Monday, December 19, 2016

Going NOWHERE, Status Update December 2016

Development went quietly this year, so quiet in fact that it might have appeared to some that the project had died:

"I founded this 2 years ago and every once in a while i check the forum or I see a 'discount' in humble bundle. Just admit it: this project is dead. :-("

I wrote a longer reply to this forum post, which we thought might be of general interest to many of you, who are probably asking yourself the same thing:
I'm sorry you're seeing so little output from us as of late, but I can assure you that the project is far from dead. We have received additional funding that has permitted us to fully concentrate on our work and extend its scope (permitting for at least another 12 months of development), instead of doing more PR.

Do not give up on us! I understand that it is frustrating to not see much from the outside, but I've spent and am still spending a lot of time to nail down the technical side, and that part is not pretty, if not even outright depressing at times. No one wants a new alpha version more than me, but the necessary work is not done yet. You can absolutely call our development "troubled", it's not going as elegantly as other projects, it's almost embarrassing, but we're a 100% committed to it, and we'll get to great results in the end. This is not just a throwaway game, it's also an infrastructure that I want to see blossom and bear fruits when it's sufficiently progressed.

We have a new kind of world / rendering engine that can render thousands of CSG operations of implicit primitives in realtime, allowing for crazy geometric animations and procedural world editing. The rendering engine is running on a new kind of Scheme-like programming language that permits live compilation of generated programs (massively speeding up procedural generation of geometry, textures and music), and on top of that a - not yet rewritten - visual programming IDE that allows us to design AI behavior and procedural generators for geometry and music live - that is, while the game is running.

With more manpower and better funding, perhaps all this would be done sooner. But I'd also lose control of my ideas, and then we'd just look like everything else that's out right now, and I'd still have to try to make the game of my dreams.

As always, I'm occasionally updating my Devlog with what's going on. I hope I can soon work my way out of development hell, and get back to visible, and most importantly, playable results.

I probably can't make your worries go away, but you deserve to know at least what's going on.
That said, rather than bumping up the release date by another year, we're going to delay the release of NOWHERE indefinitely -- that is, the release date will be changed to TBA (when it's done). That's not very informative, and also not what we originally promised, but at least it's more accurate.

New alpha releases will arrive much sooner. In fact that is my primary goal. I'm aiming for a new release in the first week of March 2017. We originally promised alpha versions every two weeks, and I was able to keep that commitment for a time, but as goals grew and development became more convoluted, I couldn't think of a way to publish my development progress in playable form, aaand - two years went by. :-/

Thus we had to bite the bullet and reach a compromise on what to put in the alphas as long as the main game loop has not matured. The March 2017 alpha will come in the form of a basic "creative mode" using the new engine, with a built-in modding IDE to toy around with, and a written introduction that explains how to play in creative mode and how to use the IDE.

From that point on we will be able to do regular (ideally biweekly) updates to creative mode until the main mode has reached a sufficient number of mechanics permitting to play it from start to end, then both modes will be playable side by side.