Reality Check

Dear supporters, there’s going to be a change of plan. We’re going to have to delay the launch of our Kickstarter campaign.

This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly. We’re very focused on bringing Fate of the World up to date for you, with important new features that we think you’ll love; and we’ve spent our own money and put in months of hard work to get to this point.

However, as part of our process we’ve consulted several experts on the subject including Ico Partners who specialise in crowdfunding. Their advice has been unanimous: our campaign is not ready for launch. A critical factor is that we haven’t done enough to graphically illustrate our new gameplay for you, including in our video.

As a result, we’ve decided to delay launch and fix that problem. The delay will give us a chance to address other minor issues too, and give the best possible chance of successfully funding the new game. our commitment to the project remains strong, and we’ll be sharing more with you as we proceed into the first stages of development, to bring our designs and proposals to life.

Our goal remains unaltered: to bring you Earth’s clearest, deepest, most accessible climate change simulation game.

 

Date night

We’re excited to announce that our Kickstarter will launch on the Wednesday the 21st of June!

It’s not been an easy decision to make. Launching the Kickstarter is not just a matter of preparing all the assets and pressing “Go”. The core team will need to be highly active throughout the weeks that the Kickstarter is running, responding to issues as they arise, and giving our campaign the best chance of success.

This morning, we eventually came to a decision. We’ve opted for Wednesday 21st June. It was only some time after we’d all agreed on it that we realised it’s also the summer solstice. Hopefully it will prove an auspicious choice.

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do beforehand. We’ll be back next week to let you know how it’s going.

The Fate team

All hands on deck

The pressure is ratcheting up as we get ever closer to our deadline. An announcement on the launch date of our Kickstarter campaign will be made next week; in the meanwhile, the team is in high gear working its way through a long check-list of assets.

Fortunately, things seem to be going quite well. We’ve added two new faces to the team this week, ramping up our graphic design capabilities. There’s an awful lot of interface design and layout work to do, but already we’ve been impressed by the attitude and ability of both new members.

Elsewhere, our concept artist Joe has completed work on his third piece. It’s an illustration of a emergency climate conference, set some time in the future, and called in response to a crisis of rising sea levels and inundated cities.

Its purpose is to illustrate our main new gameplay feature, which is the Conference mini-game. This has been specifically designed to model negotiations between a large number of participants, such as the summit which gave us 2016’s Paris Agreement. This sort of diplomatic gameplay was practically absent from the original, and we’re very excited to explore this direction further.

The Conference artwork is another very strong piece from Joe, and we hope that those of you on our mailing list enjoyed the first look at it earlier. Meanwhile, Joe’s now at work on a fourth artwork. The subject of this new illustration is currently shrouded in mystery, and forms the basis for the competition in today’s newsletter.

Incidentally, if you’re not already on the mailing list, you can sign up using the red widget at the top right of this page – you’ll not only get first look at all our latest news, but also have the chance to win Steam keys for the Tipping Point bundle.

That pretty much wraps it up for this week. Next week we’ll be doing some filming, which is going to be an interesting departure from the norm. Whatever happens, we’ll be back with another Dev Blog to make sure you’re kept up to date with what’s going on.

As always, thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.

The Fate team

Online discussion

Writing the dev blog is the last task of the working week, usually completed in the final hours of Friday night with a beer glass to hand. Sadly, external events intervened on this occasion, so please forgive the slight tardiness.

It was a typically busy week, with progress along the three main strands: concept art, interface design, and Kickstarter video. Each group has a different mix of core team members and external contributors, presenting a wide range of tasks to manage.

On concept art, Joe has completed a third work, which will go out on the Newsletter sometime in the coming week, along with a new competition. There will be five Steam keys up for grabs this time, so if you’re not already on the list, please use the red widget at the top right of this screen to sign yourself up.

Video and interface work are also moving along, and offering a host of fresh challenges. Alongside design, production and copywriting work, the core team have been trying their hand at scriptwriting, voice acting, and test filming performances. It is safe to say there have been a few teething issues on that front, and more than a little hilarity.

Of course, there’s still plenty of design discussion going on. One of the main topics this week has been something that arose from the video script: what does the Online in Fate of the World Online actually stand for?

For us, the fundamental difference that FOTWO has from the original is that the game will be based on a central server, so it doesn’t have to be fully installed the user’s machine. This means that people can play it on a much wider variety of platforms than before – Fate required a then-powerful PC or Macintosh to perform the substantial amount of processing the game needed, but FOTWO will do all the end-of-turn calculations in the cloud, before sending the results to the player’s computer, tablet, phone, and every other platform we can port the client too.

