Archive for September 1st, 2008

The Path —— Status Report September 2008

September 1st, 2008 by Michael

It’s the first of September. A crucial date in our schedule. 1 September was the deadline for asset creation, the day when all elements (3D assets, textures and sounds, as well as software systems and interfaces) should be in the game, in some form or other. I’m afraid to say that we did not make this deadline. There’s still a whole month of work to get the remaining assets made and put into the game. Laura continued to create animations through August and Jarboe and Kris made some wonderful music for the game. But the animations are still being tweaked and we need some more music as well. So that process continues as well as our own. Auriea has finally found the time to start working on the interior of Grandmother’s House (the one big remaining asset creation job) and after months of spending most of my time in tools, I am pleased to finally return to the game and work on the actual game code. Tweaking the rotation speed of the characters feels so much more like making progress than importing hundreds of animations.

There’s still a lot to be done before we can really start authoring. Even though we’re already starting with some of that in between the other work. Sadly, our budget is so limited that we cannot add extra time to our schedule. We briefly considered selling a distribution license to a publisher, to raise extra cash from advances on sales, so we could add a few more months to the schedule. But we’ve decided against that and do it the punk way instead. It’s not just the money anyway. As much as we love working on The Path, we also want it to be done one day and to show it to an audience. So we’ll just have to work extra hard and extra efficient. And be smart about what we put in the game: carefully consider the balance between creation effort and experience impact of each element.

The good news is that we’ve been very frugal. For the first time in the history of the project, the balance figure at the bottom of our budget spreadsheet is not red. Meaning we will actually have enough money to make it to the end of production.

We’ve also been thinking about marketing (sales are a constant worry since we have this Sword-of-Damocles-loan that we need to start paying back as soon as we’re done). And even though we’re eager to show our work to the world, we think it will be best that we take our time to prepare said world. And also to give ourselves a break, I guess. We want to finish the game completely and then not release it. But instead take the time to create nice renders, screenshots and videograbs and publish those instead. Maybe have some journalists preview the game, to get a better idea of how to approach marketing. Show it to friends. Just decorate the kid’s room before the baby comes. We’re aiming for birth in Spring.

But first there’s a lot of hard labour to be done!