short development cycle!
So, for the last few months we’ve brainstormed over some ideas and formulated ways to pull them off with the limited team and resources we have, and we started working on a new project currently codenamed: ‘Darklings’, official name TBA.
The game is set in the Darkout universe, but with completely different gameplay. It is still a 2D game but this time we are telling things from the side of the Shadow Creatures. We’ll reveal more about Project Darklings as development progresses. We are leveraging many existing assets in order to do this, ensuring we do not disrupt the necessary changes for Darkout and the best part: we’re building it using Unity!
Here are a few screenshots:
We know that those of you who have stuck with us this long really believe in Darkout and what we still want to do with it,and we are hoping that we can count on your support in order for us to deliver the game as we have always envisioned it to be.
We aim to be more open with development starting with this press release, as well as posting more frequent weekly updates on our web and social media sites. Previously, our quiet has been a reflection of putting our effort towards finding real-world solutions to our complex situation and while this may not be the best answer, it’s the most honest one.
We don’t have the resources to put into a Kickstarter via marketing funds, ad placement, etc, and will be creating a donation link with a counter on our main website for anyone who wishes to support us early and get the game and future DLC at significantly reduced price.
Thank you for your time and we greatly appreciate your continued support and patience.
We’re still making changes to Darkout and our recent radio silence has been a result of investigating funding options to get there. We’ve decided that the best course of action is to create a companion game, currently codenamed: Darklings.
This will be a game where you take control of the Shadow Creatures from Darkout. It will require a much shorter production cycle and we will be building it using Unity to improve the distribution.
Funding received through the sales of this new game will help us finish Darkout. However, we’ve decided that regardless of this that Phase Two through Four will be paid DLC.
We’re incredibly grateful to all the fans that have stuck with us over the years. Thank you for your support and know that we’re doing our best to get you the game you deserve. There will be a donation button on the website soon if you want to contribute to the cause and receive early-access to the new game.