Online is also a statement of commitment from Soothsayer, to keep the game up to date with the latest scientific research, and stay on top of any bugs or balancing issues that emerged. The original game proved very hard to patch or add features to, and this is an area we want to get right this time around.

Finally, Online means that a multiplayer version of the game is enabled for the first time. To begin with, we’ll be solely focusing on getting the single player game right, but the architecture of the game – from the online server to the player role as national leader – should make incorporating multiplayer later a relatively simple proposition.

With the start of the next working week just a few hours away, it’s probably best to leave things there. We’ll be back next week with the afore-mentioned Newsletter, not to mention another blog update.

As always, thanks for reading.

The Fate team

A brighter prospect

This week, we concluded work on our latest concept art, and it turned out so well we wanted to share it with you straight away.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Utopia1 is the sister piece to the previous work we posted last week.

It’s a vision of the same city shown as before, but how things might like if humanity actually manages to get things right.

It’s a captivating and alluring image, which emphasises the crossroads at which we as a species currently stand: this is a future we may attain, but it is far from guaranteed.

Those mindful of history cannot ignore that the current social and environmental conditions we are experiencing mirror some of the direst times in our planet’s history.

Nevertheless, it is also true that no species in the history of the Earth has ever evolved to the point we’ve currently attained. The pace at which our technologies progress seems to ever-accelerate, with dirty and problematic behaviours vanishing as a result of sheer technological obsolescence. It may yet well be sapience that preserves us as hominids.

Many outcomes are foreseeable, and despite the seriousness of our times it is not unreasonable to hold an optimistic view for the future. A primary reason we work on Fate of the World is just to understand the immensity of the issue for ourselves; we can report that the day-to-day mood in the office remains cheery.

Work resumes promptly on Monday morning, with a major creative meeting happening. The outcome should be very exciting, and a major step towards the launch of our Kickstarter campaign.

We’ll be back next week to let you know how everything’s gone. In the meantime, thanks for reading.

The Fate team

Crunch time

The last newsletter contained a rather pernicious competition: could you guess the identity of the artist behind the Dystopia1 concept art, knowing only the first letter of their username?

It turned out that no-one was capable of doing this, so earlier in the week we provided another clue: the last letter of their username.

That was all it took for a winner to emerge, with Matthijs Krijger swiftly calculating that GutsBerserk (aka Joe Knight) was the talent at play. Well done, Thijs, a Steam key for Tipping Point is headed your way

For those of you not subscribed to the newsletter (something easily rectified using the red widget on the top-right of this page), we promised we’d share the Dystopia1 concept art with you, so here it is:

Joe’s been working on two other pieces also. Utopia1, the sister piece to the work above, will be signed off shortly – once it is, we’ll be sharing the first look with the mailing list. The final work in the series is only at preliminary sketch stage, so expect to hear more about that in due course.

Alongside Joe’s work, there’s a plethora of other activities underway, with the video and graphic design briefs both progressing nicely.

It’s been something of a change for the core team: previously, we’ve concocted visions and proposals that have gained agreement internally, but now we have to find out if they inspire others also, so they can provide us with the skills and expertise we need.

With mere weeks before the Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to launch, there is more than a little tension in the air. Even so, our work is never less than compelling: every day, the news and research we read gives us conviction in our goals.

The data shows that climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. To contemplate it, study it, and share those observations with others, is an undertaking we find very fulfilling indeed.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with our latest news.

The Fate team

 

Art of the matter

If you’re on our mailing list, then you should already have received the latest newsletter, which gives you first look at the Dystopia1 artwork we were talking about last week. We hope you like it as much as we do, and look forward to your competition entries.

For those of you who have not yet signed up to the list (something achieved with both ease and rapidity, using the little red widget at the top-right of this page), don’t worry: we’ll be uploading the image to the website very soon.

In other news, it’s been a typically busy week. The follow-on artwork in the pipeline is looking very promising: the next one likely to be ready is Dystopia1’s companion piece, somewhat unsurprisingly entitled “Utopia1”.

Here, we see the same view as before, but in a world where humanity has managed to keep global warming to a minimum. The metropolis teems on, with sky cars and drones darting between the skyscrapers of tomorrow, laden with vegetation and renewable energy technologies. People seem relaxed and happy, socialising at rooftop parties whilst robot waiters serve them refreshments. It looks a lot nicer place to live, that’s for sure.

This aside, there’s been the usual iteration of design and marketing materials. We’ve redrafted the video script several times, as well as resolving some of the interface sub-screens that needed extra work.

