State of the Game and Company, April 2016

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State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby jam » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:53 am

We are getting out of Early Access and releasing the game on April 11.

I don't have a lot of time, so this will be a brief update, but it's quite overdue.

State of the Game
I am almost happy with it. Right now as I type there's 2.5 days to go until release and I've all but expunged the last of the horrible old UI elements and I have a bunch of new quests ready to drop in, the industrial line of which ends with Terraforming device blueprints. Co-op combat has begun, and you now get paid for clearing pirate ambushes. Once I finally stop spending 90% of my time on replacing old UI bits, and that time will be April 12 (!), you can expect to see me swing straight back into my old mode of extending features as fast and as far as possible. Co-op Combat and Terraforming have huge unexplored potential to extend the long term "end game" and communal play, and I look forward to exploring them both with you.

My intention is to "release" the game, and use the income from sales to continue development to whatever extent is possible. Ideally I would like to hire Nick some more to do more UI work. What we have now in that department is vastly better than what we had before, but in some places I think he and I have only had time to do what was necessary, not fully realise the potential. Today I'll be replacing the Stock Market and Dome consoles for example - but I won't be adding a slick user friendly interface to either, just replacing a crappy command line console with a much nicer one. So, still some work to be done in UI.

Since the enormous, and it has been enormous, effort to upgrade from Unity 4 to 5, the visuals in the game have moved forward in leaps and bounds. However, even if we weren't adding more ships (and we have FIVE classes to go from my original January 2013 spread sheet plan - double the Ophan FIVE TIMES and you get the idea) I could easily see George and an artist 100% employed on this game for the rest of the year upgrading models and textures, and an effects expert could spend months. So visually, the game is now quite pretty and I think even in contemporary company it sort of blends in rather than stands out as "EW, HORRIBLE GRAPHICS" like it used to. But much work left to do and huge potential.

Early terraforming is just around the corner.

State of the Company
I am not getting paid anymore, and I'm personally almost out of money. I'm in the red, if you add it all up, probably not what where you want to be a few months before your 40th birthday, but as I said to a colleague in the middle of an all night coding binge:

"I would rather go bust making something special, than get rich developing something 'meh'."

And I think that just about sums up the Fluffy Kitten Studios philosophy, for now. The company is not in great shape. Sales until now have slowed to a crawl. I think people are thoroughly sick of buying early access games in general, and Steam is now absolutely flooded with indie titles all vying for the same market. The number of games has grown at a pace that leaves the market growth for dead, and the vast majority of our potential playerbase has still never heard of us (this became abundantly clear at PAX, where most people we met were Australian - and we've had some press traction here - and almost none had heard of us).

We now have over 19,000 people who has wishlisted Ascent who haven't bought it yet. We expect a small portion of those to buy it when we "release" (steam has just begun emailing wishlisters when a game comes out of early access, fortuitous timing for us) but we will also need some action from the press to sustain development for the rest of the year.

And that about sums it up. It is now very much crunch time for Ascent and Fluffy Kitten Studios. There is no chance the company will fold or the game will end (I still run it on a test server at home and it's fine. I could operate it for you with NO income), but there is also no chance I will be 100% full time on the game any more in May or June if we can't FINALLY get some press traction and make some significant sales.

So, everything now hinges on what happens on April 11 and the following few weeks. Fingers crossed our press release gets through this time.
...............................................................................................................................................
Thanks for playing, thanks for posting, and thanks for your feedback!
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby Mizuk » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:29 am

jam wrote:We are getting out of Early Access and releasing the game on April 11.

I don't have a lot of time, so this will be a brief update, but it's quite overdue.

State of the Game
I am almost happy with it. Right now as I type there's 2.5 days to go until release and I've all but expunged the last of the horrible old UI elements and I have a bunch of new quests ready to drop in, the industrial line of which ends with Terraforming device blueprints. Co-op combat has begun, and you now get paid for clearing pirate ambushes. Once I finally stop spending 90% of my time on replacing old UI bits, and that time will be April 12 (!), you can expect to see me swing straight back into my old mode of extending features as fast and as far as possible. Co-op Combat and Terraforming have huge unexplored potential to extend the long term "end game" and communal play, and I look forward to exploring them both with you.

My intention is to "release" the game, and use the income from sales to continue development to whatever extent is possible. Ideally I would like to hire Nick some more to do more UI work. What we have now in that department is vastly better than what we had before, but in some places I think he and I have only had time to do what was necessary, not fully realise the potential. Today I'll be replacing the Stock Market and Dome consoles for example - but I won't be adding a slick user friendly interface to either, just replacing a crappy command line console with a much nicer one. So, still some work to be done in UI.

