Fresh developments

Last week was not quite what we’d been expecting. We were anticipating a hectic schedule of finalising the Kickstarter materials, making the project live, and then readying for weeks of marketing and PR activity to support it.

Following the difficult decision to postpone the campaign, though, we found ourselves unexpectedly calm and thoughtful, as the pre-deadline adrenaline and stress receded.

The key factor in us calling the delay was a consultation we’d made with Thomas Bidaux of Ico Partners, a PR consultancy who specialise in the gaming sector.

Thomas is one of the world’s foremost experts on using Kickstarter to fund video games, and gives presentations on the subject at conferences all over the world. His opinion is worth heeding.

His assessment was frank – despite many strong points, our campaign lacked important elements needed to achieve our intended goals. Most critically, we didn’t have any gameplay footage for the new game in our video – something essential in the current crowdfunding climate.

As we reflected on Thomas’ words, we assessed what the impact would be. Turning the current designs into working gameplay would take several months, time we hadn’t budgeted for in our plans. It would push the current team to the very limits of what they could contribute in terms of time and effort. There was a lot to think about.

Over the next few days, we returned to our plans and designs, and worked out what was possible. The more we thought about it, the more positive we got. Games development is a lot easier now than it was when Fate of the World was first made back in 2011 – a huge wealth of sophisticated and robust middleware is now cheaply available that simply didn’t exist six years ago.

Despite the lack of a dedicated programmer in the team (one of the most important reasons for our Kickstarter), we do have some experience working with Unreal. While we might not be able to implement all the network code the Online version will need, we definitely possess the ability to make working versions of the core interfaces and gameflow.

With that resolved, we pressed on. We’re now a week into development, and already have got many of the most important features working on-screen. It’s also very refreshing to be out of pre-production and into development – there’s only so far you can take design discussions without actually seeing things working.

With development moving forward, we’ve found ourselves with time to tackle other long-awaited tasks as well. For example, we’ve long wanted to include a forum on our website, as a hub for discussion on the latest climate change science and analysis, and how it might impact the game design. Early experiments have been very promising, so we hope to unveil it very soon.

We’ll be back early next week with another update – including the reveal for Joe’s last piece of concept art, and the results of Competition 3.

As always, thanks for reading.

The Fate team