By and large, though, the design and copywriting tasks are all nearing completion. Now our focus is taking those briefs and concepts onto the next stage, giving us the videos and illustrations that clearly describe the plan forward.

Fortunately, the team is growing to meet the challenge, with contributors both new and old adding their talents to the various working parties. Right now we’re heading into a bank holiday weekend, but come Tuesday we’ll have more people working simultaneously on FOTWO than ever before. We’re looking forward to seeing the results.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with further news of our continuing adventures.

The Fate team

 

A frightening prospect

One of our main focuses this week has been the first piece of mood art we’ve commissioned. Known internally as Dystopia 1, it’s a fresh vision of what our world might look like if humanity doesn’t tackle climate change properly.

Anticipating the current worse-case scenario of a 2.5 metre sea rise, it’s a vista of a great coastal city, its vital seafront now inundated by a relentlessly rising tide. The skyline of the once-proud metropolis looms eerily over the floodwaters, whilst despondent refugees, huddled amid the faded relics of a crumbling civilization, hopefully await whatever aid the city may still offer.

It’s a powerful piece, both stark and beautiful. The artist we’re working with has a style that suits Fate of the World well, with both impressionistic and realistic aspects to his work. It feels like a natural progression from the sort of images seen on the card art of the original.

Dystopia 1 is currently going through a small round of tweaks, but it shouldn’t be long now before we share it with you. Mailing list subscribers will get the very first look in a special bulletin, so please sign up using the red widget at the top right if it’s something that interests you. We’ll be running another competition, too, so you’ll have a chance to win a Steam key for the Tipping Point original game bundle, which you can use for yourself or give to a friend.

Dystopia 1 aside, there’s been plenty of other things going on, with a daily cycle of reviewing materials, discussing improvements, setting new objectives, and generating assets. We’ve got at least two more mood pieces in the immediate pipeline too, alongside our interface visualisations.

It’s a hectic workload, which often sees us working late into the night. Nevertheless, the mood is very positive: when work is as engaging and fluent as this, it’s a pleasure to be part of it.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with the latest instalment.

The Fate team

 

Competition prose

Thank you to everyone who sent us feedback and entries for the newsletter competition last week, all your input was appreciated. It’s helped us refine our proposals further, and we’ll share our conclusions with you in the next news bulletin.

Only one person could win the prize, and, after careful calculation, we came to the conclusion that Ronan Birrien guessed the closest to our provisional figures. Well done, Ronan; please check your e-mail for your Steam key.

Competition aside, it’s been a busy week. There’s been plenty of design work – some interface elements are now on their twelfth iteration, and it’s been fascinating to look back at the wire-frames archive, and see how our thoughts have evolved. The first proposals look incredibly vague and crude now, compared to the refined and precise plans we now possess.

These now need to be handed off to our graphic designer for a presentation pass, so it’ll still a while before we can share them with you, but we hope to be showing first glimpses within the next few weeks.

Some things you’re likely to see sooner than that are the first “mood” pieces we’ve commissioned – artwork that visualises some of the potential futures that can emerge from the game model. These will be the subject of the next news bulletin, so if you want to be among the first to see them, please use the red widget on the top-right of this webpage to subscribe.

The team will resume work next Tuesday, after a short break for Easter. There’s going to be plenty to do when they get back: the script for our Kickstarter video is currently on its first draft, and we have a major website upgrade in advanced discussion too. Overall, there’s a great sense of purpose and confidence in the air, and the team are highly inspired. It’s made all the trying times we’ve had over the past couple of years seem very worthwhile.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with another update.

The Fate team

 

 

 

 

 

Hard copy

It’s been another full week. We’re waiting on our first artwork to come through, and in the meantime we’ve been focusing on our Kickstarter copy – the written text that forms the backbone of our page.

There’s been a lot to go through, a lot to edit, and a lot to talk about. At times, it’s been pretty brutal – some parts have gone through five or six rewrites now, with whole swathes of painstakingly-written text being shown the delete key.

Nevertheless, tempers haven’t frayed too much: everyone is focused on making the campaign as good as it can be, so we keep at it until we’re all satisfied with the results.

One bit we’re all quite happy with right now is the basic reward tiers – what people will get for supporting our campaign. The list has shrunk and grown several times over the last couple of weeks, but at the time of writing it’s reached a level where everyone agrees with what’s on the list.

We’d also quite like to know what you think. So, we’re sending them all out to everyone on the mailing list – if you’re not already on it, you can sign up using the red widget at the top-right of this webpage.

The newsletter also has a competition to enter, with a prize of a free Steam key to the winner. The results will be announced in next week’s dev blog.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next Friday.

The Fate team