Whew! Where to begin with this one? I guess welcome to dev blog 13! Let me try put into words this past month; Exciting, tough, painful, thrilling, brutal yet motivating. For those who don’t follow the discord, go join! You will realise why I have described it like so…
A Pinch Of Luck, An Opportunity To Exploit!
You may remember in the last devblog, towards the end, we announced we were going to try get onto the steam games festival… Let’s run through a history of things.
We caught wind of the festival being available around the 15th of April. We discussed it in a meeting on the 16th of April and we were determined to get into it. We quickly incorporated Valko Game Studios as a limited company and set up a business account within a few days.
Now bear in mind, the deadline was the 24th of April and we had just received the business bank card and activated it on the morning of the 22nd. We quickly went through the setup process on steam, getting the payment done, filling in forms and finally sorting tax. What we didn’t realise is that steam takes up to 7 days to process your tax form, with a supposed average of 5 days. We desperately tried to contact steam support to expediate the matter. A response came through later that night saying “We’re sorry but this is processed by a third party company that we have no control over”. We asked if they could allow us to contact the company and pay for it escalating. Steam support didn’t reply. It was the nail in the coffin.
Or so we thought. The next day we awoke to a message from steam support saying “Sorry, we cannot do anything to speed up the processing of your tax forms or pass you contact details, however, as luck would have it your tax interview was processed early”. Talk about Morale boost! We quickly scrambled together a meeting to discuss what lay ahead and how we were going to go from development-level to demo in 3 weeks. By the 15th of May, we had to have a working demo which was tested and ready for purpose with as few bugs as possible…
Queue the Crunch.
We all decided on and rose to the challenge of a crunch, working on the game every hour for the next 3 weeks. If we weren’t rewriting old systems and making new art, we were discussing changes and playtesting. This was pretty rough for us as we all have things on the side, be it commissions, university or regular work. Yet here we were getting barely any sleep and spending all of our free time fixated on the project. This was an opportunity that we could not allow to slip!
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
When we finally started bringing on the initial testers, our nights were filled with laughter as they screamed and cried in terror. Observing people play the game is delightfully hilarious! As expected, testing highlighted a lot of bugs, some gamebreaking and others that were downright amusing; like Bristol from the dopey kids being mauled repeatedly because of an issue with the AI not dropping it’s aggro or just suddenly falling through the map.
Did We Make It?
We did! Steam sent us the confirmation on wednesday that they had reviewed and accepted the demo, so it’s now official, you can play the pre-alpha demo on steam from the 9th June to the 14th June!
Also, make sure to wishlist us below if you haven’t yet:
The Streamer That Makes Some Noise
Before we start looking at the 3D stuff, we wanted to say a huge thanks to the streamer Ezekiel_III. He talked about wanting to do some voice work during a stream and since contacting him, was completely open and honest with us. He has done some insanely good work helping to build our “clubfoot” monster’s character by providing a host of different noises ranging from raspy breathing to gargled screams. He is an all round great guy and a pleasure to work with.
And Now For Some Visuals!
There has been a ton of new art assets created over the last 4 weeks. Let’s start off by showing some of the skulls from the last blog now fully textured!
Here’s a screenshot featuring them all in-game with their emission maps.
We’ve also begun discussing potential merchandise for either a standalone merch store or kickstarter. Here’s some of the preliminary 3D print samples provided by a new start-up called “TheLootDrop”.
We’ve had chance to bring more stonework to the maze, check out Dave’s work below!
Cindy has also had chance to work on a platform for the cryptex device using a similar style.
Lonnie also managed to sneak in some stonework in the form of this demonic altar for the skulls. The image below is rendered in-game!
And this is it outside of the game:
New Landmarks Mean New Assets
Cindy has been hard at work creating a greenhouse that appears as one of the Landmarks (or “points of interest”) within the maze.
Here’s the greenhouse decorated and lit in-game:
Cindy also worked hard on creating a creepy teaparty for the mannequins that Lonnie made, complete with bunting, a music box and party hats!
A Few Extras
Dave made this gibbet (iron cage used as an execution device) based on the infamous Marie-Josephte Corriveau, a folklore witch that supposedly terrorised the citizens of Quebec.
We also have this little fella that seems to be leaving a distinct mark on streamers and testers alike! We have no idea why people don’t love him…
And lastly, here’s some work done post-demo. This taperecorder will be used in game to retell key parts of the story. Unfortunately we didn’t think we could accurately portray the story in time for the demo so we have left most story-centric items out of it.
So What Comes Next?
For now, we have been watching streamers over at the dopey kids (and a few select others) play the game. We have been fixing bugs that people run across; Unfortunately testing hasn’t caught them all, which is to be expected, but most people have had no issues completing the game!
Feedback has been great, we’ve had so really good suggestions and it’s always nice to hear the praise we’ve received. We are listening to what people are saying and working through the viability of implementing some of the systems and changes proposed! If you have an opinion that you think will benefit the game, let us know on discord!
Until the demo is available, we will continue to work on fixing bugs and watching streamers while creating content for the post-demo areas. After the demo launch, we will be hard at work on polishing up the existing areas while also working towards the end-game content. You may have noticed that the game is listed as releasing in winter – that is our official launch date, however, we have discussed “Early Access” on the assumption that the game is fully playable needing only additional polish.
And that’s it! We hope you’ve enjoyed this devblog. Make sure to wishlist us and play the demo when it hits on the 9th June… See you in the maze!
If you haven’t yet, please join our discord, we love seeing new faces and we are excited to hear people’s feedback, suggestions, questions, theories and everything in between!
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