Since the enormous, and it has been enormous, effort to upgrade from Unity 4 to 5, the visuals in the game have moved forward in leaps and bounds. However, even if we weren't adding more ships (and we have FIVE classes to go from my original January 2013 spread sheet plan - double the Ophan FIVE TIMES and you get the idea) I could easily see George and an artist 100% employed on this game for the rest of the year upgrading models and textures, and an effects expert could spend months. So visually, the game is now quite pretty and I think even in contemporary company it sort of blends in rather than stands out as "EW, HORRIBLE GRAPHICS" like it used to. But much work left to do and huge potential.

Early terraforming is just around the corner.

State of the Company
I am not getting paid anymore, and I'm personally almost out of money. I'm in the red, if you add it all up, probably not what where you want to be a few months before your 40th birthday, but as I said to a colleague in the middle of an all night coding binge:

"I would rather go bust making something special, than get rich developing something 'meh'."

And I think that just about sums up the Fluffy Kitten Studios philosophy, for now. The company is not in great shape. Sales until now have slowed to a crawl. I think people are thoroughly sick of buying early access games in general, and Steam is now absolutely flooded with indie titles all vying for the same market. The number of games has grown at a pace that leaves the market growth for dead, and the vast majority of our potential playerbase has still never heard of us (this became abundantly clear at PAX, where most people we met were Australian - and we've had some press traction here - and almost none had heard of us).

We now have over 19,000 people who has wishlisted Ascent who haven't bought it yet. We expect a small portion of those to buy it when we "release" (steam has just begun emailing wishlisters when a game comes out of early access, fortuitous timing for us) but we will also need some action from the press to sustain development for the rest of the year.

And that about sums it up. It is now very much crunch time for Ascent and Fluffy Kitten Studios. There is no chance the company will fold or the game will end (I still run it on a test server at home and it's fine. I could operate it for you with NO income), but there is also no chance I will be 100% full time on the game any more in May or June if we can't FINALLY get some press traction and make some significant sales.

So, everything now hinges on what happens on April 11 and the following few weeks. Fingers crossed our press release gets through this time.




Very impressive and bang on the money with that philosophy
"I would rather go bust making something special, than get rich developing something 'meh'."


Is there a way to buy shares in your company ? :D
Any support to my just cause! :)
Can be given in form of Iron and Carbon at Route 6 planned gateway to Route 666
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby tobascodagama » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:55 pm

MassivelyOP has you in their front-page banner right now, so that's a thing. There seem to be a handful of people in the thread who admit to picking the game up now that it's out of Early Access, which is nice.
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby rmartz » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:41 am

Image
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Check out RAM Memories.
Visit AscentExtras.com for player built game tools, guilds, and links to game related data.
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby rmartz » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:16 am

I am very pleased with the release and how things are progressing. The new players are much better than the Early Release crew. Maybe others will hit this weekend, but right now they seem more like the KS crew coming in. I am very excited. Most are fitting in really well. The game was ready for them too. Not having to make excuses for things. Things are working really well.

Thanks to all who have been helping and answering questions. You are doing fantastic!
Ingame accounts: RAM, rmartz
Check out RAM Memories.
Visit AscentExtras.com for player built game tools, guilds, and links to game related data.
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby tobascodagama » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:29 pm

Game was pretty busy last night! Lots of player ships hanging around in Vulcan while I was mining there, at least. :P
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby Mizuk » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:30 pm

rmartz wrote:The new players are much better than the Early Release crew.


yea you stink too..
Any support to my just cause! :)
Can be given in form of Iron and Carbon at Route 6 planned gateway to Route 666
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Chaz Serir

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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby Chaz Serir » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:07 pm

Hiyo! o/ I'm one of the new folks who joined during the game's launch. I'm thoroughly enjoying myself with the game so far, and I haven't even kicked on my Premium time yet, haha!

Having read through the initial post though, I am kinda worried about the state of the company, but I'm gonna do whatever I can to help out (Even though from my current position that's not much, I'm definitely planning on buying Premium time once my 3 months from Steam does get used up!)
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby rmartz » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:20 pm

Image

I think Jam can buy tuna now instead of catfood!!
Ingame accounts: RAM, rmartz
Check out RAM Memories.
Visit AscentExtras.com for player built game tools, guilds, and links to game related data.
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Re: State of the Game and Company, April 2016

Postby tobascodagama » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:56 am

Upgrading to the good paper plates. XD

(Kidding, I hope.)
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