The End is in Sight: A Destination Ares Update

Destination Ares has been in Early Access for 7 months, after an initial closed development period of 27 months. Today, I’m announcing that there’s a light at the end of that (long, arduous) tunnel.

Since we (yes, you and I, unknown reader) started this journey through Early Access, Destination Ares has changed dramatically. Let’s highlight some additions I couldn’t imagine living without:

  • The full soundtrack from R Kim Shultz (17 tracks!)
  • A revamped minigame
  • 5 new ship systems
  • Steam Achievements
  • The Folivora alternate default ship
  • Half a dozen new events
  • And countless quality of life improvements, effects, sounds, particles, and upgrades

The game has come pretty far. And yet there is so much left to do! I believe the most important items will be coming together in the next couple of months.

I’ll be real with you, reader. Early Access hasn’t been everything I hoped. There are so many things it could have provided: community, feedback, a little extra cash flow, and visibility. It has been a great opportunity to bring players into the development process, and it has almost entirely missed the mark on all of this.

It’s probably my fault for working only full-time on it. I need another few hands, I think. At least somewhere to put all these hats.

Now, look here. I’m a stubborn bastard who puts too much emphasis on his word. This means I’m all the more determined to deliver this game, nearly three years after the project began, and despite the missteps in publicity and development.

So, I’ll put it out in the world: my goal is to reach full release in early Fall.

It’s ambitious, but, hey, I wouldn’t be doing a solo dev project if I weren’t an ambitious kind of guy. If I miss the Fall window, we’ll be stuck waiting until Spring! (that’d be awful)

To that end, I implore players of Destination Ares to help me sort what needs the most attention and what would be really awesome to have as we make our way to a version 1.0

A few specific items already on my priority hit list (and not yet in the next release):

  • Revamped tutorial
  • Improved controls
  • Metagame progression
  • Steam Cards
  • Ditching the useless “Interpersonal” skill for: “Command”

Of course more content is always on my list. More events, more chatter, more everything.

I’ve also got a HUGE wishlist from which I’ll be throwing as many things on as I can.

A few questions to help me sort my thoughts before release:

  1. What stats and info do you want in the side bar when building ships? There’s a lot of simulation under the hood; what’s worth knowing about?
  2. How can I better teach the minigame? Some players understand that the pips are how many mines are nearby, some never figure it out (yes, despite the explanation scrolling underneath)
  3. What events are awesome and what events are awful? Before release, I’m sure to do a bunch of writing and that’s a great chance to do some tweaks
  4. What still confuses you about the game? Is there anything so obscure as to be unreasonably difficult?
  5. What bugs are still aggravating you to this day?
  6. How’s the performance on your computer?
  7. Am I the only person who thinks the difficulty is too easy and I should add a hard mode? (the answer to this one is yes; I’ve only seen one other person beat it legitimately, ever)
  8. Any cool ideas for more achievements and/or in-game unlocks?

Thanks for everything; see you around, folks.

-Pat

P.S. I apologize for missing a blog post two weeks ago. I thought I prepped one for while I was at E3. I simply never did. Thanks for hanging around all the same :)

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