Early Access Release Imminent
Great news, the game is about to arrive on Steam's Early Access next month (Feb 2018).
Current state of the game and what's new:
Wow, a better question is what isn't new?
The last dev update here highlighted some of the updates leading up to the completion of Act 2 of the game's main story arc. Act 3 is now complete, and so the entire game is now playable from start to finish. Act 3 is much bigger than either Act 1 or 2 and takes Bob on an adventure to save a new character who is at the heart of everything. Bob thought he was simply trying to escape the Replicons but it turned out there was a much bigger time-twisting mystery to uncover and solve before he can find his way home. He's going to have to save all humanity first.
It would be impossible to talk about many of the changes without giving away spoilers but I'll share a few here to whet your appetite.
There are now 20+ planets and loads of new hazards and things to collect, salvage and interact with. The vast majority of Dave's original dialog was replaced or rewritten since the version available here on itch.io, and massively expanded so he will comment and encourage Bob through a much bigger and more complex adventure that can span multiple games.
The game now contains music with nearly 200 tracks that play out over the course of the game. Audio in general has also seen significant improvements in many areas.
Many subtle changes like air resistance while inside a planets atmosphere are now included, and the various planets have many more natural hazards to negotiate and avoid. Another example is that the particle systems were updated to have per particle damage and other negative effects on the player and these are used by many new hazards in the game.
There are secret blacked out areas on some planets, that will make sense later in the story arc, and just about every mechanic in the game has been tweaked tuned or improved in some way. It now feels like the complete package.
To put things into perspective, the current build is now over 900MB compared to the 68MB of the early release here on itch.io.
So why Early Access?
The game is essentially complete as far as the main story arc and core mechanics go, but Bob's world has so many possibilities for sideways expansion, and is now so much fun to play, that it would be a real shame not expand the game even further. Some of you may remember that the original goal of the game was to have each planet in the sector map as a unique planet. The average sector map has about 40-50 planets and the current build has I believe 23 unique planets. During early access I'll be knocking out new planets at a furious pace and taking feedback from the community to add new and interesting features to those new planets to expand the breadth of the game and allow the player to complete it in even more varied ways.
I'd also like to work on content that fits specifically towards speed-running with the goal to inspire players to play out the entire story-line in a single 2-3 hour playthrough. The current storyline will typically be played out over seven separate games and that's only if the player is successful with their goals in each game.
The release candidate for the Early Access build is now ready for final testing to make sure everything is truly ready. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that I can release it immediately. There's still a lot of preparation work to be done. There's a lot more behind the scenes work when releasing a game than simply making the game itself. Think videos, marketing, gifs, screenshots, testing etc. I'll be doing that over the next 4-6 weeks in preparation for the Steam Early Access release hopefully before the end of Feb 2018. I then expect it to stay in early access for approximately 6 months while I add the additional bonus content discussed above while working with the community to make the game the best that it can possibly be.
Do I get a free Steam Key?
As soon as the latest build is uploaded to Steam (likely in the next couple of weeks), I'll be sending out pre-release keys to everyone who paid $10 or more for the game here on itch.io. Check the email address used for your account here on itch.io over the coming weeks.
Thanks to everyone who did that and supported me and the game back in the early days here. You'll be able to play before everyone else if you did.
That's it for now. I don't want to list all of the changes, both because there are too many and it would be a huge spoiler.
Keep checking back here. I'll be sure to make a devlog update here both when the Coming Soon page appears on Steam and then when the Early Access build goes live to everyone in February.
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