I feel like I've told this story a hundred times at this point, but I think I need to tell it again.
We developed Two Brothers in Multimedia Fusion 2 for $16,257 thanks to some wonderful people on Kickstarter who believed in our vision.
When we made the game, we were amateurs. Yes, we had the talent and knowledge to create graphics, a compelling world, sound, etc. but, there were still so many things we did know. The biggest of which was, just because something works perfectly fine on your machine doesn't mean it will on another users machine.
There were a host of issues caused by having made the game in MMF2 which really dragged the project down. Of course, had I known this would happen, I wouldn't have created the game using this software. However, if I knew what I knew now, I would've known that the $6,000 goal we originally asked for was incredibly unrealistic, and nowhere near enough money to actually fund the development of what turned out to be a 30+ hour game.
We didn't pay ourselves anything to work on the game, which was fine, because it was a labor of love. We used the money to show the game at a PAX East, to upgrade our dying computers so that we could actually work on the game, and for a few other development costs other than salary.
So, when the game released and we came to the conclusion that for us to get it to run perfectly across all machines we'd need to remake the game... that's when things got very, very, very real.
Let me back up a bit. When we did the Kickstarter, we planned on making the game for PC, since that's what MMF2 compiled for, and things were going to be great. But then we found out about a project called Anaconda, which let you compile the game for Mac and Linux! Awesome, let's do it for that too.
Only thing was, when we did our first tests, the game was really small. Just one area! So, it ran great. Actually better than the PC version did because the Anaconda runtime fixed some issues that MMF2 caused. However, when we went to build the entire game, the frame rate was around 5 frames per second. So, another amateur mistake there.
And the reason the Mac version still isn't out.
Then, people asked us to bring the game to the Wii U. So, we thought then about switching to Unity... and we almost did, in fact we started it in Unity again with the help of a (now) former team member who hadn't been pulling his weight on the original MMF2 version. But, he was a programmer, and insisted he could port everything we had done in MMF2 so far real easily, and that things would work out just great!
Well, he was lazy, and he lied a lot, and got drunk a lot, and ultimately failed, because as it turns out, porting a game from MMF2 to Unity, is very very difficult. MMF2 creates a LOT of redundant graphics, and doesn't play well with outside software.
Crap. Another plan, completely failed.
So, then we reached out to a professional porter who said he could totally make the game run on the Wii U, and fix the issues we were having on our PC version. We paid them money from our jobs, signed a nice contract, paid money for lawyers, and had sunk about double what we had received from Kickstarter into this... and then he quit. Because as it turns out, porting a game from MMF2 is very hard... see the pattern here?
So, we were now out a lot of money, and people still really wanted the game. So, we began doing it the hard way. Remaking the game, copying and pasting assets into sprite sheets...
The thing is, the engine was the easiest part to make. I had made it once in MMF2, and at this point I had spent the past 3 years working on my programming, and everything fell into place there. But there was the major issue of getting all the freakin assets into Unity. At this point we were still on Unity 4, and that wasn't so hot for pixel games either.
So, this is about the time when things were looking really bad for the game. I wanted to keep going, so did Ian, and Andrew. We were working really hard on the Unity game! But now, everyone else on the project is getting sick and tired of working on the same game, so... they slowly stop working, one by one...
This is about where YIIK A Postmodern RPG comes into play. We knew that game would be made pretty quickly, and we were confident we could find financial backing for it. So, our options were this at this point:
Continue to work Chromophore on nights and weekends and get it out in an eternity, or be find financial backing for this new project Y2k project (created from the ground up in Unity), and stay in the industry, while perfecting our Unity skills, and splitting out time between Y2k (Now YIIK A Postmodern RPG) and Chromphore.
At the time, I commuted 2 hours to Manhattan every day to work at a job in Augment Reality software, and then 2 hours back... So, I left the house at 5:50 each morning, and got back around 8 PM every night... then I worked from 8:30 PM while eating dinner on Chromophore (this was the same schedule I made Two Brothers on by the way) until 12:30 AM, got some sleep, and repeated this process.
The biggest time sink for me was my commute. I knew no one would give me more money to remake Two Brothers (trust me, I tried that route), so Y2K became my hope.
That ended up working out. So, we found a great backer who would help us transition into being a full time studio, and not just hobbyists, and then I'd be able to work on both games.
Which is what I've been doing!!!
And things are going pretty good. YIIK is almost done, we're about 99% complete, in our final beta weeks now... then it's just a matter of all the paperwork and pro-qa stuff that is out of my hands before we can release the game.
So, with that, we're preparing to send YIIK out on it's way(this summer I think, realistically), and work full time on Chromophore. The break down has been this for the past two years:
8:00 - 4:30 YIIK.
5:00 to 9:30 Chromphore.
Monday - Friday.
10:00 - 4:00 Chromphore, Saturday and Sunday, taking a break from this weekend work every three weeks.
There is a bit more to this giant tale, but it's too much to get into today. It involves people who worked on the original game wanting more money from Chromophore when it comes out, and trying to get a high percentage, and demanding we remove their content from the game if we didn't meet their demands.
Long story short, we won that disagreement for the most part, but it resulted in me having to remake some content entirely so that the issues wouldn't come up again.
I put up a shorter explanation about all this on Kickstarter, and then something amazing happened.
A bunch of people volunteered to help us move the assets from MMF2, and some great other game devs have turned me onto some fantastic plugins that will help me speed up the process.
That is what this devlog is going to be. Talking about how we finish this thing, once and for all. May take a few more months, but I think you'll all enjoy it when it's done.
It's getting a pretty huge overhaul. I could've gotten it out sooner, but then I wouldn't have been able to address the feedback other than just the bugs... and it's very rare you're given a chance to completely fix negative feedback, and truly show that you learn from your mistakes.
I hope to update this once a month. Most likely on the 15th.